Social and Pastoral BulletinNo. 91 Aug. 15, 1999

You can call me AJ
Everyone calls me by that name

You can call me AJ - everyone calls me by that name, although it's not the real one. I represent the Filipina entertainers who came to Japan. Just like a lot of them, I came from a religious family in the Philippines, a graduate of a prestigious university, a wife and a mother.

My work can be considered an easy one. It starts at 8 PM and ends at 3 AM. Within those seven hours I become a hostess to Japanese customers that includes mixing their drinks, trying to converse with them, sing, dance, keep them happy. For four years now it has become a routine for me.


I get so tired too. I get so bored, restless and angry with some of our customers. My only consolation is that I get paid generously. I have learned about this business and I do give importance to it; besides, it's my bread and butter. I have to support my family back home.

I don't wish to stay long in Japan. I have plans of going back two years from now. Every minute of the day, my mind is set on spending one hundred percent of my life with my family. They are the ones who keep me going strong all these years but there are times I feel so weak when I miss them and at times my conscience strikes me when I hear they're sick. I'm the mom and I should be taking care of them!

Anyway, I'm basically a happy person. I always try to see things in a brighter perspective and also my catholic faith helps during the loneliest times of my life. There's always the thought that God doesn't give us burdens we cannot carry. He gives us such trials so we can be better persons.

I hear mass every Sunday - to thank God for the whole week and ask blessings again for the days ahead. Also to unwind after a week of work. In church I meet a lot of friends. It's interesting to note that it's not only me who has problems. Some of them complain about the financial crisis they're in, some with their health problems and some with their family relationships and marital differences. At times I become the shock absorber of their cries. I console, I give pieces of advice but above all, I try to listen. I have come to realize that amidst all these material things one can acquire and possess in Japan, everyone is lonely. And just being there, to listen and to be a friend means a lot to a lost and searching soul.

Two years from now, Japan will just be a memory for me. The work, the people, the weather, the food and the beautiful country I am now in will just be a part of my struggle through life.

For the moment, I am making the best of my stay here, I am contented with my job and I know I am trying to make people happy. I've got a lot of friends and I hope to meet new ones. On the other hand, I try to cover up my shortcomings through telephone calls and frequent visits to my family in the Philippines.

I know it's not an easy life ahead of me but I have come to accept the fate that God has given me, and I can only thank and praise Him for the special life he has bestowed upon me.