Manila, Philippines -- Aaaaand it's finally official! I'm going to Japan! After our briefing/pre-departure orientation at the National Youth Commission HQ, the day has come!
Today is semester break! I honestly can't believe that it's the last day of the semester! Classes end on the 11th and our departure to Japan is on the 12th. Perfectly in time for JENESYS 2015!
Yesterday, Ms. Chery Carag, Ms. Marissa Burgos, Director for Operations of Rajah Tours Philippines, gave us a heads-up for our youth exchange program and handed us our Japan Airlines e-ticket, medical interview sheet, JENESYS2015 Participant's Handbook and our passport with the visa on it! Yay!
4:30 in the morning, we arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. I was groggy as hell but WAKE UP CAUSE IT"S TOKYO TIME! We assembled at the lobby and was finally complete at 8AM (Our flight was at 10:05AM). We finally checked in our luggage at Japan Airlines, passed through the immigration, and had our breakfast. As we moved along the boarding gates, we definitely had that we're-going-to-japan-creepy-grin.
Touchdown NARITA! I felt the cold breeze immediately as I touched the soil of Japan (literally). We're here! We met the coordinator from JICE (Japan International Cooperation Center). She instructed us to wait for 6 minutes since the bus is on the way. Quite accurate! We've waited outside at the Arrival area. We were informed that there is 82 Participants (Indonesia 10, Cambodia 10, Singapore 7, Thailand 10, Philippines 10, Brunei 5, Vietnam 10, Malaysia 10, Laos 5, Timor Leste 5)
One thing that is different from this (JENESYS) batch to the other is that we're composed of less than 10 delegates per country in ASEAN plus Timor Leste and then divided to tackle about economics and international trade, improve Japan-ASEAN relations and to hone young future leaders in the region. Instead of the usual themes like entertainment, fashion and pop culture
When the bus came, we were transported to one of the best hotels in Tokyo, the APA Makuhari Hotel. We were stoked with what we saw! It was freezing cold outside so we hurriedly got our bags and dashed inside the hotel. Suddenly, it was warm. Quite the opposite in the Philippines where you dash inside the building for the air conditioner. We got our IDs, went to our respective rooms and ate our dinner from Subway.
We had 30 minutes to settle for the official activity of JENESYS 2015. We noticed that all delegates from their respective countries were already divided in red, blue, yellow and green. I then quickly realized that the program already started since we were the last country to land.
There was a girl who sat behind me so I reached out and introduced myself. She politely refused and told me that she's from Malaysia. It's a good thing that I remembered from my Cross-Cultural Class from Ambassador Oblena that Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and the girls are not allowed to be touched by men.
Due to my lace color (which is blue) I went straight to the blue team. Good thing Ica, Justine, Kuya Leo, Ate Melanie and Ate Princess was there with me! Hiro-san gave us a warm welcome to Japan and told us to form a circle, introduce yourself and tell what's your favorite food! We formed a circle and quickly introduced ourselves officially.
Greetings everyone my name is Adam Pascual from the Philippine Delegation. I love Adobo, one of the renowned Filipino dish.
It was very stiff and formal at first but then everyone became warm and we laughed at each other's jokes.
We dispersed and looked forward for the next day. End? OF COURSE NOT WE'RE IN JAPAN!
We head out of the hotel, felt the breeze and suddenly realized that where we are now are some of the places we've only hope for.