Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fortune at Nikko Toshogu Shrine

(Photo Caption: A view at the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nienkestravels/339490888/ )
...
While I was at the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan last Friday (July 27, 2007), I bought a fortune envelope for curiosity. This is like a fortune cookie. For the cost 100 yen, you will get an envelope which contains a "fortune". Below are the contents of my fortune envelope:

NIKKO TOSHOGU FORTUNE

The oracle of Toshogu Shrine at Nikko Teachings of the 1st Tokugawa Shogunate arranged in divination lots.

Lot 3.

Good Luck.

"Of dews formed on the leaves of grass the heavier drop, and so do those of human beings."

THE TEACHING IMPLIES:

Make every effort to do your business on the basis of your ability. Don't dare to do anything extravagant. Be careful not to get hurt. Every preparation should be made to meet the storm.

THE TEACHING IS REVERENTLY INTERPRETED AS TO GIVE THE FOLLOWING GUIDANCE:

ON THE MATTER OF



  • WISHES: You will lose, if you want too much.

  • AWAITED PERSONS: He (She) will come late.

  • MISSING PROPERTY: You will find it out, but it will be useless.

  • TRAVELING: Don't be in a hurry.

  • BUSINESS: Be patient to buy and sell things.

  • COMPANY: Choose a person who you think is good as your friend.

  • DIRECTION: Center or between East and West.

  • GAME OF CHANCE: You will win, if you refrain from yourself.

  • EMPLOYMENT: Work within your ability.

  • RESIDENCE: Fasten the doors securely.

  • BIRTH: Easy delivery (! :) )

  • DISEASE: Take a medical examination with patience at the nearest hospital.

  • MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: You will be at a loss. Don't want too much.

  • MONEY: If you desire too much, you will have hard luck. Don't be in a hurry.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Words of Ieyasu Tokugawa


There are many things I like Japan: its culture, the friendly people, and lots of interesting scenery. Surely, I would love to visit Japan in Spring or Autumn to see the famous cherry blossoms and the changing colors of the leaves in the mountains.

One of the things I bought in shops in Nikko for souvenirs is a poster containing a calligraphy of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first general who opened Edo shogunate. Below is an excerpt:


"Our whole life is the same thing as we shoulder a heavy load and walk the long way. So you don't have to hurry.

I think that you don't want anything, if you think that is is normal for you to be inconvenient.

You must remember the time you lived poorly, when you desire something in your mind.

Although you can achieve a peaceful life if you are patient with others, it becomes an enemy if you are angry at others.

Harm will fall on yourself, if you just think about winning. Therefore, it is important that you know how to be defeated.

Don't blame others, blame yourself.

And you must realize the things haven't reached, yet surpass the things have already been done. "


Cheers,

Raffy
(7/31/07, in Quezon City, Philippines)

Back in the Philippines














Photo Caption: An image of JAL airplane. Source: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3DJapan%2BAirlines%26ei%3DUTF-8%26fr%3Dyfp-t-501%26fp_ip%3DPH%26x%3Dwrt%26js%3D1%26ni%3D21&w=1024&h=684&imgurl=www.luftfahrt.net%2Fgalerie%2Fnew%2Fbilder%2F1043695193_2ndjl-772-ja8984_0011ss.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.luftfahrt.net%2Fgalerie%2Fshowpix.php%3Fid%3D9430&size=184.8kB&name=1043695193_2ndjl-772-ja8984_0011ss.jpg&p=Japan+Airlines&type=jpeg&no=3&tt=24,020&oid=f88d5b108ea3e578&ei=UTF-8 )


I'm back in the Philippines after a two-week trip to Japan. Japan Airlines (JL) flight number 745, the plane I took from Narita Airport in Japan was delayed (perhaps due to bad weather in Tokyo). About one hour after taking off from Narita airport, we saw thunderstorms over Japan. It was a sight to behold.

Our plane landed at the Ninoy International Airport (NAIA or Manila International Airport) at 9:25 p.m. (Manila time). There were many welcomers inside the aiport including some media people. It turned out that there were also foreign dignitaries (participants in the Southeast Asia Ministerial meeting in Manila) arriving at the airport that night.

I was back in my condominium unit in Quezon City almost midnight. I found out that my landline phone has no dial tone and my mobile phone is out of charge (the charger seemed to be broken) so my only means of communication is via e-mail.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Japanese Trivia: Waraku Odori Dance















( Photo Caption: Japanese women performing the Waraku Odori Dance. Source: http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/South_America/Brazil/photo424741.htm )

While waiting for my taxi to the train station in Nikko on the way back to Tokyo, I read a poster in Nikko Park Lodge lounge area about Waraku Odori Dance:

Waraku Odori

The Waraku Odori dance is a bon dance performed on 5th and 6th of August at the Nikko factory of Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. An illuminated yagura, or stage, is set up in the center of Waraku pond, and a large number of people dance around outside the pond, attracting many spectators.

The Waraku Odori dance was started to commemorate the first visit of the Imperial family to a Nikko factory. This visit took place in the summer of 1913, when the Imperial household went to Nikko.
Additional information: The odori is a traditional Japanese dance that originated in the Edo period. "The Edo period (江戸時代, Edo-jidai ), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1603 to 1868. The period marks the governance of the Edo or Tokugawa shogunate, which was officially established in 1603 by the first Edo shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period ended with the Meiji Restoration, the restoration of imperial rule by the 15th and last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu. The Edo period is also known as the beginning of the early modern period of Japan." (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edo_Period )
Cheers,

Raffy
7/30/07, 9:20 a.m., Nikko, Japan

Trip to Japan, Day 14

{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07.}

Day 14. July 30, 2007. Monday.

Today is the last day of my two-week trip to Japan. From Nikko I will take a JR train ride to Utsonomiya. From Utsonomiya station I will board a shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo station, and from Tokyo station I will take a shinkansen to Narita Airport terminal 2. I will leave Narita airport at 6:30 p.m. via Japan Airlines (JAL) back to Manila, Philippines.

(Written at 4 a.m., Japan time)

Trip to Japan, Day 13




(Photo Captions: (1) Kegon Falls, (2) Lake Chuzenji. Source: http://www.jref.com/practical/chuzenji_lake_kegon_falls.shtml
{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07}

Day. 13. July 29, 2007. Sunday.

Today I visited two famous tourist spots in Nikko: Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji. From Nikko Park Lodge (where I was staying) I walked to the bus stations near the Tobu Train station. I bought a roundtrip ticket which costs 2,000 yen.

