Another Dream Come True: My Trip to Japan! Days 0-1!

WARNING:

VERY WORD HEAVY AND PHOTO HEAVY POST!

THIS WAS ORIGINALLY A SINGLE POST OF ALL THE DAYS OF MY TRIP, BUT I DECIDED TO DIVIDE IT TO THREE POSTS:

FIRST POST, THIS POST, WILL BE FOR THE INTRODUCTION AND DAYS 0-1 OF MY TRIP;

THE SECOND WILL BE DURING THE DAY 2 (FORMULA 1 QUALIFYING SESSION);

THE THIRD POST WILL BE FOR DAY 3 (FORMULA 1 RACEDAY), AND DAY 4, WHERE I AM GOING BACK HOME TO THE PHILIPPINES.

FINALLY, IF YOU STILL FIND EACH DAY A LONG READ, THEN TREAT EACH DAY AS A CHAPTER AND READ IN SPURTS.


Introduction

Talk about being late to a party… I traveled to Japan, specifically in Nagoya and Suzuka, for a short vacation and, of course, watch the FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – a race that I have always wanted to attend since I was a kid, in a country I have always wanted to visit since I was a kid, last October 4-8, 2018, and I only, finally, have time to write about. Here’s hoping I still remember what I have done in those days…

First off, a lot of my friends, both close and otherwise, would know me as a guy, in spite of my age, is still into anime/manga, gaming, collecting, and a passionately weird guy… With that said, it is obvious that someone like me love the country of Japan and anything Japanese. Thus, having to go to Japan is already a dream come true.

Second off, I am a Formula 1 (hereafter, F1) fan for 22 years now, and the Suzuka Circuit that hosts the Japanese Grand Prix ranks as one of the highest on my bucket list of F1 racetracks to attend. And again, having to visit the track and attend the race weekend, is another dream come true.

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That moment I got my Formula 1 tickets!
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Comparison with last year’s Formula 1 package; if you are up to date with F1, you’d know they changed their logo from this year onward.
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No hard plastic/ID card ticket on the package; one must pick it up at the venue, unlike last year in Singapore.

Adding those 2 dreams together, this is like the perfect trip for me! And it was!

Seeing that it has been way over two months since I traveled to Japan alone (yes, another solo adventure, which is better anyway lol), let us go down memory lane together… starting with…


DAY 0

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Solo trip!

The plane ride to Japan was pretty standard, plus no annoyance or drama since I am traveling ALONE, so I can just concentrate on my own things, upon arriving however, it was immediately fun and adventurous as I had to take a train from Chubu Centrair International Airport to the heart of Nagoya in order to check into my hotel.

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Meitetsu μTicket

It was already a trip to ride this just to get to my hotel since Japan is really known for the transport system, and having to ride the metro/subway for the duration of my trip in Japan first hand, I can say they are well maintained. Sure there was one time I did get into the subway at the afternoon rush hour, but it was still minor hassle.

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My hotel, VIA INN, specifically VIA INN Nagoya Ekimae Tsubakicho, since there are actually 2 VIA INNs in close proximity, happens to be relatively close to the station, thus why I chose it, and I am glad I did, as it was seriously in the heart of the city so I can pretty much go anywhere interesting nearby, and since the station was also close by, I can pretty much go anywhere a bit farther.

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Since it was already past 9PM upon check in, and was quite tired from the flight, I decided just to limit my exploration in this DAY 0 and just head out to a Curry House CoCo for dinner.

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Immediately, my love for Japan has increased, because unlike other countries where they use celebrities or athletes in their ads, in Japan they use they beloved gaming characters or anime characters to advertise absolutely anything and everything.

Of course, there are JPOP Idols like AKB48 and such that also advertise things, and I also don’t mind that! I happen to like JPOP, the only pop songs I care to listen to… So in short, I feel right at home in Japan.

I happen to know a few Japanese phrases, and these came in handy the following days; it is nice to note, that unlike in Tokyo (though I have never been there yet), other cities in Japan, most people may not know a lot of English, so knowing simple phrases can help. Not saying they CAN’T speak English, they do, but there can still be a barrier when you need directions or buying things.

When I run out of Japanese phrases and English is not the way to go in communicating, I did resort to the offline mode of Google Translate, type in what I want to say, show it anyone, and they either reply to me in English directly or type their reply.

