For a change, this blog entry won’t be about me.
When I was around 9 or 10 (?), I remember waking up quite early one school day morning. My second oldest brother Eric, had arrived from Japan.
My mom told me Kuya (older brother in Tagalog) had presents for me from his Japan trip. He was sent by his school to participate in a science convention (astronaut-related, if my memory does not fail me). Kuya Eric has always been an achiever so we weren’t that surprised when his school decided to send him off for Japan. After all, he was once a valedictorian and president of the student council.
I was so happy. I got a Japanese-style fan and my first ever tamagotchi! And it was from my brother, which made it more special.
After that trip, we knew that something had changed in Kuya.
My brother started to tell us about what he saw in Japan. Anime shown in local Philippine channels was my only portal to imagine this wonderful country.. until my Kuya’s stories. Kuya was only a highschool student that time so by the time he was in senior (or even junior) year, he was planning his future already by applying for college government scholarships here in Japan. Unfortunately, he applied for a really difficult course related to engineering through the Japan Embassy of the Philippines…. and he failed it. But that did not stop my brother, he applied for a one-year exchange student program and he got accepted! This is why he knows Kyoto well like a tourist guide. : )
I can still remember when we had a phone conversation and I asked him about snow and sakura, if he had witnessed those already, etc. He described his experience to me and that was my first time to want to go to Japan as well.
And, I really missed my brother that day.
I wished he was with us.. because during that time, my family was in chaos. I had quite a chaotic childhood and I am proud to say that I have already let go of that part of my life.
Nevertheless, Kuya Eric was still decided to reach his dreams even if it would be on his own feet. Even though he rebelled against my parents’ wishes, he probably felt that he had to do it for himself during that very time. At that time, I could not really understand him because.. I was too young. But now, I perfectly understand how he was soooo wildly driven.
He had a lot of ventures before getting a full scholarship here in Japan. He had to join contests (he won in a local amazing race-type of contest before) for the money. He described to me how freaking hard it was to pass the eliminations, like run a couple of miles or something like that. Then he got into different small businesses (just one: Japan-style hair-cutting! who would believe that?), some succeeded and some failed. Nonetheless, he made himself busy, inspired and focused. He tried and tried. Learned Japanese on his own, wrote a couple of English essays for numerous scholarships (he made me read those when I was also trying on my own), and developed his skill in being street-smart. During one of his rebellious days, he even slept in Luneta Park. I actually don’t know why but he must be probably soul-searching or something, haha.
And then… and then… he got accepted for a full scholarship in APU (Asia Pacific University) in Beppu!
But when he arrived in Japan, he only had little pocket money. He told me he went to Japan not knowing where to sleep! Crazy! I don’t know how he really survived that… and he was not that good in Japanese as well. :O :O
While he was a student, he taught English as a part-time job / “arubaito” . Worked in a recycle shop, lived in a mouse’s room,… bought discounted bentos for half the price for savings… He used to get stipends every month from his scholarship but he chose to keep himself busy.
A few years later, he established himself here. Built a company on his own, fell in love and got heartbroken (had to include this, sorry Kuya hehe), helped his family with whatever he could do…
.. and inspired this little girl named Kaila to do the same.
If ever somebody asks me what would be my favorite lesson from him, I would say “how to live life“.. no matter how cliché it probably sounds.
He taught me that a person must not only exist, but to live… by chasing his/her wildest dreams. Even if you lose breath from running, you have to finish the race.
He made me realize that one must learn how to be independent (in this life of endless run for survival… wow how deep, haha).
And this is my way to say thank you to the person who believed in my capabilities by investing a lot of moral and financial support in me. I would have not graduated from college and enjoyed it without my brother’s support (aside from my parents’). I would not have experienced the beautiful sakura and snow he described to me a decade ago.. if it weren’t for him. I would not be writing all of my Tokyo adventures here on my blog if he did not make it possible for me. I have probably failed a lot of times in chasing this Japanese dream of mine years ago but he caught me and taught me many things in life and business I wouldn’t learn from any professor, priest, or even a millionaire.
Thank you , Kuya Eric.
Happy 20-forever Birthday. : )
(note: he’s thirty! haha)
My Birthday Present for the both of them :heart: