Manno Koen

The whole park, illumined. Sugoi. Took 500,000 lights. Sugoi.

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Christmas 2012

Where there’s queso de bola, hamon and/or lechon among other handa for Philippine Christmas, there’s fried chicken and Christmas cake for us in Japan.

So cute isn’t it? Santa is edible by the way. πŸ™‚

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Baby is eyeing the cake, looking as if she wants a piece for herself.

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A Merry Christmas to one and all from our little reindeer who’s having her tummy time in this photo.

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precious moments

Moirraine is getting social by the day. She already looks at people when they look at her, rather than sleeping like she used to. But it’s still a very rare chance for her to smile at people other than at me, her dad and her aunt who lives with us.

The first time she did smile at a “stranger” was with Maj, her Ninang. But it took two meetings before Moirraine smiled at Maj. Albeit when she did smile, she made me so happy with her milestone my smile was ear to ear myself.

But earlier today, Moirraine’s second smile at a “stranger” was to somebody whom she only got to see closely that very first time: her great-grandmother. What a joy it was.

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Precious moment indeed. Merry Christmas everyone! πŸ™‚

first Christmas

I’ve read that it takes 30 days of continuously doing something for it to become a habit. And thanks to Jerico’s post-a-day-counting-blessings-idea, I think I have sort of made blogging daily a habit, even during very busy days (although really there’s the mobile blogging that really made things easier. Otherwise, it would have been really tough). To those who have had read my posts, a lot of my count-thy-blessings posts have a lot to do with my husband. But really, who can blame me? πŸ™‚

This evening though, I couldn’t help but cry from happiness and thankfulness, and at an auditorium at that. We attended the yearly mixed Japanese/English (with Spanish and Korean and Filipino languages for the prayers of the faithful) mass held at the auditorium of a Japanese Catholic school in Yamate. Come Communion, those who weren’t baptized yet were of course not allowed to receive the Holy Communion. They are however encouraged to queue and bow their heads to accept the blessings from the priest. Atsushi queued after me. But I wasn’t at all prepared as to the emotions that washed over me when I saw him solemnly bow his head as the priest put his hand over Atsushi’s head and prayed for him. Even now, I feel emotional. Thankful that I married a man who was not only admirable for a lot of reasons, some of which were mentioned from previous blogs. Thankful because he also respects my faith and my religion. His arms around me as we sang the last few carols before the mass ended, it was to my memory one of the happiest Christmas I’ve ever had. This ain’t technically our first christmas together but as husband and wife after the Church wedding and in our new home at that, it was our first. And I must say, it was a great one.

I was craving for hot chocolate but most of the coffee shops we passed by after church were already closed. And then we passed by Union. Bought champagne and some cheese and nuts/seeds to go with it instead. This then composed our Noche Buena.Β Funny because it wasn’t until today when the need has arisen that we remembered the purchase we made from CeletnΓ‘ Crystal in Prague back in September – delicate lavender champagne flutes.

Earlier, before going to mass, we passed by a show entitled “The Holy Gospel Night Show”. This made me smile. Because it’s another proof that Christmas in Japan is not just about commerce.

Having had started the night with good music, it’s just fitting I think to cap the night with good music as well. Atsushi’s Christmas cover of Kagemaru. πŸ™‚

A Happy Christmas. πŸ™‚

white Christmas?

Forecasted to snow? Are we gonna have a white christmas? πŸ™‚ i so hope so! it’ll be lovely to walk home this Christmas eve with snow falling on us after attending the mass. πŸ™‚

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And then enjoy hot choco. That’ll be nice indeed.

Christmas books

And they arrived just in time for Christmas!

Fresh out of the box from Amazon.

Figured that since The Neverending Story is a classic already, buying the hardbound cover is best. Was pleasantly surprised it came in colored! yippee! Totally so Christmassy especially since it’s written in that old fairy-tale stories kind of font which I found out during our Prague trip was really what was used in the olden days, even in their law books.

It came in hardbound but I bought it at Amazon at a cheaper price compared to the paperback copy sold in Book Express in front of Sakuragicho JR station (albeit I was thankful they’re selling a copy of this book. Through them, I learned there IS such a book).

Was equally surprised that the size of The Prophets of Ghost Ants copy was as big as the hardbound ones.

Together with the book I bought last night, my hands are surely full over the holidays.

