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Having lived for more than six years in the Land of the Rising Sun 10 pursue higher education had been one of the mast treasured moments of my life. 1 want to share my experiences to all thase who are curious about, ‘and who had been in Japan as well. Ishall narrate the Japanese people the way Tsaw them. Are they really hardworking people? Are they really honest? Is it really a land of high technology? Or are these ACL le AL merely labels? Let us explore Japan. 1 will offer a series of drafis of the book Lam working on for You to geta glimpse of what isin it Hopefully, the book will be available in the first quarter of 2010. In finding enjoyment rom the book, I think my mission will have been accomplished. Tencourage suggestions, comments, and advance 01 my email: gino510@y Prologue Coming from a middle income family in a developing country, education was thought to improve one’s economic life Domestic and international travel is costly. So, like most Filipinos, | could hardly afford any foreign travel. At the age of 35, Ihave yet to see the world beyond Philippine shores. It did not occur to me that | would be living in a foreign land, In my younger years, all wanted to do was to finish medical school and earn comfortably through private practice. All these things changed when | was aged 33. | was then working in one of the provincial government hospitals south of the capital city of Manila. My medical career during those early years was not going the way | wanted. Young male Obstetricians in culture- sensitive Philippines will not only face challenges in winning popularity among his clients but more importantiy, from the clients’ husbands. Wanting to try my luck elsewhere, | decided to look for study rants and jobs abroad. | applied for post-graduate courses in Australia and the UK, where | could study for free and with minimal stipend, | also sought jobs in the US. All of them are English-speaking nations. But my mind and heart was not really sold to the idea. At the back of my mind, these countries are not where | wanted to be. | wanted another place. | did not know the reason. Idid not exactly know the place either. During one of my regular dental check-ups, | told the plans to my orthodontist, an ex-scholar in Japan, He and his wife convinced and helped me to try my luck in Japan. The idea of being in the land of sushi and bullet trains suddenly appealed tome. in my mind, | saw myself in Japan already. | became excited, So, limmediately searched for possibilities in the internet. 1 also went to the Japanese Embassy and fulfilled all the required documents for application. It was not easy to do, Aside from the usual documents required to go abroad, | had submit two essays stating what my research plans were, fields of study, letters of recommendation, and ail. In www contrast to the old recruitment system where the Embassy will find a Japanese host researcher for the applicant, the new ‘system requires an applicant to find for him a host researcher in order to be accepted. | mailed an introductory letter to 17 universities stating my intention to study in various fields such as immunology, obstetrics, gynecology, surgery, cancer treatment, social medicine, etc. Only three of them replied. Two of these sent me neatly packed, ‘voluminous, and beautifully- illustrated brochures about ‘their universities. The catch is everything was well written in the Japanese language. How in the world will | understand that? Luckily, one Japanese professor sent a postal mail ‘written in satisfactory Japanese-English. He wanted me to return to him my résumé. Iwas immediately thrilled. ‘There is hope. immediately faxed to him my 20-pages curriculum vitae from the lone Internet café of the fourth class town where | was currently employed. Since then, we frequently communicated through emails whenever | go back to Metro Manila and can access the Internet. We developed a friendship along the way. | wanted to flee my country right away. | waited for acceptance impatiently. This is my story. eyes ne toperue higher cote ad ee oe them eave omen of ie wont share serine ‘hoon conta aot (he wh had een Zegna ell Tahal ‘are se lope item. dre theyre havering peopl? dee rey hes Feira eee hgh Pa telnolos? Or ave these rere Iebey? Let sexier F il obra sere of des a! He bok ex wort or owt gota ging hari ft Hopfal he ho Ie cna fist rte ef 20 Info exert ‘rom ebro, ‘aso wl hve boon cccompih rubs hendin message, Fn yo Excerpt of Chapter 1 Leaving My Country The 4-hour Japan Aitines flight from Mania to Tokyo wes uneventful An hour after |arived at the anport, | suddenly realized that eft my Feading glasses in the bus. [told the Japanese tsher about it. Using Ais mobile prone, he taked to somebody at the ‘ther end. lost hope that | would get it back, orifit were to be returned, probably wil Feceive it mn Sapporo Cty. Tomy surpese, about half an hour later, iy glasses were in my hands. could not believe such honesty and officency. This thing would be a very rare occurrence in my country. was impressed, Sapporo is the capital city ‘of Houkaldo Prefecture. 