So if anyone goes to Japan outside the majors cities like Tokyo, Nagoya, etc., you may encounter more language barriers, thus knowing a phrases and/or using the offline mode of Google Translate will help you and keep you confident going around. PLUS! This is Japan! MOST EVERYONE IS HELPFUL! One of the safest countries to travel alone, which I did…

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Anyways, I used a mixture of my known phrases along with Google Translate to order my curry rice from Curry House CoCo, and if you are familiar with the curry rice from Japan, it isn’t the usual Indian style curry you’d expect, but both are very delicious.

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Having satisfied my hunger, I had to be taken aback for a moment to realize what I just achieved; now this isn’t the first time I traveled alone, that would have been last year when I went to Singapore, also for a F1 race, but still, having to travel to Japan for the first time, alone for that matter; having to rely on my prior research from getting from Point A to Point B around Japan; being so at home immediately in Japan; knowing I will also watch my all time favorite sport, F1, in my all time favorite country to ever visit, Japan… I really can’t think of a more perfect vacation, a more perfect race weekend.


DAY 1

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Ready to explore!

I considered the day before, the arrival day, as Day 0, because pretty much nothing really happened apart from me nearly crying at the fact I am in Japan… the country I absolutely adore… So the very next day is Day 1, officially vacation mode!

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My plan for the trip! I am OC like this… In fact, most of my trips anywhere, I make plans, but not as detailed as this LOL
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Vital files that were also transferred to my tablet and phone; every time I have a trip outside the country, I do this, but the detailed general plan is a first.

As mentioned in Day 0, I did make some research prior to going to Japan; since this is in fact my first time in Japan, and me traveling alone, I needed to research on how to use the metro/subway, how to get to here or there, what to see and do, etc., and I will just give a bit of a spoiler, my research and subsequent plan that I made for the trip worked perfectly! This goes to show that being obsessive compulsive about any minute detail can aid you in traveling to other countries you never visited before. Now I may just ask the locals, but like I mentioned above, sometimes, though they may understand and speak English, there are still a number of people in Japan that may have a barrier, but with that said, they will still be more than willing to help, despite the barrier.

When I went to Singapore, I wasn’t all too worried from getting from Point A to Point B, because it is relatively easier to navigate since it is smaller than Japan, but it is not like I walked from end to end in Singapore, what I mean is that, it is easier to get to the airport, the hotel, the track, other tourist spots, etc, than in Japan, specifically when I have to go to my hotel from the airport, or from my hotel to the track in Suzuka… Also, I have friends that live in Singapore, so if the going gets rough, I will just give them a call. My trip to Japan, I really only had myself to rely on. Just the way I like it. It forces me to be… dare I say it… an adult.

BIC Camera
Preordered a Sigma APO 1.4x Teleconverter EX DG, since the Sigma 2x APO Teleconverter EX DG was sold out, but was surprised when I got to the shop and they had the 2x Teleconverter after all!

Also prior to the trip to Japan, I was researching for any camera shop nearby (there were lots of anime/manga, toy/hobby, tech/gaming shops nearby, so I need not research to much on them lol), since I was considering purchasing a Sigma APO 2x Teleconverter EX DG to couple it with my Sigma 50-150mm APO EX DC OS HSM and my Nikon D7200.

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Went to the wrong Bic Camera at first; there are two Bic Cameras close to my hotel.
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The correct Bic Camera!

Lo and behold! I found a shopping complex near my hotel that has a floor specifically for cameras! Bic Camera allowed me to preorder the item online and pick it up at their Nagoya shop (but there are two, and I knew about that, but I still accidentally went to their other shop which was also nearby lol) and have it tax free, and so, a few days before heading out to Japan, I preordered my Sigma APO 2x Teleconverter EX DG. Or at least that was the plan; they said that the 2x Teleconverter is sold out in the any of Nagoya Bic Camera outlets and the one near my hotel only has the 1.4x Teleconverter, thus I said, alright, let’s just get that and confirmed my preorder.

Thus the first order of business is to pick up my item and not get to excited along the way and buy every anime/gaming/tech thing I see. And to my surprise, when I showed the paper for my preorder, they came out with a 2x Teleconverter! So I was very happily surprised!

