The Cultural Exchange

I decided to end my work week by stopping by the food stalls in the mall where I take a ride home. As I was aimlessly walking by the various food booths, the sizzling fat gyoza in the hot pan made me turn around, checked out the stall and decided to dine in.
The elderly Japanese gentleman meticulously turns the fat dumplings while carefully taking note of the orders coming. His knowledge  of the Filipino norms  reflects  how he relates to his staff and their dynamic flows seamlessly like they’ve  been doing this for a long time.
While his eagerness to master the Filipino language is very evident when he talks and respond in Filipino even if the customer talks to him in English. Physically, there is no mistaking that he is a native Japanese.
But by the way he moves and talks shows you that he has been here in the Philippines for a long while. The kind who won’t be scammed by cabbies, knows his way around Metro Manila, and has practically embraced the Filipino culture. However, his cultural roots of politeness and courtesy shines through.
As I was waiting for my order of gyoza a man in his 30’s came to the booth along side his wife and 3 year old child. The wife and child sat directly in front of the electric frying pan. Alarmed, the Japanese cook immediately suggested that they transfer to the back of the booth which also has a table “ mainit, lipat kayo likod” ( it’s hot take a seat at the back). The family kindly refused and said it was alright with them to stay where they are but seated their child a bit away from the electric pan.
Although, the family said they were okay. The cook turned off the electric pan and used the gas stove instead which has a cardboard divider (to block heat and flying hot oil) located at the side of the booth as a consideration for the family dining in.  It was a beautiful exchange and I was glad to witness this while wolfing down my hot gyoza.
When I was able to carefully digest the last of my dumplings and had my fill of water. I slowly stood up and gratefully said, “Gochisousama” (thank you for the meal or thank you for preparing my meal) and just like that, the elderly Japanese cook stood frozen for a second, in that moment gone is the localized foreigner. I was looking at proud Japanese national who like  clockwork and practiced precision  slowly  bowed while saying Arigatou Gosaimasu” (Thank you very much).
It was a cultural exchange rarely experienced over a plate of gyoza in a small food stall in the heart of the business center in Manila.

Humans of New York

 Here are 5 Human of New York Stories that any musician can relate to.



“My horn died recently. The metal wore too thin and it lost its resonance. I feel like a widow. The best horns are handmade, and each one is a little different. I’d been playing it for twenty years. It was with me through my graduate degrees, my first job, all my major competitions, and when I finally got my dream job at the opera. I knew all its deficiencies. I could do so many things with it. I haven’t been able to replace it yet. I’ve had this new horn for seven months. There was an immediate attraction, but the more I play, the more I worry. The mouthpiece doesn’t quite seem to fit. But even if this relationship doesn’t work out, I’m sure there will be another. Hope springs eternal.”



“I’ve been trying to get into a full time orchestra for the past 20 years. I’d guess I’ve been to over 200 auditions. It can be pretty heartbreaking. I tried out for the New York Philharmonic four times. One time I prepared three months for the Los Angeles Philharmonic audition, flew all the way across the country, and they cut me off after twelve seconds. But believe or not, I still have a certain amount of optimism about the process. And I think I’m getting better.”


“Schools have really shifted their focus to testing, and music has really become more of an extracurricular activity. It’s almost treated like a sport. My class used to last almost an hour. Now it’s down to thirty minutes. By the time the kids get seated and settled, we’re almost out of time. It’s a shame, because music helps to teach focus and discipline. You really have to commit to an instrument to master it. There seems to be more of a ‘popcorn mentality’ among students today. As soon as something gets difficult, they’re onto something else.”

hony violin
“I graduated from Juilliard recently, and just earned a trial with the London Symphony.”
“Was there ever a time when you wanted to quit?”
“It was harder when I was younger, and all my friends were outside playing. Back then my Mom really kept me practicing. But then I hit a point where I began to love the instrument, and I really couldn’t imagine my life without it.”
“How did you know when you reached that point?”
“I guess it was the point where I’d learned enough that I realized how much more there was to learn.”

hony carnegie
Normally I have to approach people for quotes. But this kid walked right up to me, held his certificate in the air, and screamed: “I played at Carnegie Hall!”

Why Do I Write? 

I write because my world is full of adventure. With great stories to feature.

Would you like to hear of songs that speaks of love and sorrow?

Or would you like to learn of kept secrets and the mysteries of tomorrow?

Do you want to experience fun and good humor?

Come spend time with me, I’ll share some juicy rumor.

I may scare you sometimes

but I’ll make sure that a happy ending you will find.

I hope the words that I write won’t be such a bore…

I’m just freeing the words from my head to make room for more.

Forget The Day

Midnight signifies the start of a new cycle. Although, no one feels it until the darkness gives way to light.

With the dawning of the day, ushers in hope and renewed faith. However, the time that lies ahead seems to be uncertain.

It may be frustrating or dissapointing. Painful or stressful. However the outcome, forget the day when the light meets the night.

Forget the day but not the positive take aways. Forget the day and let it remain today.

Begin Again

Great things start from small beginnings and usually these beginnings start with the young. Well, it is preferred that it starts with the young when the mind is malleable, free of any prejudice,and complications.

However, beginnings that start with adulthood is usually frowned upon or sometimes discouraged. “It’s too late to start again.” On the surface this may hold some level of truth, but looking at the bigger picture, if there is no room to begin again. there won’t be growth. For those who are in limbo, those who are in the what-to-do-next zone, take that leap of faith. I believe in it because I am a product of it.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay