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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Tokyo Skytree

So the night of our 4 cities in one day adventure, my coworker and I decided to head right straight to the Tokyo Skytree after checking in at the hotel. We were famished having skipped lunch so we can finish as many invoices as we can during our short stop at Gunma. We only had a piece of Onigiri each and a can of coffee to get us through our hunger. I guess we're also just too excited to rest that we both silently agreed to just directly attack the paper pile in front us till it was time to leave.

We left Kumagaya at around 4:30. Took the Shinkansen to Ueno and checked in at the hotel at around 6pm. We freshened up a bit and got ready for dinner at the Tokyo Skytree Town.

The Tokyo Skytree is a very popular landmark in Tokyo. It's a tall skyscraper currently ranking number 2 as the tallest structure in the world next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. During my first trip to Tokyo, one of my coworkers pointed at the Skytree while we were on board the train to Kumagaya. It didn't really piqued my curiosity so when I came back it still wasn't on my must-see places. But my coworker convinced me it was really pretty in there at night so we decided to grab dinner there. It took us about 3 train transfers and less than 30 minutes to get to the Skytree from Ueno.

When we arrived at Oshiage station, we decided to explore Solamachi and the Skytree Town first. My co-worker being a frequent Japan visitor, has been here countless times but she was gracious enough to pretend as if it was her first. We considered trying out the tour but eventually decided not to push through. I was too cheap to pay for a the tour and I have not really gotten rid of my fear of heights yet. So after walking around for about 30 minutes, we decided to head up and eat. I couldn't remember now exactly which floor we decided to eat but it was definitely that part where set meals are served (hahaha). We were initially aiming to dine in one of those open kitchen restaurants but we didn't want to go home broke so we opted to remain within the range of practicality.

After dinner, we walked a little bit more but my coworker had to meet friends in Shibuya that night and I wanted to call home too so we headed back to Ueno at around 830. Is the Skytree a must-see even for people like me who avoid tourist-y places? I must say, yes. It still is. Go at night. I think it's beauty is really best appreciated at night.

(more photos after the jump)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Four Cities in One Day

May 24
Tokyo, Japan

On the last day of our week during my travel last May to Niigata, my coworker and I was asked to help out the accounting staff in another site with some month-end invoices. That site is located in Gunma which is roughly about 2 and half hours by bullet train (Shinkansen) and bus from Nagaoka (the city we stayed in while we were in Niigata).

We woke up early to catch the 530 am train to Kumagaya so in turn we can catch the 8am bus to Gunma. I travel light but with a heavy laptop strapped to my back while walking and running around, my body was screaming tired already. But we gotta do what we were there to do and that is give assistance to anyone who needed our help so we shrugged off the exhaustion and pulled ourselves together to make our legendary four Japan cities in one day trip. As a headstart, we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and just grab a quick one at the Kumagaya Station.

Early morning view of Japan from the Shinkansen
We arrived in Kumagaya around 730 and decided not to make a dash to catch the 755 bus anymore. We lingered a bit at Starbucks after grabbing breakfast and while waiting for the next bus at 810. I also took advantage of the rare treat to access wifi and spent about 15 minutes on Skype with my family back home. It felt good to finally see them after 5 days. 

After answering a few more emails, we headed to catch the bus and managed to get to the Gunma office at around 10am. We immediately attacked the tasked that was handed over to us hoping to finish and leave by 4pm. We wanted to get to Tokyo by 7-ish. And we did manage to do so.

Exhausted? Yes we were here. But the smile isn't faked because the following morning, we are heading home!
Next up, I'm going to share lots of photos and a short narrative of my first visit to the Tokyo Skytree

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hello September!

If this blog can talk, it probably would have stopped talking to me now due to broken heart and deep resentment from my neglect. I've been an absentee blogger. And yes dear blog, I deeply I apologize for that.

It is not my intention. But I'm probably just aging. And admittedly, I just couldn't make time to blog anymore. And they blocked everything at work now so I couldn't even squeeze blogging in during lunch breaks. Bummer, eh!????

