Dreaming of Japan

Detox Tip #9: Dream, and dream big.

Ever since I’ve come back from , I’ve been thinking of ways to get back there. I really did fall in love with the country and its people, in such a short time. I guess you could call it love at first sight. ;-)

It’s weird because I’ve never really dreamt of going to Japan before. It was always my anime-freak of a sister who kept yapping over and over about Japan ever since… hmm, Sailor Moon, probably. Hehe. She collected everything Japanese, actively participated in anime fanclubs, watched anime channels 24/7 and formally enrolled herself in Japanese studies. I just could not relate.

A bitbefore Christmas last year, a mass email was sent to my department promoting a two-week internship over at NAIST, Japan. I was very interested — anything free appeals to me greatly, hehe. The next mass email was an application form, but in the excitement and rush of the season, I kinda forgot about it, until a day before the deadline, my professor sent me an email asking if I was still interested.

I briefly thought not to apply anymore, as I didn’t feel good enough to be accepted. Me? An intern in Japan? It was better for my heart not to hope. But Flishi-sense won over, the part of me that has always insisted on never ever EVER submitting an exam sheet with even just one blank answer, because even if my grow-up-get-over-it brain told me the answer was uselessly wrong, my hopeful joyful heart always believed there was an off chance it was right, or maybe an intsy bitsy part of it. I never let a chance pass me by. :-) So I hurriedly composed my application form and emailed it off within the hour.

I mailed it shushing my squealing heart to forget, and I really tried my best for almost two months. In February, the results came in. I was in!! I was in!! I was gonna go to Japan! For two weeks! For free! OMG!! OMFG!!! I actually jumped in joy for about two minutes, shrieking and laughing and at the same feeling oh-so-scared it wouldn’t actually come to pass. Good thing I was alone. I’d have freaked out anyone who saw me. I called up Gim immediately and told him, and we both jumped up and down a bit more. I told my mom, too, and my sister. But nobody else yet. I didn’t want to tell, just yet, because maybe it wouldn’t come true, ‘coz I had so many documents to process in such a short time – my passport, my Visa, the lifting of my travel ban (I’m a government scholar) , my final exams and requirements…

Long story short, I actually got to finish up everything just in time. I was even able to squeeze a weekend trip to Baguio with my friends (but that’s another story), hehe, to the distraught of my laboratory partner Chris, hehe, because we were on a deadline to pass our mobile application. He was chosen to come to NAIST, too. But we did it, and got a perfect grade, too. Hehe. Go team!

Anyways, we left for Japan on March 9, thoroughly enjoyed our two-week Japanese immersion (more of that on later posts) and came back on March 22. During our time there, we met a lot of really nice people. Topping my list are organizers and tourguides Edison, Albert and CC. Hehe. I also got to know our fellow interns Clare, Emarc, Ma’am No and Ma’am Cathy, all from the Engineering Department.

One exciting thing accomplished during our trip was an agreement between ADMU and NAIST to have a student-exchange program for the next few years. It was such uplifting news to me, because it means I could have another chance at going back to Japan to study as an exchange student. I’m not setting my heart on this, though, because it’s a university-wide program, so there will be many students vying for the chance, and only 3 slots open. Also, financial assistance will not be given by either universities, so that kinda rules out any chance of me going there. I can’t even afford a one-way ticket to Japan, let alone a whole year of board and lodging. So *sigh* there.

But one thing I can do is hope, hehe. I’m full of that. And try to do everything in my power to inch myself closer to my dream. I’ve been scouring for possible scholarships, but so far, no luck. It seems I should have done that a long time ago, all the scholarships for the next school year have far passed their deadlines. I’m trying to make a bit of money, who knows, maybe blog ads could actually work for me heheh (sorry for the eyesores). Anyways, even if I don’t get in this year, maybe in a few years I will.

For now, I’m setting my sights on learning the Japanese language.

Ateneo de Manila University currently offers a Japanese language course, Nihongo for Everyone. It’s from April 19 – June 21, 9:00 – 4:00 PM every Saturday and costs P5,000 (P4,500 for Ateneo students and employees). At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to express and understand simple Japanese as well as recogize basic Japanese characters.

The University of the Philippines Diliman also offers Japanese courses. I recently browsed their site and found a PDF stating their special summer courses. They have the Beginner’s Regular 1, 2, 3 and 4 from April 5 to June 14, each costing P7,200. They also offer a short course, much like Ateneo’s, with 3 schedules: April 21- May 3, May 5-May 16, or May 19-30. The course lasts 40 hours and costs P4,000.

But what I’m most interested in is UP’s Beginner’s Short Intensive, lasting 180 hours from April 21-May 30, 5 days a week, 7 hours per day, with the objective of passing the Japanese Language Profienciency Test 4. It costs P16,000. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford it, haha.

I don’t know if I’ll really make it back to Japan. I hope I will. But if I won’t, at least I can tell myself it was not for lack of trying. :-)


  1. Hi Flisha,

    Glad you had a great time in Japan. Hubby and I went there for a short holiday last year and didn’t expect to fall in love with the place, the people and OMG, the food either but we immediately did!

    I did have some regrets though that I didn’t have any Japanese language skills to fully appreciate the experience.

    Anyway, you could try checking if the Japanese embassy still offers Japanese language classes. I joined their beginner language class a long time ago and they send top students to Japan for several weeks if I recall correctly. If they still offer that then that could be your way in. You may have to work hard at it but I think it’s worth it if it means returning to Japan for free! :)

  2. I just remembered that you live in Zamboanga and the Japanese embassy’s in Makati! Sorry bout that. :|

  3. Hi Raquel,

    No I’ve actually been living here in Manila for the past year :) I’m studying for my Masters in CS at ADMU that’s why I was able to go to Japan :)

    Thanks for the suggestion but I checked the embassy website and there was no link to any Japanese language course… too bad. I’ve signed for Jap studies at UP Diliman, though, so wish me luck there hehe.