Friday, January 30, 2015

Why I do care SMALL STUFFS so much- why you put shoes on inside house! -

I care very much of small stuff in daily life, which sometime make me wonder, stress and laugh. At the end, these might leads new learning. One of things is about feet.

I am not talking about its smell or shape. I care manner related to feet.

Should I remove it or not? that is the problem

Philippines is part of Asia. So once people enter the house, they remove shoes. However, every time, I see someone wears shoes at the same time some people do not. These shoes or slipper are not for inside room, these are obviously for outside. In fact, I saw these people just came inside the house with shoes. Then, they do not remove after all.

For some reasons, I could not find it is nice. First, it is not hygienic. Shoes surely bring darts from outside. One does not wear got these darts. Besides, if there is a baby in the house, surely baby is crawl on his or her hands and knees, eventually baby got darts too.

Second, it is for me not so respectful. This second reason come from my cultural background. If you get enter the house with shoes on in my cultural context, it is also sign of insult. In movies, Yakuza enters someone's house with their shoes on. 

What is wrong with shoes? Person with shoes often seen after funeral. Casket is carried by several people, at the time people cannot afford time to put in and out their shoes. So, people associated to this, then people think it is bad luck.  

I do not judge these who wear shoes inside house. But I was so disturbed sometimes.

Steps of your feet

I care person steps over others' body. Especially person steps over higher than butt of elders. This action was strictly prohibited among family members. It is related to superstition.

So when I saw this often here, I felt uncomfortable then I almost stop them doing so but I tried not.

And I care person place his or her feet (especially with shoes) to something holy or important such as family member's pictures and so on. When I was child, I was not allowed to put my feet to the family alter even the alter was elevated and my feet did not reach at all.
Are these too much? 

Not at all for me because I grew up with unwritten rule, these are part of my life.

Concept of in and out
Associated to mentioned above, I think one of significance of Japanese house structure is having a space attached to front door, which is called Genkan(玄関),the place to remove shoes  receive guests and clear the boundary in and outside our house. 

Some says we usually do not show feet especially sole because it is possibly dirty. But removing shoes is a sign of openness and acceptance too. Anyway, in Japan all visitors are not accommodated in the room. Hosts sometimes receive a guest in genkan. 

There are several reasons of explain why we need to remove our shoes but it may also come from simply practicality because shoes damage floor and tatami floor.  

Whatever the reasons, I do not still get used to house not having clear boundary with shoes and without :D I may get used to it or when I have own place, I will create a genkan space! 

Why I care this small thing? because how I grew up.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I know who are Finoy among them? - Identifiable reasons -

My first foreign countries, I stayed longer than 6 months is the Philippines. I stayed here half of my period of graduate study, eventually I had a Filipino husband and I am staying here in the Philippines.

It was not planed (maybe God planed so) but it happen. As a consequence of this, I am opt to find, discover, distinguish Filipino when I am out of the Philippines. I found myself feel at home once I see them. And of course, I approach them once they were confirmed as Filipino.

Why I am so sure s/he is Filipino? It is almost same technique I apply to distinguish Japanese among group of people from different countries. Technique is not perfect word. It can be said certain sense. 
Aside from the sense, I also find certain significant points make me bit easy to find them in the crowd.  Here are the things...for Filipino friends, please just laugh and forgive me. 

Point direction with lips
This is very significant body language. My husband does that when he want to point direction little bit far from him. How? He simply pouts. If I ask where is toilet, he points the direction with his lips and says "there" at the same time.  

At the beginning, I thought they wanted to inform me I had something in my face especially around mouth. It was not! Later, I learned this gesture is pointing the direction.  

But why people do that? One of explanations is that there are spirits everywhere around us. We should not point them out by finger. We do not point the spirit but who know?
Other explanations? I do not buy such as show-off kissable lips. That one must be joke.

Stay close
In Singapore LRT, I found two ladies tried to sit in a seat for one together. But people around them were sort of surprised at what they were tiring to do. This is often seen inside Jeepney, MRT and LRT in the Philippines. 

I was offered a seat by Filipino. It was simply kindness so I was very thankful but I was surprised of the size of offered space, which cannot accommodate my butt for sure. Then, I smiled back a person by showing my appreciation. But I did not sit there. Then again, the person sent a signal I must take this seat. Finally I tried it. I could amazingly place myself in the small space. Is space just a notion?

