Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | August 25, 2007

Japan and a homecoming shock

OKAY, so there I was. A day after waking up to the realization that, no, there will be no cameo appearance by the Philippines in the Beijing Olympics.

I was devastated.

Like I said in the previous post, despite all the apologies extended by the national team players through the videos I posted there, I did not feel quite well.

So I decided to go shopping. For therapy, like the UP Cum Laude taught me.

I made a little sidetrip to Osaka, two hours away from Tokushima. Someone told me there was a huge mall there that sold a lot of electronic gadgets. You see, I tried to purchase a new camera while at Tokushima, knowing it would be cheaper there.

I asked around but nobody could point me to where I could find one. While at a convenience store, I ran into a Tokyo resident who said there was no mall selling big-time electronic items in Tokushima.

“You should try to go to Osaka,” she told me. “This, Tokushima, is, how you call it, a countryside. No big malls here.”


So if you fancy a trip to Tokushima in the future, don’t expect to find a sophisticated mall there. But, if we could interest you, say, in a brand new Z4, you’d be welcome to visit our latest BMW showroom.

Countryside my fat ass.

Anyway, I took a bus to Osaka and found the mall. It was big. Five full floors of electronic gadgets.

There, I got myself a new camera.


Japanese have a fancy for bikes. And ferris wheels. For some reason, the Japanese seem to be fascinated with wheels that go round and round. Yes, there’s a punchline there but please don’t wait for me to spoon-feed it to you.


Japanese love raw food, too.

And since I love sushi a lot, I expected to get overwhelmed by sushi the moment I got off the plane that took me to Japan. I finally ate sushi six days into my trip. That’s what happens when you’re into stereotyping.

They love curry too. And they have unique ways of preparing curry. On the menu is a series of numbers, one to 10, indicating the level of spiciness your curry sauce will have. One draws sweat. Two tastes like Tabasco. Three makes you grab the nearest glass of ice water. Four causes tears in your eyes. Five makes you swear in as many languages. Six? I wasn’t bold enough to get there.

I do not, for the life of me, know why there is a level 10. Unless people here enjoy flattening their tongues with orange-hot branding irons. (Clue: Level 10 is marked with the only English word in the entire menu. “Warning.”)

I was supposed to watch Ratatouille with the UP Cum Laude. But the trip to Japan practically robbed me of the opportunity to catch the movie. Don’t worry, a guide told me, it’s showing in Osaka too. You can catch it there.

Thanks a lot.

Anyway, by the time the trip was over, I had seen a sun mask itself behind a haze that floated off a forest mounted on a hill.

I saw birds of prey fly almost everywhere. Over quiet shopping arcade parking lots. Over a seafront town wrapped in the mist rolling off a tranquil bay. Over rows of tightly-packed houses filled with idle fishermen passing time by passing around rounds of sake (Proof that the drinking spree was not in the Philippines: Nobody tried to shoot down the bird).

Oh, the bird had talons. Thus, I presumed it was a bird of prey. Based on my relative experience as a bird-watcher (That experience lasted two minutes, during a Japanese intersection red light), I think it was an eagle. Yeah, how analytically profound.

I kidnapped a rubber ducky from its hotel hideaway and made it go on a trip to the Philippines.

I bought myself voyager editions of Optimus Prime and Blackout, although I still have to figure out transforming them. So apart from trying to balance a deficit-whipped budget, cooking up ways to improve the Inquirer sports pages, knocking on reporters’ doors for stories that should have been written last year, I now have to deal with the problem of transforming Prime to truck mode and Blackout to robot mode.

And guess what? Now I have to find a place to live.

A week into my arrival from Japan, I was awakened by loud thuds and the vicious shuddering of the earth. It seemed as if a wrecking ball was hammering itself against a hapless wall.

My head heavy with leftover sleep notwithstanding, I was right on target with my deductions. In fact, I was so close I didn’t realize just how close.

There was a wrecking ball, yes. It belonged to a construction company. And there was a wall, yes. Mine.

Apparently, the apartment where I had lived in for the past four years was fashioned out of only three walls. And then attached to a fourth—the property beside my flat.

Now that property, supposedly owned by a chronic gambler whose debts were mounting faster than his luck at casinos was changing, sold the property to a company noted for putting up condominium buildings.

They demolished the gambler’s house—my (okay, not really mine) wall along with it—and now, you know how in movies, a closet door opens to a world of enchantment and magic? Well, now, mine opens to a leveled down property.

Glad to let you know, though, that I found a place to live in. In the most hilarious fashion.

The UP Cum Laude rang up a number posted on a decrepit wall in Makati and got on the other end a feisty old woman with a penchant for conversation.

Okay, to help you imagine things, think of a diminutive Mommy Elvie, only she talks like Gina Pareño.

