Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Barely a week old here in Japan when I received a confirmation from Ate Maki, one of my oldest flckr friends, about the photoshoot she told me before leaving the Philippines. A group of other photo enthusiasts from Timog Forum, an online forum for Filipinos in Japan, will be joining the activity too. I thought it is a great venue to meet online friends in the flesh. LOL!

A day before the agreed date, my flickr godfather, Kuya Ben, sent me a mail informing that he can join the event. I am doubly delighted when I read his mail. Kuya Ben and Ate Maki are my family in cyberspace and meeting them is indeed a treat on my part. The venue of the shoot is in Yamanashi Perfecture. I haven’t heard of the said place actually but I know its very famous as Fuji-san is visible in the area. Oh well, I never thought that Fuji-san can be at times selfish. Haha! More on that later.

I met Kuya Ben with his lovely wife, Ate Merly, together with two TF members, Michiko and Kate. They were all quiet like me. Amazing isn’t it? We headed to Ate Maki's house at around 2000H and it took more or less than 3 hours to reach the place. Along the way, we introduced ourselves to each other, as well as to all the ghosts listening to us, shared our bio-data and learned each other’s name. Well, except mine. Haha!

Ate Maki welcomed us and a sea of food flashed before our eyes. Three TF members were already there, Rad and Rya, and Jane. I got the chance to meet Juan, Jose, Julius, Bonifacio, Emilio, Justo – the invisible creatures. The girls showed their magic touches in the kitchen while the boys started their drinking session. Filipino, Japanese, Malaysian foods were served. As much as I wanted to eat, I can’t as I don’t want to upset my stomach. Better be hungry than to visit the toilet every now and then.

The stories didn’t end, nobody slept, not even a wink or two. That’s how excited we were,. I guess. We just stopped when we saw that the sun is attempting to show up. We then raced to Lake Motosu, hoping to have a glimpse of the rising sun. But, the sun had been up already. But the place is simply magical. Beautiful would be an understatement. Of course we wasted no time in pulling out our respective gears and I am the only Nikon user in the group. LOL! Well, Kuya Ben had Pentax, so it made both of us the odd men. Hehe!

Fuji-san wasn’t that clear, I am not sure if its shyness or selfishness on his part that he didn’t bother showing his entirety. But we were still satisfied with his appearance and you can hear the clicks and shutter sound throughout. For a minute, I felt that I am in another world. No exaggeration.

The Fuji Five Lakes at the northern foot of Mount Fuji are Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko), Lake Yamanaka (Yamanakako), Lake Sai (Saiko), Lake Shoji (Shojiko) and Lake Motosu (Motosuko). The five lakes were formed a long time ago by lava flows, which dammed up rivers flowing through the region. Interestingly, three of the lakes, Saiko, Shojiko and Motosuko are still connected with each other by underground waterways and consequently maintain the same surface level of 901 meters above sea level.

Lake Motosu (13km circumference) is the westernmost of the five lakes.
It canbeviewed on the 1000 Yen bill.

We then moved to Lake Shoji hoping to have a much better view of Fuji-san, but he seemed not in the mood to be playful to photographer enthusiasts. LOL! Still, it didn’t hinder or lower down our energy to take hundred of photos.

Lake Shoji (2.5km circumference), by far the smallest of the five lakes, is located another five kilometers west of Lake Sai. It offers nice views of Mount Fuji and good fishing.

The group decided not to continue going to the remaining three lakes as Fuji-san was uncooperative that day. Instead we went to Tokuma river dam near Ate Maki’s place. I said near! LOL!
But before heading to our final destination, we stopped by Shimobe Hotel for a cup of hot coffee and cocoa. A good way to awaken our almost sleeping sanities. Aside from the hot beverage, the hotel offered a good way of relaxation, the popular and traditional “ashiyu”. The water not-so-hot water temperature running through your feet soothed your senses. A place not to miss if you are in Yamanashi prefecture.

photo by Ate Maki
The atmosphere in Tokuma was very relaxing and the water was inviting. It was a good location to end the trip. The taste of adobo still lingers. Everything was organized that I can’t wait for the next trip. Haha!

