20 things I learned in 2 years
In a few days, I’m turning another year older!
I’ve come to a point in my life where birthdays don’t excite me anymore.It’s like an inner voice is screaming “Please..Stop.”
But just as I always tell my students, Age is nothing but a number. And seriously, it doesn’t bother me at all because I have all that I need in my life right now.
So to celebrate 20+ years of existence and my 2nd year anniversary in Japan which happened last month, let me share to you 20 things I’ve learned about life excluding work, finances, lifestyle and fashion, travel, leisure and even dating!!! Lessons learned about work would use up an entire blog.
I guess. (Anyway, I’ll let the actual age be a mystery!)
1.) #Adulting is hard.
Being an adult away from my family, living alone in an apartment and having to pay all my bills and basically having no one to take care of me but myself is tough but it’s something I have gotten used to.
2.) Managing Expenses isn’t a walk in the park either.
In relation to the first one, it’s here in Japan where I’ve really learned to budget and control my expenses. Because of hard work, I learned to value the money that I earned, I mean, just because you can afford it now doesn’t mean you should buy it, right? I remember my dad told us to live within our means and I always keep that in mind.
3.) Apple Pay is a life saver
In Japan, where a lot of people don’t use cash anymore, I’ve gotten used to just bringing my phone and having to pay everything through it. If you have an iPhone7 and onwards, you can use it in train ticket gates, to restaurants, to supermarkets and convenience stores. And I could keep track of my spending through an app that lists all that I spent my money on. How convenient is that?
4.) I shouldn’t deprive myself
Saving money totally doesn’t equate to depriving yourself. I myself never do especially when it comes to food. Food is my weakness. I can let go of shopping for clothes and stuff for myself but never to food. I eat whatever I want to eat whenever I want to.
5.) Some habits need to die. Otherwise, my bank account dies.
If there’s one thing I miss about the Philippines, it’s MASSAGE! I used to have it in Cebu almost every 2 weeks but I’ve never even done it here in Japan. I was so close to having my first massage experience out of despair to cure my back pain, only to find out that the shop was full. Mind you, the cheapest massage here is around Y5000 per hour. That…just.. sucks.
6.) Getting Sick is not an option
In the Philippines, if you get sick, you can buy OTC medicine in any small store and you can get even just a piece. In Japan on the other hand, you need to buy an entire box. For example, I get hyperacidity quite often, a regular pill to relieve this in the Philippines would only cost around Y20 per piece whereas a box with 6 pills in it costs Y1200 here in Japan! If that isn’t crazy, tell me what is! So taking care of my health is really a must here. I don’t know why but I’m just so sickly..
7.) Cute skirts/dresses don’t suit me anymore
This is a sad truth. It comes with aging, I guess. My fashion sense has changed a lot since I moved here. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
8.) Short hair isn’t for Obaachan (older ladies) only.
In the Philippnes, we’re used to thinking that girls with long straight hair are popular and that short hair is just for our moms and aunts. But Japan has taught me that I can somehow pull off a short hairstyle too.
9) Brands don’t matter
It’s not about what brand of clothing you’re wearing, it’s about how you look on it. You can make something so cheap look so fancy if you just know how to bring yourself. I’d get compliments from the clothes I wear, and they’d be surprised with how cheap they actually are. Take this for example, I bought this pair top and pants in Bangkok for just Y1500 and shoes for Y3000. Let’s just exclude the coat hehe Bottomline is, I’m not much of a Brand-Fanatic, I’d say almost not at all.
10.) Skin care > Cosmetics
I used to be dazzled with all the great cosmetics available here. Definitely they are, but as we age, skin care products become a higher priority than cosmetics. I can go out without make-up on but never without moisturizer, essence and/or sun-screen. Bought all of these last autumn in Seoul!
When I went home to the Philippines last May, I realized, nothing beats food here in Japan. I missed it so soon that I wanted to come back as soon as possible. Wait.. Does this mean, I have to settle down and stay here for good? That’s something to consider.
12.) But.. No Chicken like Philippine Chicken!
Filipinos can live eating Fried Chicken all their lives. Of course, I’m exaggerating, but what I’m saying is, that’s how much we love Fried Chicken! And although, Japan serves the best food out of all the counties I’ve traveled to, they can never come close to the Philippines’ version of Crispy Fried Chicken.
13.) 100 yen shops are heaven.
I meant, heaven sent. There is always a Japanese item for eveything you need. Up to the smallest chore, some item is made to make your life easier. Kitchen, house goods, beauty goods, ingredients, Name it, they have it! And the best part is? They just cost a coin!
14.) Google Maps is my best friend
It’s all that I need to get around the city and even out. Even Japanese people can’t survive without it. Tokyo has the most complicated subway system in the world so Google-Maps and similar apps can save you from getting lost or being late for an appointment.
15.) Dating a Japanese guy is…
Well for one, it requires patience! Lots of it! Last year, I was featured in a Philippine women’s magazine which tackled Filipinas dating in foreign countries. Read that article HERE.
16.) Ladies First? Well, not here.
In my 2 years of living here, I can somehow conclude that Chivalry is Dead. Or did it even exist in this culture to begin with? It’s just that this is a very patriarchal society and being chivalrous and romantic isn’t really a thing here. Don’t expect guys to hold a door open for you too. You’d even get pushed in a train, and that’s normal.
17.) Don’t Trust Strangers, Even the most good-looking ones.
Looks can really be deceiving and if there’s one lesson I learned the hard way, it’s definitely not to believe people you don’t know well. Some of them could be psychopaths and could end up stalking you. You never really know. And yes, they do exist here.
18.) There’s magic in traveling alone.
If you’ve been following my blogs or just even my instagram, you’d know how much I love traveling! In Japan, I went to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and many other places alone. I went to Bangkok, Taipei and Seoul alone as well. In those trips, I met people and made new friends. It’s truly a fulfilling experience. Go girl, give it a try.
19.) Traveling with friends is therapeutic.
While traveling alone can be great, being with people who lift your soul up can be such a great remedy to homesickness, and even mere loneliness. A good company and a good laugh with awesome friends definitely work better than medicine for stress-relief.
20.) Escaping Tokyo once in a while is essential
I’ve said it a couple of times, I’ll say it again. It’s good to escape the hustle-and-bustle of Tokyo and go out for some countryside drive or nature tripping either alone or with friends. Last month, my friends and I went to Tochigi prefecture for unlimited Strawberry picking. Hands-down, best strawberries ever!
You know, this list could go on and on… But I’ll stop right here and save it for probably my next birthday? Living in another country can really teach a person so many things. I’m grateful for this growth, hope you’ve learned something from me too.
Til my next post,