Ichiran

Whenever a friend — often, someone who is in Japan for the first time — posts a picture of a bowl of ICHIRAN ramen, I always find a comment that reads, “MEH, OVERRATED! There are better ramen places!”

Bad Housemate

BATANGAS, 2018. Since I lost my nephew, I have been home more often than ever because I know my family needs me. But I hate it here. This house is a big ball of misery.

Night at the Taxi Stand

SANTORINI, 2017. We arrived in the Greek town of Oia past 10pm. It was a cold, windy December evening, and because it’s off season, the village was as dormant as the volcano it overlooks. As in most destinations, we tried to find our booked room as soon as we got off the cab.

Spirited Away

MISASA, JAPAN, 2018. Today has been one of the best days of my life. We are now in Misasa, a small town in Tottori Prefecture. Apparently, this place is Hayao Miyazaki’s go-to spot. Before coming here, we had no idea that it has any connection with Ghibli.

Irreplaceable

THEY SAY WE CHOOSE OUR FRIENDS. The guy who had occupied one room in our rented apartment left, and we needed someone to replace him. My housemate Dane placed a ROOM FOR RENT ad online, and in no time, our phones beeped non-stop.

Up in the Air

The other night, I watched UP IN THE AIR again. Although I had seen it only once before, it is on my list of all-time fave films. (Although that year, I wanted DISTRICT 9 to win Best Picture.) Anyway, the movie ends with this: “Tonight most people will be welcomed home by jumping dogs and…

Detour

ATHENS, 2017. “I want to show you something,” our cab driver John said at one point between the airport and our hotel. “You’re not in a hurry, no?”

Elusive

Every night I hope to see him in my dreams. It does happen sometimes. Rarely. And in those elusive dreams, he was always so distant. He wouldn’t speak or even come near me.