Here's an excerpt from the Nikko National Park brochure about Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji:

"The Ojiri River flowing from Lake Chuzenji corroded the lava of Mt. Nantai covered with quartz-phorphyry, and turned into a large waterfall, 96 meters long and 7 meeters wide at the foot. It gives forth a thunder-like noise together with twelve minor waterfalls nearby. The falls were named after the basic principle of Buddhism, "Kegon" or Avatamska.

Lake Chuzenji was originally named South Lake by Shodo-shonin during the Heian period. It reflects the sacred image of Mt. Nantai as it did in ancient times. At the end of a promontory in the lake stands Yakushi-do temple founded by Jikaku-daishi."

The weather was not good when I visited Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenzi. It was raining; however, I was able to photograph the visible portion of Kegon Falls. But Mt. Nantai was not visible due to foggy and misty weather.

I was back at the Nikko bus station around 5 p.m. From the bus station I walked in the rain (with an umbrella) to the Nikko Park Lodge.

Trip to Japan, Day 12








( Photo captions: (1) A view of the Tamozawa Imperial Villa. Source: http://www.park-tochigi.com/tamozawa/ ). (2) The facade of the Kosugi Hoan Museum of Art. Source: http://www.khmoan.jp/index-e.html )





{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07}

Day 12. July 28, 2007. Saturday.

Today I visited the Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park.

Below are some of its details:

Address: 8-27 Honcho, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1434
Tel. 0288-53-6767, Fax. 0288-53-6777
Website: http://www.park-tochigi.com/tamozawa/

The following paragraphs are taken from the brochure:

"The Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa is built around the former Edo residence of the Ksihu Tokugawa clan, which was brought from Edo to Nikko. The Edo residence was presented to the Imperial Household in 1872 and became the Akasaka Rikyu. It was then used variously as a temporary palace for the emperor and as the crown prince's residence until 1898.

The main three-story section of the residence was removed to Nikko and the villa built was built around it. Three parts of the residence were used as the emperor's living and sleeping quarters.

The Nikko Tomozawa Imperial Villa was constructed in 1889 for Prince Yoshihito (later Emperor Taisho) as a retreat, and also used by three emperors and three princes until 1947.

The building is the biggest wooden imperial villa erected in the Meiji and Taisho eras. It consists of three parts that date, respectively, from the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras, each representing the very best feauture of the Japanese architecture of its time."


On my way back to Nikko Park Lodge (where I was staying) I passed by the Kosugi Hoan Museum of Art. This museum is near the Shinkyo bridge and was established to commemorate the artistic endeavors of Kosugi Hoan, a native son of Nikko City, Japan. Here is an excerpt from the brochure:

"Kosugi Hoan (1881-1964) was a prolific artist who left a highly individualistic mark on Japan's modern art history. He was active during the Meiji, Taisho and Show periods as a painter in the Western and Nihonga (Japanese) styles, as well as a "manga" artist, illustrator, calligrapher, "waka" poet, and author. Hoan's output as a painter can be larglely divided into his Western art period, when he called himself Misei, and his Nihonga period, when he restyled himself as Hoan.

Visitors to the Museum can view Hoan's masterpieces "Izumi" and "Shinkyo", together with his studies, sketches, and other materials that are essential to gaining an understanding of Hoan -- the artist."

See the Museum website ( http://www.khmoan.jp/index-e.html ) for details.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trip to Japan, Day 11


(Photo caption: Yomeimon at Toshogu. Source: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html
)
{ Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07 }


Day 11. July 27, 2007. Friday


Today I visited the famous world cultural heritage sites in Nikko, Japan. From the Nikko Park Lodge I walked about 30 minutes to reach the buddhist shrines and temples at the Nikko National Park.


First, I saw the Shinkyo bridge. This is also called Sacred Bridge (or Snake Bridge). It is a vermillion lacquered bridge, 28 meters long and 7 meters wide. According to ancient legend, Shodoshonin (a high Buddha priest who founded the buddhist temples in Nikko) crossed this bridge in the Nara period (history of Japan). In 766, Shodoshonin arrived at the Daiya river. The strong currents prevented him from crossing the river. He prayed to God and two snakes appeared, one blue and one red. According to the legend, the two snakes formed a bridge over the river and mountain grass grew out of their backs, thereby allowing Sodoshonin to cross the river.


Climbing up the entrance of Nikko National Park I proceeded to the Sanbutido temple. From there I saw a statue of Shodoshonin. According to the brochure (Nikko National Park) he founded Shihonryu-ji Temple (the former name of Rin-no-ji Temple). After great hardships he explored the summit of Mt. Nantai and founded Chuzenji Temple in 782. He died on March 1, 817 and was buried in Kaizan-do Temple.


Then I visited the Shoyo-en (Strolling Garden). "This garden, located in the compound of Rin-no-ji Temple, is designed in a typical style of the Edo period and named by Issai Sato, a great Confucian scholar, in allusion to the Prince Abbot of the temple who strolled in this sacred area of nature."
After visiting the Shoyo-en, I entered the Sanbutsu-do, the largest temple in the Nikko National Park. This temple was built by Jikaku-daishi by the order of Emperor Ninmei. It is a rare building representing the architecture of the Tendai sect.
Inside the Shoyo-en are three gilded wooden statues: (1) the Thousandhanded Kwannon (right), (2) the Amida Buddha (center), and (3) the Horse-headed Kwannon (left). They are enshrined in the Shoyo-en as principal objects of worship. These three original Buddha statues are representative of the so-called "Three Divine Manifestations in Nikko."
After the Shoyo-en, I visited the Dai-Gamado (Holy Fire Temple) which was built in 1998. Inside the Dai-Gamado are the following: (1) Fudo-son Mandara consisting of the Five Guardian Buddhist deities -- Fudo, Gozanze, Gundari, Daiitoku, and Kongo-Yasha which were made in the Heian period; and (2) Twelve Gods (made in the Edo period) which include 30 images such as Sichi-fuku (seven Fortune) Gods, Chinjo-Yasha, Two-daishi, Jikaku-daishi, and Hokke pagoda.
Beside the Dai-Gamado is the Gohotendo, founded by Benakaku in 1240, and enshrines Fudo God and Thousand-handed Kwannon.
(More details later.)


