Saturday, September 25, 2010


Finally, we ordered new shinai early this month, and I also got myself a new sakura tsuba (^^,)

My Erasers as of 9月5日

XD I know, it sounds like a big deal, but I do collect and actually use most of these (except perhaps those that come in "bento boxes." But otherwise, I actually bring them to school and use them when I practice my kana or when I draw.

So after I gave away some of my erasers, I took photos of some of those I still kept.


A bag of assorted candies, from my mom's friend who just flew in from Australia.

Giving Away Milkshakes

Early this month I went through my box of erasers and I picked out those I will give away - those which are too dirty, cannot erase properly, are too sticky, and are practically useless.

These look pretty against the light, but they make the paper very dirty when used for erasing.

These look really cute, but because the inside of the "glasses" are hollow, the "milkshake" and the "straw" come off, and the glass gets torn and deformed. They cannot be properly used as erasers after all.

These are basically all the erasers I put away. The "juice" in the yellow "bottle" and the "ice cream" have the same defect as the milkshakes. Their parts come off and they become totally useless. The "milk carton" is okay - it is an iwako eraser - except that after the sticker came off, it has become waaay too sticky.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Death by Tuna

About a decade ago, a man we shall call the Stealer of Charlottes left his home with a back pack of necessities - a toothbrush, some fresh change of clothes, money, and a few canned goods, including a can of tuna. He was going to run away and marry the girl of his dreams.

Nine years later, the Stealer of Charlottes was talking to a friend, and he was telling her about how the girl of his dreams turned out to be a monster. The Stealer of Charlottes is completely over her, though occasionally he felt a hint of anger about everything that happened. Eventually though, he just became indifferent when it comes to her. He just does not care at all. 

A year later, he was talking to the same friend about other things, particularly about an arrogant Living Slab of Mud, Dirt, Booger, and Earwax, whom they both had to deal with at work. As their conversation progressed, they got to talking about food, then coffee, then canned goods. The subject of tuna came up. Apparently, the Stealer of Charlottes and the girl of his dreams who turned out to be a monster never got to sharing the can of tuna. 

And the can of tuna is still in the Stealer of Charlotte's cabinet at home. 

"Aren't you supposed to throw that away already?" the friend asked. 

"No," the Stealer of Charlottes decided. More than the can having some sentimental value or memorable significance, the Stealer of Charlottes is almost afraid what he will find inside the can if he does decide to open it. 

The friend suggested that perhaps another Stealer of Charlottes will arise from the opened can of tuna. 

However, the Stealer of Charlottes is worried about something else. He feels that the can's contents has morphed into something so hazardous to human life that it can actually release some kind of poisonous chemical that will wipe out the entire human race. All over the world. 

The friend laughed and coaxed the Stealer of Charlottes to open it. She thinks it is not even safe to simply throw the can away, as a homeless person might find it, open it, and die of food poisoning. 

"Alright," the Stealer of Charlottes agreed. He took a can opener. The friend excitedly waited for what they are about to see. 

The Stealer of Charlottes opened the can. Inside was nothing but brown, murky liquid that smelled like pure evil. However, the Stealer of Charlottes and his friend had no time to comment, because everything went black. 

Everything went black for everyone else too, around the world. 

A few minutes later, the arrogant Living Slab of Mud, Dirt, Booger, and Earwax was walking on the street, wondering why everyone has just suddenly fallen asleep. As he walked on, he noticed that most people seemed to have died with a stunned expression on their faces. 

By some odd chance, the arrogant Living Slab of Mud, Dirt, Booger, and Earwax passed by the place where the bodies of the Stealer of Charlottes and his friend lay, and he found the can of tuna, opened and untouched. He thought it must have been sad that they died without having the chance to enjoy their last meal. He also noticed that they are the ones with the most stunned expressions on their faces, that it almost looked like they were about to cry out in agony. He quickly got over it though, and he took the can of tuna, and gobbled it all up. 

The arrogant Living Slab of Mud, Dirt, Booger, and Earwax burped, and walked on. He decided it would be wise to look for and finish off any leftover pizzas that the dead would never be able to enjoy.  Happily, he marched off, savoring the idea that this time, there would be no pesky workmates to compete with when it comes to getting the best, biggest, cheesiest pizza slices.

(For a McDonald's/KFC/Dunkin Donuts buddy, who gave the idea of Death by Tuna. May you never come across the Living Slab of MDBE ever again XD)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good Morning (^^,)

My sister and I went to enroll for Japanese classes. As we waited for the admin office to open its doors, we stayed for a bit at McDonald's for breakfast  (^^,) A happy start :3

Visiting the Family's Old Homes (Part 2: The Home Where Time Stood Still)

My mom and I left my grandmother's home towards the late afternoon. We headed for the main gate of the compound, and passed by a couple of other homes of other relatives. One of the older homes, I noticed, was torn down, and nothing much remains. I think they intend to build a new tiny apartment to be rented out, though I am not sure.

I went closer and found the old San Juan Studio signage among the rubble (^^U)

I think this was the same sign that hung outside for the longest time, ever since the photography studio of my great grandfather started. Back then, I think theirs was among the first photography studios ever in town. Most of our baby photos (in sepia) had the studio's logo on them.

So anyway, my mom and I walked on, until we came to the home closest to the gate. It is among the old homes which has been most preserved, that is, it basically looks exactly the same as it did way, way back. Ever since I was a small child, I don't remember seeing this home changed in any way, except perhaps that it continues to accumulate more and more possessions. (Note: It is not as scary as it looks. Well, okay, maybe a little. I just probably know the two old women living in it so I don't find it as scary.)

So, as I mentioned, two old ladies live here. (Actually three - I just met their caretaker that day who is also an old lady herself. So yeah, three old ladies in a very old, dark house :3) They are my grandfather's sisters, and they never married, and have been living in this home since forever. Most of the things around and inside it have also been there since I can remember. Or since my mom can remember. Basically, everything that has been given to them, or everything they used, is kept. Nothing is ever thrown away. For example, an old banner for one of the annual family reunions, once placed on the wall, stays there. If a new banner is used for the following year, it is placed on whichever part of the wall is empty, or it is placed on top of the previous year's banner. Anyway, they don't always use banners every year, so I think it came to a point when they just created one generic banner which is supposed to be used permanently. It has my great grandfather's image as the family's "logo." (Note: I only attended these reunions when I was a child, when I had no choice but to go with my mom. After that, I did not really go much, because it is really more for my grandfather's side of the family, and I was never close to any one of them, most of whom are my second and third cousins. My mom usually went, because she gets to mingle and catch up with her own cousins.)

My mom asked me if I wanted to drop by, though she asked it in a tone that sounded more like, "do you want to take a tour at the museum?" XD I said sure, but I sounded more like, "sure let's ride the ghost train!" XD

So she rang the doorbell, and the old lady caretaker whom I still didn't know about, answered the door, and I almost freaked out, wondering who she is and where she came from. My mom quickly introduced her as the kind lady taking care of my grandaunts and doing the housekeeping (which made me wonder if she ever found the house she was keeping, given all the decades of accumulated things). My mom said her name was "Diling," and I freaked out again because I thought she said it was "Dilim."

So, Diling went up the STONE steps of the house to tell my grandaunts that they have visitors. I asked my mom to take my photos sitting on the antique chairs, though it was too dark (yes the entire home is dilim, I mean DIM, and there is a likely possibility that you will step out of it feeling like an artifact) and I looked like a shadowy slab of meat on dusty furniture. Before we went up the stairs to say hi, I whispered to my mom that this is so much fun, and it is just like visiting the museum.

Upstairs, they both looked surprised and happy to see us, especially the one who used to be an English language supervisor during her time, and she asked me how my relationship is with God (I said we're good). I poked around for treasure, though, as expected, we cannot really take anything because they know about every single thing inside the house and they intend to keep it that way, because they really treasure each item they have, especially the gifts they got. (My mom once sent them a package with a post-it note on it, just to indicate that the package was for them, and I found the post-it note tacked to one of the remaining small empty spots on the wall, along with other pieces of paper posted on the wall just because they were a note from someone they know. Really, they keep everything.) So I just satisfied my curiosity by taking some photos and touching everything I could touch until my hand was gray and stiff with dust. My mom became my tour guide and showed me the secret doors between the rooms and pointed the spot to me where a secret door led to another area within the compound, though that secret door has been sealed up.

I found a traditional Japanese woman in a glass case, an old Japanese aircon (the one which still requires ICE in order to work), very old furniture for children's parties, very old Jollibee toys, a Mathematics Instrument tin case, Little Twin Stars decor, old powder cases, your typical old scary doll in a red dress, photos that were framed and mounted on walls even before I was born, among several several religious statues and images, and countless other things accumulated through the years. (Their beds are in the exact same spot as I remember as a kid, except that there are now MORE side tables that there is no way for you to stand beside the bed. Once you enter the bedroom, you will have to literally, climb and crawl to bed in order to lie down. The path leading to an inner room is so narrow you need to walk sideways.)

