Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe (Part 1)

In between transitioning jobs, I asked C to go with me to Osaka (and tour the nearby prefectures) since it seemed like the perfect time for vacation for both of us. It was the first time I’ve visited Japan in summer (an earlier trip with family happened in May, just as spring was ending, where the weather was cool and perfect). I may have gotten feet tan lines and facial irritations (getting better now, thankfully!) but experiencing two summer festival events made the trip worth it!

Of course, it needn’t be said that everything was made better because C and I finally get to take a break from this Long Distance Relationship thing. 

We just stayed at an Airbnb in Osaka for all eleven nights, then went out on day trips to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. We took it slow because it’s supposed to be a vacation, and I didn’t want to be too exhausted just before I start my new job, heh.

Continue readingJapan: Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe (Part 1)

Manila sidewalks

Walking from my office to C’s — sidewalks are narrow and everything is not very pedestrian-friendly. But like Ron says, you get used to the concrete, the smells, the puddles, the urban decay.

First is the odd smell of the creek. There is a tiny karenderia right beside the creek (is it a creek, really? There’s a bit of water down there, and it’s too small to be anything like a river). I’m sure they don’t pay to sell food there.

Then the sidewalk with its surface chipping off. Sometimes you have to either stop to let someone else pass, or walk on the road next to a car hopefully slowing down because the walkway is too narrow. It’s next to the MMDA Impounding Area and I’ve always wondered why they never bothered to smoothen the bumps and fix the road that pedestrians have to walk through right in front of the entrance.

There are faded lines of what-had-been-a-pedestrian-lane once. I’m never sure if it’s legally permitted to cross at that section of the street, but the sidewalk runs out if I walk further so I decide to cross there instead. I find myself under the fly-over, a little neat it is except it never looks friendly. Another set of faded lines can faintly be seen across, and this is the path I take to go to the other side.

If the pedestrian walkways aren’t narrow, it’s very uncomfortable to walk on. The cobblestones that they must have thought was decorative is unmerciful to anyone who wears heels. The rest of Ortigas is just as unforgiving.

Beneath the yellow overpass, there used to be some kind of office. Maybe somebody lived there. It used to be decorated with potted plants. Not anymore though. The walls have been pulled down and the plants gone and there were no more voices to indicate habitation.

This isn’t Makati with its flat and spacious sidewalks, and most of the time I miss the connected walkways. This is Ortigas, where the pedestrian areas have been abandoned to unpleasant smells and deterioration.

Lumix LX7

Yesterday I bought a Lumix LX7 (thanks to Peter) after hours of looking for one at Hidalgo. All the shops have run out of stock, save for a White one that they were selling at P16k (the black one was available for P14.5k in one store but like I said, they were already out of stock and I didn’t really want to go back to Hidalgo for a few thousand difference).

We were warned by one of the shop owners that the Lumix LX7 has been discontinued. They weren’t releasing stocks anymore, I think, though a few ones might still be coming in at Henry’s camera shop. There’s a newer Lumix coming out sometime soon (Googled it and they said either this year if it starts becoming like Apple, or next year if it will follow the usual product refresh time). I’ve decided to still get one anyway because (1) I wanted a new camera for Vietnam next month and (2) I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference for me since I’m not really a Pro user.

After last night, I think Peter decided he also wanted one, but we thought it would be better for him to wait for the next Lumix since he might not need a new camera so soon.

I could have bought the camera for less than PhP16k, but even that by itself was already cheaper than the Canon Powershot S90 that I bought three years ago.

We tested it out during the Nanay Mo album launch (though it was actually C who did most of the testing).

I’m sure the quality of the photos were due to C’s skills (because I myself aren’t that familiar with photography yet). Most of my photos were overexposed! But I wanted to show how the nicer ones turned out in different conditions:

  • The stage photos were pretty sharp for a compact camera, with the proper camera settings.
  • The flash + cam settings made the photos look decent!
  • C played around with the exposure for a bit so we had a bunch of those light/party photos.
  • Then again, even just as a normal camera with flash inside a bar — the photos were pretty sharp and way better than anything I’ve tried to take on my S90. (Though I actually blame that on my lack of skills than anything, haha.)

All for 16k. The Powershot S90 was more than P20k during its time — and I didn’t really get to maximize the use of that camera much. I gave it to my mom now so she can have a new toy.

Now I just need to practice and understand the camera settings more on the LX7 to prepare for Vietnam next month!