Broketober 2018

It was a bit surreal purchasing a DSLR accessory in another country for me; I mean, sure it is almost like buying any sort of souvenir, but I always had a rule never to buy any electronic/tech gear outside my home country of the Philippines because of the simple fact that if it does fail or have problems later on, I can’t use the shop’s warranty, and let’s face it, the manufacturer’s warranty here in the Philippines can cause so much more hassle than it is worth – trust me, I have dealt with numerous RMA’s and it never ended well… actually, most of the time, it doesn’t even start well.

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Having purchased it without hassle since it was reserved for me prior to my flight, and the staff are very friendly, then add in the numerous, almost overwhelming amount of camera gear from Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc., it was like I am a kid at a candy store.

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Blurry. I know.

Also of note, just a few floors below are the action figures/hobby floor, and another is the gaming floor, and yet another floor is the PC floor. I can live here!

Another simple reason why I love Japan is that they don’t shy away from their interests and hobbies, be it gaming, anime, tech, anything! No matter how old they get, no matter if real life gets in the way, they still go back to their hobbies and are not afraid or shy to show it.

I for one, being a Filipino-American, I guess I am a little more comfortable than most people here in the Philippines to show his weird side… his sometimes, well most of the time, unbearable weird side, to others. But I don’t mind and I am not embarrassed to show my passion for my manga/anime, gaming, tech, Formula, photography, music, and action figure collecting hobbies. And to show it PASSIONATELY.

That is not to say there are no passionate people here in the Philippines with their hobbies. THERE ARE! And quite a lot! Which makes collecting easier nowadays since there are many hobby shops popping up now. Also, with the advent of the internet, ordering overseas for those rarer items are so much easier, too! But in terms of my close personal friends, I don’t have that many that are as crazy or passionate as me. I do have some, but they few and far in between.

Wait, I digress… this is supposed to be about my Day 1 shenanigans at Nagoya!

Keep Walkin'...

In The Art of the City

I had to dash back to the hotel to drop of my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 APO EX DC OS HSM lens and newly bought Sigma APO 2x Teleconverter EX DG, then pack in my Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM and Sigma 30mm F/1.4 EX DC HSM lenses to explore more of Nagoya. And yes, I love my Sigma and Nikon combinations!

Next stop is at Nagoya Castle!

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I had to take the subway, and on the way, make one transfer until I reach the station just next to the castle. This is where my research and careful planning comes into play. And I felt triumphant, because my plan worked perfectly and not once did I feel that I got lost.

I made sure to go later than 8-9AM because of the rush hour, and being it my first time riding their subway, I need to make sure I get a seat to get used to it first.

Also, if in the rare event you do get lost or not sure where to go next, of course there are staff always ready to help you out. But it feels so much better doing things on your own, on your own (meaning, traveling alone and not relying so much on anyone but you yourself… like I did).

Another World

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With my friendly tour guides, Yasuyuki-san Mayumi-san!

I decided, upon reaching the castle, I will take up the free English Tour Guide, so at least I won’t blindly go around the castle complex without knowing anything. That way I can learn about the history and just have a fun time with the tour guides.

And talk about lucky!

I was told by Yasuyuki-san Mayumi-san, my wonderfully entertaining, knowledgeable, and friendly tour guides, that starting next year, they will start renovating the main keep and it won’t be as visible to the public. So, I visited on the right time. And as we continue with this post, you will see just how lucky I am this day visiting the castle premises.

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The golden kettle that was made from the original “shachi”

Looking at the scenery just around the castle, we also stopped by one of their tea houses and I was again lucky to see the golden kettle that is used for the tea ceremony; that golden kettle was made from the remains of the original golden “shachi” – A shachihoko or shachi is from Japanese folklore, where an animal has a head of a tiger and the body of a carp – and it usually hidden behind a glass casing, but during Fridays, the day I visited, they bring it out for the people to see, and they actually use it for customers that have tea.

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Moving on, I was learning a lot the history of the castle and that of my tour guides as persons as well. Of course, I will not give you a lesson on what I just learned from them in the history of the castle, you can always Google that, or preferably, if you ever visit Nagoya, grab a free tour guide (free English tour guides start at 1PM local time), so you can befriend and learn the history!

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Getting ever closer to the main castle keep, I was pointed towards the Hommaru Palace that was originally built in 1615 by the first Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, for his son, was actually under restoration for, if I remember correctly, for the past 10 years, and was just recently finished and opened for public viewing starting June 8 of this year. So I got lucky yet again!

