November 3, 2004

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Update on “Crazed”

UPDATE: Apparently, the only source for the Faye story is a paid
advertisement, so the info is iffy. That’s a pity, because there are
so many other stories out there that are less outrageous and yet more
inspiring. We don’t have to have against-all-odds stories to take
pride in being Filipino. There is also courage in the little things we

I find the original speech also a little over the top. I should get
around to writing down my opinion on the thing. I guess that’s why I’m
not a debater, eh?

I also find it rather strange that a number of people who arrived at
this site looking for information on “Faye” and the Intercontinental
Science Quiz Net were strongly convinced that it was a hoax, and
rather vocal about saying so. I think those people are focusing on the
wrong thing. It’s not about the existence or nonexistence of one
person, nor is it even about this preoccupation we might have with
media. I think the most important thing to remember here is that there
is a world outside our cozy little niche with stories we do not know
and perhaps never hear of, the truth or falsehood of which we do not
personally know and cannot because we have not yet stepped outside our
comfort zone.

You may think it’s easy for me to say that, surrounded by autumn
leaves in a First World country, but there is more to this than I can
find the words to explain.

I miss the Philippines. I miss the way the streetchildren’s stares
shock me into realizing that all I have done so far is lacking, that
there is still more to be done. I miss the way the squalor of squatter
communities reminds me that I need to find something I can do to ease
the urban pressure. I miss the questions in my students’ eyes,
questions that I try to answer but fail to explain to my satisfaction.
The Philippines is not perfect. Far from it, even. It is that very
imperfection that brings me out of myself and makes me reach for
greater things.

What is one more candle in a land lit by a thousand suns? It is in
dark places that light is needed most.




Tomoko picking a persimmon


Fuji-san, Tomoko-san and me

English translation follows. Don’t worry. =)

(snip: corrupted Japanese translation)

The trip to Yamanashi was so much fun!

Tomoko kindly invited me. Last night, I slept at her house. Dinner
was a delicious curry. I also had three sweet mandarins. It was my
first time to drink dried plum tea. That was delicious. Everything was
wonderful! Her mother and father were very very nice. I think they
made their conversation easier to understand because I’m still bad at
Japanese. We talked about various things. For example, fruits
(Tomoko really likes mangoes; I should remember that),
education… It was fun. After dinner, I had a bath. That felt good.
Because I needed to wake up early for today’s trip, I slept early (and

We had cake for breakfast, which made me quite full. We went to Odakyu
Tama Center on a bus. Tomoko was surprised that I knew how to ride
the bus. She said it was cool. After we changed to the tour bus, I
fell asleep. (I think I had not yet really woken up.)

First, we went to a winery. Although I don’t really drink wine, I
tried different kinds of wine. I didn’t like the strong one. The sweet
one was better. I liked the cheeses, though. Smoked cheese was the
most delicious, so I bought a present. (No matter how much Tomoko
tried to dissuade me, I felt very grateful, so I really wanted to buy
a gift.)

From there, we went to a kimchi store. We tried kimchi (prepared by
Koreans), flavored garlic, and other things. We’d been eating since
the beginning! It was good that we then went to a mountain and did
some hiking. Stairs were carved into the rock, which was wonderful. It
was a bit scary. It looked like it was easy for us to fall. We got a
bit tired and parched… but the view was so beautiful, so we kept on
going. It was good that we climbed!

After this exercise, we each picked one persimmon from a tree, then
went shopping. We ate persimmons, grapes, and other things. (Waa. I
think I gained weight.) After we were full, we went to a crystal
museum. The crystal garden was beautiful. We were also taught how to
distinguish crystals. (I don’t remember anything.)

Lastly, we went to a lake. Mt. Fuji could be seen. It was so
beautiful! It was like a postcard. We also went to a famous
confectionary, and I bought a gift.

Today was so much fun. I am much obliged to Tomoko and her family, and
am glad I went.

I think if you’re talking about Japan tours, it’s eating,
sight-seeing, eating, shopping, eating, exercising… ;)

(Waa. If I don’t translate this to English, my family and friends
won’t understand…)