The Best Year Ever

Before I start, I apologize for the lack of creativity in the title of this year-ender post. It also sounds like a cliche that every adolescent girl says if you try to speak it aloud. However, I can’t think of a more appropriate title than this one because 2014 is basically the best year ever in my life. So I think you and I need to just deal with it. In addition to that, this is gonna be a lengthy and wordy post with almost 2,000 words. But I hope that you will stick until the end because I poured my heart to it. Ok, here it goes!

2014 was a good year to me. More than the bad, there were a lot of good things that happened. It was so remarkable that I still can’t believe that it’s almost over now. Where did 2014 go? Maybe I was enjoying it too much that it just went down the drain…in a good way. Let this post be a review of how this year became to be the best year of my life.

1. Moving to my new apartment. Doors opened when I moved out of my parents’ house and decided to live on my own in February of 2014. It’s been a plan since I got here in Japan and after years of gaining courage and money, I couldn’t be happier when I finally did it. Moving out and living on my own terms made me realize a lot about myself. Learning to be independent, being responsible and budgeting my own money are all included in that package but the best thing about it is finally having my own space and peace of mind. Like what I said, I grew up in Manila being so noisy outside but when I get home, all I want is a peaceful room to be in. Plus, I get to practice my amateur cooking skills at times.

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My first day in my empty apartment last February

2. Got promoted in my job. After 6 years of working in the same school as a kindergarten teacher, my efforts have been finally rewarded. I got promoted and I am now the current head foreign teacher in our school. I know I couldn’t get the job if two of my senior teachers didn’t leave. I didn’t want to be in a higher position either because I didn’t want extra load of work. But it happened like a bird landing on my shoulder for no reason. Through this blessing, I learned so much about coping with people at work and understanding them. I know there’s more knowledge that will come my way with this new challenge and responsibility and I can’t wait for them.

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Me while waiting for the kids’ graduation ceremony in the silliest way

3. The year of travel. Three years after I first did it, I was able to travel again. My Southeast Asian trip (Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Singapore for the second time around and Bangkok, Thailand) was one for the books. It taught me so many things about our Southeast Asian friends and their cultures. I’ve seen so much beauty and moreover, I was able to see my best friends again after a long period of time. Traveling, indeed, is something that you spent money on and makes you feel richer. It makes your mind and your soul fuller with all these knowledge and experience you gain from it. I even once said that traveling is better than shopping in a sense that your clothes will get old, damaged and might be even get stolen from you but all that memories you have in a foreign place will always remain and locked up in your heart forever.

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Top row: Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia, Center: Singapore for the second time, Bottom: Bangkok, Thailand

I also went to some places here in Japan like Kozushima Island and Shimoda City in the Izu Peninsula. It made me realize that there are more wonders I need to discover also in my second home.

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My Izu and Kozushima adventures with friends

4. Becoming a fan of RuPaul. RuPaul and his famous reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has been in my radar for three years but I never really paid attention until this year. I’ve enjoyed every season and episode of the show that’s why I even downloaded his What’s The T podcast with his best friend Michelle Visage. And what a blessing! This podcast didn’t only make me laugh until my bladders bleed, it taught me a bunch of things ranging from beauty, gossip, life, love and relationships. Not taking life too seriously, the importance of vulnerability, meditation and metaphysical truth, enlightenment and others. I truly believe that this contributed on how I see and treat my life now. Subscribing to their podcast and following RuPaul were the best decisions I won’t ever regret for the rest of my life.

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5. Gaining new friends and cherishing the old ones. I’ve met new friends in my life this year and I’m so blessed that the universe continues to bless me with an abundance of good people. I know I’m a hard pill to swallow most of the time but I appreciate the fact that I’m still able to make new friendships and relationships with others. I credit this mostly to my blogging life. I’ve met (well personally and online) amazing spirits through the Internet and it feels like I’ve known them too long. Thank you and welcome to this crazy world of mine!

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From top left: With Misaki Hoshi of Vintage Qoo, With Saki of H&M PR Team, With Natalia of Tokyoholic.me, With Harajuku fashion icon Elleanor, With Ashley, Misato of Funktique and Tokyo-based Singaporean designer Josiah Chua, With Japanaese brand MYOB creative directors Tanimi and Comi, With Yiling and Dann, and with LATokyo team Leo and Eddie

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From top left: With the Philippines top female fashion bloggers Laureen Uy, Tricia Gosingtian and Camille Co, with the Magno siblings Angel, Aemanuelle and Aivan , with my JP-based blogger friends Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley, long time JP-based friends Dhang Corpuz of FilJap Magazine, Mariye, Din, Ogh, Rexcy, Carey, Ashley and visiting Justin, and with Harajuku style icons Elleanor and Hirari Ikeda

But I wanna be more thankful particularly to those people who’ve been with me even way before I came here to Japan. From my elementary and high school clique to university friends, I’ve learned that friendship is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if you only have a few friends but what really matters is the fact that they’re the ones who’ll stick with you till the end. They are the ones who’ll cheer and support you all the way and who’ll break it down for you once you lose your way and get blinded with your ego. The people who can do all of the above are who you call true friends. The numbers don’t matter as long as you have a strong wall of these people at your back. And this year, I’m really thankful for realizing who they are in my life.

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From top left: With my best friend Zowie and her daughter/my goddaughter Raya, With high school best friend Micko in Singapore, With my best friends from theater days Joy and Apprelle in Bangkok and with one of my grade school best buddies Jowen in Ginza 

6. Finally understand and experiencing the essence of family. I grew up in a broken family that gave a me a deep wound in my heart that won’t be healed forever. My life will always be an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. But this year, I was able to celebrate most of the occasions with my family here in Japan, especially Christmas and my birthday which I used to celebrate alone or drunk with my friends and neighbors in Manila. That’s why family celebrations don’t really mean a thing to me while I was growing up. I didn’t really have a full understanding of family is. Or better yet, I didn’t have a family  that made me feel belong. Even if my grandparents and my relatives tried their best to fill the hole, they just could not. This year, finally, after, moving out and finally getting my personal space, I realized that nothing beats the presence of family. Though you will need to be alone a lot of times in your life, there will be moments in life life that’s worth sharing with a group of people who know you in a more personal way. And that’s your family.

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7. Finally realizing that I’m a goddamn lucky person and finding happiness from within. When I came to Japan, I had to remap my goals because everything just got swirled by a huge hurricane. I used to hate the fact that I was here and I felt so unlucky and damned because I was getting left behind by my peers who were advancing in their lives with their doctoral degrees and university teaching careers. I wanted the same in my life but I was brought to a foreign path which I thought was too dark. I felt sorry for myself and usually questioned why it happened to me. When I went home to visit three years ago, a wise professor told me that I shouldn’t compare my life to other people because my luck is different from the luck of my peers. I didn’t get it at that time but I certainly do now. I live in a first world country where living is easier compared to where I grew up as a little boy. I have a good job that pays my bills and lets me do whatever I wanna do in life like shopping and traveling. I can do whatever I want in my own terms because I’ve learned how to be dependent on myself. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything in my life and suffer so that others could realize their own dreams. A lot of people are dreaming about the life I have which I used to take for granted. Since then, I learned to appreciate more what I have in my hands. I can dream bigger but I always feel thankful for what’s on my plate now. Through that, I found happiness deep within. It’s the kind of happiness that’s so simple and yet, it sheds a warm light that fills any void in my soul.

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2014 was so good that I’m quite scared what 2015 Year will bring to me. Yet, I learned also this year that the NOW should be the one that always count. The past is in the past and thinking of the future might make you more anxious so the only thing that you have in your hands is the present (nope! I’m not gonna cue Let It Go here). That’s the only thing that you can change and it will only change for the better if you choose happiness. It’s hard to let go of a beautiful past but there’s always a bright promise from the future so I will face 2015 with great hopes.

Have a good year everyone!

“Dear universe, thank you for a wonderful year of blessings that you gave me. I keep all the positivity within me and release all the hurt and pain of the past and may you transform them to an energy called love. Guide my thoughts and feelings so I may face the future with optimism and strength. Let the people I love feel the warmth of my heart and may you also bless them with all good things. Thank you.”

*chu*

Kyari Pamyu Pamyu-seum: Sweet Costumes in the Candy Forest Exhibition

After all the glamour and luxury of visiting the Esprit Dior: The World of Dior exhibition in Ginza, I went straight to TV Asahi in Roppongi to visit the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu-seum: Sweet Costumes in the Candy Forest exhibition for an overdose of cuteness. I know guys! I’m more into monochromatic stuff- black, white, gray and things like that. But you see, I have a variety of friends and most of them love kawaii stuff. I have Kaila and Ashley in my circle who have influenced me to love kawaii in spite of my image to be a BW person. I think exposing yourself to things which are completely different from you will make you learn a few big things about yourself.  After all, I had a very colorful era in my style history.

For those people who don’t know, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a famous Japanese pop idol who makes electronic music but is more well known for her kawaii style which is inspired by Harajuku, specifically the decora subculture. According to her WikiPage, she started as a fashion blogger in 2009 and started to join the music industry in 2011, with her hit single “PonPonPon”. Ever since, she made a name for herself not only as a music artist but as an ambassadress of Japan’s kawaii culture which makes everyone dub her as Harajuku’s pop idol. She has graced the world with her hip dance music together with her unique sense of style.

This exhibition showcases all her costumes that she wore in the span of her three years in show business. It has already been done last year but due to insistent public demand, TV Asahi did it again and even brought it to other parts of Japan like Saitama, Yamagata and Kyoto.

I thought it was too early for this sort of homage to her great fashion hits because she still has a long way to go since she’s still on the top of her game. But anyways, this doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to celebrate the artistry of her style that captured the hearts of, not only of young Japanese people, but also of other kawaii culture lovers around the world. I mean, come on! Katy Perry, Niccola Formichetti, Lady Gaga, Dazed and Confused and I-D Magazines love her so much.

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From the moment we arrived at the entrance, we were greeted with kawaii overload. It felt like Disneyland and Sanrio Puroland combined together and multiplied their cute powers. It was indeed a bright pastel colored forest of sweets while you see all of KPP’s costumes and wigs worn by these faceless mannequins with a huge screen that features a video medley of her music videos and tours.

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Esprit Dior: The World of Dior Exhibition

After almost two months of wanting and dying to go, finally, I found the time to visit the Esprit Dior: The World of Dior exhibition in Ginza. It has been on going for almost the same time I’ve been wanting to go and it also coincides with Esprit Dior 2015 Tokyo collection fashion show which was held at the vast-spaced Ryugoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium. The FREE, I repeat FREE, exhibition allows visitors to take a peek at the world of one of the most powerful fashion houses and see its evolution from the old days of history to the present times. From the founding days of Monsieur Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano to the current Raf Simons era, it showcases how rich its past is and how it still gets inspired by tradition of femininity but with a touch of modernity.

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A portrait of Monsieur Dior by Japanese artist Iximia Kuniyoshi. It felt kind typing that name because the Japanese don’t usually use the letter ‘x’ in writing their names in romaji/alphabet.

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The exhibition specially emphasized on the special relationship of Dior and Japan. There were precious photos of Margot Fonteyn in her Dior costume for Madame Butterfly, Princess Michiko in her custom-made Dior wedding and old fashion shows that took place in Japan years ago. Haute couture pieces from the Dior archive were up to showcase the apparent inspiration from Japanese culture and tradition- from famous paintings, origami pleats, obi belts and others.

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Funktique Tokyo’s 2nd Anniversary

Last week, I went to Funktique Tokyo’s second anniversary party at their shop in Harajuku. I can’t believe how they were able to penetrate the Harajuku scene in a span of two years. Thanks to the hard work of Misato and her husband Hijiri! Funktique Tokyo came about after the Great Tohoku Earthquake  when Misato’s family decided to move to the city from Iwaki in Fukushima for their child Coco’s safety. Since then, the Harajuku store soared high and became one of the most well-known stores in the world famous fashion district.

Harajuku’s street style icons like Hirari Ikeda and Elleanor and other shop owners and staff from the area like Dog Harajuku, Bubbles, Punk Cake and others attended the event and enjoyed a night of drinks, sweets, snacks and good music.

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I felt so little of myself when I had my photo taken with these two Harajuku icons. I bow down to thee! Thanks to Funktique for this photo!

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Merry Christmas from Funktique Tokyo!!!! These sweaters are cute.

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Congratulations to Hijiri, Misato and their very cute angel Coco for a wonderful second anniversary! More power to you!

*chu*

Tokyo Disneyland December 2014

I just can’t believe that this blog’s been running for almost 5 years now and yet, I haven’t posted anything about my Tokyo Disneyland adventures. Well, that’s fine because I’m doing it now and this is the best Disney adventure I’ve ever had in my life. It’s indeed the happiest place on earth but thanks to my blogger friends- Ashley, Kaila, Kiko and Emika- this place became even more fun.

Actually, I was having second thoughts of joining the gang because I was already out of money and I was days away before pay day. Plus, the weather forecast the week before said there was 40% chances of rain but how could I resist the calling of happiness??

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The obligatory group shot in front of TD’s welcoming arch. From the left- me, Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley.

My work is a station away from Maihama station (where Disney is) so I always see these kids and lovers wearing these costumes and head gears whenever they go there. I usually I don’t get the point but I gave in to the trend since I was going there with my kawaii ambassador friends.

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Since it was a Sunday and Disney’s doing it’s Christmas Fantasy theme, a huge crowd welcomed us as soon as we entered the gates of the theme park. It was also Christmas when I last went here with my best friend Zowie two years ago and it was nice seeing this huge Christmas tree again. Continue reading

Share That Light

Hello guys! How are you doing? It’s getting colder and colder here in Tokyo and I think this year’s winter is even worse than last year. As each day passes, it’s harder to get up from bed in the morning and make my lazy ass move.  Good thing, we’re a few days away from winter vacation. I can’t wait to recharge after all those stress and pressure that the busy second term of school gave to me. Moreover I can’t wait to spend Christmas and New Year with my family here in Japan and hang out with my friends more.

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T by Alexander Wang scuba sweatshirt, H&M pants and hat, Gucci ring and Sam Edelman sandals

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I bought this sweater as a birthday gift for myself. Actually I’ve been buying a lot of stuff for the past 3 months and I’m so proud how I was able to survive. The sweater is very warm coz it’s neoprene and is very functional with that spacious zip pocket in the tummy area.

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The whole world is free to hate now coz I’m wearing socks and sandals again. Hahahaha!!! But I really like it and I don’t see why other people find it wrong and tacky.

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I’ve said in a previous post how happy I am with how things are happening in my life right now. I was surprised with the amount of positive feedbacks I got from friends and readers and they even told me that they felt like there was a positive energy that was passed on them after reading it or hearing my stories. A cousin of mine even told me how he sees me as an inspiration. I was flattered with the words but somehow I felt pressured to be seen as a role model. Coz I know my imperfections and I’m not the person fit for that role.

But then it made realize that  once you’re enlightened, it’s your turn to share that light.

*chu*

photos by Kiko Cagayat

Last Days of Autumn

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OAK NYC leather jacket, GU Japan pants, H&M and Gucci rings, Comme Ca Ism knitted scarf and Zara shoes

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It was a three day long weekend and what better way to celebrate it than to go to a friend’s family house, watch TV all day while being served with the best home-cooked food ever. Staying at Ena‘s house overnight probably gained me a few pounds that I had to eat less for three days. I can’t afford to gain weight because I just bought this very good leather jacket which is something I’ve always wanted. It just fits me right and a few kilos will definitely make it smaller for me and I just don’t want that to happen. The leather is made from cow skin with a lot of pockets that are totally functional. The only down side to it is its weight. I feel like I have a metal ball chained to my arms whenever I wear it. But who cares? Looking good usually comes with a price.

I’m sad that my favorite season autumn is now on its final stage and preparing to bid goodbye. The trees go completely bald and the temperature drops lower. Winter is slowly coming and I hate it because it’s getting harder to get up in the morning plus the bill gets higher because of additional heating system that consumes a lot of electricity. Not to mention that the gas also gets higher in this time of the year. Oh gosh! I sound like a total complaining adult. Yuck! How I wish autumn stays forever but like anything else in this world, it must indeed go. Life goes on.

*chu*

photo by Ena Cuizon

Secret

One of the best things about blogging is discovering and giving light to budding talents which has so much promise. I learned about this new California-based street brand LATokyo through my friend Kiko and fell in love with it. LATokyo is the combination of the designers’ home city Los Angeles and their inspiration city Tokyo that carries the comfortable and laid back attitude of the famous Californian city with the fashion forward edginess of the Japanese capital.

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 LA Tokyo himitsu tank top (click HERE) and harem sweatpants (click HERE), Nike hooded pullover and sneakers and H&M brim hat

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Tank tops are not the best idea when it’s 8 degrees Celsius outside but I wanted to wear my himitsu tank when I visited my parents’ house. So I put it on my neoprene hooded pullover that I’ve been using for a long time plus another undergarment for more body heating purposes. Problem solved!

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I love this LA Tokyo harem sweats. Not only they’re cool but they’re also very comfortable and functional with all its pockets. I’ve been looking around for a new pair of sweatpants that’s totally stylish and very useful too and big thanks to LATokyo for coming into my life.

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“秘密 (himitsu)” is the Japanese word for “secret” and LA Tokyo didn’t give that name to this piece for no reason. There is a secret white logo beneath the tank top which you can unbutton if you feel like showing it. Aside from being cool and hip, I love that LATokyo makes clothes not only to sell but also to tell a story and share a part of themselves.

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But most of all, I love how their pieces can easily be matched with the current stuff I have in my closet. LOL!

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Since we’re already talking about secrets, let me ask you some questions about them.

1. Do you have any secrets, especially a big one that you can’t afford reveal?

2. How does it feel like having a secret that’s so big you’re not sure it’s gonna make or break your life?

3. Are you a good secret keeper? How do you feel when someone tells you a big secret?

4. Have you tried spilling another person’s secret? What happened?

Let’s try some interaction here and put your answers in the comment section below.

*chu*

photo by Karen Takegahara

PS: This is NOT a sponsored post