I will not be posting any pictures from inside the palace, for it will add to the total picture count in the post, not to mention, more words, and it will ruin the magic… It is best to see it in person!

Nagoya Castle Main Keep

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Arigatou! Yasuyuki-san Mayumi-san!

After the palace, and after seeing the main keep a lot closer, a few more chit chat with my tour guides, it was time to part ways. It was a free tour guide, since they were volunteers, but I wanted to at least give them something for snacks or drinks, but as expected, especially from the Japanese, they wholeheartedly declined my offer. I promised the next time I ever visit again, I will surely do my best to see them, granted they will still be volunteering. Nice people like them is hard to come by nowadays.

Parting ways didn’t mean I left the castle grounds immediately, I still enjoyed myself with snacks and drinks and to get a breather, since carrying 2 lenses, my DSLR, though not so heavy, does take a toll on me, especially with a bad right knee.

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I am welcomed a ninja clan!

I was entertained by a ninja performance, so it bought more time to rest, and of course, photo opportunity with one of the ninja!

@Nagoya

Aki

I then took a few more minutes to rest up, drink up some more, then head onto the city vis subway once more, this time to just explore anything and end up in Maidreamin Cafe! Yes, a maid cafe… because OF COURSE!!

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The Lines That We Cross

Road Rules

I was also supposed to go to Osu Shopping District to find nice souvenirs for my friends, and maybe some stuff for myself as well, but after going around the city, I knew I will just end the day in Maidreamin then head back to my hotel to recuperate and prepare for the F1 qualifying session the next day.

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I then reached Maidreamin Cafe, and well, it is what you would expect if you know anything about these cafe either from reading manga, watching anime, or generally being a weeb (which a lot of people call me, but I think I’m more of an otaku than a weeb). The maids are very friendly, though there was a bit of language barrier at first, in the end, I got what I ordered, and had a nice chat with a couple of the staff at hand.

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Believe it or not, visiting a maid cafe is one of my goals in this trip, and also have a Instax photo with one of the maid which is part of the bundle I ordered. I will say this now, out of all the photos I have taken in Japan, it was this photo of me, that wasn’t even taken with my phone or DSLR, as my stand out photo of the trip!

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Also in the bundle I ordered was the cat ears (you get to choose what animal ears you like, but since I love cats, it was a no-brainer to get the cat ears), and a maid uniform keychain. Overall, a great experience, and I am glad to tick this off my bucket list. Like I said to my friends, you know you made it in life if you tick off visiting a maid cafe off your bucket list.

After the maid cafe, thankfully there was a subway station just next to the cafe, so I made my way back to my hotel; truth be told, this station wasn’t part of the plan I made previously, but I was already familiar with using the subway and where to go, so even if this wasn’t part of the initial plan, I still made it to my hotel in the end with no hiccups… also of note, I did catch the subway during the afternoon rush hour, but usually the afternoon rush hour is not as bad at the morning rush hours.

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Reaching the hotel, rested up a bit, then had a quick dinner, and decided to sleep early to take a train to Suzuka and eventually the race track.

It is gonna be special!


Stay tuned for Day 2 post!

-o-

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Writer’s Block

I have been having a writer’s block over the past month and then some. So, I must as well write about me having a writer’s block.
It isn’t like I didn’t travel out of town or didn’t get any new interesting gear and the like, I just can’t find the means to link up words in such a way to synthesize a readable post in here.
With that said, I’m still battling the writer’s block to this day, but hopefully having posted something in here, of all things, about writer’s block, I can overcome it and start writing blogs like before.
Til then… time to rack my brain out and hopefully have something good to write.

PEACE!

-o-

Follow me here or on the following sites!

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•I’m also at Facebook!

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Racer of Virtual Cars: Assetto Corsa 1988 FIA F1 World Championship Round 1 Brazilian GP

This is not going to be the bulk of my posts here in this site, but I’m starting a new series where I will play some racing sims and record them.

For this inaugural post in this brand new series of blogs, I will share the 1st round of my custom made 1988 F1 season… I might make a seperate post on how I made the custom mod and such, but for now, this post will have a video of the 1st round of the championship.

I am driving the McLaren MP4/4 opposite of Alain Prost for the 16 races in this season.

