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JENESYS: Application, Anticipation, Acceptance Letter

5:00:00 PMAdam Pascual

Manila, Philippines -- This post contains all my application adventures, mishaps, nerve-raking breakdowns, internal rollercoaster rides and finally, the moment when I received the call from the Heavens.

Every year, Japan International Cooperation Center and ASEAN brings promising people to the Land of the Rising Sun via youth government agencies of the 10 ASEAN states (plus Timor-Leste). The Philippines, where I’m proudly residing as a national, has the National Youth Commission to administer the applications.

Last Friday night, a friend of mine randomly posted an announcement from the National Youth Commission (NYC) on our group chat box with regard to the call for application of the first batch (JENESYS2015). As far as I can recall, our school, Lyceum of the Philippines University; College of International Relations, is a consistent producer of JENESYS Alumni. Since 2012 when I entered college, I was used to seeing my ates and kuyas go to Japan with this program. Vague as it is for me, I never bothered to research nor ask.

The following day, I saw the post from NYC, twice! Curiosity hit me and I skimmed through the page and realized that the program actually talks about bilateral (Japan-Philippines) and regional (Japan-ASEAN) relations, foreign policy and international trade which really got my attention since, that’s what I’ve been studying all my life. *insert sarcasm yay*

I was so stunned with the gruesome application forms that was needed to be filled up given the short amount of time. 

After two days, I started filling up the applications which by the way, had a little bit of a problem. You see, I couldn’t actually find the application forms. I searched everywhere but It’s nowhere to be found. Dumbfounded, I searched the whole NYC website and e-mailed the organizers with regard to the “missing forms”. We exchanged queries through e-mail and finally, I’ve realized how stupid I can be sometimes. I swear it’s not noticeable in my iPad but the list of requirements is actually “clickable”. I know, I know. Let’s not judge one another.

After I’ve finally downloaded all of the forms needed, I closed my laptop and will fill up the forms tomorrow. (Well simply because I’m lazy) 

I was basically lying on the floor at this moment after I’ve realized the difficulty of these application forms! How I wish I started earlier! (not really) Each of the forms will heavily scrutinize your recent civic engagement, volunteer works, relevant accomplishments, other basic information (of course) and your main advocacy as a youth.

procrastinationIt took me the whole day to at least finish it halfway! Honestly, it was an exhausting thing for a person who loves to do almost nothing. I chose to dedicate my time and effort to this instead of me continuing episode 14 of my favorite anime, Shokugeki no Soma.

I’ve started with the NYC Volunteers Application since it was the shortest and I already have a list of my volunteer works (somewhere). I rapidly typed all my basic information such as my passport details up to my recent international work for sustainable development. It’s like I literally transferred my CV in the forms! (which is only two pages by the way).

As the three forms got bulkier, I then started with the essay. “Youth’s Role in Japan-Philippine Relations” as a topic is simple yet broad (which makes it difficult). Where do you actually start? Should you focus on the historic side? or just list down what the youth could do. It’s the most gruelling part of the application. 

But it was the most soul-searching part of the process. As a youth, you have to realize what you could do as someone with limited access to “powerful channels and tools”. In your own simple ways, how could you ultimately alter the ways of life; as far as Philippine-Japan relations are concerned. It is important to understand and integrate in the essay the geopolitical dimensions and regional/multilateral implications that generally bind youth relations despite idiosyncrasy and divergence.

Few days after, I’ve decided to stop for a while since I had 2 HUGE conferences in front of me. T’was such a nightmare since I had to exert extra effort to be in one piece. 

#YES4SDG is a campaign for the upcoming 17 sustainable development goals. It’s one of the very first conferences to touch on the SDG goals and I’m proud to be part of the convenors of this youth national convergence.

After we signed the Manila Declaration 2015, we went straight ahead to our friend’s birthday party! We had a night swimming and laughed our hearts out! We ate a lot and sang at the Karaoke until it was already 3AM in the morning! Only then I’ve realized that I only had a few hours left! I need to get my butt in the workplace! THE DEADLINE IS FAST APPROACHING!

I rushed back home and finalized my application. It took me so long to make sure everything is in place and to actually merge all pdf files! It took me another good couple of hours. 

Application sent at 4pm.

I think If there’s something more difficult than the application, it would have been the waiting part. I will never forget the days after I sent the application, I had consecutive dreams (or nightmares) about the JENESYS program. I couldn’t actually remember it that much but I knew I was in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I watched vlogs and documentaries of Tokyo non-stop and was basically crying in front of the screen waiting for my e-mail to ding.

Three days after I sent the application, my paranoia was worse than ever! Any notification from my e-mail gave me a nerve-raking breakdown! It’s like my heart was being sucked from the inside and my heartbeat was louder than our university drum squad night drills! (No joke!)

The next day, I received a call. 

Me: Hello?

Caller: Yes He-roh? (With his thick Asian accent) I’m looking for Adam Pascual.


Caller: Hi! This is from the Embassy of Myanmar. We would like to follow up your request for your ASEAN Symposium and Exhibit.

Me: …

Me: Oh that one. Unfortunately, it’s already done sir. The event was last week ago. Perhaps we could ask for your kind assistance the next time around?

Caller: Yes yes sure. Thank you!

Hangs up… I HONESTLY THOUGH IT WAS THE CALL FROM HEAVENS. All this waiting is slowly killing me. To be real honest, I never told anyone about it. Partly because I would prefer the disappointment to stay within me if ever I wasn’t chosen. But I ended up telling it to at least ten people. Oh well. 

SEP 18, 2015 5:00PM International Law class – I got a text from my mom.

“Hoy, ano tong Japan japan? Tawag ka bilis” (Hey, What’s this Japan thing? Call me quick) I’M BASICALLY SHAKING. I went out of the room immediately and called her.

Me: MA!

Mom: Oy. Ano ‘tong Japan nanalo ka daw? (Oy. What’s this Japan thing? They said you won.)

Me: Sino nagsabi?! (Who said so?!)

Mom: Si Ma’am Cherry daw. Tawagan mo ‘tong number na ‘to now na. (Ma’am Cherry said so. Call this number now)

Me: Hi! May I talk to Ms. Cherry? This is Adam Pascual.

NYC: Oh yes! Hi Adam. This is the National Youth Commission! Congratulations! Out of almost 400 applications across the country, only 10 were selected! ALL EXPENSES PAID! I called your Mom and she wasn’t that much excited about it. 

Me: Oh! Haha! That’s because I forgot to tell her that I applied for this. Perhaps she was surprised. (Actually, I think she’s not excited with the fact that I’m leaving the country for the third time this year. (I went to Hong Kong last April and to South Korea last August. Meaning, I’m going to ask her for another pocket money MUAHAH)

NYC: Alright! This call is to confirm your name. It shall be sent to the Embassy of Japan together with your 9 counterparts.


I went back to room as if some illegal drug made me so high that I wasn’t able to talk for some few minutes. I was so ecstatic! All the sleepless nights were worth it! I will never forget the day I received “the call from the Heavens”. It literally made me feel like I’m floating in the air! It was so perfect since my last day would be on the 10th of October and I’ll be leaving exactly the day after! 

Acceptance Letter 

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