Thanks for this adventure everyone. Looks like I will have a blast here in Japan.

Itai! Itai!



  1. hehehe ~~ mukang ako ang una ~~ ok ka ring magkuwento ~~ umpisang umpisa pa lang hagikgik na ako ~~

    mga tahimik???? ~~~ mukang mga mahiyain pala kayo sa personal

    sana makasama ako sa susunod na mga eb shoot

  2. Wow! Ang husay ng blog entry 'Mai. Hanggang ngayon, nandito pa rin ang excitement na naramdaman ko sa trip. I was right. You are good, kind, patient and of course pogi especially in person. We love to shoot again with you sometime.

    "Doko itai?"

  3. ang sarap sa pakiramdam basahin...
    para bang sa wakas nag-kita~kita na
    rin kayong mag-kakapatid heheh!
    dibale 1week ka palang daw nakakabalik sa japan...baka sa susunod hindi na siya mahihiya heheheh!

  4. Well said! Toto Julius! :D Even the photoshoot EB itself was magical! And as Manong Ben says... that excitement still lingers until this day. Next time, we all should stay a day more at Ate Maki's place. To just even let this semi-charmed high we are in right now subside... even just a wee bit. Until then tomodachi!

  5. correction lang, it's rya and not rye;-)

    Grabe, miss ko na kayong lahat. Balik kayo agad ha!!!

  6. bonifacio emilio jose julius jericho jhimmy nyahaha may part 2 pa ang pag hula sa pangalan mo!!

    can't wait :D:D:D game ako magpalunod! haha!

  7. 'mai Julius, Jose, Jericho, Justo, Jun,Joe, Joseph, Junk, Jinx :-D

    correction ulet :-p
    It's Shimobe Hotel.

    thanks a lot!!!

    Yung "doter ng bayan" dyan, excited na talaga magamit ang 2-pis niya! hehe..

  8. RE: Manang Maki
    "Grabe, miss ko na kayong lahat. Balik kayo agad ha!!!"

    Miss mo ang crowd dahil puro tunog ng tuko at kundidit ang ingay na naririnig mo sa paligid.

    Ayusin mo na kasi yang ofuro sa main house para mas madalas kami jan lol.

  9. @ate moe, hehe, makulit lang ako magkwento pero tahimik ako sa personal. dapat sumama ka na sa sunod. hehe

    @kuya ben, tama na sana kaso may pogi pang kasama, bola lang yan tuloy haha. nice meeting you kuya, finally. haha. itai itai haha

    @anonymous, haha, sayang di ko alam kung sino ka, pero may hint na ako... oo nga magkakapatid na pinaglayo ng tadhana. syempre ako ang bunso haha

    @rad, nice meeting you too. magical at may kasama pang mga ghosts haha

    @ate maki, sige balik kami diyan.. bukas hehe

    @katek, pano ka pala makukunan ng pics nyan kung lunod ka na? hehe part 5 pa hanggang ang hulaan ng name ko

    @ate maki, dapat may free coffee sa promotion na yan haha.

    @kuya ben, ofuro? yung walang suot? haha ayaw ko nun..

  10. next time tulog tayo para maka-2 days !

  11. ako pala 'to :)

    - michiko

  12. @michiko-san, ikaw pala yan di mo sinasabi hehehe. kelan uli gala?

  13. Gorgeous photograph, beautiful experience.

    It is great to read stories of filipinos getting together in foreign lands and enjoy the company.

    Sharing the same interest is a plus factor in this gathering that made it 10 folds special.

    The result are great works and memorable experience.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  14. @David, thanks

    @Jeques, oh the meet up was such a gift on my part :-)

  15. Wow! A truly spectacular shot of Fuji-san!

  16. Thank you for allowing us to tag along with you :)your reflections enrich my life - the smiles your photographs and words bring are treasured. It is so cool to come here for a visit now and then because this post is like you said about Tokuma... "The atmosphere in Tokuma was very relaxing and the water was inviting." OXO


any thoughts to distill?

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