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It was Hanami time when the Riveras—(clockwise) Gelli de Belen, Ariel Rivera, Joaqui, and Julio—visited Tokyo. Hanami, according to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is "the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, 'flower' in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms."

 

"Sakura yata ang tawag nila sa cherry blossoms," says Gelli. "'Yong Hanami naman, 'yon 'yong time na lumalabas sila, nagbu-bloom sila. They only bloom pag April, and parang a certain time lang. Parang a week or two weeks lang siyang naka-bloom, and then, babu! 'Buti naabutan namin 'yon, so ayan, nagpa-picture kami. Pag ganyan pala, sa park nila, ang daming tao. Talagang nag-i-squat sila doon, naglalatag sila, kumakain sila, and drink sila maghapon. So, pagdating ng gabi, lahat sila lango na. Hahaha!"

 

(YES! June 2010 issue)

Photo: Courtesy of Gelli de Belen-Rivera

Gelli de Belen, Ariel Rivera, and their two boys, Joaqui and Julio, spent the Lenten holidays in Tokyo, Japan, where they stayed for six days. "Ginamit lang namin 'yong mileage namin sa eroplano," Gelli explains.

Bingeing on authentic Japanese food, more than shopping, occupied the Rivera family's time. "Hindi kami masyadong nag-shop," says Gelli. "Puro kain at pasyal talaga. 'Yon 'yong actually pinagkagastusan namin—pagkain.

Gelli is still raving about all the food her family tried out in Tokyo. "Kahit sa mga tabi-tabing kainan diyan, the quality of food is really fantastic. Lafs to death kami!" (Lafs is short for lafang, gay lingo for food or eating.)

Japan's cool spring weather was a big plus factor. Gelli and her boys also loved it that every nook and cranny of Japan, Tokyo in particular, was spotlessly clean.

"Ang linis talaga, 'Ning [Ineng]!" Gelli beams. "Mahihiya kang magtapon ng kahit ano. Ang dalang mong makakakita ng basurahan. So, ngayon, iipunin mo 'yong basura mo at iuuwi mo, or until makahanap ka ng basurahan."