Trip to Japan, Day 10



(Photo Caption: With Quincy, a Japanese terrier owned by Tess, my friend in Tokyo, 7/27/07)
{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 - 7/30/07}
Day 10. July 26, 2007. Thursday.
Today, Tess treated me to a bowling game/lunch/karaoke in an entertainment center in Kodaira area, Tokyo. Tess, Kei, Sachi and I had two games of ten-pin bowling. After the bowling games we had lunch and karaoke singing. Tess, Kei, and Sachi sang Japanese and English songs, while I sang English and Filipino songs. The selection of songs in the karaoke restaurant include Filipino songs.
After having lunch, Tess and her children brought me to Nishi-Kokubunji station where I took the train to the Tokyo station. From the Tokyo station I went to the shinkansen train station. I took the Tokyo to Utsunomiya shinkansen. From Utsunomiya I took a local train to Nikko. I arrived at the JR Nikko station at around 6 pm.
From the station, I called the staff of Nikko Park Lodge to pick me up. Nikko Park Lodge (where I stayed) is in a portion of the Nikko National Park, surrounded by trees and with beautiful mountain scenery. See http://www.nikkoparklodge.com/.

Trip to Japan, Day 9



(Photo Caption: With Tess in a restaurant in Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, 7/25/07)

{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07}

Day 9. July 25, 2007. Wednesday.

Today I woke up early again. I went to Kawaguchiko lake area and took some photos. The place was very beautiful, the lake is surrounded by mountains. I was lucky to have a glimpse of Mt. Fuji! But it was very short, since the mountain was always engulfed by clouds.

I left Kawaguchiko station at 9:30 a.m. aboard the JR 'Highway Bus' to Tokyo station. We had a brief stop-over at Gotemba (sometimes spelled as Gotenba). The bus arrived at Tokyo station at 12:30. At the Tokyo station I went to the JR ticket office and bought tickets for my trip to Nikko and the shinkansen to the Narita airport from Tokyo.

After buying tickets I looked for the Chuo line platforms going to Shin-Kodaira station. The trip to Shin-Kodaira station involved several rides: first I took the Rapid Line to Takao and alighted at Kokubunji station. From Kokubunji I took another train going to Nishi-Kokubunji, and from Nishi-Kokubunji I transferred to another train going to Shin-Kodaira station.

It was almost 3:00 p.m. when I arrived to the Shin-Kodaira station. I called my friend (former classmate in college) Tess, who later picked me up at the train station. We had late lunch in a hamburger place in Kodaira (where Tess and her family live) together with two of Tess's children, Kei (a pre-law college students) and Sachi (a first year high school student).

After having lunch we proceeded to Tess's house in Kodaira.

In the evening, I was treated to a steak dinner in a restaurant in Kodaira with Tess and her family. Together with us were Jun (the husband of Tess), Kei, Aya (Tess's daughter who is a special child), and Sachi.

Since I was very tired from my trip I slept early that night. Tess let me use their tatami room. There were two soccer games that night being aired on tv: Korea versus Iraq, and Japan versus Saudi Arabia. Since I was sound asleep I had no consciousness of the soccer games being watched by Tess and her children in the tv room.

Trip to Japan, Day 8

(Photo caption: Sunrise in Mt. Fuji, source: http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/index_e.php
)

{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/08 }

Day 8. July 24, 2007. Tuesday.

I woke up today at 4:00 a.m. The sunrise came at 4:45 a.m. It was a magnificent site to behold. One should see the sunrise at Mt. Fuji to really appreciate why Japan is called the "Land of the Rising Sun." The formal Japanese term for sunrise is goraiko. After taking lots of photos of the sunrise I had my breakfast (noodles and coffee) at Horaikan. The staff of Horaikan were very helpful, and some of them speak English.

At 6:00 a.m. I resumed my climb to the top of Mt. Fuji. At 7:30 a.m., I reached the 3,250 mark. Again I was inspired to write more haikus (details to be supplied later.) The climb from the 8th station to the peak of Mt. Fuji was again very difficult.

Finally, I reached the summit of Mt. Fuji at 11:00 a.m. I took some photos of the crater (there are some patches of snow) and rested in one of the shops found at the peak.

I rested for one and a half hours at the peak of Mt. Fuji. At 12:30 p.m. I began my descent. The path going down from the peak of Mt. Fuji is not easy: it is steep and slippery. I walked very slowly because I was already very tired and I was very careful not to slide down.

It took me several hours to reach the 6th station of Mt. Fuji. By the time I arrived at the 6th station it was alredy 7:00 p.m and already dark. Unfortunately I did not bring a flashlight (a torch) with me. Luckily, I found a Japanese young couple who had a flashlight and I asked them if I could join them until the 5th station (where the buses are). The Japanese couple don't know how to speak in English and I don't know how to speak in Japanese. But somehow, the Japanese couple understood what I was trying to say.

I was able to take the 8:40 p.m. bus station that brough me back to Kawguchiko.

Definitely, this is one experience that I will never forget!

Trip to Japan, Day 7


(Photo caption: A view of Mt. Fuji, source: http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/index_e.php )
{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07}

Day 7. July 23, 2007. Monday.

Today is a very significant day for me. From Kawaguchiko station I took the bus that brought me to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji (about halfway between the base and the peak of the mountain). I had lunch in one of the restaurants at the 5th station. I started my climb at 11:10 a.m. By 12:00 noon I reached the 6th station of Mt. Fuji. The climb from the 6th station to the 7th station was very difficult. To inspire me to continue my climb, I wrote some haikus :)
{ More details later. }

From the 7th station to the 8th station, one can see several mountain huts (or lodges). The path to the 8th station is very rocky. I reached the 8th station at around 6:00 p.m. I decided to stay in one of the mountain lodges at the 8th station called Horaikan. {More details later.}

Trip to Japan, Day 6



(Photo caption: A view of Lake Kawguchi in Kawaguchiko, Japan. Source: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6906.html
)

{ Note: This is a narration of my recent to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07 )

Day 6. July 22, 2007. Sunday.

Today I checked-out from Hotel Okura. I took the Tsukuba Express train from Tsukuba to the Akihabara train station in Tokyo. The trip was about 50 minutes. From Akihabara station I took a train going to the Tokyo station. From the Tokyo station I bought a roundtrip ticket from the JR bus terminal that will take me from Tokyo station to Kawaguchiko and back. The bus trip from Tokyo station to Kawaguchiko station took about 3 hours.

Trip to Japan, Day 5

(Photo caption: A view of Mt. Tsukuba, source: http://kanko.pref.ibaraki.jp/en/na/na06.html
)

{Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07.}

Day 5. July 21, 2007. Saturday.

The second day of the JAMIT 2007 conference featured all sessions in Japanese. So today, I went to Mt. Tsukuba. I took a bus from the Tsukuba bus loop (actually, I had two bus rides).

The weather was not very good when I reached the foot of Mt. Tsukuba. I walked to a nearby shrine ( avery old one) and from there, walked to the cable car (actually a train) station. The cable car brought us to the peak of Mt. Tsukuba. But at that time, it was very foggy and visibility was practically zero. I had coffee in one of the shops and bought a souveneir item - a ceramic figure of a frog with two baby frogs. There is particular frog which is famous in Mt. Tsukuba. (Details will be supplied later).

In the evening, I had dinner with Dr. Toshi Nakai an colleagues in Seibu, a department store complex located at Tsukuba city center.

Trip to Japan, Day 4

(Photo caption: The Okura Frontier Epochal hotel in Tsukuba, Japan. Source: http://www.okura-tsukuba.co.jp/english/index.html )


(Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan, from 7/17/07 to 7/30/07)

Day 4. July 20, 2007. Friday.

Today is the opening day of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association for Medical Imaging Technology (JAMIT 2007). From AIST Guest House (Sakura-san) we transferred to the Tsukuba International Congress Center (and later, we checked in at Hotel Okura which is just adjacent to the International Congress Center). My talks were scheduled in the session C2 (Grid) from 10:40 - 11:20 a.m. This is an English session (Note: not all sessions were in English. Many sessions were in Japanese.)

The titles of my research paper presentations are: (1) Image Segmentation of Digital Mammogram Using the Watershed Algorithm for Cancer Detection, and (2) Computer-Aided Retrieval of Knee Menisci Magnetic Resonance Images Using Latent Semantic Indexing.

In the afternoon, I participated in the International Symposium on Grid Computing, where my colleagues in the ONCO-MEDIA project ( http://www.onco-media.com/ ) were the speakers.

In the evening I met my batchmate from Philippine Science High School ( PSHS Class of 1977 ), Irene Mendoza-Abe who lives in Tskukuba together with her Japanese husband and two kids. We had dinner in a restaurant near the hotel.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Trip to Japan, Day 3

(Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan (July 17-30, 2007))

Day 3. July 19, 2007. Thursday

Again, I woke up early this morning. I borrowed a bike from the AIST Guest House staff and went to the lagoon area. I took photos of the place and watched the big gold fish in the pond. I was also able to compose another haiku :)

The second day of our meeting started at 9:30 a.m. (Note: Details to be supplied here).

After our meeting, Dr. Nakai and staff treated us to a dinner in a restaurant in Tsukuba Center.

Trip to Japan, Day 2

(Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan (July 17-30, 2007))

Day 2. 18 July 2007. Wednesday.

I woke up early this morning. This is the first day of our ONCO-MEDIA project meeting ( See http://www.onco-media.com/ ). I walked from AIST Guest House (Sakura-kan) to the AIST Grid Technoloy Research Center (about 15 minutes walk).

Our meeting began around 10:00 a.m. (Note: Details to be supplied later).

We finished our meeting around 6:00 p.m. After the meeting, I had dinner at a canteen near the lagoon area of AIST.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Trip to Japan, Day 1


(Photo caption: Aerial view of Tsukuba Science City in Japan. Source: http://web-japan.org/atlas/technology/tec01.html )
( Note: This is a narration of my recent trip to Japan (from July 17 to July 30, 2007)).

Day 1, 17 July 2007, Tuesday.

I left my condominium unit in Quezon City at 6:30 a.m. and took a taxi to the airport (Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA). I arrived in NAIA at 7:30 a.m -- my flight was at 9:00 a.m. via Japan Airlines flight No.746.

Our plane landed at Narita International Airport inTokyo, Japan at 2:00 p.m. (or 1:00 p.m., Manila time). After clearing the customs and exchanging money from US dollars to Japanese yen, I bought a bus ticket (Highway Bus counter near the information desk) to Tsukuba. Since the schedule of the bus to depart was at 4:20 p.m., I lingered around the airport arrival lobby a little bit, bought coffee, and checked my e-mails in the Internet kiosk (Note: Unlike at the Singapore Chianggi airport where there is a freeInternet kiosk, at the Narita airport, Internet access is not free: it costs 100 yen per 10 minutes (or less) of internate usage.)

The bus trip to Tsukuba was a bit scenic in the sense that we passed by rice fields and small roads, and not the superhighway. It was a cloudy day and there was a drizzle. We arrived at the Tsukuba bus loop at around 6:00 p.m. It was almost dark and wet. I stayed around at the bus information office a little bit, and later I decided to look for a place to have dinner, since I thought that I might have difficulty finding a place to eat at the AIST Guest House (the place where I was booked). I found a department store just across the bus loop -- the name is Q't. It was a nice place. I had curry rice for dinner and coffee and ice cream for dessert. After dinner, I took a taxi to Sakura-kan (the local name for the AIST guest house) and arrived there around 8:00 p.m. I was assigned to room number S128. After arranging my things and cleaning myself, I watched tv. All the 12 channels in the tv were in Japanese :). I easily fell asleep sinceI got tired from my trip.

Raffy
(7/17/07 in Tsukuba, Japan)

Strong Earthquake in Japan

On the eve of my departure for Tokyo, I encountered a news article about a strong earthquake in Japan's nortwest coast. Below are the details:

( Source: http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_21292329.shtml 

Earthquake Jolts Kashiwazaki Japan, Seven Killed

Kashiwazaki Japan - A powerful earthquake 10 miles below sea level jolted Japan's northwest coast Monday, killing seven people and injuring at least 700 others.

The 6.8-magnitute quake, which struck at 10:13 a.m. knocked down more than 500 houses, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said the quake caused minor shaking in Tokyo, 150 miles south of the epicenter.

Police in Kashiwazaki told Japan's NHK television that several buildings had collapsed and the injured were treated at local hospitals.

(7/16/07, Manila time)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Janitor Fish: Creating Havoc in Philippine Waters

(Photo Source: http://www.llda.gov.ph/images/Janitorfish_02.gif)

While doing last minute preparations for my trip to Tokyo (See my blog post "Planning for a Trip to Japan") I watched a documentary on "janitor fish" featured in the "Eyewitness" program in Channel 7, with Ms. Kara David as the narrator. The program is very informative and sheds light on the destruction brought by introducing a foreign species of fish in Philippine waters (Marikina river, Laguna Bay, and Agusan marshland).

See the following link for more information about "janitor fish":

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=10714

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Access to the AIST Grid Technology Research Center

(Photo Caption: The AIST Grid Technology Research Center in Tsukuba, Japan)

Below is the link to the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) Grid Technology Research Center, the venue of our 2nd ONCO-MEDIA partners' meeting to be held on July 18-19, 2007 in Tsukuba, Japan.

http://projects.gtrc.aist.go.jp/en/access/index.html

This link contains information on how to reach the Grid Technology Research Center from the Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

Aerial View of the AIST Campus


Today (7/16/07, Manila time) I received an e-mail from Baggy (Dr. Epifanio Bagarinao) one of our ONCO-MEDIA partners with an attached photo of the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Japan. AIST the venue of our 2nd ONCO-MEDIA partners' meeting on July 18-19, 2007.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Morning Haiku

I woke up this morning (7/15/07, Manila time) with haikus in mind. So I wrote another haiku:

Haiku No. 6

morning rays are here
the sky is becoming blue
-- a new day begins

(6:15 a.m.)

Personal comment: I feel that my haikus are still "amateurish" and lack the aura of Zen. Perhaps, when I am in Japan, I will improve my haikus :)

Have a good day!

Cheers,

Raffy
(7/15/07, Manila time)

More Haikus (Haiku No. 3, 4 and 5)

Yes, I'm still in the mood for writing haikus (See "Haiku No. 1" and "Haiku No. 2"), so here are three more haikus:

Haiku No. 3:

roofs, roofs, everywhere
not a single person roams
-- my computer blinks


Haiku No. 4

gray skies and dark clouds
cold afternoon and damp air
-- i miss the sunset

Haiku No. 5

lights flicker, birds fly
shadows disappear from sight
-- i am alone now

Raffy
(7/14/07, Manila time)

Haiku No. 2

I am still in the mood for writing haikus. (See my blog post "Haiku No. 1"). Here is my second attempt:

Haiku No. 2

very still green leaves
scatter all over the place
-- a white cross appears

Raffy
(7/14/07, Manila time)

Haiku No. 1

Haiku is a mode of Japanese poetry. Gerard England (see http://home.clara.net/nhi/gepm002.htm ) has this to say about haiku:

"The haiku is a very simple form of writing. So think many poets exposed to this verse for the first time. The more perceptive of them soon realise that it can in reality be rather difficult. A casual glance at magazines or web pages will often show a wealth of examples, good, bad and indifferent. On asking further the poet usually gets told that haiku are traditionally written in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. They may also be told that all haiku include a "season word" (kigo) to indicate the time of year to which the haiku relates. For a beginning this might do."


I have written haikus in the past, but I have already forgotten about them. Since I will be going to Japan soon (see my blog post "Preparing For My Trip To Japan"), I though of writing a haiku.

I am writing this blog post inside my condominium unit with a view of Eastwood (in Libis, Quezon City), Ortigas (in Pasig City), and Makati City (See my blog post "A Room With A View".) The sky is overcast and it is raining in some parts of Metro Manila.

Below is my attempt at writing a haiku:

Haiku No. 1:

buildings tall and small
cover the horizon view
-- raindrops are falling

Raffy
(7/14/07, Manila time)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Planning For My Trip To Japan


(Photo Source: www.japan-guide.com)




In a few days I will be in Japan for several meetings. Today, I am doing some last minute preparations for my trip.

This will not be my first trip to Japan. My first time in Japan was in January 1991 when I did a "Circle Pacific Tour". I stayed for a few days in Tokyo, coming from Hong Kong and proceeding to Canada (after Tokyo).

In November 2001 I gave a research presentation on cellular automata in Yokohama University. In July 2003 I visited Tokyo again as part of the official Philippine delegation to the International Mathematics Olympiad.

Last June 2006, I had a brief stay in Tokyo after my trip to the U.S.A.

This July I will be attending the 2nd meeting of the ONCO-MEDIA project partners. I will also be giving two research paper presentations in JAMIT 2007 (Japan Association for Medical Imaging Technology). The meetings will be held from July 18-21, 2007 in Tsukuba, Japan.

The other day, Dr. Toshi Nakai, our ONCO-MEDIA partner in Japan sent me a URL link to all information that I need during my travel to Tsukuba, the venue of our research meeting and conference. Below is the link:

http://www.medgrid.org/index.php?module=article&view=11

My trip itinerary via Japan Airlines is found at

http://www.virtuallythere.com/new/emNsRes.html?pnr=VWJB5D81F9JK&name=saldana&host=1B&language=0&email=1&style=0
After my research meeting and conference in Tsukuba, I plan to meet some of my former classmates:

1. Irene Mendoza-Abe, based in Tsukuba

2. Tess Gagui-Ichinose, based in a suburb of Tokyo

I also plan to visit the following places:

1. Mt. Tsukuba
2. Lake Kawaguchiko
3. Mt. Fuji
4. Nikko National Park

In July 2003 I visited Mt. Fuji but I only reached the 5th station (accessible by bus). This time I plan to reach the peak of Mt. Fuji :)

Below are some links to Tokyo, Lake Kawaguchiko, Mt. Fuji, and Nikko:

Tokyo ( http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2164.html )
Mt. Tsukuba (http://www.answers.com/topic/mount-tsukuba)
Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji ( http://www.webshots.com/search?query=Mt.Fuji&start=1080 )
Mt. Fuji (http://climbfujiyama.blogspot.com/)
Climbing Mt. Fuji (http://www17.plala.or.jp/climb_fujiyama/index.html)
Climbing Mt. Fuji (Japan Guide) (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6901.html)
Nikko ( http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html )



Cheers,

Raffy
(7/14/2007, Manila time)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Life That Matters

After writing my blog post "An Inspirational Text Message", I got curious about the original source of the quotation sent to me by my friend. Consulting the Google Search engine led me to the following beautiful poem: "A Life That Matters".

Read on ...

Raffy
(7/13/07, Quezon City, Philippines)



**A Life That Matters**

Ready or not,
someday it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises,
no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected,
whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power
will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned
or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations,
and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans,
and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses
that once seemed so important
will fade away.

It won't matter where you came from,
or on what side of the tracks you lived,
at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought,
but what you built;
not what you got,
but what you gave?

What will matter is not your success,
but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned,
but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity,
compassion,
courage or sacrifice that enriched,
empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence,
but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories,
but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered,
by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

--Author Unknown

_________________

An Inspirational Text Message

Friends and colleagues sometimes send me inspirational messages via e-mail or text (SMS) message. A few days ago, one batchmate sent me an inspirational message through e-mail (See "Peace, Faith, Love, Hope and Sister Theresina"). Today, I got another inspirational message from a friend, this time via SMS. This is what he wrote:

"In the end, what matters is not what you bought but what you built;
not what you got but what you shared;
not your success but your significance;
not what you learned but what you taught;
not your competence but your character;
not how long you will be remembered
but by whom and what you did for others."

To my friend, thank you for the inspirational message.

Raffy
(7/12/07, Manila time)

Johari Window

Someone (very close to me) sent a message today in the Guest Book portion of my website ( http://www.freewebs.com/rpsaldana ). This is what she wrote:

"...... ........:
thanks for this rare chance of understanding you better. Strange that in more than 20 years I have known you there is still that portion of the johari's window that remains elusive and I guess will continue to be. and again i hear myself saying as i have always done..may you finally be happy and eventually find yourself...."

There is one phrase that strikes me in her message: Johari's window. I can't seem to recall what a Johari's window is, so I made a quick consultation with Google search and this is what I found:

(Source: Wikepedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window )

"A Johari window is a metaphorical tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 in the United States, used to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships. It is used primarily in SELF-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.

When performing the exercise, the subject is given a list of 55 adjectives and picks five or six that they feel describe their own personality. Peers of the subject are then given the same list, and each pick five or six adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives are then mapped onto a grid.

A Johari Window consists of 55 adjectives used to describe the participant, in alphabetical order:

  • able
  • accepting
  • adaptable
  • bold
  • brave
  • calm
  • caring
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • complex
  • confident
  • dependable
  • dignified
  • energetic
  • extroverted
  • friendly
  • giving
  • happy
  • helpful
  • idealistic
  • independent
  • ingenious
  • intelligent
  • introverted
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • logical
  • loving
  • mature
  • modest
  • nervous
  • observant
  • organized
  • patient
  • powerful
  • proud
  • quiet
  • reflective
  • relaxed
  • religious
  • responsive
  • searching
  • self-assertive
  • self-conscious
  • sensible
  • sentimental
  • shy
  • silly
  • spontaneous
  • sympathetic
  • tense
  • trustworthy
  • warm
  • wise
  • witty
The opposite of a Johari window is a Nohari window. A Nohari window is the inversion of the Johari window, and is a collection of negative personality traits instead of positive. "


Raffy
(7/12/07, Manila time)








Tuesday, July 10, 2007

1st Virtual Forum of Global Research Communities

Tomorrow (July 12, 2007, 4:00 p.m. Manila time) I will make a short presentation during the 1st Virtual Forum of Global Research Communities an event coordinated from Brussels, Belgium using the collaborative tool ISABEL. The Philippine site is being coordinated by ASTI (Advanced Science and Technology Institute) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

My presentation will be on our internationally funded project called ONCO-MEDIA (See the website at http://www.onco-media.com for details.)

Below are details about virtual forum:

1st Virtual Forum of Global Research Communities
12 July 2007, an event coordinated from Brussels ( Belgium) using collaborative tool ISABEL


( Website: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/programme/events-20070712_en.html )


OBJECTIVES

  • To promote the participation of international partners in European activities in the area of e-Infrastructures, especially in the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development.
  • To increase the visibility of regional projects in order to create synergies in the area of e-Infrastructures.
  • To create opportunities for new collaborations between European and international partners, thus contributing to building up transnational scientific communities.

TARGET AUDIENCE

All interested stakeholders willing to collaborate in global research communities. The event is particularly targeting both European and international stakeholders in order to promote cooperation between scientific communities.

AGENDA

Monday, July 9, 2007

Peace, Faith, Love, Hope and Sister Theresina

Yesterday (7/09/07, Manila time) I received an e-mail from one of my batchmates in high school (PSHS Class of 1977). She is Sr. Theresina, a Carmelite nun, and now based in Cebu City, Philippines. She regularly sends us inspirational messages in our e-group.

One of the inspirational messages she sent us is about four candles representing PEACE, FAITH, LOVE, and HOPE.

Below is the link to the message:

BSPT Batch D: Photos from Tess in Japan


(Photo Captions: (1) Tess and Jun, (2) Tess and Sachi, in Tokyo, Japan)

This morning (7/10/07, Manila time) I received an e-mail from Tess (via our batch e-group) with attached photos. Tess was my classmate in college (Philippine Normal College) and we belong to a group of DOST scholars (NSDB-PNC BSPT Batch D). She sent us three photos: a photo of Sachi (her daughter who celebrated her 13th birthday recently), a photo of Tess and Sachi, and a photo of Tess and Jun (her Japanese husband). Tess and Jun are living in a Tokyo suburb and they are blessed with three kids. I have visited Tess and her family in Tokyo twice already during some of my visits in Japan.

I will visit Tess, Jun and their children again soon. I will go to Japan from July 17 to 30, 2007 to attend the 2nd ONCO-MEDIA research meeting and to present two papers in JAMIT 2008 (Japanese Association for Medical Imaging Technology) to be held in Tsukuba, Japan.

See you soon, Tess and Jun...

Cheers,

Raffy
(7/10/07, Manila time)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Personal Crisis Management

"By the law of averages, it’s simply a matter of time till you are hit by your first crisis. The older you grow, the greater the chances of facing a crisis – and the sooner you learn to cope with them, the better!"

This quote is from an article I saw on the Web today, which I will reproduce in the latter part of this blog post.

Have you had a personal crisis? When did you experience your first crisis? How many major crises have you had so far? How did you respond to these crises? Were you able to overcome them?

In my case, these are the years that I experienced personal crises: 1977, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004.

In 1977 (the year I graduated from high school), I had a brief personal crisis: Due to financial difficulties, I nearly was not able to go to college (even though I passed the entrance exam at University of the Philippines-Diliman for a B.S. Mathematics course). However, this crisis was short lived because I was able to get a college scholarship.

In 1995, my only sister, Ate Lorie, died due to breast cancer.

In 1998, I made a major decision which changed my life.

In 2002, I experienced another major personal crisis which changed my life again.

In 2004, another short lived personal crisis occurred.

Now that I am on sabbatical leave, maybe I can write something about these personal crises for a future autobiography?

Below is the article on personal crisis management that I saw on the Web today. It is a chapter in an online medical guide. Although it pertains to medical doctors, the text in this article may be applicable to other people.


Raffy
(7/09/07, Manila time)




(Source: http://www.thebestmedicalcare.com/book2/27-crisis-management.htm )

Crisis management – how to cope when the chips are down

"One often learns more from ten days of agony than from ten years of contentment."

- Merle Shain.

"Doctors are trained to treat medical emergencies such as a cardiac arrest, intraoperative bleeding, or an asthmatic in acute respiratory distress, which means they are used to handling a crisis . These are life-or-death crises, and doctors are expected to retain their cool and remain unflappable, because their presence of mind can spell the difference between life and death for their patient.

However, these are crises which affect other people – your patients ! Handling a crisis in your personal life is often a completely different cup of tea, and many doctors go to pieces when faced by a personal crisis. The truth is that all of us face crises in our lives – but thankfully, not too often ! A personal crisis is as old as mankind , and divorce, financial loss, being sued for malpractise, illness and bereavement are some of the things in your life that can bring you to crisis point.