So even if September is almost ending, I am compelling myself to finish this post.

September marks my anniversary with my current employer. This year, I celebrate my sixth year with them. That's the longest I've been with an employer. I usually remember my exact anniversary date but this year, I surprisingly forgot. Aging, I blame you again.

During my commute home on the day of anniversary, I reflected on the things I learned in the past six years. I think I was able to finish an 800 worded essay if I had a word processor installed inside my head then. It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride for me. First 3 years was a real struggle, then on the 4th year things started to make a turn for the better. On the 5th year, my efforts are starting to get noticed. This year, I can honestly say, I'm happy where I am now.

Through the years, I've learned that patience indeed is a virtue. But as virtues are, it can be earned and nurtured. I learned patience the hard way. And admittedly, I was a late bloomer in that department. Having less of patience on those early years, I did attempt to leave. But luck wasn't really on my side then. The first series of rejections really broke me and almost left my esteem bucket almost dry. I was jaded and was almost coming to work in auto-pilot mode. The enthusiasm left me.

I'm a totally changed person now. And I'm glad I am now in a place where my passions can be openly pursued. I love mentoring people. Young or old. I just hope the spark I have now will finally rub on the people that are with me now.

Ahhhh, despite confessing to being happy, I know I still have a long way to go. So I continue to pray for strength and wisdom to make the right decisions.

Enough senti. Hello and almost goodbye, September.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Place: Mandaue Foam

This weekend has been a very productive one. We accomplished a lot and yet still manage to maximize rest by claiming the entire afternoon for siesta. Ain't that just the perfect weekend?

The highlights of this weekend were my date with the little miss yesterday and my furniture store date with the husband this morning.  I already documented about yesterday's highlight here, so let me rave about this morning this time.

Mandaue Foam has been in my list of must-visit-shops for sometime now. But the when it comes to shopping, my husband and I have this silent rule to never go to a must-visit-shop unless the necessity arises or unless there's an ongoing sale. Saves us the heartache brought about by either impulsive buying or not being able to buy anything because we can't effin' afford an item.

Today however fit both of our criteria so we made the trip even if we both hated going out of the house on a Sunday. We don't regret it because the trip was a success.

We've been saving up for a replacement to sofa for sometime now. And finally we found that replacement at 25% off. I don't know if it's because we were in the shop early so the staff had lots of energy to help us but I really like how helpful they were without being too pushy (if you know what I mean). And they seem to be very knowledgeable about their products which is another plus.

The husband and I found several items that we think we also need at home but we have yet to make room for those in our budget so we had to forego. But Mandaue Foam has now definitely found it's way to our list of happy places. We'll definitely go back. Hopefully, they do another one of this major sale soon!

Here's a list of MF branches here in Metro Manila:

Cainta, Rizal
KM 23, Ortigas Avenue Extension
Brgy. San Juan
(02) 660 6457 or (02) 656 6804

Mandaluyong City
#489 Shaw Blvd.
Brgy. Addition Hills
(02) 721 0661 to 65

Quezon City
Quezon Ave. corner BMA Street
Brgy. Dona Josefa
(02) 711 0801 to 03

Las PiƱas City
487 Alabang Zapote Road
Brgy. Almanza Uno
(02) 556 5621 or (02) 556 6086

The branch nearest to us is the one in Las Pinas and this was a 3-storey building filled with all the good stuff. And at first, I thought they were really expensive items but drop by during sale season like this and the catalog prices won't be as intimidating anymore.

Sharing photos I took from this morning's trip. Unfortunately, their sale ends tomorrow. But if you badly need a furniture fix, a trip to Mandaue Foam tomorrow might just be worth it.

Sale starting at 25% off and up to 40% off
everything just looks beautiful!
sofas for as low as P8000 (catalog price, no discount yet),
sets going for P15000 (no discount applied yet)
view from the second floor
throwpillows and cases starting at 250php
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