01 January 2018

What Happened in 2017? Let Me Reminisce!

Happy New Year! How's your first day of 2018 going so far? 2018 hasn't gone far at all, we all knew it has just started. But I'm pretty keen to know what you did in this year's first hours? ☺️ If you're not too shy to share it, you may write it on the comment box! Feel free to write it as long as you want, I'll diligently read it, I promise πŸ˜…☺️

As for me, I went to see the first sunrise of the year, just like what I did last year (link to 2017 New Year celebration, here). But this time was at a different kind of place! Last year was at a slope in Harajuku, and this year was at a park near uni! Probably just 10 minutes walk from my dorm.

Musashino Mori Park

Left to right: My Indian bestie Afrin, My Turkmenistan bestie Jennet, and yours truly ☺️πŸ˜‰

This sun-rise viewing thing has been in my new year must-do-thing list ever since I started living in Japan. If you've been reading this blog from quite the earlier years, you'd know that 2014 was the outset of this tradition to begin rooted in my life. Yet, I don't know if I'd still continue doing this, if one day, I ever leave Japan to move to another country. We'll see....

I still have some other shots from today that I plan to feature on the blog later, hehehe. For the special post about catching 2018's first sunrise to be exact. Wait okaay! ❤️πŸ™πŸ»

Alright, let's jump right to what happened in my life in 2017! Woohoo!

- Let's start with the failures of the year! -

Hahaha yes, I'd love to start it with the tough ones being the first, okay? Just because... I need myself a fair shot of  life as a whole, with its ups and downs, with what worked and what didn't/haven't, with what made  me smile from ear to ear and what made me frown for days (usually they lasted not more than 3 days tho! hahaha).... I'm so gonna share them now! πŸ˜‰

 I guess I dealt with three major failures this year. I believe there are more than three failures if I break them down into details by digging into daily-weekly-monthly goals. But no, we're not going there this time. RIP my fingers then, hahaha.

The first and second failure are of the same category: 
Failed at making it to a fully funded international conference and summer school organized by the same foundation. I took the application processes very seriously. I shed my energy and mind, trying to write something as appealing as possible, but of course still tried to make everything as genuine as possible. You know, I wanted these opportunities so bad because I knew how they could have been such great events for me to foster my self-presentation ability in the global/international contexts. 

I always found myself hungry for such kind of experiences! In such events, you will usually able to meet a bunch of inspiring people, yet at the same time, you'll be able to meet another side of you that you might never know/realize before; such as the braver you in pitching ideas in front of people that are probably greater than you in terms of knowledge, experiences and whatnot.

But yeah, the ideas that I offered during the application processes, and self-experiences that I tried to sell were maybe still far from what the organizers expected. Or maybe I was just unlucky this time. Or again, maybe, my time just hasn't come yet. Too many maybes, because they didn't really tell why I failed. But one thing that I'm 100% sure is that, the competitions in order to make it to big international events of such kinds are extremely tight and fierce. Everyone tried their best, not just me. I was actually competing for something really big, with all the excellent competitors out there that I barely know how excellent they actually are. But I'm happy because even though I failed at them, I had given myself another chance to try.

I even got to try for the second time after the first failure. No room for trauma, no. I had always thought that I wouldn't be able to start all over again to the (almost) exact same battle once I was defeated. But I was totally wrong... I fought back, with the same amount of optimism and burning energy as the first one. 

Even though the second result was a failure once again, at this point, I'm still eager beyond reason to challenge myself to go to the same battle yet again! I won't stop until I manage to get them. I promise to myself. All of these failures have taught me resilience and a handful of knowledge about just how tough this world is. At least, the kind of world that I've been dreaming of. I'm struggling for something big, and I've been so proud about this fact ever since the beginning. 

"To continue enjoying each and every struggle", I guess, is my 2018 motto. You know, optimism is probably the best gift that I can ever give to myself. Not just about optimism in facing what's coming next, but also optimism towards failures. That every failure has their own meaning. And now, I've come to an understanding, that we might find out the meanings in a shorter or maybe longer time after the failures occur. But for sure, those meanings will emerge just at the right time. 

Alright, moving on...

The Third Failure:
The third failure is actually about how loose my time management was in the last quarter of 2017. I didn't really stick to the timeline that I made. This mainly about my research timeline. Everything went normal and well actually. Nothing disastrous I could say. But I failed at realizing one last thing that I had set to conduct in December: an interview with the next potential respondent. 

Well, I hate to say irresponsible remark like this, but, December has always been in that kind of year-end holiday season vibe or mood... that apparently had made me unable to behave academically relevant. And now I'm 30% upset about this. Hahaha. 

With that time management failure being mentioned above, I'll strive for a better time management this year. Behaving academically relevant to my research timeline is my concrete goal. Because... I'm planning to debut myself at a symposium/s this year *fingers-crossed🀞*. I really need to speed up my data collection process as well as the analysis. Also, I have to do everything well and firmly reasoned so that when those faith-shaking remarks from my advisor strike, I could debate her and make sure that my logic win hahaha. πŸ˜†πŸ€ž 

So yeah, cheers to an academically productive 2018, Shab! At least I have what it takes to conducting a research, that is, "loving the subject". Because keep coming back to something that you don't love is such a pain in the ass. And in conducting research, you basically keep coming back to that one particular topic over and over again. So the key point here is to make sure that I'll keep coming back to what  I love doing. Hehe.


Omg, it's 23:34 already. I guess I need to stop here. I can actually just continue this post but, I really need to sleep asap because I have an appointment tomorrow. I'm going to meet my high school friends and about to hang out to some fun places in Tokyo! I'll get back to this blog super soon to finish this post.... on the 2nd part!

Well, I hope you tons of good lucks this year! Keep being you! 
You do you, I do me, and we're a happy family! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜†
This is a repetitive thing, but I wish I can be more productive in this platform just like those good old days! 
*the last finger-crossing🀞*



29 October 2017

Nakazaki-cho, Osaka's Youth Sub-culture Hub // