12 March 2017

Hometown Series: Enjoying Salatiga's Market Like Never Before

One peaceful month in hometown, surrounded by greenery

This is definitely what sparked my homesick problem. One month spent so laid back, watching tv with mom, snacking tropical fruits, having spicy food as many times as I wanted everyday, waiting for mom to come back home from office, playing with my beautiful almost 2 year old cousin every weekend, watering the flowers every evening, reunion with best friend and the happy list goes on...

The fact is, ever since I attended uni seven years ago until before I went back to Japan in 2016, I was never really at home for a whole month. I had always been very busy with stuffs. So this was literally the first time after seven years for me to relax and chill at home without something serious bothering. This time, I did have a part time work during my holiday, that is assisting Malay language teacher's project. But it wasn't something that squeezes my mind and energy. So I could still 100% relax.

Aaand, what I was really enjoying during this holiday, is about going shopping at Salatiga's traditional market! Oh, how it's been a long time <3 Before I take you to the market stroll, let me show you something that is very common too in Indonesia:

The Moving Greengrocer

Mom was having some chilli shopping at the greengrocer stopping at our neighborhood. This kind of greengrocer is very common in Indonesia.They would move around from one to another neighborhood every morning! And I could say, that the vegetables they sell are still so fresh, despite the fact that they aren't refrigerated.
Anyway, we just moved to a new place starting mid of last year! And this is how the surroundings look. Surrounded by coconut trees, banana trees and even bamboos.
SO GREEN and breezy <3

In my hometown, Salatiga, it's pretty common to have cool and airy days, with the temperature ranging from 20-23 degrees celcius during rainy season. Of course, it's not in Indonesia if we're not living in hot days. During dry season, the temperature would shoot up and all you (or probably I) want to do is to stay at home, having a coconut ice straight from the coconut itself.

Enjoying Traditional Market a.ka"Pasar" Like Never Before 

"Pasar", the word that refers to "traditional markets" in opposite to  supermarkets or department stores. "Pasar" has always been my ultimate destination to find my number one favorite tropical fruit: "Salak", or also known as the "snake fruit" in English. Not only "salak", I could easily find the other tropical fruits that are still at their best conditions; fresh, crunchy and easy to peel.

I was so stoked during my "pasar" stroll this time, since I hadn't gone to one in sooo long. I was jumping in joy when I saw the fruits and the traditional snacks that I could only get at "pasar". 

See the brown colored fruits on the left side? Yep, they are my favorite "salak". You could see how scaly they are, just like snake, once you zoom them in! They have crunchy, white flesh with brown/black seeds as big as  baby's big toe, hehe.

The fruit stall. 
You know, I always enjoy staring at stacks of fruits, they're kind of my moodbooster

"Rambutan", one of the tropical fruits that was in season when I was home. By the way, we have plenty of rambutan trees in our grandpa's house!

Another type of greengrocer. This is the "pasar" style greengrocer

Fresh and sweet bananas!

I went to "pasar" two times during this holiday. Once with mom, and the other one with my best friend, Indah. I was super grateful to have them, the ones that have always been super cooperative. They just let me indulge myself in taking loads of "pasar" pics. And even encouraged me to explore even further! That's why, I was enjoying "pasar" like never before.

One of my favorite kiosks. The knick-knacks here blend so picturesquely in one frame.

I was in the hunt of wooden pestle and mortar and intended to bring them to Tokyo. But since my attempt to bargain didn't come up with a satisfying final price, I chose to dropped my intention and buying a bamboo strainer instead. Which was cheaper....

Faces I Met at "Pasar"

Nyaaw! Looking so fierce >:(

It was around 11 a.m., and most of the goods in this indoor section were sold out!!

Traditional markets are still winning Salatiga people's heart. We do have several supermarkets, but as long as I noticed, they pretty much struggle to win people's attention. Applying free parking, bigger parking lots, discounts on some products, better packaging... but those never really become a threat to the long existing traditional markets ("pasar").  

It feels like, "pasar" have secured their position in this tiny city. And I'm so looking forward to seeing a better or at least, a stable growth of "pasar" in Salatiga. Because I'm one of those people who loves to walk around "pasar", and gets caught in impulsive fruits/snacks shopping every time I'm here.

I can't wait to be back home in the (hopefully) near future, and back to this area!

 Last but not least, I would say a very special thanks to this girl, who has always accompanied me during this holiday! <3

Well, till the next post beautiful souls! Anyway, tomorrow is Monday again. And you know what? I'm super excited as I'll be going to a Junior High School in Tokyo for a program called "Ryugakusei ga Sensei". This program gives a chance for foreign students enrolled in any university in Tokyo to teach about their homeland to elementary till senior high school students in Tokyo! 

I have just got accepted to this program by the end of last year. The next step, is that I have to go through several preparation activities before eventually engage in the program as a teacher. As for tomorrow, I'll be observing two consecutive classes conducted by my senior and then write a report describing my impression about the class!