Round 1 Round 1 Brazilian GP 1988:

After a hard fought qualifying, I ended up in 4th place in the grid. Had a decent start and worked my up to 2nd and was fighting for the lead. It was a good race for me as I was able to manage my tyres and fuel (no refuelling and tyres are expected to have at least 50% life at the end of the race thus pitting is very rare in 1988), but I got too greedy fighitng for the lead and in the penultimate corner of the 9th lap… well… you can just watch it.

Driver’s Championship After Round 1:

1. N. Mansell – 9
2. A. Prost – 6
3. M. Alboreto -3
4. N. Piquet – 2
5. R. Patrese -1

Constructor’s Championship After Round 1:

1. Williams – 10
2. McLaren – 6
3. Ferrari – 3
4. Lotus – 2

Game info:

•Game: Assetto Corsa
•Car: McLaren MP4/4 (Mod by VRC)
•Event: Round 1 Brazilain GP 1988 (My custom made championship)
•Track: Jacarepagua (1988 config)
•AI Difficulty 100%
•Mechanical Damage 50%
•Tyre Wear x2
•Slip Stream Effect x2
•Fuel Consumption On
•Traction Control and ABS On
•33% Race Distance

PC info:

•CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
•Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
•Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
•RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
•HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb; Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb; Samsung 850 EVO
•PSU: Corsair GS700
•GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
•Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
•Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; Logitech F710; iPega Bluetooth Controller; Logitech G920 Wheel; Logitech Driving Force Shifter; Logitech G430 Headphones; Logitech G933 Headphones; Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
•Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle; 2M RGB USB Powered LED strip
•NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

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Less Than Three

It is time I seriously jot down a proper article; my usual writings as of late are about my recent adventures, and although there is nothing wrong with writing, or blogging, about those shenanigans, I felt I am starting to stray away from my roots as a writer.

Anyone can write about their day, and it has been far too long, eons even, since I wrote something that I would be proud of publishing back in the days where I was still an Editor in Chief for various school papers.

With that, the inquisitive amongst you readers might ask, with a title like that, what in the world would he write about pouring his heart and soul into it like his past articles when he was still an active member of a school paper?

Well, you have the answer right there, somewhere, devoured by other words in the previous sentence: I will write about my “heart” and my “soul”.

Much like every other human being that is a prisoner to one’s own emotions, I too, sadly and unfortunately, succumb to these humanly emotions, and I look down on my own brain for submitting to these neurotransmitters that dictate these emotions. I always thought I would be far more effective if I were not susceptible to these emotions; that I would be able to reach far reaching places without anything idiotic like falling in love get in my way. I was wrong. I am still wrong. I will probably never be right.

Of course, before the pheromones of the opposite sex caused me to have transient mental dysfunction, there was a time when I was immune to these emotions.

There I was, a young lad, with bright eyes; everything he sees, he questions. I would rather study, even at a young age, I would rather read and do my homework, if need be. I would also rather play games that use little to no physical prowess and more of the intellect, thus, I rather play games like Chess and lots of video games that makes me think. I had the family’s encyclopedia collection in my room and when I am tired of reading for school or even playing games, I would grab a volume and read some more. Clearly, I knew my physical short comings, and would rather hone my skills in the intellectual world. Going as far as coining up the term “Intellectual Intercourse”; I would rather have an intellectual intercourse with a girl than to really have a normal lustful relationship – a modern day Platonic love, if you will.

Falling in love was the least of my concerns when I was much younger, and for that, I admired my younger self and felt he was the smarter form, and far better form, of myself. Back then I only had a clear-cut goal and I will stop at nothing, not even the aforementioned pheromones, to attain my goals. I always wanted to be deemed smart, thus I toiled away, day in and day out, sacrificing my overall physique, in order to concentrate on my studies and future career. I made sure I would know something about most things, and even though I may not know all of the aspects of a certain subject being discussed, I will make sure I know enough to stay relevant. And for the things I do know, I know them well.

I had and still have a lot of friends, but truth be told, I wasn’t always popular among anyone, because I was just shy of being a teacher’s pet; a little more, I would become Randall from Recess, minus the snitching of course. I always loved my studies, and as a friend, I will only be there when you need me, not when you want me; never expect me to be there for your birthday party, but expect me there if your life depended on it.

