02 May 2010

Whew, Watta Day!

Got up early, did my laundry - whites, colors, and whites that have stains.  Then left them to dry.  I was too late to get to the 12pm mass in Meguro to meet up with a friend from college, Coy, who is taking her masters in Public Administration (or something like that).  I left TPU at around 12:30pm, took lunch in Hon-Atsugi, then off to a route I have never taken before.  I got off at Noborito, transfered to the JR Nanbu (train) Line, and got down at Tachikawa.  Then it was a 10-minute walk to the church.  The Google Maps directions led me to the back of the church, so I walked around one block to get to the front.  I arrived at the church at 3:15pm, in time for the Alleluia before the Gospel reading.

Anyways, of course the mass was in English.  The priest was Caucasian, but I don't know where he is from, but if I did not know that he was Caucasian, I would've thought he was Filipino because of his English accent.  Interesting.  Like the previous English-speaking (but apparently from a non-English-speaking country) priest, he was fluent in Japanese, and gave his homily also in Japanese - to this Japanese guy.  Apparently that Japanese guy, an adult, was getting baptized that day.  I loved that scene.  It was also his first communion day!  "Omedetō gozaimasu ne!"  (Literally, "Congratulations [to him], right/eh?")  It was really cool.  I wanted to take a video but... well I regret not taking a video.  Oh well.

His baptism rights were right after the homily, and it was given by the priest in Japanese.  After that, the priest was continuing with the mass... in Japanese!  He momentarily forgot it was an English mass.  But of course, back to English it was.

As expected, most of the mass attendees as well as the choir there were Filipino.  3 guitar players in the choir.  Then one "egg (mini maracas) shaker."  Maybe 6 singers.  And there was a drum-box drummer.  I liked the choir at the Atsugi Catholic Church better... :-D

But unexpectedly, I heard 3 Filipino songs in the mass - "Si Kristo ay gunitain..."  "Kordero ng Diyos na nagaalis..."  and...  I forgot the 3rd one, but it was a communion song.  I don't know if any of the songs during the early part of the mass were also in Tagalog.  The "Our Father" is a version we sing in the Philippines; I don't think it is sung elsewhere where there aren't that many Filipinos.  "We Remember" was also sung.  As well as "Take and Receive," and for the Recessional Song it was "For God So Loved the World," I think is the title.

Anyways, the mass finished at around 4:15pm and I had to meet up with Coy at 5pm in Harajuku.  I got to Harajuku at 5:30pm already!  That church is that far!  Approximately 2 hours from my apartment (2.5 hours with some time for eating), and approximately 1.25 hours to Central Tokyo.  It was probably 45 km from my apartment, and around 25 km to Central Tokyo.  It was probably 45 km from Central Tokyo to my apartment.  (In case you don't know yet, it's just a 2-minute walk from my place to my school. :-D)

So I met Coy, and the first thing we did was go to Softbank to ask about their mobile phones.  I got a plan with a 2-year contract for ZERO monthly rate, and also I pay ZERO for the phone itself, because I am a student, and because I used my credit card.  Credit card to pay for what?  Anyways, the ZERO monthly rate, which is normally 980 JPY monthly, is what they call the "White Plan," which allows FREE same-network calls and texts (i.e. Softbank to Softbank users) between 1am and 9pm.  Not bad!  But then there's the catch.  The phone itself doesn't come with a charger!  So I had to pay to get one.  JPY 1155.  Okay, not bad.  That is practically what I paid for the phone.  PHP 500!  (By the way, 100 JPY = 1 USD, approximately, so 1 JPY = 1 US cent).  And another catch is, or at least that's what I think it is, is that I have to enroll my account for mobile internet services, which is 315 (or was it 350) JPY monthly.  Minimum.  Still not bad.  So technically I'm paying 350 monthly.  But actually once I use the internet, there will be charges.  Yikes!  *self-control*  But there's a cap though, so in case I use the internet excessively, I won't pay hundreds of thousands of cents.

But anyway, my mission was accomplished.  Get the cheapest phone and cheapest monthly rate, using a phone company that most of my fellow students also subscribe to so that our calls to each other are free, and now I am able to make emergency calls when needed, and people can call me when needed, and in case I am lost I can access the internet and take a look at maps and so on.  I really hope I don't need to make emergency calls.  I also set my billing to be automatically charged to my credit card so, no worries there.  I'll be paying hopefully just JPY 315 or 350 monthly, or PHP 160 or USD 3.50 equivalently.

Actually I had a choice between a nice looking phone model and this model that I got which has....  TV!  Chance to learn Nihongo!  Ehehehe.

Anyways, it took us probably an hour at Softbank.  Next stop was dinner.  But we also passed by Takeshita-Dori (Takeshita Street) which is the popular teenage hangout street in Harajuku.  Coy bought something at this women's socks (i.e. also print/colored stockings) place.  Yikes, I forgot the name.  Interesting looking "socks" though.  Expensive if you ask my Philippines-based how-much-things-should-be standard.  We also passed by The GAP.

Dinner was at this ramen place.  I forgot the name!  Anyways, Coy says it's her favorite eating place in Harajuku, and then the ramen we ordered, said Coy, is one of the more popular ones from the long list of different types of ramen (i.e. different ingredients).  And indeed it was delicious.  I forgot the name!  But there was pork in it, and it was a little creamy - maybe with milk or butter?  The pork also, was so tender.  I loved it.

Coy and I left Harajuku at around 8:20pm - so I was just in time to catch the last bus, 1.5 hours later, from Hon-Atsugi back to school.

What a day.  Yay to Sundays! :-)

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