1s stusted in the rortheramast island of Japan. A sardine would be the first thing thata Filipino vl thing upon nearing the \word Hokkaido, a popuiar brand in my country From the arport I traveled to Sapporo by avery comfortable Imousine bus. Tenjoyed looking at the sites. Because it was autumn, the leaves came Varied in eoiors green, yellow, red, and brown. All Wwere beautiful. In my country there are only two Colors of leaves. Green When ale. Srown when dead, IMy Professor 0° Sensei and the members of my laboratory gave a sumptuous opening dinner toweleome me. | realy apprecated their hospitaity. lam the Fist foreigner to om our ao, I rocall having my frst taste of nabe, a traditional tussne famous durng the Cold seasons. It was delicious, hot and spicy. also learned that there are many Japanese foods that we wore not aware of in the Phitopines. The Japanese wero amazed that knew how to use the chopsticks or onazh. Thanks to my Chinese friends back home. During the opening salvo, 1 was azked alot of Questonsiike, my educational backround, how my country’s climate \was, why | chose cold Hokésido, and all. told them that lam a practicing obstetrician-aynecologst. | Joked that there are oniy ‘evo seasons in the Phitpines: hot and very hot. And that was the reason why | preferred to live im Hokeaigo where winter can last for tive onthe o* more My apartment was a smal place that comfortably it fren. Iwas about 19. ‘mutes wale an 5 ‘minutes bicycle or jtenshya Fide to the unversity. There was separate tolet and athroom. | chose ‘apartment or apato number 7. Because oF superstitious beliefs, Idd ‘ot choose apato numiver 13 even though it had better access to the sun, Years later and to my regret, | should have Chosen it. didnot realize fe fong nner tre — Tg lmao ‘epee ‘et eal seep teva el wate pipe noe “he pees Pp al rimanaalohal coord er hoc hen ‘tara soto ole So netocer matty oo Oot fee ow Ene Pa tL) pe ign Jol ofr are fit of eho ear Spry ha Ss Myf ek we allen fit utr 210 taping egy om ihe bk ek ys Excerpt of chapter 2 My Life In Japan Iemasin Jaan that eared toapprecete nature, the Imourtatre, ha not srngs, the aks, the Roners, ae trees and dogs. was ot fealy pervcaar bout her Defoe Tre tps and al flowers ar aporeited and Drotogaphed bakes of inter are cystal ear, and fet stourd The epareee (eatedhehways and war ways uncer the mowtars Topreserve te tees. Ard ‘avenge are cei Sclonba Fev ey Someumas [oun that they Sort Thay lovey taken cated of Netlong after my arta in the actuirn, my rst ‘xpenerce owner core, Virterceddastorfve ont or more aide Sonering newton wate era wan aye At Ob nt sherri sin fasefoagyse SoD the rremng sina ot yee incor iat movie ns Sie aU erin, see ie sieceecsaese atest Seeman Rie ee serene merece encrereorce Serre ay Seishin Ny sewing was 2 rightmare [det kw bot ruriaty borers because is alvays unin rept Pappines | ‘scoveros pet mca oanies, te Fumi i kw, Freanng to sey there m0 water vaprtamaisturze the asa cabiste by sa passages wer beeing. ‘ond coud hardy breshe bscausa the ood as cltted inside my nse, wich mae tod to pick, Thao beat ough my rrouth Iwas aed oy my ‘ena buy anak hurr But at very pronto cost. ‘To get tm sare oft fo fre, plcede cucketl ot Mater ontop of my etd heat Ths way, wes eto {eam hn vo Sys able to breathe much better esate the sma ours of Be ween at ‘money fst tock 1 tc ofr rere. ‘There was. tne that the waterinmytaiet bow! Bocame zen coud not fash few os Pati baling water the tancaovest On several ocrasions, he ppesin my apato burst Bocause the woter inside *unod nt ie eau ‘Shower nor wash cothes cause no ater ce rn th faucet Ore tne hepened rng the weskend, 01 had to wat ut Wondoy Tohave roles pad gute huge arcane for these Winer acodarts. Tre ast Imemorsle wes whan [was {ag bath us before gong Tobed My wate heater trafunetoned. ready nth Sarnpoo and body sam al ‘ve, th wotor wou nt tum ‘tam, For about a anu Maled forthe water to het Gboutinvar tend ct ree (hed myself and went to sleep feeling so scety