By the law of averages, it’s simply a matter of time till you are hit by your first crisis. The older you grow, the greater the chances of facing a crisis – and the sooner you learn to cope with them, the better ! This is why self-made individuals who have come up from scratch often end up doing so much better than others in life. They have faced many crises in their life before, and have successful dealt with them. Each crisis you handle makes you stronger, and more capable of handling the next crisis as well ! It’s also much easier to learn from other’s problems , which is why it’s such a good idea to help others ( juniors and colleagues) to cope with their crises. Your objective advise can help them deal with their problems– and will also teach you what to do when you face similar problems in your own life !

Adversity is the best teacher , and a crisis can teach you a lot about life and how to live – the key question is - how well can you learn ? Accept that the crisis will change you – hopefully for the better ! Living through a crisis can be hell – but you need to learn to maintain your equanimity . Don’t take out your anger and rage on your employees, patients, colleagues, friends or children. Trust your inner strength – you have been through worse, and you can weather this storm as well ! There are certain personal qualities will help you cope better and these include: self-confidence; optimism; a sense of humor; resilience; and faith in God. ( Interestingly, playing games such as chess or tennis will help you deal better with a real life crisis when it hits. Being 0-5 down in a tennis match or facing a check is a crisis of sorts, and dealing successfully with this mini-crisis will help you deal with the bigger real-life crises , when these arise.)

Unfortunately, when faced with a crisis, many doctors start feeling sorry for themselves; start blaming others for their predicament; or waste energy looking for a scapegoat. You need to move beyond self-blame – don’t react like a victim. When a marriage crumbles, a job is lost, a loved one dies or a child suffers a debilitating illness, people tend to blame themselves-"If only I had worked harder," or "If only I had taken better care of him." None of us gets through life without some mistakes. You may share some of the responsibility for the crisis, or, more likely, it would have happened no matter what you did. Either way, the important thing is what you do with the rest of your life. When recovering from a life crisis, self-blame is a luxury you can't afford. This is pointless and an exercise in futility - it’s better to deal with the crisis and move on !

You may believe it is impossible for you to recover from this hard time; and sometimes a second crisis comes and sets you back before you recover from the first crisis. Everyone has their own level of being able to cope before they reach their breaking point. High adrenaline levels will help you manage the initial crisis; but persistently elevated levels can be counterproductive ! You may find that the stress of coping will start affecting other parts of your life such as your concentration, sleep, appetite and sexual life. You will find your feelings swinging wildly from hope ( that the crisis will blow over) to fear ( that the worst will come to pass) , and this can affect your mental and physical health. The crisis needs to be acknowledged and dealt with - you need a chance to adjust and start the healing. Please reach out for help –you will soon find out who your real friends are in your time of need !

Don’t let what you are going through embitter you. For example, one of the commonest crises a doctor will face is being sued for malpractise. Many doctors become cynical and disillusioned once they have been sued, and start treating all patients as potential adversaries. Don’t let one isolated incident jaundice your view on life – you need to bounce back and move on !

It’s interesting that the Chinese expression for “crisis” consists of two characters - one means “danger” and the other “opportunity.” Every crisis carries its own blessing with it – but often only the passage of time and a lot of maturity will allow you to find the good side in this mess. People seldom tap into their deepest strengths and abilities until forced to do so by a major crisis. Living through a crisis will definitely make you more empathetic towards other people who also find themselves in a crisis – such as your patients. Many doctors find they are much more sympathetic towards their patients when they have faced a critical illness themselves !

One of the best ways of learning how to cope with a crisis is from our patients . Compared to most of our personal crises, our patients go through much worse situations, such as the loss of a child, life threatening illnesses, and imminent death. Many will deal with such a crisis with such grace and wisdom, that they are living lessons for all of us. Their attitude can be a source of inspiration and courage for you.

It’s important to keep your perspective – be objective. You will have to accept that life is not always fair, and that “bad things do happen to good people” because “ we live in an imperfect world." A sense of humour can be invaluable at this time ! No personal crisis ever marks the end of the world, even if it seems to do so at that time. Don’t magnify the problem or start imagining that it is unmanageable. Also you need to learn to be detached - don’t take it personally. Many people have been through worse, and have survived their baptism by fire , and so can you ! Keep your self-esteem intact – this will help you to bounce back. Learn to accept reality, no matter how bitter it may be, because the sooner you do this, the easier it is to deal with it. As Rudyard Kipling advises so wisely and eloquently in his poem, If, “ If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same”.

Research has shown that when faced with the same crisis, some people will crumble; other will survive; while others will thrive. These are the hallmarks of the survivors .

Reason : Survivors focus on problem-solving their crisis. They control their emotions; set aside panic and think logically during a crisis, especially about the true nature of the crisis and realistic options for solving it. They always have a Plan B, in case things don’t work out as expected.

Focus : Survivors are 100 percent present in the moment. Thinking too much about past experiences or future possibilities distracts from survival.

Integration : Survivors must be emotionally healthy enough to integrate their tragedy and its consequences into being one part of their larger life story.

Positivity: After a crisis, you will never be the same again. Making lemonade from lemons is crucial after a crisis. The key challenge is, how can you make something positive of this? How can you come out of this a better person?

While some crises can blow over quickly, others can be a long drawn out and painful process. Not only does it eat into your time, it also saps your energy and monopolizes your attention. It also extracts a huge emotional toll, and many doctors when faced with a crisis go through a process of five classic phases of grieving, as first described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross when talking about dying patients. The first response is one of Denial: I am a fine doctor and a good human being ; this can't be happening to me! The next stage is one of Anger: Why should this be happening to me when I am such a good person? Doctors will often vent their anger on family-members, their staff, and even other patients. The next stage is one of Bargaining, where the doctor pleads with God to, 'let him off the hook this time,' and promises never to err again! This is followed by Depression. Many doctors start doubting their competence and professional ability, and wonder if they should just stop practicing medicine altogether. The final stage is one of Acceptance, when the doctor comes to terms with the fact that dealing with a crisis is simply a fact of life everyone has to face up to; that it is not a reflection on his personal worth, and learns to get on with his life! Being prepared for the emotional havoc which going through a crisis can play with your life can help you to cope better: don't try to minimize the impact it has on you and your feelings by pretending it's of no consequence!

It’s usually a good idea to continue working, if you can do so. Your patients can be a source of strength , and if you find satisfaction in taking good care of them, this will help to bolster your self-esteem and confidence ! Hiding and running away from the problem will often compound it.

It’s a good idea to prepare for those crises which you can. Some are predictable, and you need to manage these proactively. For most doctors today, it’s simply a matter of time till a patient sues you for alleged malpractise. Taking out a professional indemnity insurance policy and knowing what to do when you are sued will help you retain control. Be prepared – have a plan, and then follow it.