Hope you guys are having a superb Sunnday!



11 March 2017

Successfully Unleashing Myself from Being Homesick: Just a Personal Report on The Blog

Exactly a week ago, I set my feet on Tokyo's ground, back to this bustling city. Yes, I was away for exactly a month, spending almost the whole February and early March in hometown. To my surprise, I wasn't that much excited when the airplane landed in Narita airport. "Oh, hello again Tokyo...". I tried to greet the city, which at that time, was covered with clouds. Which made the melancholia within me grow even worse. At the point that I wasn't sure if I was happy or not to be back in the city. Luckily, I could still hold my tears and chose to burst them down once I did my evening prayer in the dorm.

The sleepy one year old me

So, here it goes the story about what happened lately...


I was suffering and battling this wicked mind disease for the first and second day after arriving here. I know, it's ultra common for someone to experience homesick. But it never crossed my mind that I would be that kind of someone. I had always thought that I was strong enough to deal with my decision to live far away from home,  most crucially from my mom.  I had always thought that I would instantly be happy, once I set my feet in Tokyo. But this time, I was so wrong.

What made me really surprise about being homesick is that, I never experienced it before. Trust me. During my one year of student exchange program, I was super okay. I was missing mom indeed, but still in a normal way. Last year, which was my second year living in Japan, I was super okay too. I had so much fun living my life here, along with the ups and downs the life had to offer. Turned out, I could still survive happily. Til I realized, I was away from home for nearly a year, even though in my mind I felt like it was only three months.

I wasn't the only one who was suffering. Mom was in the same situation. Just so you know, we both are extremely connected. Once I feel sad, she will definitely feel the same way. And vice versa. We could never lie to each other about our feelings. Because in the end we would just knew, even though we never put them in words.

She said, before, she has never felt that difficult to let me go. It's not that she could always handle my leaving easily, but at least she had always been so strong, so mentally prepared. But this time, none of us had an ample mental prep. During our phone call, we then analyzed what was really happening to us, why we felt so down, why we were so sad despite we both knew that I was leaving for the better, to pursue a higher education in an undeniably good place. Even, it wasn't my first time leaving home!

We then came into one conclusion, which then made us mentally stable again. And I couldn't be happier than being able to be back as the usual me and feeling this way :) I don't know, whether I should categorize "homesick" as a good thing or not. But at least, now I started to feel that home is always the best place, and being at home with mom has always been the best moment. Two things that I nearly took for granted before.

Now, I'm fully back in my normal condition, and back at making my daily to do list again. I couldn't even make one when I was feeling homesick. Since the only thing that I would possibly write is: go home and hug mom. lol.

I'm so glad that I'm able to think clearly again this time. The best part is when I finally found a new research topic yesterday! It was such a huge surprise to me, as I was casually reading a book on the train heading to Shinjuku. New idea came to me without me trying so hard to find one. What a miracle! I can't wait to meet my academic adviser in two weeks, and inform her about this. Hoping my communication with her will just go smoothly, and she agrees on this new topic! 

Anyways, I have some posts pending on the draft. Gotta finalize them as soon as possible, so that I can move on to the other new stories! *feeling energetic*

Guess I'll close this post with a happy birthday shout out to my dad that has just turned 52 yesterday!

Selamat ulang tahun, Papi! <3

Till the next post, guys ;)



20 January 2017

Tokyo Stroll Report #2 // Ryogoku, I'm back at you

December 24th, 2016

And I did make a comeback three weeks after my first visit. To me, decided to come back in the same month, to a place that takes more than an hour to travel one way from my place, meaning: (1) I'm in a desperate need of buying something local that's only sold there. (2) My crush lives there and I need to do some stalking business. (3) The area had me at hello and my affair with it hasn't finished yet.

Since (1) and (2) are not relevant in this case, then it's obviously (3). I do have a deep affair with Ryogoku and I can't let it unfinished.

Yet another sumo related stuffs 

Ah, speaking about Sumo... just an updated sad story about the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament that I was dying to watch this month. Yea folks, I couldn't make it. The ticket was sold out, and this is not to be surprised at all, since the ticket sale for the January tournament was started way back on December 3rd, 2016. 

Also, I was too late to apply for the free ticket from uni. There were only 5 tickets, 8 applied for it. And I was the 8th person to apply, so there you have it... I was quite upset for a whole day before eventually trying to accept the fact. Now I'm setting a more elaborate planning so that I won't miss the next summer tournament. 

Well, well, I guess it's enough for the Sumo related stuffs. Now, I'm about to take you on my second stroll in this lovely old town. My main destination for this stroll is the newly opened,


Designed by The Pritzker Prize winning lady architect, Kazuyo Sejima :)
The exterior of the museum.

This museum has just begun to open on November 22nd last year. So this is a brand new museum in town. The museum is dedicated to Japan's renowned ukiyo-e wood block painter, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), who spent most of his life in Sumida City. Therefore, the museum is named Sumida Hokusai Museum.

