Yesterday was 20 years to the day of the first overseas trip I had. That was back in 1996 when I was given an opportunity to travel to Japan under what was called a Core University Program funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). I was actually some sort of a last minute fill-in as there was budget remaining and available for a short term Visiting Scientist. Fortunately for me, a former mentor, Prof. Shigeru Morichi, who was himself a Visiting Professor at UP Diliman from 1992-1993 agreed to host me at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Kogyo Daigaku, which at the time was also called Tokodai - now it is preferred to be called Tokyo Tech) despite his impending transfer to the University of Tokyo.
It was a very eventful 35 days from February 26 to March 31 and a stay where I was able to familiarize and acclimatize myself to a new environment. That included going to Yokohama National University to personally submit the final document for my autumn (October 1996) admission to the university to Prof. Tomoya Shibayama, who was the Foreign Student Officer at the time. I was also able to meet with my baptismal godmother (Ninang Mila Takashima who later was also my godmother on my weding) who was residing in Yokosuka-shi in the same Kanagawa Prefecture where Yokohama was located.
Every single day was an exciting one and it seemed to be a different adventure everyday. This was capped by my first sakura or cherry blossoms in late March. Of course, it helped that I already had many close friends in Tokyo at the time, of whom I remain close to this day. I have lost most if not all the photos in my possession from that 35 day trip. Fortunately, there are many photos with my friends and sometime in the future, I hope to get a few copies to scan and preserve electronically.
More on events in 1996 in succeeding posts...