23 February 2022

Ramen is life

I watched The God of Ramen from the Japanese Film Festival because I love Ramen and I thought it will be about cooking. Well, it was in some way. But it was more on the poignant life of renowned Ramen Chef Kazuo Yamagishi.  In a lot of ways, his story strongly resonated with me. This realisation came when Yamagishi's hands were focussed. I've seen those hands before: calloused and a bit twisted from osteoarthritis. It was my father's. His hands became even more pronounced when he retired from work. Arthritis hurts. Must be why he was difficult most times, at least with those looking after him. He was also stubborn, that much is true.

And the way Yamagishi san tasted the broth and knew how it adjust it, and what was missing... it was my Nanay. She was amazing. Whenever I went home on weekends she made sure that I have pre-packed meals I can bring back to Manila to keep in the fridge. Her meals are so delicious.

I also saw part of me in Yamagishi san. The person who is stuck with past hurts. The deaths of my parents and relatives are a defining moment for me. The pain never goes away. It lingers. But you have to learn to live with it, for the sake of the present, the future.

13 February 2022

Pyjama party, anyone?

 If I'd be asked to tell an awkward story, this would be my go-to account. But no one's asked me this questions before, so I thought I'd just share this out there.

I was new in Makati then, which is a bustling city in Metro Manila, Philippines. I was there more as a necessity rather a choice because I couldn't find work in my hometown. Luckily I did land a job in IT but as an entry-level staff member, I had to budget my rather meager starting salary for my daily expenses etc. As an office worker, I had to buy appropriate office clothes. But what would you do if money was tight? Buy from discount stores, of course. 

There was this shop in SM that had just that. SM is a big chain of shopping malls across the country, with its own department store. It also ran a discount store and that was where I started shopping for office clothes. There was one particular short-sleeve polo that I took a liking to. It was white with thin, blue stripes running across the fabric. I think it was made of cotton and was comfortable. I bought it and I loved wearing it to work.

One day I was walking opposite SM and I had a full view of their department store's display window. There were mannequins wearing nice-looking sleepwear. I remember thinking I wouldn't be able to sleep in those, on account of having no airconditioning whatsoever in my bedspace rental. And then I spotted something familiar... one of the mannequins was wearing the same exact shirt I've been using for work. It was the top half of a pyjama. 

I've been going to work in sleepwear.

I realised then that the pants that came with the top may have gone missing, hence it ended up in the discount store. Awesome. I stopped wearing that polo since then. I just wished they did make work clothes that comfy that you can sleep in it!

01 February 2022

Time after time

I glance at my watch. 11.07pm. I pause and wonder how time just flew by so fast. I glance at my watch again and half an hour has gone. This watch counts down every hour, every minute, every second. So precise, so... clinical.

How about counting the days by the season instead? We're almost done with summer. Soon the hot summer air will give way to the cool autumn breeze. The trees will swap their greens with blazing reds and oranges, and then drop all these for white, powdery snow. 

And then... The daffodils would start to sprout and flower. Colour and hayfever all round!

And the cycle starts all over again. 

Time waits for no one. How should I spend this time, I wonder? I glance at my watch..
 an hour has gone...

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