THE FILIPINO-JAPANESE JOURNAL

YOUR ONLINE SOURCE TO EVERYTHING JAPANESE & FILIPINO | BEHIND THE BYLINE - MARIA FLORENDA N. CORPUZ a.k.a. Keiko Kurane is a freelance journalist and editor with over eight years of professional experience in writing. Aside from being a freelancer, she is the Editor-in-Chief of FilJap Magazine and the Japan Correspondent of Pinoy Gazette, publications catering to Filipinos living and working in Japan. She was also the former Editor-in-Chief of Philippine Digest and Philippine Correspondent of Maharlika, magazine publications based in Tokyo, Japan. Page Rank Personal - Top Blogs Philippines

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Posts tagged "japan"

TOKYO, Japan – One of the three major beauty pageants in the world, the 2014 Miss International will be held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa on November 11.

Beautiful and intelligent ladies from roughly 80 countries and regions of the world, including Mary Anne Bianca G. Guidotti representing the Philippines, will compete in this year’s pageant. From their arrival in Japan at the end of October until the final contest, they will actively take part in experiencing Japanese traditional culture as well as participate in various exchange events as the “Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace.”

The top 5 and special award winners will be announced during the coronation night. Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago will pass the crown to the next titleholder. 

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(Photo by Din Eugenio)

TOKYO, Japan – The first press conference to announce the event outline of the 27th edition of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) was held on August 26 at Roppongi Hills.

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L-R: Yasushi Shiina, Harry Sugiyama, Hideaki Anno, Azusa Okamoto and Hiroyasu Ando

The press conference opened with a welcoming address from TIFF Director General Yasushi Shiina. He revealed that they will be featuring works by Hideaki Anno, one of Japan’s most prominent filmmakers.

“We are going to be showcasing animation films in a way that only TIFF could do this year. That is the retrospective program, ‘The World of Hideaki Anno.’ We will continue to present those outstanding Japanese filmmakers to the world.”

Anno made a special appearance at the press conference and announced the line-up of his retrospective program, which is around 50 films including his early works from his school days.

“I am quite excited to show most of my previous films at this year’s TIFF. By looking back my past work, I find that my creation style has not been changed since I started my career. Even some of the films from my amateur ages constructed a part of my career, so I am thrilled to show my films from all genres. Come to think of it, everything is challenge, all of my works are unforgettable and good memories as a director don’t remain but hard experiences led to build my creativity.”

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Other announcements include the new logo of the Festival, collaboration with the Japan Foundation for the next seven years and details about Special Screening at Kabukiza Theatre, showing Charles Chaplin’s “City Lights”.

Japanese actress Azusa Okamoto and British-Japanese celebrity Harry Sugiyama were introduced as “Festival Navigators”.

TIFF organizers will hold a second press conference this September to announce the festival’s film line-up, but the opening and closing films have already been unveiled. The opening film will be Disney’s “Big Hero 6” animation while the Japanese live-action film “Parasyte” will close the fest.

The Festival has five main sections: the Competition section in which 15 films from around the world will compete for the festival’s top prize; the Special Screenings section featuring highly anticipated films; the Asian Future section showcasing up-and-coming Asian directors; the Japanese Cinema Splash section featuring Japanese independent films; and the World Focus section showcasing must-see films that have received recognition at various international film festivals.

This year’s Competition section features a new joint award established by TIFF and Japanese broadcasting channel WOWOW – the ‘WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award’ offering a cash prize of US $10,000.

The 27th TIFF will be held October 23-31 at Roppongi Hills, TOHO Cinemas Nihonbashi and other venues in Tokyo. TIFF’s affiliated multi-content market, TIFFCOM2014 (Japan Content Showcase 2014) will take place October 21-23 at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba in the Tokyo Bay area.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

TOKYO, Japan – The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will open with the world premiere of Disney’s “Big Hero 6” animation while the Japanese live-action film “Parasyte” will close the fest.

“Big Hero 6” is the heartwarming adventure story of Hiro, a 14-year-old robotics prodigy, and a robot called Baymax. The film is set in the fictional metropolis of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo). It will be released by Walt Disney Studio Japan on December 20.