Happy reading everyone!!

something to be thankful for – weekend edition

Friday. Thankful to have had survived a difficult deadline. There were only two of us left in our project at 8pm aside from our manager. To cap the workweek, our manager urged us for a drink. Hubs was still at work, so I decided to say yes and have some bonding time with teammate and boss while waiting for hubs. The small party proved to be quite enjoyable as we discussed about some social and political issues. After finishing off each of our pint of beer and a bottle of wine, hubs was still at work. Hence I waited for him in one of our favorite yakitori restaurants. My boss was really true to his word – we just had drinks. We had some knickknack and pika-pika and utsumame yes. But I was still hungry. Hence I ate at the yakitori shop. And yes, yakitori is my favorite Japanese food. It’s just so addictive!! It was already 12 when hubs arrived but I was still very thankful even because as late as it may seem, it still wasn’t late for us to share some laughter. The restaurant practically echoed our laughter. Happy.

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Saturday. Thankful to have a husband who is excited to cook for me. We were shopping for our grocery supplies for the week and before I knew it, hubs was buying ingredients for a Hokkaido stew. He even walked so fast on our way home, excited as he is to get started with the cooking. πŸ™‚ Sweet.

Sunday. Finally, was able to mail off our christmas cards and packages to friends. We are yet to send the nengajo though. But at least was able to achieve a feat today.

And here’s a bonus. Was walking my way home today when I came across a happy site. Ten years back, seeing Christmas lights in front of a Japanese home is VERY rare. Recently though, more and more people seem to have caught up with the Christmas spirit. These little Santas climbing their way up the veranda is just so cute!!! Can you see the third Santa at the top of the ladder? πŸ˜€

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One week to go till Christmas!

what I want to read over the holidays

Been really busy lately that we are sooo looking forward to the coming holidays. Although actually I don’t daydream or plan much of the holidays yet because of the deliverables at work. I ain’t complaining though because as always, work has been very interesting (and challenging).

But one thing I do look forward to over the holidays though, aside from spending time with the family of course, is to catch up with my reading. Been very busy lately hence I only get to read about 5 pages of “The Art of War” while riding the train; ours is only a short 15 min ride, that’s why. And, well, if truth be told, I really hadn’t been that inspired to read lately. I borrowed 3 books from the library, but I haven’t read it past 3 chapters. Not up to reading much, and I think it could be because I really haven’t gotten over Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” yet. Ever since finishing that book, no other book I have gotten my hands on recently ever caught my interest (except for 1Q84. Murakami’s 1Q84 is still not opened as I don’t have time to read at home since we usually get home around 11pm or beyond). And I must admit, up to now, I am still so much taken by Ishiguro’s book; I can still feel the heartache. And deep inside, I truly wish the book’s premise isn’t really happening or will not happen, ever.

So with the holidays coming up so fast (Dear Holidays, I want you to come fast, but please not so fast. Let me finish all my deliverables on schedule. And Atsushi’s too), I want to erase the lingering melancholic feeling from “Never Let Me Go”. After all, it is the holidays and the holidays are meant for fun and joyful feelings. Thus I started hunting for feel-good good reads that is in sync with the Holiday cheer. Indeed, it is true, search and you shall find. Not long after I started the search, I chanced upon this book in one of Hubs’ favorite bookstores. This is one of my favorite childhood movies. But I never knew it was originally from a book. I should have known better. Perfect for the holidays, isn’t it? It has high ratings in Amazon and Goodreads as well so I know my time won’t be wasted.

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There is one book however that I really really want to read. This book has been dubbed the BEST in 2011 and has the highest rating among the books I’ve read so far.

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Can’t wait to order in amazon.

As for something to be happy today. Realised that slowly, I’m seeing more of one of my personal goals. Happy. Thankful. Inspired.

A gift on my desk

I LOVE (pleasant) surprises. And I absolutely love it whenever I get to my desk and I find some gift lying in wait for me. That definitely makes my day. Even a special note has the same effect.

Hence when I saw this on top of my desk when I arrived in the office, on a Monday morning at that, it definitely made my day. πŸ™‚

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iMac

Indeed, this is one thing to be thankful for. Was able to buy hubs this iMac as my Christmas gift. Thankful because back when we were planning to get married, we had our worries that I wouldn’t be able to work. But thankfully, I was able to. Hence this.

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Hubs was teasing me though that finally, he can use the iPad as I’d be busy with Tofu – the nickname we gave our iMac. I always mistakenly refer to hubs’ old dog who died as Tofu instead of Taro haha thus he named our new iMac as tofu. It kind of stuck in. bagay πŸ™‚

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