A key part of handling a crisis is damage control, and there is often a lot you can do to prevent the matter from becoming worse. It is natural to feel like a helpless victim after a devastating crisis, but you can't recover from grief until you overcome these feelings. In the midst of your sorrow, make a plan to take charge of your life. While you may not be able to solve the whole problem or wish it away, remember that no matter how much of our life we think we cannot change, there is always that part that is within our control, and that we can work on – be it 2 percent, 5 percent, or whatever - it is always more than we suppose !

Going through a crisis often serves as a wake-up call, which forces you to look at the “big picture” and where you are heading in life. Treat this crisis as an educational lesson – it may prove to be an expensive lesson, but you need to learn it ! Many of us get so desensitized by the daily monotony of life, that we often lose our ideals and goals. A crisis will help you focus on the purpose and meaning of your life; so that it can actually serve as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Life is full of ups and downs, but the sad reality is that we all learn much more from the downs !"







BSPT Batch D: Birthday Greetings Via E-mail

Before the existence of e-mails, e-groups and the Internet, we used to send birthday cards via the post office (or what we call snail mail) to greet a friend, a colleague, or a relative. Now, most people send birthday greetings via e-mail (or text messages using cellphones).

Today (7/9/07 Manila time) is the birthday of Ruby, one of my classmates in college (Philippine Normal College, now known as Philippine Normal University). In college, we were members of a group of NSDB-PNC Proj. 7405 Ed. (NSDB is now known as the DOST or Department of Science and Technology) scholars taking up Bachelor of Science in Physics (for Teachers) or BSPT. We belong to the fourth batch, or Batch D. Now, we maintain an e-group, the bsptbatchd in yahoogroups. Through this e-group, our BSPTD classmates send birthday greetings and other messages.

Thanks for the e-mails, the e-groups, and the Internet. Now, it is easier (and more convenient) to send birthday greetings :)

Another News of Death

Less than a week since I heard that my CSP colleague Gerry Trinidad passed away (See my recent blog post "Farewell, Gerry!"), today I learned that another colleague died -- this time not due to sickness but because of a car accident.

The person I am writing about is Fr. Komkrit Anamnat, a Thai Catholic priest and missionary. I was informed that Fr. Komkrit died from a freak car accident in Thailand recently.

Fr. Komkrit supervised a mission in Northern Thailand where his group provided free education to tribal children and poor people.

I remember him as a very good natured person with a unique sense of humor. He was very dedicated to his work. He was also a very respected and well-loved missionary.

Farewell, Fr. Komkrit. Please pray for me.


P.S.

Below is an article I found on the Web about Fr. Komkrit:


( Source: http://www.tgmmt.org/ucanews/0904/092004.htm )


"TH6814.1307 September 20, 2004 61 EM-lines (746 words) THAILAND Poor Rural Students Want To Go Beyond 9th Grade Not Just For University

WIANG PA PAO, Thailand (UCAN) -- Poor students at a Catholic school in northern Thailand would gain a few options if it could extend its high school classes, but 'prolonged' schooling is an end in itself.

Ninth-grade student Sathit Phusenglan says students who cannot continue studies will end up as hired helpers or maybe engage in "wrong business" such as girls becoming prostitutes or boys selling drugs.

Nuchanat Anusorn School in Wiang Pa Pao, 635 kilometers north of Bangkok, has 1,403 students, boys and girls, about 100 of them Catholics. More than one-third of them pay no tuition to attend the Chiang Mai diocese-run school in the hills of Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost province.

"We are proud of our accomplishment providing free education to many hilltribe and other poor children up to 9th grade," Idente Missionary Father Komkrit Anamnat, the parish priest and school manager, told UCA News Sept. 15.

Nonetheless, Father Komkrit said the Church wants to do more for these children and is now raising funds to extend existing school buildings toward offering full secondary education by 2006.

"We should try to help children further their education opportunity, if we can, because we want to 'prolong' their schooling from age 14-16 to 18-20," he said, noting that few rural students who finish 9th grade at age 14-16 go on to high school. Many end up farming with their family or working as laborers.

If employed, they make less than 3,000 baht (US$75), "but if they finish high school, they may make 4,000 baht," he said. The school also intends to offer vocational training for students who do not want to go on to 12th grade.

The Thai priest pointed out that in rural areas, especially among hilltribe communities, it is common for young people to marry at 15 or right after 9th grade. "It is not that we are against the tribal custom of marrying young," he said, "but if we can give young people a chance to continue secondary education or vocational training, we can help them with better opportunity, more moral teaching and higher learning."

His Association Id of Christ the Redeemer, known as Idente Missionaries was founded in 1959 in Spain. Members came to Thailand in 1980."


Saturday, July 7, 2007

CSP's official statement on Gerry

I received an e-mail this morning from Jay Pefianco, an active member of the Computing Society of the Philippines (CSP), suggesting to me that the CSP should release a statement on Gerry on behalf of the CSP. What I did was to combine the draft statement I made with that of Jimmy's.

Below is the CSP statement of condolence to be sent to Gerry's family in Australia:

 Statement of the Computing Society of the Philippines on Dr. Gerardo Trinidad

On behalf of the Computing Society of the Philippines (CSP), we would like to express our condolences to the family of Dr. Gerardo S. Trinidad.

Gerry (as we fondly call Dr. Trinidad) has made a great contribution not only to the Computing Society of the Philippines but also to the information and communications technology (ICT) community in general.

He was a founding member of the Computing Society of the Philippines and was one of the members of CSP’s Board of Trustees. He produced the first CSP newsletter and became an associate editor of the Philippine Computing Journal (PCJ), the official publication of the CSP.

Gerry was very generous with his time and talents. He readily agreed to referee articles and papers for the PCJ and the Philippine Computing Science Congress (PCSC), the annual convention of the CSP.

Although based in Melbourne, Australia, Gerry shared his research expertise to Filipino computer science students and academics. He was the Ph.D. thesis adviser of Dr. Caslon Chua, dean of the College of Computer Studies of De La Salle University and Vice-President of the CSP.

Gerry certainly contributed substantially to our efforts in developing computer science education and research in the Philippines. His dedication and commitment to CSP and our cause is something we will never forget. Because of his place in CSP and the Philippine computing community, as well as being one of our foremost, or maybe our foremost supporter in the international community, he will be very difficult to replace.

We mourn the loss of our colleague, Dr. Gerardo Trinidad, and we pray for his everlasting peace.

Sincerely,

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

COMPUTING SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES (CSP)

7 July 2007