Monday, November 28, 2005

Minoru left the building

THE PAST THREE weeks made me very busy working my butt in the building called "imi". We don't bake pancakes here nor we build spaceships often referred to as UFO's. What we do is repair devices that stores datas, like a huge cabinet of clothes. The difference is that it is incredibly smaller, made of metal and instead of clothes, it stores digital information, as in the binary 0's and 1's. In short we manufacture computer drives. I specifically handle the testing and just recently, I was accompanied by a Japanese national to setup additional machines.
His name is Minoru. Japan customs requires us to call them thru their last name adding the suffix -san for respect and professionalism, thus the name, Hasegawa-san.

Very petite for a 55 year old who will turn 56 this coming December 5, he is white haired and very jolly and happy too. He always laughed especially when I was begging for his sony walkman mp3 player. The moment that purple emblazoned walkman, that looked like a bottle of small perfume fixed in a neclace, glimmered in my eyes, I immediately wanted it in my hands. The headset fascinated me very much, aside from its contoured fit in my ear, the sound was crystal clear as if I was sitting in a front row of an orchestra.
But he never gave in to my craving, saying that it's too expensive for him to let it go. He bought it for 20,000 yen, with a 128Mb capacity. That's a wopping 10000 php, at least. Hasegawa-san even boasted that his son, who is 23, almost same as my age, have an iPod mini. It's then that I discovered the nano version of Apple's iPod.
When I checked in Goldcrest at Glorietta 2, one saturday, it was tagged for about 12K. It's worth it for it's thinner than a Mongol pencil I used to write with during my elementary days in Angeles, and a 2Gb storage flash memory. Sigh! I need to earn that much the hard way like a drunken carabao plowing an infinite field before landing a black colored piece of plastic and metal that plays only mp3, and aac in my very callous fingers.
A week before his departure back to Japan, Hasegawa-san was homesick! He talked less and less every minute that passed. It's then that I decided to give him something to remember instead of snatching his mp3 player. So, I planned to buy him something very Filipino. I remember during his 2nd day, he and Maeda, (he's another story) were ferried from the office to imi via a Philippine jeepney. Every Japanese soul I've met with dreams of riding one. That must had been a lucky day for them, I guess!
It was the time I realized how a miniature jeepney will hurt ones pocket. At 900 pesos, I was only able to muster 300 deep within my purse. Options though was not limited to the jeepney, instead, i bought him a handcarved wooden jewelry round box made in an obscure place somewhere in Ifugao. I didn't go to Ifugao, mind you, but a group of business people selling indigenous fixtures was showcasing their crafts in the 2nd floor of Festival supermall. I placed inside the black memento, an advance happy birthday note and a small
magnetic jeepney for his fridge, I'm pretty sure he has one in his house. And the good thing is, the present was priced at a measly 180 php.
Thursday, November 24. After a serious closing and summary meeting with the "bosses", we went straight to imi and do a rundown of several unfinished work to do. I accompanied him with his farewell to my staff and operators. Surprisingly, inside his bag were hidden 5 boxes of macadamia chocolates which were later feasted on by hungry stomachs. I took one box, of course, and brought it all the way to Laguna Bel-air where I cherished the sweet soothing effect of every bite and melted one by one inside my mouth.

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