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©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

We are thrilled to premiere ‘Big Hero 6’ at the Tokyo International Film Festival; it is truly an honor to be selected as the opening film. The setting of our film, San Fransokyo, is a fictional, futuristic mash-up of two of our favorite cities in the world – San Francisco and Tokyo and the research we did in Tokyo informed every detail of the film. We look forward to bringing our film to this city that so deeply inspired us,” directors Don Hall and Chris Williams said in a statement.

“Parasyte” is directed by one of Japan’s best filmmakers, Takashi Yamazaki (“Always – Sunset on 3rd Street” and “The Eternal Zero”). The film was adapted from a Japanese comic by Hitoshi Iwaaki that was published in the magazine “Gekkan Afternoon” from 1990 to 1995 and sold 11 million copies. The film will be released by Toho Co., Ltd. on November 29.

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©”Kiseijyu” Seisaku Iinkai. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, TIFF Managing Director Nobushige Toshima expressed his excitement about the upcoming fest. “This is an exciting year for TIFF. Not only we will be showing films in two additional festival venues – Nihonbashi and the Kabukiza theatre in Ginza – we also will be focusing on animation, the most popular content in Japan. The highlights of this year’s festival will be the world premieres of two blockbuster movies, one from Hollywood and one from Japan.”

The 27th TIFF will be held October 23-31 at Roppongi Hills, TOHO Cinemas Nihonbashi and other venues in Tokyo. TIFF’s affiliated multi-content market, TIFFCOM2014 (Japan Content Showcase 2014) will take place October 21-23 at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba in the Tokyo Bay area.

Located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Kyoto is an ancient city, which became the imperial capital of Japan for over 1,000 years. It is the country’s  seventh largest city with a population of almost 1.5 million. Regarded as the cultural center of Japan, Kyoto is famous worldwide for its beautiful temples and shrines.

There are thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto. Some of the most visited attractions include the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Heian-jingu Shrine.

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji, formally known as Rokuon-ji, is said to be the symbol of Kyoto. It is a Zen temple located in the northern side of the city. Originally built as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu at the end of the 14th century, it was converted into a temple after his death. This temple is covered with gold and stands at the edge of a pond. It has been burnt down many times, and was rebuilt in 1955, with major improvement work performed in 1987. Kinkaku-ji is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Designated as a National Treasure, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. It was built in 778 while the main hall was constructed in the 17th century overhanging a cliff. Tourists marvel at the magnificent view of the city below. A three-storied pagoda, which is designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government can be found at the temple precinct.

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Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Built in 876, Yasaka-jinja Shrine is a popular downtown shrine situated between the Gion District and Higashiyama District. It entices many visitors throughout the year, especially during the Gion Festival in July.

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Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is the main headquarters of all the Inari shrines in Japan, and one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Kyoto. It was founded in 711 and widely popular for its thousands of vibrant orange torii gates.

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Heian-jingu Shrine

Established in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Heian Kyo, the former name of Kyoto, Heian-jingu Shrine draws large number of visitors to admire its large red front gate and beautiful gardens. It is a partial replica of the main administrative building of the Heian Capital and dedicated to Emperors Kammu and Komei.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine July 2014, Japan)

Ichiran is a cool and interesting tonkotsu ramen shop with over fifty branches all over Japan. Here, each customer gets a cubicle and fill out a form for the kind of ramen he/she prefers.

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Ichiran in Koshigaya

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Buy your ramen ticket

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Find an available seat

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Personalize your ramen by filling out a form

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Oishi!

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Itadakimasu!

http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/index.html

OSAKA, Japan – While attending the 9th Osaka Asian Film Festival, comedienne and actress Eugene Domingo was given one-day leeway to visit some of the popular tourist attractions in Osaka, marking her third time exploring the country’s third largest city.

Domingo’s first stop was Osaka Castle Park, the symbol of the city, where she learned about its rich history. She also had the chance to enjoy the beautiful flowering cherry trees and plum trees around the huge lawn park.

“They begin to blossom. My first time to see and smell them,” Domingo said.

After spending almost two hours at Osaka Castle Park, Domingo excitedly went to Shinsaibashi, a shopping street, and Dotonbori, the city’s most famous amusement district, for some spending. She also tried Osaka foods such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki. “I’m so glad to be here again in Osaka. It’s my third time here and I do not intend to leave. I just want to stay here.”

During her tour, some Filipino tourists saw her and asked for photo ops. The very down-to-earth comedienne gladly obliged.

Domingo stayed for a week in Osaka to serve as a jury member for the Competition section of the OAFF. 

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(Published in FilJap Magazine May 2014, Japan)

If you love watching Japanese movies and television programs, chances are you have already seen a geisha or heard something about them. 

Geisha, which means “person of the arts”, are skilled Japanese women whose traditional occupation is to entertain men. 

The geisha system began some 400 years ago to entertain the wealthy merchants and samurai inside tea houses (ochaya) and traditional restaurants (ryotei). During the 17th century, many Japanese women yearned to be a geisha. But only few aspirants weathered the long years of rigorous and intense training as apprentices (maiko) at geisha houses (okiya). Here, they are taught how to dance, sing, play musical instruments like the samisen, as well as conversational and social graces.

Before the World War II, there were about 100,000 geisha in several cities across Japan, including Tokyo and Kyoto. Their numbers have declined with the rise of the hostesses and prostitutes after the war. Nowadays, there are only around 2,000 and are rarely glimpsed.

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In Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, specifically at the Gion district, which is said to be the best place to experience geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha), you can find quite a few of them.

At Hanami-koji, where the street and side alleys are lined up with machiya and ochaya, geiko dinners take place for trusted customers. The guests eat and drink while being entertained by the geiko and maiko through games and witty conversations. The highlight of the evening is the geiko’s performance of a dance to the tune of a traditional music, played on the samisen by another geiko. These dinners are usually exclusive and expensive. But a cheaper geiko experience is available for local and foreign tourists at the Gion Corner, where cultural shows like the maiko dance are being staged everyday. There are also maiko studios all over the place where you can dressed up as a maiko or geiko and pose for photos for 10,000 yen. You can also spot a few maiko and geiko walking in the streets of Gion district during the evenings.

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The geisha, with their beauty, grace and skill, are a huge part of the Japanese culture. Although they played an intriguing role in the ancient society, it is without a doubt that they are a living work of art.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine April 2014, Japan)

Springtime in Japan is always synonymous to the blooming of the cherry blossoms or sakura. From late March to early May, cherry blossoms, with its pink and soft flowers,flourish and blanket trees all over the country. It is an enticing sight that captures the attention of local and foreign tourists alike.

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The sakura holds a unique and a cherished admiration in the Japanese culture. It has always been a symbol of evanescent beauty and the nature of life.

Sakura served as a motivating symbol for the Japanese military during World War II. Japanese pilots would paint them on the sides of their planes before embarking on a mission. It is also associated with bushi and samurai. Nowadays, the Japanese army and police use it for emblems, flags and insignia.

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The Japanese keep track of the cherry blossom front or sakura zensen. They flock to parks, shrines and temples together with families and friends and hold a flower viewing party known as hanami, by dancing, singing, drinking and eating under the trees. Though some trees can be found in China and Korea, the most kinds of sakura like the Somei Yoshino and Yamazakura, can be admired in Japan.

Hanami, which has been in practice since the 3rd century, celebrates the beauty of sakura and a signal for many to enjoy nature in a very human way. 

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                             Cherry Blossom Forecast 2014

                        (Source: Japan Weather Association)

Location        First Bloom      Full Bloom

Tokyo               March 25               April 1

Kyoto               March 27               April 3

Kagoshima      March 20               March 29

Kumamoto       March 20              March 29

Fukuoka           March 19              March 28

Hiroshima        March 25               April 1

Osaka              March 27               April 4

Nara                 March 28              April 2

Nagoya             March 24              April 1

Yokohama        March 25              April 1

Kanazawa        April 3                    April 7

Nagano            April 12                  April 16

Sendai             April 10                   April 15

Aomori             April 24                   April 29

Hakodate         May 2                     May 6

Sapporo           May 3                     May 8

Note: The forecast is subject to change due to weather conditions.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine April 2014, Japan)

OSAKA, Japan – Filipino film “Shift” bagged the top prize at the 9th Osaka Asian Film Festival held in Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka from March 7-16. 

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“Shift” won the Grand Prix (Best Picture award), besting 10 entries from other Asian countries including Indonesia, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Directed by Siege Ledesma, “Shift” stars singer Yeng Constantino in her first movie role as call center agent Estela who falls for her gay male supervisor, Trevor (played by Felix Rocco).

The “Shift” team took home ¥500,000 as cash prize.

Meanwhile, “Anita’s Last Cha-Cha”, a coming-of-age movie directed by Filipino director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo earned Special Mention honors. The film tells the story of a 12-year-old tomboy Anita (played by Teri Malvar) who gets a hopeless crush on a 37-year-old woman, Pilar (played by Angel Aquino).

According to jury member actress Eugene Domingo, “Shift” was awarded for “it’s simplicity, honesty and it’s integrity for pushing boundaries.”

Jerrold Tarog’s “If Only” also competed at the festival. While Miko Livelo’s “Blue Bustamante” and Leo Abaya’s “Instant Mommy” were shown in the Special Screening section.

This year’s festival kicked off with the screening of Taiwanese film “KANO”. Closing the nine-day event was Japan’s “The Light Shines Only There”.

The OAFF aims to facilitate human resources development and exchange, to invigorate the Osaka economy, and to increase the city’s appeal, through providing opportunities to watch excellent Asian films, supporting filmmaking in Osaka and attracting filmmakers from Asian countries and regions to Osaka.

List of winners:

Grand Prix (Best Picture Award)

“Shift”

The Philippines / Director: Siege Ledesma

Most Promising Talent Award

HA Jung-woo

Korea / “Fasten Your Seatbelt” Director

Best Actress Award

Carina LAU

Hong Kong / “Bends” Leading Actress

Special Mention

“Anita’s Last Cha-Cha”

The Philippines / Director: Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo

ABC Award

“Forever Love”

Taiwan / Director: Kitamura Toyoharu, Shiao Li-shiou

Audience Award

“KANO”

Taiwan / Director: Umin BoyaCe

TOKYO, Japan – Three Filipino films have been chosen for competition and two for exhibition for the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2014, which will be held from March 7-16 in Osaka.

Contending for the Competition section are Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s “Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita (Anita’s Last Cha-Cha),” Jerrold Tarog’s “Sana Dati (If Only)” and Siege Ledesma’s “Shift”.

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Anita’s Last Cha-Cha

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If Only

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Shift

The films “Blue Bustamante” by Miko Livelo and “Instant Mommy” by Leo Abaya will be exhibited in the Special Screenings section.

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Blue Bustamante

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Instant Mommy

Award-winning actress and comedienne Eugene Domingo has been selected as member of the international competition jury.

The OAFF aims to facilitate human resources development and exchange, to invigorate the Osaka economy, and to increase the city’s appeal, through providing opportunities to watch excellent Asian films, supporting filmmaking in Osaka and attracting filmmakers from Asian countries and regions to Osaka.

http://www.oaff.jp/2014/en/index.html

TOKYO, Japan – The official residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Japan became the first and so far only officially-designated Philippine national historical landmark outside of the country, with the unveiling of a historical marker on March 3 at the property in Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku.

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(Photo caption: Ambassador Manuel Lopez and NHCP Chair Maria Serena Diokno unveil the historical marker at the property’s entrance, assisted by (L-R) Philippine-Japan Society President Francis Laurel, former Ambassador Jose Macario Laurel IV and former National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairman Ambeth Ocampo.)

The unveiling completes the Official Residence’s elevation into a “National Historical Landmark” pursuant to Resolution No. 01, Series 2013 adopted by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on March 11, 2013.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chair Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno presided over the ceremony, which was witnessed by officials of the Philippine Embassy and the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Also in attendance were guests led by former NHCP Chair Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo and the Laurel family, represented by current Philippines-Japan Society, Inc. President and Director Francis C. Laurel and former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Jose Macario Laurel IV.

“This is a historic and momentous occasion that honors the history and national patrimony of the Philippines,” said Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Manuel M. Lopez.

Located within a 4,500-square meter property of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Iberian-style residence was first built in 1934 by the family of the prominent businessman Baron Zenjiro Yasuda, whose descendants include the international artist Ms. Yoko Ono.

The property was purchased by then President Jose P. Laurel for the Philippine Government on March 31, 1944.

To this day, the Kudan—as the residence is also referred to on account of its location near the Kudanzaka hilltop—serves as both the official home in Tokyo of Philippine Ambassadors to Japan, and a central venue for the conduct of Philippine diplomacy and cultural promotion.

“Kudan is the crown jewel of the Philippine Foreign Service, and we should preserve this important part of our diplomatic legacy and heritage,” Lopez said.

The NHCP Guidelines on the Identification, Classification, and Recognition of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines officially defines a National Historical Landmark as “site or structure closely associated with a significant historical event, achievement, characteristic, turning point or stage in Philippine history.”

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Nippon Ramen Association has once again organized a very successful Tokyo Ramen Show last November 2013 at Setagaya in Tokyo.

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Ramen lovers from all over Tokyo flocked to Komazawa Olympic Park Central Square to sample 40 regional types of ramen, which can be found in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and many other places across Japan.

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Thousands of people lined up to have a taste of their favorite noodle dish including Hakata Ramen, Yamagata Ramen, Tokushima Ramen, Sapporo Ramen and Tokyo Ramen, which cost them 800 yen per bowl.

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Ramen is a staple food in Japan. It was brought to the country from China during the Meiji period (1868-1912). There are four main kinds of ramen: shioramen (salt flavored soup), tonkotsu ramen (pork bone based creamy soup), miso ramen (miso flavored soup) and shoyu ramen (soy sauce flavored soup). Common toppings include nori, egg and shinachiku.

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Tokyo Ramen Show is a yearly event that aims to promote tourism and food culture in Japan.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

Busy and driven Osaka is Japan’s second most important and third largest city with a population of 2.6 million and an area of 221 square kilometers. It is considered as the working heart of Kansai region and the gourmet capital of the country.

Located on the main island of Honshu, Osaka is famous to businessmen because of the many leading Japanese manufacturers that are operating here. It is also a must-see destination for local and foreign tourists because of its lively nightlife and sumptuous cuisines like takoyaki, okonomiyaki and ikayaki.

Osaka’s popular landmarks and tourist spots include Osaka Castle, the symbol of the city, with its huge lawn park; Umeda Sky Building, a 40-story twin-towered building constructed in 1993; Universal Studios Japan, a theme park inspired by blockbuster Hollywood films; Dotonburi, the city’s most famous amusement district that is lit up by neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign; and Shitennoji, the oldest officially administered temple in the country built by Prince Shotoku.

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Fast Facts:

- Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. It was incorporated in 1889.

- 15.6% of all foreign residents in Japan live in Osaka.

- Osaka represents 18.9% of Japan’s GDP, the second largest in Japan.

- Osaka is the first city in the world where the first instant ramen and instant ramen in a plastic cup were marketed.

- Osakaites are known for their friendly, and down-to-earth nature.

TOKYO, Japan – Exactly three months after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, the Philippines showed its appreciation to Japan for its strong and heartfelt support by launching a series of billboard messages at Shibuya Crossing.

“We Filipinos wish to reiterate our thanks to the people of Japan, for their humanity and compassion, and for being our true friends in good times and bad,” Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez said.

Japanese humanitarian aid has totaled $52.1 million (Emergency Grant Aid - $30 million; Emergency Relief Goods - app. $0.6 million; Assistance through Japanese NGOs (JPF) - $1.5 million; Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) of Asian Development Bank (ADB) - $20 million), with some Japanese private donations.

As part of the global campaign, billboards with the messages “Nihon no minasama, Firipin e no go shien, Arigatou gozaimasu!” (“To all Japanese people, thank you for helping the Philippines!”) were displayed in Q Front building. The billboards were displayed until the end of February.

Shibuya Crossing, a four-way intersection, is a famous spot for photo and movie shoots. Thousands of pedestrians stop and go to the beat of the street light making it one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.

“The choice of Shibuya Crossing as the site for the ‘#PHthankyou’ tarps was because of its ideal location. This crossing has one of the highest pedestrian traffic in Tokyo,” Tourism Officer and Attaché Valentino L. Cabansag said.

“This is one way in which the Filipinos can express in one voice the deep gratitude that they feel because of the overwhelming support received from the international community,” he added.

All the people across Japan who have expressed sympathies and who have extended support, financial or otherwise, were invited to witness this message of appreciation from the Philippines and help share the country’s profound gratitude to the rest of the world by using the hashtag #PHthankyou.

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(Photos by Din Eugenio)