Finding Silver Linings in Manila

A Lesson on Staying Positive

Words by Takehshi Matsumoto

As the Deputy Director of the Japanese Language Education at JFM, I facilitate programs that introduce Nihongo to Filipinos, from secondary education to advanced business uses. I just arrived in the country, and though I rarely see many people at the office because of COVID-19, I still feel the connection amongst the local staff. 

Every time I’ve visited the Philippines before, I’ve been dazzled by the sights and sounds. I studied English in Baguio surrounded by the beautiful mountains and wonderful food, and it was a good experience for me. Yet I wondered, under these high spirits, what do Filipinos face everyday? How do they face difficulties and overcome them?

I’m always pleasantly surprised and impressed by the attitude of remembering to find the silver lining to every situation. For example, when the air conditioner in my condominium broke down and I requested repairs, the technician seemed to replace the parts many times without solving the cause of the malfunction. For a Japanese person, the situation would be frustrating. But all the while, the Filipino technician was singing. This outlook is inspiring for me, and I am learning a lot.

I would not say that I can be a representative of all of Japan, but I do hope that my presence will leave a good impression on the people I meet while I am here.

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