I experienced this many time, which made me believe people try to sit in the limited space must be Filipino. 

Greet with your eyebrows 
When my Filipino husband see his friend on the street, in stead of saying hello, he moved his eyebrows up and down. His friend responded too in the same way. 

I experienced this too. When I took some pictures of celebrity, I thanked her allowing me to take some photo of her. Then, she moved her eyebrows up and down since she is bit far to respond my gratitude. 

In addition, my husband also greet with his chin. How? It is sort of reverse version of nodding. This greeting is seen only among friends or person who are younger than him. 

In Japan, this can be a gesture of provoking. I saw "bad" boy and girl cocked and threat other by looking down in this way.  Are Filipino men provoking other men on the street? NO, they are just greeting their friends.

Filipino English is not so much known as Singlish or Indian English. But once I familiarize the sound, I easily recognize them in international occasions such as meeting and conferences. They speak very clear which must be influenced by Tagalog (and other mother tongue accent too). I must say they are really good communicator.

My English sounds like Filipino English. When I had a job interview, half Singaporean half Japanese boss pointed this. Hummmm...
Once person speaks with emotion, last word is significantly strong pronounced. And some says "Me also" instead of "me too". I assume this comes from "ako din"(me too).
Additionally, people here often use abbreviation and  acronym. GMA: (former president) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, DepEd: Department of Education, SAF: Special Action Force.  Yes, I think it is very useful but there are many of these...

These are what I observed often in and out of countries.

I live here and expose myself then for several years. At the end, I actually do all of these except greet with my chin. OMG, It is for me sort of shocking. I did these even I am in Japan.

Now I really learned repetition forms a person. And with respect, my integration process is going well :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Unagreeable plan for 3rd year wedding anniversary?!

We had discussed how we spend our 3rd year wedding anniversary. I said "we discuss" but it was sort of pre-decided and my husband is thinking this must be "family event". Nothing wrong with family but for our anniversary?

Family and extended family
As a Japanese (in my generation), we do not have an idea that private family event opens to the extended family,  especially no child couple tend to spend own their own because our society shifted from family based to individual. Even though family is still important unit, our sense - collective identity is slowly diminishing. 

Is it nice? I have no idea. I think it sort of sad, at the same time sort of healthy for me.

On the one hand, it is sad because I do not know much of what my relatives in Japan are doing now. We recognize others(relatives) as a family but we Japanese nowadays have certain distance with them. Especially, my family for some reasons, we are alienated with them. I thank for the technology. I could contact with some of my relatives via SNS. It happened very recently. I wanted to see them often when I was still (bit) young. So our nieces and nephews are so blessed that they could have family gathering time to time. 

On the other hand, I believe that certain distance creates healthy relationships with (extended) family. Certain intimacy makes your life possibly complicated (not always). Some problems extended family member facing is going to be your problem too even though it is surely not yours. It is about how people feel their issues as owns. The reason might be close physical distance and sense of togetherness cultivate intimacy. 

These ideas and notion lead me the conclusion I want to stay with him on that day. We can have family gathering in other occasions. Not in our anniversary.  

Every day is special for us.
Then, he asked me what I want to do. Actually, I do not have much idea how we spend a day because for me, to spend time only two of us is important. This thought was not agreed with him.

He added that everyday is special for us. We eat lunch and dinner together, besides we are only two of us in these time and in our house. He also cited that travel in Europe end of last year after his defense. 

It sounds very romantic. And truly every day is special for us. This sugar courted word is sometime tricky, which effectively stops arguing before I reach the point :D
Besides, in these days and hours, both of us are occupied by something.
Hummmmmm....Better than we quarrel, he is responding this way but it does not makes me happy yet. Is this matter of my compromise? 

Still I want to...
I still need to add why I stick the idea, spending time only with him. During family gathering, he speaks in his mother tongue which I am still difficult to follow and I ended up wondering what is going on. Sometime, important decision is made during mother-tongue talk. I am sometime very offended not being part of this, even though it is related to us as a couple. I experienced many times. 
For argument sake, it is ok it is happening other days. But at least, I argue, in our anniversary, I want to know what is happening and I do not want to be alienated!

And conversation in English is easily interrupted by mother tongue speaker. Surely, I can imagine if we are in the opposite situation-we are in Japan, everyone speaks Japanese. My parents and my brothers do not speak other languages at all. English either other language speakers cannot be priority to be heard. 

Yes, I am making effort to learn his mother tongue but unlike official language Tagalog, there is no books which helps me to learn grammar by myself. I memorize vocabularies when I encounter when I attend sari sari store. Some very kind people are willing to help me to learn these. I am very thankful of their friendship and care. But it is still long way to go. (I hope I and people around me are patient for this.)

Am I still going to be a part of that day?

Yes, but then, my question is  how I still can enjoy and be happy at that day? How can create "win-win"-both happy situation in this conflicting (only in my part) situation. So far, I am still searching this. Difficulties here is my husband did not see this as problem. 

I insist my idea.  How? I can kidnap him from his working place on that day. I am sure he won't be happy. 

When in Rome, do as the Romans do?
I think this is it. I am in his land. I am going to follow what he is practicing. However, I paused here, in our case, another"law" must be applied is respect partner's thoughts and feeling as a couple. 

I am fighting for this event but bottom line is that I have never felt my thoughts are respected and no consultation before the kind of stuff. I ended up to against his way because my way and thought are not considered.

In Sum
By the way, it is very important to mention that our anniversary is mother in law's birthday. So, I shift idea to her birthday celebration from our anniversary. It does not mean we cannot celebrate the both but I do not emphasis on "anniversary"
It is not perfect solution to what I mentioned but this is the best what I can do now. It is very important for me as well. 
So let's celebrate a birthday :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It is big deal for Filipino men! - circumcision -

Son: Mama, I do not want to do THAT!

Mother: Your brother already did THAT! Now it is your turn. 

Son: No! I DO NOT!

Mother: You won't be able to get married with someone in the future.

Son: It is fine! I will marry with Japanese girl.

We, Japanese do not have this.
That is a conversation between Japanese mother who married with Filipino and son, half Filipino and half Japanese over the circumcision. 

I laughed when Japanese mother told me this story because a boy knew Japanese in general not practicing it and he used this fact to escape from pain. That is clever. 
This boy is a second son. When he saw his elder brother had circumcision, he felt how painful it was. Then, now when his turn came, he refused to have it. 

I often hear the word, circumcision because some of my nephews are reaching that age which encouraged us to talk this topics in our conversation. 

I also understood it is a passage being an adult and I found it includes certain aspect of ritual. 


Group of boys go to the stream or riverside with adult. Boys also need witness for their ritual. That is the reason they go with group.  

Adults cut skin of boys private part with a small knife and place skin certain way. When boys have "operation", they do not use anesthesia. They just chew kind of grass. It is surely painful but to bear with this pain is a sign of being a part of adulthood.

After the operation, pain will remain for a month, which made them difficult to walk normally for while. But they need to walk around neighborhood by wearing their mother's skirt or piece of clothe to show they went though the ritual. Here again, it is important people around you know you have done it. 

By the way, this is rural setting. Besides nowadays, people have done this in the hospital with anesthesia. It means ritualistic part of this is slowly diminishing. Even though people still understand this as passage to be adult, they tend to mention more hygiene purpose.  They said circumcision keeps their private part clean. I actually have no way to check this but this reason I often heard. 

They usually have this during summer holiday (around March to May) when they reach 5th or 6th grade of elementary. This part is still the same until now. 

And it is still big deal even generations go on. Seeing these ritualistic process and pain, it is a matter of man's dignity. In fact, boys tease fellows if they haven't done it yet by saying " pisot ka". It is great offence, according to my husband.

Well, it is man's talk.
But girls here is also involved by saying they do not want to have guy uncircumcised

As mentioned before, Japan does not practice this. For us, it is totally new idea.

At very beginning of my stay here, I did not know what it is in English. Then I checked dictionary.


In Bicol languages, I learned that there are words of guy's private part, before and after the circumcision. " pisot ka"  the word -pisot- describes children's one before the circumcision and also this also associated to its size. Adult but without circumcision is called supot. If boy has done circumcision, it becomes boto.

Language certainly explains how important it is. 