He's best known for his delicate works in the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series, where he depicted Mt. Fuji from different locations and throughout various seasons.

Oh wait, before I go a little bit more about Hokusai and this museum, I have something to show you. 

Are you feeling familiar with the emoji above? If you are a heavy emoji user, then I bet you are! Haha. Yep,the emoji is called the "water wave emoji"! The one that I put on here, is the iOS 10.2 version. It would appear differently on the other platforms tho. If you're curious to see how it appears on the other platforms, you can check it via emojipedia.org :D

"So, why am I bringing the "water wave emoji" here? "

Some of you might have already understood what I'm trying to say here. But perhaps, some just haven't got it yet. Here's a fun fact, this emoji is inspired by one of Katsushika Hokusai's most notable ukiyo-e masterpiece, entitled "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (published circa 1830-1833)! How cool is that? Please just say 'wow' cheerfully so that it feels like I just wrote something meaningful.

Yet sadly, I didn't take a picture of this masterpiece to show you how it looks like originally. *how comeee, Shab?* Sorry, but you can google if you feel interested. So actually there was a video, showing the ukiyo-e painting process for "The Great Wave off Kanagawa", just next to the painting, and I was so absorbed to it, and I forgot that I had a camera in my hand to take picture. 

But here, I got a snap of a Bearbrick, painted in "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" print. Showing how Hokusai's work still affects and can blend really well in the modern days artwork. 

"Fujisan Bearbrick" inspired by Hokusai 

After visiting the museum and seeing the real ukiyo-e version of the masterpiece, my mind started to roll back a memory that I have with "The Great Wave off Kanagawa".

Below is me, in a super sunny day in 2014,

yes! in front of "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" inspired mural :D

the mural isn't a part of Sumida Hokusai Museum. This pic wasn't even taken in Tokyo, anyway.

So, it's just a throwback picture when I was still in Jogja, Indonesia. I believed I was suuuper stoked when I randomly found this huge "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" inspired mural when I was passing the neighborhood by chance. The wall on which this mural was painted, was supposed to be a part of a quite hype restaurant called Zango. I don't know if the mural and the restaurant still exist until today. But it was very surprising to me, to find this one in Jogja. On top of it, in a size of mural! But there are something important missing in this mural: the boats! :( uh. There should be three fishermen boats in it.

That's all about the throwback picture. After all, now I feel 'complete' that I eventually got to see the real ukiyo-e masterpiece in the museum. "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" ukiyo-e showcased in the museum was recreated by a modern ukiyo-e artisan though. Hence, it wasn't the one originally painted by Hokusai. But still, I'm so happy! Moreover, now I know the process of how a beautiful and delicate ukiyo-e is made. Anyway, the size of the original one painted by Hokusai is 25 cm x 37 cm. Not more than a size of A3 paper.

The 'it' corner

There were two kinds of exhibitions that day. The permanent one and the special one. I only visited the permanent one. The tickets costed 400 Yen for general, and 300 Yen for students and the elders.

The museum itself is a pretty compact one, consisting of four storeys inside the angular structure. The permanent exhibition room is consisting of seven parts within one room. There are also touch screen panels that allow visitors to freely dig up information related to the works displayed. Other than that, there are also several units of interactive panels that visitor can enjoy, in the form of game. For these game panels, I noticed that the instructions were all still in Japanese. Hopefully they would update them into the multi-language ones so that everyone can enjoy :) 

Well, I didn't take many pictures inside the museum, even though it was allowed. I'm thinking about going back here again for the special exhibition some time in the near future ;)

Done with the Sumida Hokusai Museum visit, I proceed the stroll by freely walking in the hood. But here are some snaps that I got along the way to the museum, and I feel like showing them here ;p

My kind of eyegasm. Every color in this pic is my best friend. 

Spotting some Doraemons dressing up as Santas on the Chrismas Eve ;D So cute!!

Still amazed by the crystal clear blue sky! Feelin' grateful :)

My love for grocery shopping is eternal. And so is to snapping some random groceries pictures.

A cute baby enjoying a day out with papa!

I'm super happy and content with all my findings along the way. But still, they're not enough, yet. I think this place still got a bundle of hidden gems that I can't let them unexposed. 

On the way back to the station, I finally found these murals that I've been looking for this whole time! I've been eyeing these murals through some random instagram posts and I was finally here by chance. What a stroll! ;)

Nostalgic feeling

JR Ryogoku Station

Never a dull day whenever I'm at Ryogoku. Every corner there is just so impressive in a very humble and subtle way. Old town stroll never goes wrong, right? 

I guess it's enough for this post.
I would definitely come back with more stories from the Tokyo Stroll Report series!
Meanwhile, may we all have a striking weekend and don't forget to stroll around! ;)



P.s.: Tokyo has been super overcast since the morning! Feeling so lazy, haha. How's the weather in your neighborhood? :)