For my parent’s 31st wedding anniversary this year our family decided to go to Japan. We booked a 6-day cruise with Diamond Princess (blog entry about our experience HERE), but we arrived in Japan 2 days before it started so that we could have time to explore by ourselves. Our flight was around 5am, which meant that we had to leave  our house at around 1am. Nevertheless, I was excited because JAPAN! It was always a dream of mine to visit this amazing country.


We were welcomed by this sign upon arriving at Narita airport

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We passed by these interesting plate display on the way to the immigration counter

We stopped to use the restroom and I found myself facing a traditional Japanese toilet:

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I used my fair share of these back in Myanmar.  They’re quite common in Asia but we don’t really have them in the Philippines.

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I like how they had an illustrated guide on how to use the toilet on the wall XD

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Ezra looks very excited to be in Japan.  I told her to pose like a high fashion model, and this is what happened:

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She just looked high XD

Since we didn’t have a meal on the plane we were very hungry. Fortunately, there were several places to buy food at the airport

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We found this little convenience store there which sold some packed Japanese food

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Ezra checking out the different kinds of onigiri

We didn’t have anyone to pick us up so my dad bought tickets for a bus heading to Yokohama, where we would be staying

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We were impressed by the efficiency of their transport system. The bus was scheduled to leave at 11:15am, and it left at exactly that time! Why can’t buses do that in the Philippines. Also, the bus had seatbelts! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bus with seatbelts before.

After about an hour, the bus dropped us off at this station where we could grab a taxi that would take us to our hotel

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We spotted this interesting looking vehicle on our way there.

Our cab driver (who was very nice) dropped us off the Daiwa Roynet Hotel, which would be our home for the next two days.  They shared the building with other offices and the hotel lobby was located on the third floor. They had a designated elevator for hotel guests, but we didn’t know that and we ended up going into a different elevator.  Fortunately we realized our mistake and quickly found the correct elevator.

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After checking in, we were given our room keys. I thought they were interesting because most hotel key cards I’ve seen were made of plastic, sort of like a credit card. This one’s very thin and flexible – it almost feels like paper. It’s probably the same material they use for our MRT cards.

After we got settled in our rooms, we bought some snacks and drinks at the convenience store downstairs and ate lunch in our rooms. (We bought burgers from Jollibee on our way to the airport before leaving Manila, but we all slept on the plane so we didn’t get a chance to eat them. We ended up having them for lunch instead.) We agreed to go out and explore later that afternoon so I tried to use our spare time to catch up on some sleep, but Ezra kept wanting to eat all the snacks we bought. I don’t have any pictures of us at the convenience store or in our room but we did take a lot of videos using the GoPro and compiled the footage in a vlog, which you can watch at the end of this entry).

At around 5pm, we headed out to see Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is supposedly one of the largest in the world.

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Beautiful details at the entrance

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Nice clean streets


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Week 27/52 : Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.

I’m trying my best to catch up on this project, so I went out and shot three portraits at once the other day. This one’s my favorite because I love the lighting and the bokeh. It’s been a while since I played around with my 50mm lens, I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

I styled my hair in a side bun for this shot, unfortunately it was on the left side of my head so it couldn’t be seen in the original photo. I thought it was a shame that I spent time styling my hair and you couldn’t even see it, so I took the bun from another photo (with me facing to the left) and just attached it to this one. Ah Photoshop~ Where would I be without you?

The quote I chose for this portrait is by C.S. Lewis. I think it describes my present situation quite well – thought I wouldn’t say “nothing” changes in my everyday life. They do happen, but they happen very gradually. And yet, when I look back to how my life was just a few months ago, the difference is enormous. I NEVER would have imagined being in the situation I’m in right now, and yet here I am. If I were go back to the start of this year and tell my past self that all these things would be happening to me in just a couple of months, I’d probably just roll my eyes and walk away. But big things have happened, and huge changes have been made – changes I never would have thought was possible. And I’m pretty sure that even more changes are headed my way.

Week 26/52 : Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting

This was another shot that was taken and edited in early July which I never got around to posting. Ezra helped me take this during the last day of Anime Expo. This was another one of the sets they had on display which the public could use for photoshoots. I wanted a shot in the classroom setup, but the line was extremely long for that one, so we ended up shooting here at the rooftop set instead. I figured it would still fit my costume since a lot of anime with a school setting have scenes that take place at the school rooftop.