I had my photos taken with my grandaunts too, and took photos of my mom with them. They asked me how old I was and they thought they heard "22," and they were shocked to hear I was already "that grownup." I corrected them and they gawked at me for being my actual age. It was like, for them, my mom will always be a young mom, and I am the small child that my mom has. It was like time stood still in that house, and everything around them is just as clear in their memory as if they were given to them just a few days ago, and things are as they were in the previous decades.

Later on, we stepped out of the museum, I mean the house, and the fresh air hit my face and it felt like a pleasant surprise. On the way home, I was marveling at how everything was still in the same place and how much it felt like being in a museum, and how much I saw and touched and experienced just by looking through all their homes and stuff. I think it was also quite refreshing to be able to visit our old hometown and get to see the old homes and visit our older relatives though there is no occasion or a party going on. Somehow, it did feel like a fun field trip, but in a more relevant and interesting way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Visiting the Family's Old Homes (Part 1)

On the last day of August, my mom decided to visit my grandmother (her mom), and asked if I wanted to come along. I did not have school that entire week and was not in the mood to work yet, so I agreed to go with her. I was excited partly because I have not visited the old town in such a long time, and a part of me felt like it was going to a field trip XD I was thinking old homes, old-fashioned stores, and street food XD I also wanted to take photos of my mom's old home.

My grandmother's home is now just part of a huge compound, which used to be a much much bigger compound in the earlier days. Other relatives are living in the other small homes within that area. It is a really old place and I mean REALLY old. The moment you walk inside the really old gate, you can smell "oldness" in the air - not the bad kind of old smell; it's just something that lets you know that it's a place that has been there for a really long time.

So anyway the compound is now much smaller than it used to be. Way back when my mom and her siblings were kids, and her grandparents were still alive, their "backyard" was like a small forest on its own, with several fruit trees and plants. (Sometimes, snakes would get in the house and they'd have to kill them. My mom told me a snake once ate her pet doves.) Now, I think that part of their home belongs to someone else already, or is occupied by another home, and has been cut off from the compound.

The homes within this current area have also been renovated A BIT. They still look basically the same and most of them have been retained, but the trapdoors leading underground (where people hid during the second world war, particularly when Japanese soldiers would barge in the homes) and the secret doors leading to other parts of the house, have been covered up and sealed. Other than that, most of the homes and even the stone walls enclosing them, are pretty much intact.

My grandmother just occupies the second floor of the space she owns, because she is renting out the first floor. The stairs leading to her home is dark and really has an old feel to it, but once you get inside, everything turns into a typical cozy home belonging to a grandmother - everything is clean, made up, frilly, homey, and the air smells like really good food, or flowers, or the comforting scent of a grandmother's perfume.

She just came out of the shower and while my mom said her hellos to other relatives downstairs, I had a little chat with her. I showed her some photos in my digicam of my trip to Tagaytay with kendo friends. I updated her a bit about the man I like and how much older he is but she didn't seem to mind, probably because she is like, in her 80s XD So ANYWAY, I took photos of her home and her things. That day the theme of her decor was pink and frilly. (She is so creative and talented that her home actually has different THEMES throughout the year. In the past I've seen her Christmas theme, Easter theme, Lenten season theme, the lavender and butterflies theme, the Valentine's theme, among other themes.) This means that what you are about to see now are mostly Pink and Frilly.

Later on my mom came up and as they exchanged stories and caught up with each other, I went around taking photos and exploring my grandmother's stuff. (In one of my explorations before, I found a ceramic of a traditional Japanese woman, and she gave it to me, so it is now in my possession XD) Her home is small but it is so nice to explore because everything is clean and organized and colorful and so nice to touch and somehow all her things and everything in her home makes me feel like a child again (^^,)

I brought Reina-chan with me and she wanted to pose near the blue glass "droplets." My grandmother was so amused with her and liked the idea that I still found joy in things like tiny dolls XD (You will also find Reina-chan in the other photos. Apparently, for her, this is kengaku XD)

Her cozy living room has many interesting things on display. Take note that most of her decor were handmade. She sews and she likes creating things out of scraps and recycled materials, and she spends a lot of time making them because she enjoys it a lot. A lot of her decor were also gifts from everyone in the family, and she likes seeing them and having them around because it reminds her of all of us.

One of these things I found which came from us was the salt and pepper shaker I gave her many many many years ago. I think I was still in high school. Or early in college. It was a couch potato and TV set. I remember that I gave her this partly because we were pairing her up back then to some guy who looked like a potato, but in a nice way.

I found some potatoes by the sink and decided to take a photo of the couch potato with them, so he can rest his eyes from the TV for a few moments.

Reina-chan took his place in front of the TV first.

I stepped out into her terrace (which leads to tiny "secret" rooms) and looked at her grotto and the pots of plants and herbs. I found that she hung handmade decor around the perimeter of her garden because the neighbor's pigeons apparently liked swooping by and taking her baby vegetables and loved eating off her taller plants.

Back inside, I went to her bedroom which is also pink and frilly. By the way, she used to make stuffed toys when I was much younger, and when her hands and eyes still allowed her to create them. Her collection of stuffed toys is a mixture of those given to her and those she made herself. Those she made herself date back from the time I was a very small child, or even before that. A group of these stuffed toys watch her when she sleeps.

I explored her dresser which has tons of perfumes and lotions and butters and powders and accessories, and trinkets and souvenirs I remember playing with since I was a child. Reina-chan particularly loved the tiny perfume bottles. I also took photos of my grandmother's handmade decor which she created from recycled plastic bottles, each with a unique design. I also found a STRANGE bird decor which I accidentally bumped, and then it started making all these chirping and rain forest sounds. It seemed to last forever and I slightly panicked. When it was finished tormenting me, I moved on to her altar, which I think she will be giving to my mom when she passes away (she openly talks about her death as if it were a party she will soon be attending).

As you go up or down the stairs leading to this comfortable home, you can see several photos and some artwork of her husband - my grandfather.

Among the photos is their wedding photo, where my grandmother looked so much like I do.

This is her TV area. And no, she does not look like the couch potato with the TV XD (I showed her the photo of the couch potato with the real potatoes, and she laughed and hit me.)

She turned on the tiny lights that framed some of parts of the living room to show me how pretty they looked, especially in the evening. I also noticed the biggest decor she made for the theme, and it hung at the center of the living room ceiling.

Her dining set also goes with the theme. These chair covers, though, were made by my aunt who also sews.

So generally, when you go up the stairs to my grandmother's house, this is what you will see:

Before my mom and I left, my grandmother brought us to one of the "secret rooms" and showed us her workshop, where she keeps a lot of finished products for selling and giving away, and where containers of craft materials are neatly stored.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pig Drama

As I cleaned up and organized my Facebook account, I found this old Farmville photo I edited before - it was so funny!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trip to Tagaytay

Monday last week was a holiday, so some kendo friends and I went up to Tagaytay for lunch, then we hung out for a bit in Allan's house. Apart from taking photos of Junko and my friends, I and the girls hunted for ladybugs, and I took their photos too (and touched them) along with other naturey stuff.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Freshy Baked Big Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Last week, my sister decided to bake her Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies.

In the Land of Dough

I tasted the dough and it was already good XD

Look at that yummy texture :3

The cookies came out chewy!

Freshly baked. This one was my favorite piece.

They were so perfect with milk!!! (^_^)

Toro-kun is excited about all the cookies.

These home baked cookies can make anyone happy :)

On a bed of.... cookies XD

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Orenji and Kuroi, For Now

So yes, we shall call them Orenji and Kuroi for now, until my mom brings them to an old neighbor who keeps several other cats and dogs. My dad found them nearly blinded and constantly crying near our home. One of their siblings has already died after being run over by a car. They were taken from the mom and thrown away by some heartless human-shaped.... thing, exposed to the constant shift of the weather from sunny to rainy. 

My sister said we could bring the rest to PAWS Tuesday, since we had to leave right away that time. She found out from a friend though, that PAWS is quite full already and cannot accommodate more, and we know we cannot just dump them to Animal House because they are also often full of stray cats and dogs which they kindly take in.

I cleaned out their eyes with wet cotton buds, and the black one helped me out by cleaning its own right eye as soon as it was able to see. 

Orenji Before

Orenji After

Kuroi Before

Kuroi After

They seemed relieved to be able to see with both eyes so it was quite a relief for us too to know that they were not blinded after all. Then, we tried to feed them. I tried the orange one first. I gave it some cotton soaked in milk but it was trying to chew at it so I replaced it with a cotton hankie. It was so hungry it drank like crazy. I tried giving it milk in a tiny bowl but it was trying to bite the edges, so I gave it a little push towards the milk until it started lapping up the milk hungrily. After a while, I put it back in its container and tried the black one. It lapped up the milk a little, but it got tired and was shaking, so I let it rest and it grew quiet while I was holding it. They kept crying though whenever I put them down and they looked at me pleadingly not to leave them (^^U) This time I dipped the hankie in milk and allowed one kitten at a time to drink from it. Eventually, they stopped responding to it, and the orange kitten's eyes grew heavy. I spent a few more minutes keeping them warm by stroking their heads and letting my hand rest on their backs, then I covered them up with a tiny flannel rag, until they grew quiet and fell asleep.
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