By the way, I also heard girl's version but it is not associated this kind of ritual. It is just simply differentiation and another story.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why Filipino is always strong contestant in beauty pageant? - living in the pageant islands -

My friend congratulate once Filipina won the title of world famous pageant via SNS. I am genuinely happy and always amazing at the same time wonder how Filipina can be a strong contestant.

63rd Miss Universe has held January 25 in Miami, U.S. Candidate from the Philippines, Ms. Mary Jean Lastimosa did not bring the crown but secured the Top 10 position. Allow me to congratulate her! I am amazed how competitive Filipina are in such a big international competition.

Most of us always assume Filipino contestant will be Top 10, 5 or expect to win.  
How heavy pressure is! But they did.

I am wondering for long time how Philippines became pageant Islands. Then, I thought of reasons based on my observation. 

Miss University 2011 3rd runner up 
Shamcey Supsup
1) Many beautiful ladies
It is very subjective. I know..
But average is much higher than my country :D
I think their beauty here is oriental but different from other Asian countries. 

In general, strong contestants come from place where geographically intersecting with other countries.
Philippines is not sharing the boarder with other countries. But it experienced 300 years Spanish occupations, and coming Chinese traders, which might influence how Filipina look like.
In addition, here most of all people smile very beautifully, it can be also secret of their charm.

2) Good communicator

Filipino in general is good communicator. They often play a role as mediator. By the way, Filipino rarely have confrontation, which is very cultural characteristic. 
Filipino has good sense of healthy joke which are perfectly fit in the context. These sense and skills of communication are cultivated through close relation with their family and relatives. When I see my nephews and nieces, I found they already possess these abilities in such a age.

3) Educational system
How education relates beauty pageant? What I want to say that the education system here fosters confidence of students. So far, as I would say education here rather western style. Teacher gives students chances to have presentations. Students are trained to think, summarize and speak in front of people.
This strength is often seen in international meeting or conferences. 

My niece received award because she
academically performed well!

4) Competitive environment
Filipino often expose themselves very competitive situations. Yes, my country too, competition is severe. But here, competition starts from kindergarten and elementary level by having special class called star section for top students. It is widely practiced even in public schools.  I could sense people somehow get used to having competition. 

5) One of official languages is English
Filipino grows up exposing English language. They watch TV anime in English, learn English from kindergarten level, science and math classes are in English, most of all books being used in University level in English. Of course, their presentation is done in English although they sometime mix with Tagalog and their mother tongue.
If speaking in English became almost immediate reaction, these people might not have difficulties to understand what other people saying in English and have room to speak. 

6) Culture of pageantI think Philippines is beauty pageant islands. Pageants are happening everywhere in this countries. 
Winner paraded on the street after community pageant
In fact, municipality has two different pageants a year: Miss "name of my residential town"
and Miss Valentin's Day.
National level beauty pageant called Binibining Pilipinas is on air in prime time, which I am sure I will never see in my country. 
Because of this environment, I often see small child age around 4-6 years old walk like pageant contestant by waving hands and saying "world peace".Viva Filipina!

I took the attached picture in Cubao, Metro Manila in 2011 after national competition to select the preventative. All candidate national competition were there...they are so gorgeous.

Pageant Islands  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Family Planing Seminar 2 - conflict resolution workshop??

As I have said in the previous posted blog entry, to attend a family planing seminar is mandatory as a process of marriage here in the Philippin.  A seminar starting from  how to use contraceptive is almost ending. Last topic is conflict resolution. By the way, government staffs did not use the term conflict resolution but I think it suits this workshop. 

It is my field! (My MA is international peace studies.)

Facilitator introduced three conflicting situations. Participants discuss these three situations with own partner. 

Three questions are family relational issue, financial issue and issue of another woman. 

Situation 1
Wife cannot like mother in law.(This is very critical anywhere in the world but it is critical here in the Philippines because of strong family tie) For some reasons, mother in law is going to stay in this couple's house for 1 week. For this, husband and wife get into the quarrel. How to settle this issue?

Situation 2
Husband and wife do not have enough money. So they have to borrow the money from someone. Wife expect husband to take a role to borrow some money from his relatives and husband expect other way around, wife will do this for them. Who should take an action and how to settle this issue?

