Monday, August 10, 2015

Japanese Customs I Can't Apply in the Philippines

Escalator scene shot in Roppongi Hills
Riding the escalator in Japan (Tokyo style)

I've lived in the Philippines for 26 years and only 3 years in Japan. Although I've lived longer in the Philippines, it still takes time for me revert to my ''Filipino ways'' whenever I visit. There are some Japanese customs that I've grown used to.

Here are some of them:

1. Automatically bowing when saying thank you. 

It's well-known that Japanese people bow a lot. Whenever I visit the Philippines, I can't stop my head from bowing whenever I say thank you. My head seemed to have been auto-programmed to bow when my mouth utters ''thank you.'' But instead of bowing back to me, people in the Philippines probably think I'm strange.

2. Flushing the toilet paper in the toilet bowl.

In the Philippines, people throw the toilet paper in a trash bin. When I shared this fact to Japanese and other foreigners, they thought it was gross and unsanitary. They've always flushed the toilet paper in the bowl. If we do this in the Philippines, the bowls will be clogged. Even though I know this could happen, there were some instances when I would flush the toilet paper in the bowl. By the time I would remember I'm in the Philippines,  it would be too late to retrieve the toilet paper.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to Plan a Wedding While Overseas

photo credits:

School ends today before the summer break. Yay! Yay! And one more yay!
I did a lot of things last summer but this summer, I'll only do one BIG thing. 


I don't why I have to share it here. I just feel like it. 

Anyway, my boyfriend and I have been engaged since late last year. I went to the Philippines last December to start preparing for our wedding. But here's the catch: No one knew about it until last month. (haha!)

We wanted to have a low-key and intimate wedding. Our original plan was to have a small wedding in a secluded island in the Philippines. But, I know how our parents would like to have a traditional wedding. So we compromised and changed our plans. It will be in a more accessible location with more people. But, we still limit the number of people we invited. 

Less than a month and I'll be a missus. (Mixed feelings here!) Aside from a wedding gown, all is set and ready for our big day. I did all the preparations overseas. How did I do that? 

Maybe these things can help other overseas brides: 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What to Wear in Japanese Schools

In the pre-departure orientation before I came to Japan, the speaker heavily emphasized how the Japanese are very strict with overall appearance in the workplace. Hence, I was quite formal during my first months in Japan. I was always wearing suits and button-down shirts. My hair and face were always made up. I was even wearing pearl earrings. Then I noticed how I was even formal than the principal. I realized I was overdressed.

Perhaps, if I was working in a company, what I wore were just fine. But in the schools, I didn't need to be so formal all the time.

So if you're working or planning to work in Japanese schools, here's a more manageable guidelines: 

A. Hair
  • If you have long hair, always tie it in a pony tail. In schools, you will notice that all pony tails are not too low nor too high. The rule is to tie your hair as high as your ears. 
  • You can dye your hair 1 shade darker or lighter.   
  • For men, keep it short. 
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