I am sheltered, to no fault of my parents, but I was sheltered most of my life due to my inherent want to just distance myself of the social norm; I am more old-fashioned, so forcing myself to the norm of today takes a great toll on me and made me hate people in general for their idiocy, fickleness, hypocrisy, and the list goes on.

As John McAfee once said: “People will be people, you can trust no one. It’s not a bad thing/cynical. I trust people to be people, to act in their own self-interests”, and I lived by this… Maybe I still do. But of course, there will come a time where I have to rub shoulders with other people and that of the opposite sex, as I continue my studies and my valiant attempt to reach my goals.

Needless to say, I started to lower down my guard about other people, I started to have my walls that sheltered me crumble as I started to understand the quirks and the things I hate about other people. Albeit, I still don’t like going to parties and the like, but I am slowly finding myself longing to hang out with my friends in the malls and whatnot. I may not accept the social norm of present day, but I was flexible enough to have my old-fashioned beliefs coincide in harmony.

Then it happened, I was still in high school then, but I felt something that I always heard about and dreaded about; what is this fleeting feeling in my chest? Why do I want to smile and chuckle without anyone talking to me or cracking a joke? Why do I feel like dancing with no music playing? And why do I not want to go home and be sheltered and surrounded by my books anymore?

I had my first crush. I was probably falling in love for the first time.

All rational and logical thinking is thrown out of the hypothetical windows when you find that someone that makes your heart skip a beat. And even if I had no intentions of really falling in love before, I, like everyone else, would always have a list of the ideal significant other ranging from looks to personality, yet sometimes, or most of the time, you make exceptions to the rule and fall for that person that didn’t tick off one box, let alone all the boxes, of your list of traits you’d want in your ideal significant other.

But maybe that is why we “fall”; we don’t choose to fall in the very definition of the word, as falling down you may graze your knees, as well as, your elbows; you’d end up with skid marks and skinned knees, as they say, and seriously, falling down in general hurts. But when the time calls to fall down, such as the case of sports like baseball, American football, and soccer, to name a few, where either catching the ball or defending the goal, you’d literally thrust your body and end up falling to the ground, bruised physically, but when the attempt succeeds, you can stand triumphantly. The very thought is you take the chance to catch or defend, where you end up hurt, but with a good outcome, you feel elated. And that is exactly what falling in love is: you take the risk, you may get hurt along the way falling, but if you succeed and someone is waiting to catch you, then you feel elated; yet if there is nothing in between you and the pavement, falling, in this case, heart first, will hurt. Get up, try again. Or can you?

In retrospect, I have crushes on a lot of girls, some I know personally, some that are celebrities; others being real, and the rest being, well, gaming or anime characters. But out of the real girls I know personally, I only really liked 4 of them. And out of those 4, I only really fell in love with 2 of them. And with 2 of them, I really thought I’d end up with 1 of them.

Sadly, she was a star far too bright for my own galaxy…

I fell in love one too many times for me to really care for, but being the hopeless romantic I am, on those 2 times that I did fall in love, I loved a bit too much. It is probably hilarious to hear this from a guy, because let’s face it, all those romantic movies and what mothers would usually tell their daughters, it is us men that end up breaking their hearts, but believe me, much like falling in love one too many times, I got my heart broken just as many times for me to really care for.

Breaking of hearts is not simply the other person saying they don’t like you, it won’t work out, or something along those lines. More often than not, it is letting go of something that you know won’t be realized in fruition. But whatever the case may be, as hard as it is for women, it is just as hard for us men, especially a hopeless romantic like myself.

The hardest part is that, whether your relationship came into realization or wasn’t even given the chance to take off, once that person becomes your everyday, your ever hour, your ever minute, your every second, all the way down to a thousandth of a second, the moment you have to let go, and you are struck with the thought the very next day, that very waking moment, and that they are less of your everyday now and you are no longer theirs either, if at all, in the first place.

The thought someone else ultimately making her smile from ear to ear; someone else ultimately making her laugh with stupid jokes; and that someone else ultimately saying “he loves her” and she will say she “loves him back”; those thoughts gnaw and eat my very insides ‘til there is really nothing left.

But the heart still beats, though broken, yet do you really feel it beating?