Situation 3
On the relation of husband's work, he meets the woman who is work related. Meetings are happening often eventually wife starts doubting husband might have affair. He insisted to his wife nothing is happening between him and that woman. But she cannot remove suspicion.  

How will you answer these with your partner?

After we discuss between partners, we are allowed to share what we discuss.  I did not volunteer because I was very interested in how other people will answer this. 

By the way, all seminar has done in Tagalog language. I tried to follow...

Answer from the participants
Situation 1, husband and wife will discuss. 
Situation 2, 
Targeting relative who may have "extra" money, if that relative is wife side, then wife will ask to borrow from that relative, and other way around. Or two of them is going to ask that relatives.

Situation 3, 
Husband requests the company to change his position. 

Hummmmm....are you serious? I reacted to these answer in my mind. (I shared partially to my husband) 

For the first one, hey it is quite sure that husband and wife discuss on that. But they did not answer what manners and where they want to settle. And they do not try to see the cause.!
For the second situation, why people start to discuss from borrowing. If it is emergency such as hospitalization,  I can understand. Lacking finance means that family tends to have such issue. It means borrowing money can be temporary solving this issue but not forever. I think the couple needs to think other options such as looking for better earning job or having small business to have additional income and so on...Why people need to start thinking from borrowing? 
For third situation, is this husband going to ask to his boss to change his position by saying my wife is jealous to the client. He may create the more better reason. But it is not realistic because husband may lose his opportunity to get promoted.  

How can I answer these questions?
If I was asked to be a volunteer to share my thoughts, I would have said...

Situation 1
In this case, mother in law and wife do not live under the same roof. However, wife does not like mother in law. (It maybe other way around. )
There must be an event or accumulating the small stuffs between them.  Unless parties, especially person willing to intervene this (latent)"conflict" should know what is the root cause.
But problem here is possible mediator most probably, husband. Then of cause, it is difficult to bear with wife's complain about his mother as a Filipino. So, I am not sure that whether he can be a mediator in this case or not.
Still, ideally husband will be buffer. 

Situation 2
For me, I am quite wondering why to borrow money is assumption of all discussion. The reason why they have to borrow money was not mentioned. It might be emergency. But I think in general, the couple in this story does often experience shortage of money. So in the future, they may need to ask people around them time to time. In this case, better option can be change mean of earning. If what they get monthly is not sufficient enough, they have to find the way to earn more than they did.  Borrowing after borrowing is not constructive. 

Situation 3
Does company agree to change his position that quick? Even successfully his requested was accepted by his boss, it may take certain time to be enforced.
For me, more realistic way to think this situation, he can try to have a meeting with one more person, and try not being only two of them.
Basically, there must be another issue when wife worry about her husband. In direct but maybe effective way is to increase the time to be with. They better try remembering the first stage of their relationship. 
If the husband is really into that female client, the couple did not meant to be together. 

In sum, I do not think all participants thought the situation as realistic as possible. In fact, they seems just happy to sit next to their future wife and husband.  As of now, it means it is not so useful. But I hope they will remember this once they encounter these the relationship, money and sex related issues.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Family Planing Seminar 1 - requirement of marriage in the Philippines

Philippines requires many things to the couple to make our marriage legal. 

3 years ago, this month, I got married with my Filipino partner. Then, I realized that there are many steps before the actual wedding day.

One of interesting marriage requirement was family planing seminar. 

However, first question came into my mind... is this really necessary?

In the bottom of this blog, I will show the process of marriage in the Philippines , which shows
attending this seminar is mandatory. 

But the seminar even mandatory for all couple, is held only during weekday. I hope the city hall will consider the schedule of this seminar. 

Contents of the seminar
Contents of this very "fascinating" seminar is the following. 1) To introduce means of family planning, simply say, to show us how to use birth control devise. 2) To have very simple workshop to help the couple knows each others. 3) To have a "conflict resolution" workshop. The seminar did not use the term of conflict resolution...but I think this name fits to the content.  

The seminar, surprisingly started on time! 

No one came late. Surely, this is mandatory. If the couple misses this, no certificate will be issued, which affects the entire process.
But I said in my mind...hey, you guys, you can be on time! (I often experienced "delay" of any kind of meeting...then these people coming late said "Filipino time")

Family planing

The content keeps trust with the name of family planing, the facilitator explained different kinds of contraceptives by showing actual one.