The quote I chose for this week’s title is by Joyce Meyer. I like it because it made me think about certain people in my life. Anyone can wait, especially if they don’t have a choice, but only a handful of people can keep themselves entertained and in a good mood during that period. I think those people are special and I’m happy to have a few of them in my life.

Week 25/52 : If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads

I dropped by Brinky’s the other day and she invited me to take a stroll out in their compound. We didn’t last very long though, we only managed to take a couple of steps away from their house before we succumbed to the heat and headed back to cool ourselves off in front of the fan. Perhaps we’ll try again when the weather’s not as brutal. Despite spending only a few minutes outside, she was able to help me take 2 shots that I could use for my 52-week project. I’m 10 self portraits behind so I’ve got some major catching up to do. I shot a few photos outside earlier, I just need to remember to edit them and post them this week.

The quote I chose for this week’s title was by Anatole France. I like it because it describes how I feel at the moment. Certain events have been happening around me, and I feel like I should question them and try to figure out how things would play out, but at the same time I want to stop overthinking things and just enjoy each day as it comes.

Thanks Brinky for the shot! (We didn’t have our cameras with us that day so we ended up having to use our phones. I’m actually pretty happy with how the picture turned out.)

Week 24/52 : The seasons have changed and so have we

I shot and edited this way back in July, but I’ve just been too lazy to post it for some reason.

I am now completely behind on this self portrait project. I don’t even know how I’ll be able to catch up. I will try, I promise, but expect to see lots of standard portraits of just me against a wall or something. I don’t really have that much time to do elaborate setups or come up with concepts these days. My mind’s been a bit scattered since May, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about life in general since then. I wish I could say that things have started to settle down, but my mind is still really cluttered at the moment. There’s still a lot of stuff I need to sort out.

Anyway, this photo was taken at the Anime Expo last July. They had a lot of sets on display there and Ezra, Kurt and I had fun playing around with them. This was one of the more popular setups – the sakura/torii display.

The quote in my title is from the song “The Ice is Getting Thinner” by Death Cab for Cutie.

Hello perfect vision! (Getting my first contact lenses)

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After years of harboring a fear of touching my eyeballs, I finally decided that it was time for me to try wearing contacts.  I’ve had glasses for almost 20 years now and I’ve always been curious about contacts, but the thought of placing a piece of glass directly on my cornea made me shudder. I’ve been told that it was painless and once you get used to it, you won’t even realize that it’s there – but there’s still the issue of having to touch my eyeball to put it on and take it out. I’ve always imagined myself trying out contacts and having to go to the hospital to get them removed because I’d be too scared to pinch them out myself. The thought of anything touching my eyes bothers me so much that I can’t even put eye drops on properly. I need to use at least 3 drops in each eye because 80% of it runs down my face. And although I’ve conquered my fear of applying eyeliner and mascara on myself (who knew vanity could be such a great motivator) I still can’t handle other people putting eye makeup on me. I would flinch and turn away whenever a hand (that’s not mine) comes close to my eyeball. I’ve been scolded several times by makeup artists at events because it’s so hard for me to keep my eyes open while they line my waterline or do anything with my lashes.

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INSTABITS : July 2015

Hello August! July flew by so quickly, probably because there were so many things happening – family reunions, dinners, weddings, etc. This year’s US trip was much more low-key compared to the past years, but there were still plenty of activities to keep us busy.

We started the month by staying at the Welk Resort in San Diego with my cousins and cutie pamangkins. They taught us how to play Uno cards and some kendama tricks.

Kurt got Ezra and me 4-day passes for this year’s Anime Expo. He attends a lot of cosplay events to shoot videos (check out his YouTube here) and this is the first time I got to see him in action. Ezra and I only went for two days though, because we were in San Diego the first day and Ezra wasn’t feeling well on the third day.

Check out the crowd at Anime Expo. And I thought our ToyCon was crowded. Thankfully the venue was HUGE (I probably only saw half of the place), so it wasn’t like the cosplay events here in the Philippines where you barely have room to breathe.

This year’s Anime Expo bag featured Summoners War, yay! They were promoting the game at the event so there were lots of huge banners and even a Com2Us booth.

Quick selfie with Ezra before we left my aunt’s house on the 4th day of the event.

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