Wednesday, July 7, 2010

“Bilog” -- Mga Kuwentong TNT-OFW sa Japan

An Illustrated Short Story Series about Illegal Filipino Migrant Workers in Japan

1.  Series Title: “Bilog” -- Mga Kuwentong TNT-OFW sa Japan
2.  Frequency:  Weekly
3.  Stories: by eljoma
4.  Graphic Arts/Illustrations: Jodi Lego
5.  Languages:  English(by eljoma), Filipino(by JM Taylor), Japanese(by Yukiko Kawashima) and Chinese (by Mandy Zhang)
6.  Characters:

Bilog – 44 yrs old, Filipino male, 18 yrs illegal in Japan, married, left when 3 daughters were aged 3, 2 and 1, high school graduate, cohabitated with 3 women in Japan but now alone again, feeling “buryo” in Japan – stuck between two worlds and a victim of consequence and circumstance.

Karla – 50 yrs old, Filipino female, currently married to a Japanese national for 10 years now (since 2000), 5 kids with Filipino husband (legally still married to Filipino husband but through bogus documents was able to marry current Japanese husband – in order to legalize stay in Japan for the sake of kids), illegal in Japan for 15 years, but now legal, runs a bar/carenderia

Pedro – 55 yrs old, Filipino, total of 25 yrs illegal in Japan, still the legal husband of Karla in Philippine law,  agreed to allow Karla to marry Japanese national (making his wife and kids all legal except himself), lived in one house for 5 years with wife and Japanese husband, arrested and deported back to the Philippines in 2005 through information given by Karla, now cohabitating with Filipina in Manila.

Botchok – 35 yrs old, Filipino, male, 3 years illegal in Japan, 3 kids in Philippines, single, has been working everyday for the past 3 years except Christmas and good Friday, earning 10,000yen per day, came to Japan to earn money to pay for medical bills of youngest daughter with a congenital heart problem (who eventually died).

Toshiro San – Co-worker of Botchok, Japanese male, 18 yrs old, single

Nakamura San – Bilog's employer, 60 yrs old, Japanese male, comes from a family of businessmen running demolition/construction firms

Alex – 48 yrs old, 2-time illegal in Japan, Filipino male, wife in Philippines agreed to allowing him to marry a Filipina formerly married to Japanese national in order to acquire legal status, religiously sends remittances to wife and kids in Philippines

Tomoko – 30 yrs old, Japanese female divorcee, bar employee, marriage-interest of Bilog (to get legal status)

7.  Main Storyline – Bilog, then a 23-year-old Father of three, enters Japan as an illegal migrant worker.  Against all odds, he survives the first years, learning the language and the local way of life.  His hard work eventually pays off, even thriving and forging a work niche in the construction sector, in no small part due to support from his Japanese employer.  He is able to religiously send remittances to support his family back in the Philippines.  Then things take a turn for the worse.  Long years of hard labor take its toll.  His health deteriorates and he develops arthritis and diabetes.  Loneliness also slowly eats into him, and he gets into gambling, and cohabitates with three Filipinas in Japan.  He becomes inconsistent in sending remittances, and fails to communicate regularly with his family.  It is now Bilog's 18th year in Japan, and he feels stuck in limbo, unable to go home and face his alienated family, yet feeling excluded and unwanted in Japan, perpetually on the periphery of society as an illegal worker.  What is he to do?

Sub-Themes:
- How he manages to stay undetected and undeported
- How he copes with loneliness
- The legal Filipino community in Japan and his relationship with them as an illegal worker
- Gambling and Extra-Marital Affairs:  Sin or Necessity?

Week 1 Short Story:  1,000 Insect Bites
Week 2 Short Story:  Filipino Early Warning Network

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