The facilitator was a very macho guy. His looks reminded me a teacher of physical education(PE) during junior high and high school days.

However, these PE teacher did not teach these stuffs to the students. So, I have never encountered these contents in my elementary to high school education. 

Surely, I was very interesting these. I sometime bend forward to see these items and dummy doll. My husband seemed bit shy because of his partner is obviously very interesting.
For your information, people here are certainly hesitating to use these contraceptives because of the religious practice and belief. Some says sexual intercourse must be done purely for "reproduction". 
Sex before the marriage is not allowed/recommended but it is happening. Then, how to have a sexual act without applying these contraceptives? It will leave your imagination. 

The second content has been facilitated by a counselor looking female government worker. 
Then, she asked us the following questions.

1. To raise three things which you appreciate about your partner 
2. To raise three things which you want him/her to improve 
3. To raise three things which you appreciate about your partner's parents. 
4. To raise three things which you want his/her parents to improve.

Going though these questions, I really sensed that marriage here is family to family relations. 
And no one raised the points why we let my partner talk about my parents too.

But it might be a very timely and good trial because unless you are not given that chance to express these, you may keep these. Partner may not fun of listening especially the part s/he and their parents needs to improve in some parts. 

Until here, we finished the two third of content.

Steps of Marriage in the Philippines.
Step 1  
To have a certificate which proofs you are single.

Step 2
To have a permission of marriage.

The couple goes to the city hall where Filipino partner registered, and submit set of documents. The set of documents won't be accepted without the schedule of family planing seminar. 
10-14 days after, if no one claims our marriage, A marriage permit will be released. 

Step 3
To sign to marriage contract. At this time, the couple has to have a personnel who is legally-defined such as city mayor, priest, pastor...

Step 4
To submit a marriage certificate in order to register the marriage. Within 1-2 months, this record will be registered in the Philippines. For a Japanese citizen, the couple submits a set of documents including photo copy of marriage certificate to the nearest Japanese embassy. Then, this marriage will be registered in Japan too in 3-4 months time. 

For me, it is amazingly long process and almost a ritual in modern time. In my country, this process has done within 30 mins. Big difference is Japan has a family registration system, which shows whether I am single or not, where I live and so on.
Half of the process has been done with my husband but another half has been done alone. Along the process I am struggling to be a patient. I was sent one office to another office...anyway, this is another story.

I felt that marriage is not only love but also willingness to be together.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Husband-and-wife quarrel

He was angry with my "attitude" this morning.

What have I done?

According to my husband, I did not offer my hand helping on finding scissors, even he requested me, which made him super irritated. He even said that he always need to beg when he asked me to do.

I got shocked because it is very small stuff and no need to raise voice for this. And I simply thought he can find it since size of our house is humble enough and I place it in the same place. This was amazingly SMALL STUFF!

Husband-and-wife quarrel is very helpless and very energy consuming event.  However, we often did. The reasons of these are very small stuffs, which means nothing critical neither urgent to discuss between husband and wife in most of the time. But these small stuffs sometimes became a flame to make the bomb exploded.

Then, how I can react? 
Fight like Boxing??
Once he says something, I immediately react and attack back. Situation is like that...if he hit me a left hook in the side, I will respond with hard right hook. Ops, please do not misunderstand we do not hit and kick each others. It is just a metaphor
So, in actual quarrel, if he throws the anger, I throw him back word to give him larger impact than what I got. 

Fight like Aikido

Once he says something, I try not receiving this negative energy and shift my body to the side but I surely try to find his blind side and throw him away by word. I try to find topic associated his complain. For example, today he complained I did not respond him and did not offer a help. Then, I can say that he tend ignore my call while watching TV. If this word makes him reflect, it might be effective :D

Who starts the fight?

8 to 9 out of 10 quarrel are started by a husband. So am I very peaceful person? 
NO, it does not mean I am promoting myself as patient wife. 

But I am just more conscious of my emotional energy consumption. The reason is very simple. When I check myself, the situation I have here - adapting new cultural setting and living with different people- is already overwhelming for me.  As of now, I do not want to add anything on my shoulders. 

What is the realization?