Each time those heartbreaks occurred, I pined. I pined a little longer than most guys whose relationships end or didn’t even have the chance to blossom. I pined and everyone around me could see that I was pining. But like any soldier, I mustered up the courage to go on, dodging all the bullets and taking a few, jumping over hurdles and tripping on a few; and it was making me become someone else, someone that I loathed to be, someone that was not Christian.

My labyrinthine mind usually filled with science and whatnot, now started to entertain rhetorical questions like “was I missing something?”, “where did I mess up”, “was I, simply, not good enough…?”.

I was becoming just like anyone else. I was not that special person, that strong person I thought I was, with a clear-cut goal and will have at nothing to get in his way of achieving them. I was finally becoming human.

And I hated each and every time I fall and there is no one in the other end to soften that free fall.

So, why was I always eager to fall again? All knowing what it does to me mentally and physically? Because like all other human beings, I was just plain stupid – I was just not as smart as I first thought I was.

I am just stupid.

The old saying, “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, finally makes sense to me. Back when I was much younger, without knowing an ounce of truth of what love really entails, I always thought falling in love was easy; I always thought if you loved someone, and you showed them that you can make it to whatever ends of the world there is to prove it, that they’d love you back. Why would I lose? But alas, the naivety shows in my younger self. Love may be a many-splendored thing, but it can also be lackluster, confusing, and painful.

And it is true, now that I’m older, that it is far better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. I know the highs of falling in love and the harsh lows of either falling out of it, or simply, not having been reciprocated for it. I have seen the immense beauty of it and I have seen the hideous side of it. I have been falling in and out of the idea of love that I can now easily tell whether the pain that I feel in my chest was because I fell for someone, that someone never loved me back, or something less stupid and something more real, like muscle pain.

I have loved. I have lost. That is good enough for me.

Whatever awaits me in this lopsided game called love, I will see it through. Whether that means love is truly worth waiting for or just something worth experiencing at least once in one’s lifetime – time will tell. And even if it doesn’t, time will, nonetheless, heal all wounds.


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Cooling Off

I have decided to take the time off from my preparation of the USMLE because I finally lost it, I finally burnt out, I am finally tired at the thought of picking up my notes.

As the saying goes, “rest if you must, but don’t you quit”, thus here I am taking the week off until August 1, 2017, to resume my readings.

And it just so happened that my best friend from my B.S. Biology and Medical school days, and fellow physician, Dr. Lee, visiting the Philippines as he has a short vacation from his military training. In fact, he is down to his last month of training in the military and he and I will be focusing on our preparation for the USMLE as we plan to tackle it together.

Dr. Lee and I have been best of friends for more than 12 years now; he was 1 year my senior during our B.S. Biology years and we became classmates during Medical school days. And as they say, any friendship that lasts more than 7 years will most likely last a lifetime – it certainly seems that way.

Glad he came back and as per usual, I am usually the first person he contacts when he is back and we hang out like old times.

He is quite close to my family as I am with his family, so I was happy, but not so surprised, when his mother, who is still in Korea, got me a gift; I too will give his family a gift before he returns to Korea, because, apart from reciprocity, even if I hadn’t had a gift from his mother, it is just right and almost like an unwritten rule for us to always do such gestures.

Each time he returns here for his short vacations, we usually end up hanging out most of the days he is here; that eventually leads me to saying, “Man, Lee, I see nearly everyday that each time I close my eyes to sleep, I see your face and I end up getting scared to sleep at all.”

Anyways, it is great he is back even for a few days as it coincided with my decision to just take a break from my readings; it really helped me cool off my burnt out demeanor.

Come August 1, I feel I would have found a new sense of vigor when reading.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Burning Out?

It is no secret that I am studying again for yet another licensure exam; heck, even if I wasn’t preparing to tackle another licensure exam, as a physician, I will still be studying, day in and day out, nonetheless.

Anyways, the exam I am talking about is the USMLE. I am originally an American Citizen, but has since become a dual citizen, adding my Filipino Citizenship into the mix in order to be able to take the license here locally and maybe train here.

Since passing the licensure exam here in the Philippines, I have been a bit confused as to where I should go next: Should I train immediately? Should I moonlight? Should I go on vacation?

A year went by and then I suddenly decided to move back to the States and tackle the USMLE so I can also be a licensed physician in the States, as well as being a licensed physician here in the Philippines.

