Monthly Archives: July 2015

JFC

There are more than two hundred thousand JFC (Japanese-Filipino children) living in the Philippines. Some scholars estimate that in recent years, with nearly 7,000 registered marriages a year in Japan  involving a Filipino spouse, some 5,000 JFC are born each … Continue reading

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Going Bananas

Bananas are now ubiquitous in Japan, but not so long ago, they were difficult to find and very expensive. My husband remembers a time in the mid-1950s when one piece of banana cost 40 yen. The average monthly salary of … Continue reading

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Dahil Ikaw ang Ina Namin

Last year, NHK’s popular “Totsugeki! At Home” program featured the Filipino-Japanese sumo wrestler Masunoyama Tomoharu (舛ノ山 大晴) and his Pinay mother Maria Christine. Co-produced with ABS-CBN, the segment focused on Masunoyama’s plan to surprise his mother with a mob flash … Continue reading

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Comparing Cities

In Edo-Period (1603-1868) Japan, there flourished a literary genre for comparing the three great cities of Edo (Tokyo), Kyo (Kyoto), and Osaka. This trinity of metropolises (called santo 三都) attracted large numbers of migrants and visitors from other parts of … Continue reading

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The Bloody Chamber

Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” is one of my favorite stories. It is the title story of Carter’s second collection of short fiction, published in 1979. This fairy tale of Gothic horror, like Carter’s highly original renditions of “Beauty and … Continue reading

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The Miracle of the Toto Washlet

“Washlets”—electric toilet seats—are so common in Japan these days that people find it hard to believe that they have been around for only two generations. Toto introduced the washlet in 1980: Washlet G was a retractable contraption resembling a ceramic … Continue reading

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On Nick Joaquin’s “Language of the Streets and Other Essays”

Although Nick Joaquin is best known for his short stories and poems, his plays (“A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino”) and his novels (The Woman Who Had Two Navels), and above all his tropical-baroque prose, not a few of … Continue reading

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Whatever You Desire

In Japan, you can hire someone to do your gardening, fix your water pipes and sewage tanks, clean your house, and pack and move the entire contents of your house. There are plenty of companies that specialize in each of … Continue reading

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