We are different whether I am Japanese or not.. But we haven not accepted it yet. Until reaching that level, sensing these differences from our bottom of heart, this kind of fight cased by small stuff might be happening again and often. 

Are we still going to fight again?

Unfortunately and realistically, I would say, YES. But realization and mindfulness might help to minimize it. Who will guide this for us? Marriage counselor? Decision going to the counselor will cause another fight. No way..

Go with the bicycle

Bicycle is environmentally and economically friendly and has health benefits. Therefore, I want to promote bicycle to be a possible daily transportation.

4 reasons why I use bicycle
1. Environmentally friendly
Bicycle itself won't produce polluted air neither greenhouse effect gas. Nothing more than that, but if I can add more, I appreciate nature more than before. Bicycle is not as fast as mortar bike, which gave us room to enjoy the view. I think this experience may lead us to be environmental conscious citizen :)

2. Economically friendly
Buying bicycle costs me something. Price of my bicycle was 3,400 pesos (8,000 yen or 62 euro ). It is not cheap if I consider monthly earning besides materials of my bicycle was so easy to be broken. In fact, I experienced sometime to fix it, which again cost me something. But if I can use this more than 5 to 6 months, my investment will be pay off. Maybe it may be even earlier than 5 to 6 months because I go out almost every day.

3. Health benefit
Riding bike forces me to exercise daily bases. (And I do not need to pay for this activity). After biking, I sweat a bit and feel slightly hungry. I enjoy my meals after all. Riding bicycle might not be enough daily exercise but it is better than I do nothing.

4. Time saving and less stress
I can manage my time because I do not relay on others. I mean I do not need to wait Jeepney and other transportation to go somewhere. In the rush hour, when I go home by Jeepney, I have to wait. Waiting is fine but there are no queue. So I sometimes can't ride it even I wait more than 30 minutes. I learned I won't be able to ride unless I push others. For me, it is quite challenging because pushing someone in order to get inside is feeling not nice. 
One time my husband requested a conductor who organize such a stuff to ask people to queue. But he declined his request/suggestion. Reason? I do not know but possibly it is additional work for him so he does not want to do that. I do not see any improvement for this situation. So I do not feel stress in this way.

Before promoting bicycle, I want to say something!
There are several wishes relate to promoting bicycle as daily transportation.     

1. Safe drive
Bicycle is one of the weakest transportation. If it will be bumped by motor bike or car, bicycle rider will surely be injured.
I sometime encounter the another transportation such as mortar bike with side car and bicycle with side car turn all of sudden without any signal. I of course, have to be always check these vehicles' movement.

And also bicycle driver, we have to send the signal which way we go. I usually send signal to vehicles behind and in front of me by stretching my hand to the direction I will turn.
Here, drivers are sensing each other but these sense is not always working. The certain manner like sending signals to others might be needed to implement to avoid accident. I hope bicycle shop or educational institution can provide proper instruction to ride bicycle for peaceful existence with other two wheels and cars on the road.

2. Road for only two wheels
I wish there is a road for only for wheels. Or side road will be created for only two wheel vehicles. It is very ideal but it might encourage people to use the bicycle. European countries have road for two wheels. Especially Netherlands has beautiful bike road. People might say these countries has budget for that. Yes, maybe..but my point is that European countries managed the limited space to create for people's welfare. Here, I think until biker's population won't reach certain level, it won't be a consideration of people. 
But I know suburban area of Manila partially have a bike road. So why not here in Bicol region?

3. No more parking on the street
Parked car on the street block not only the way of cars and bikers but also blocking the view. Especially, driver park at the corner of the street. For me, it is unthinkable. I would be very judgmental to these selfish action, why? It leads to the accident especially children. Children might be told by the parents to be careful when they walk the street. But who knows once they are playing with friends and excited to go home. It must be regulated in more severe manner. 

4. Light at least
Many motor or bicycle with side car drive without light. I think it is not good practice even people get used to because there are roads without street light. While riding bicycle, I experienced almost bumping these coming from anterior direction. They may assume that people are not around after sunset, and having light costs them some money to install. But I wish they may think of consequence of IF.

I always hope that the government will implement law to prohibit street parking. Now, there is a proposal that person cannot buy a car without showing possible car space. It might be a first step and I hope it will be enacted soon.