New Landlady: Gusto mo ba mag rent?
UP Cum Laude: Opo.
NL: Sige. Sigurado ka ba?
UPCL: Opo. Pero puwede ba titignan po muna ng magre-rent ng bahay?
NL: Ay oo naman, bakit hindi.
UPCL: Paano ba pumunta dun?
NL: Sasamahan nalang kita. Anu ba sasakyan mo?
UPCL: Magtataxi lang po yung titingin eh.
NL: Ah, maganda. Sunduin niyo nalang ako. Actually, may kotse kami. Pero 77 years old na ako din a ako puwede mag-drive.
UPCL: Opo. Wala pong problema.
NL: Pero kung gusto mo, daanan mo yung boy namin, si Abe. Para umaga pa lang makikita mo na yung bahay. May lakad kasi ako sa umaga.
UPCL: Sige po.
NL: Anong sige, Ako o yung boy namin?
UPCL: Yung boy po. (At this point, the UP Cum Laude is trying hard to suppress her laughter.)
NL: Sige, daanan niyo sha sa Onyx Street. Alam mo ba yung Onyx Street?
UPCL: Hindi po eh.
NL: Ah hindi mo alam. Alam mo ba yung (name of street)? Malapit yun dun eh.
UPCL: Hindi rin po eh.
NL: Naku. Eh yung Onyx Street, alam mo?
UPCL: Hindi po eh.
NL: Eh yung Paco market? Alam mo?
UPCL: Hindi rin po eh.
NL: Eh yung Onyx Street?
UPCL: (Giggling now). Hindi nga po eh.
NL: Si Abe kase, nakatira yun sa Onyx. Yung apartment, nasa may (name of street). May katabing basketball court. Pero hindi maingay dun ah? Third floor yung apartment so di mo na siguro maririnig kung may laro sa court.
UPCL: Ganun ho ba?
NL: Pero magta-taxi naman kayo diba? Alam na ng taxi driver yun Onyx Street. Ikaw, alam mo ba yung Onyx?
UPCL: Hindi po eh. Pero papahanap ko nalang sa taxi driver.
NL: Sige. Anung kulay ng damit ang susuotin mo bukas?
NL: Para paabangan nalang kita kay Abe sa basketball court.
UPCL: Akala ko ho ba dadaanan ko nalang si Abe sa Onyx.
NL: Ay oo nga pala. Alam mo ba yung Onyx street?

(At this point, the UP Cum Laude’s tummy is cramming up and her eyes are welling with tears trying to suppress the laughter)

UPCL: Tatawagan nalang namin kayo pag may problema po.
NL: Sige.
UPCL: May cellphone po ba kayo?
NL: Wala. (Pompously) Pero may landline ako, dalawa pa.

(The UP Cum Laude gives up here and passes the phone to me. It’s my apartment anyway, and she just can’t stop laughing anymore).

So I make arrangements and I get to see three apartments she owns. Yes, she’s kind of wealthy. Not only is her husband a lawyer, her daughter is none other than Pie Calayan. Wife of Manny Calayan, the cosmetic surgeon known hereabouts as the doctor of the stars.

The new flat is great. A little sprucing up and it should be a good place to hang out. And if I ever get bored, I always know I’ll have a nice old lady that I can have laughter-filled conversations with.

(More Japan photos here)



  1. Wish I could have a landlady as funny as yours. Mine’s a backstabber! Argh!

    Gusto ko ma-meet si Rubber Duckie!

  2. So alam mo ba yung Onyx Street?

    Waaaaaahahahahahahahaa. *TAOB*

  3. Naalala ko yung Sputnik Sweetheart sa ferris wheel. Tenenenenen. Naks ang ganda ng cam. So ibig sabihin ba niyan ay may discount ka na sa Calayan clinic? Wooohooo!

  4. Tel: Ang dami pang funny na kuwento. Hehehehe. Pag nagkita tayo ulit, sama ko si rubber duckie. Inampon na ni UP Cum Laude eh.

    Din: Naalala ko tuloy yung a duck walks into a bar and tells the bartender: ‘you got a peanut butter sandwich and milk?’ yung paulit ulit. hehehehehehe

    Rissa: Iniisip ko nga mag pa lipo ng tiyan eh. hehehehe. trivia: nagpaayos ng ilong si pie. si vic del rosario and nagbabayad tuwing may viva artist na nagpaparetoke. ang daming bukol sa katawan ni osang dahil mali yung procedure na ginawa ni vicky belo sa kanya. hehehehe. sarap kausap ng matandang yun. dami wento.

  5. hahaha *taob*

    kailan kaya namin mareraid ang bago mong palasyo?

    at magkano kaya ang laser hair removal kina calayan?

  6. Cy: basta. i’ll let you guys know kung kelan puwede. aayusin ko muna with bibay’s help. kelangan presentable bago kayo pumunta. hehehehehe

    re: laser hair removal? di ko alam pero may 10% cut ako sa referrals. hehehehehe

  7. kakakita lang natin kanina eh, di mu naman kasama. mashado ka kasing busy… bossing!

    di ka pa nagpapainom! painom ka naman!

  8. i-raaaaaaaaaid na ang bagong flat na yaaaaaaaaaaaaaan :))

    hahha panalo ang lola mo hahahah :)) kinabagan ako dun ah :)

  9. Tama nga si Kate: pang episode ng Palibhasa Lalake ang nangyari sa apartment mo! Wahahahahaha!

    Hmmm, puwede ring MMK: Dingding.


  10. kate: oo, sarap kaya kausap. hahahahaha
    law: dingding?!?!?! ahahahahahahaha!

  11. parang palibhasa lalake! NATUMBOK MO!!!

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