It took a year to decide because I really didn’t know where my heart is… As much as I want to stay here and train and eventually have my private practice here, I feel as though I will not be able to live up to my full potential as a physician here. I feel that the language barrier, although I am able to speak a lot better Tagalog now than I ever thought I would be, is gonna be a huge factor in my training. Something as shallow as that is a real fear because in the world of medicine, there are no compromises… Not having to know the translation of a phrase and missing out on the diagnosis, no matter how benign the diagnosis is, is not a valid reason. And I want to train without having to worry about silly matters.

Thus, I decided, it is high time I move back home. My real home.

I have been studying leisurely since April just to get the hang of studying again, and come September, I will go full on study mode like when I was still a student. However, I have been losing interest in reading lately… I feel worn down… I feel burnt out.

Nothing can see to make me smile lately as my mind is always about USMLE and studying. Even when my heart is not into it, I force myself to read, and force myself to stay up in order to finish a certain number of chapters.

This is not really a good strategy as I am already feeling the effects of burning out and my exam date is nowhere near just yet.

As much as I want to cool down on some days like today, I end up feeling very guilty and then I start reading again.

I just wish I can read without feeling brunt out and I also wish that I can take a few days off reading, just playing games or whatnot, and not feel the guilt of skipping a few days or even a week.

I am in a very fragile complicated state right now and I thought of putting into words to let off some steam.

Did it help? I can’t say… But it feels good enough just to type some of these stresses of mine.

As always, I will just have to breathe in and breathe out… and pray. Better things are in store for me… I just can’t really see it or feel it just yet… but I just have to relax somehow and believe.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Family Day

NOTE: Late post; was to busy to add photos in this post, so I waited 10 days before posting this… still worth a post me thinks.

Truth be told, my family in general, don’t go out much as we all like staying at home more often. Well that is more true to me and my dad, we would rather stay at home, so on those rare moments when my sister and mom wants to go the Manila just to relax and shop around, I decided to go along with them. Of course, my dad was still stubborn and wanted to stay at home, plus he is usually paranoid leaving the house with the house help or alone altogether, thus, even if he did join us, he’d be thinking about the safety of our house. Also of note, my eldest sister can’t join us, because simply, she is in the States.

Speaking of not going out a lot, I haven’t really gone out since the last time I hung out with my classmate/brother from medical school and the fact I needed new shoes cemented my going to Manila with my mom and sister, in fact, it took me 30 mins before they were about to leave for Manila to decide to go along with them. That is how I am so undecided I am when it comes to going out of the house at times.

We ended up spending the entire day, well entire day meaning up until 3pm (cos we really got tired fast), in Trinoma, first grabbing a small bite to eat. Per usual in this day and age, a photo before digging in our food is a must.

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Obligatory photo!

Afterwords, since I am still more into my hobbies than I am shopping for clothes or what not, I split from the group for the most part. Looking for strange gadgets that I can use or action figures that I need to complete my collection, but ended up empty handed, I shifted my attention to shoes. It took awhile, but I found 2 pairs of shoes (1 for work and the other for casual occasion; the latter doubles as a means to show that I am a motorsports fan and it can also be used for my simulator).

I am glad to have them, but of course, being a geek, I was later saddened as I felt it was a waste of money; yes, I can easily spend 20,000-40,000 on a single PC part but I go nuts for 5000-8000 worth of 2 shoes and several clothes.

After my stint of looking for shoes and clothes, I was all tired out, so I sat down most of the time. Obviously, since my knees are still not up to scratch and standing/walking for long periods/distances will cause my knees to ache and start to shake enough that I feel as if my knees will pop again like they did before (my right knee was operated on).

Resting up a bit and got the stuff I want (apart from the geeky stuff), I caught up with my mom and sister to have lunch.

We then went our separate ways again to shop a little bit more, though I for one can’t find anything interesting anymore, and it was obvious that the 3 of us were already tired, so it wasn’t long til we decided to go home.

Thankfully it wasn’t traffic on the way home and we arrived safely at home by 4:30pm after leaving Manila around 3pm.

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Got 2 new kicks…

Overall, a normal day with the fam in Manila, and was happy to have a day where I don’t have to think about being a doctor or thinking about my USMLE challenge. It was a day where I can just enjoy with my mom and sister and not have the stresses of being a physician take control of me and the stresses of tackling the USMLE haunting me…

Til next time! PEACE!

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