Although there are several concerns, I still prefer to use bicycle and want to promote. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Am I living in countryside?

Geographically, my house is supposed to not be categorized as very "countryside". In fact, our place is just 4-5 km away from city where is the center of commerce and education in this region. 

But my house is bit away from the main road and surrounded by rice fields. So atmosphere being rural still remains. 

Then, I proudly say I am in rural area. 

Now, I certainly developed through my observation, certain measurement how countryside/rural the area I am in. It is not scientific just simple observation based on my experiences.

Reaction of people when they see me on the street

Well, first measurement is reaction when people see me.
They recognize very quickly I am from somewhere. Funnily, in Metro Manila, people often see me as Chinese Filipina. But here, no one think in this way.

Once I bike and pass in front of small group of people, they, especially children shouted at me some foreign sounds greetings to express their interests toward alien (me). Sometime, I do not understand what they said because they sometimes make own languages sounds like foreign :D After all, children giggling.

My husband is Jackie Chan??
One day, I biked with my husband. Children called my husband as Jackie Chan. By the way, looks of my husband is far from Jackie Chan. But children cannot find another suitable name on him. So, he was considered as foreign national too because he is always with me.

Our case is not commonly seen in this country, Filipino man and Japanese female. So many people thought he must be from somewhere too. But he is from another side of the same town.

Concept of space - no permit needed to enter the house ?-
Since I am new here, for our neighbor, it might (might not) be an object of curiosity. Anyway, my husband is Jackie, no wonder!

However, my neighbor literally got inside my house and look around our rooms, which was often happening first 2-3 weeks. I have never experienced this in Manila neither Japan. So I wanted to say this is not exhibit! But I did not...tried to be polite to that person. But I finally stopped entertain her to show I do not like what she does. 

Another case, while I was staying in mother in law's house, someone I have never met got inside the house without permit, enjoy watching TV, eat dinner and disappear from the house all of sudden. People in the house seems not much care of that person.

Who is that person??

Later, I learn that person is far relative. 

Our place does not mean totally safe since new comers coming in whom the people in the community do not know yet, which makes people sense certain insecurity. But in general, door of the house remains open in day time. 

Nudity on the street?
In front of my house, I often see children around 2-4 years old walking around without underwear. Is it problem? For me, not so as long as there are no people satisfy sexual desire by seeing these children..anyway, children here are FREE in many ways. 

My husband mentioned this once because he did not do that. House he grew up is nearby town proper, which is the reason he mentioned. So when he was small, if his mother did not want him to be out of house, she did not let him wear the underwear. Then, he could not go out, which means he developed sense of shame to show his private part. 

Animals on the street 
Dogs, chickens, ducks and  turkey are everywhere. Sometime, I see water buffalo working and eating grass in the rice fields. It is nice to see them around but I am scared of stray bogs night time. Usually ordinance certainly prohibits letting dogs on the street. But it is happening. Animals are everywhere can be one of the sign I am in bit countryside. 

By the way, my favorite among these is duck because I like their butt when it walk. I always think it look like they wear a diaper. 

Burning garbage on the street
I do not appreciate this practice because people even burn plastic. But community here does not have garbage collection service. Unless people have certain idea reducing garbage or create the way to recycle these, garbage will be accumulating in your house. 

So people burn it but burning especially plastic is not good idea. I am not environmental scientist then I avoid here to discuss scientific explanation but smoke comes to your house and eventually I suffocate. How about children, it will affect them more than adult. 

But smalls packs of snacks, shampoo and so on are available every corner of the street. How this practice will be stopped?  
Then, my friend in NGO is making plastic pillow by collecting these plastic garbage, clean, slash and put them into pillow case. It can be one of the testing solutions.  

Anything else? Yes, actually more..but there are I encountered first 1-3 months.  

For your  little information, my hometown in Japan is suburban area which has less uniqueness in terms of nature's beauty unlike my mother's province where has beautiful rice fields like here and famous of Natto (sticky soy beans) production. I certainly admire life in the "countryside" which is far from the capital city.

Relation with children are slowly being developed since I responded them in Tagalog (sorry not in Bicol language). Some of them know my name and other way around.

I will enjoy discovering more something interesting (for me).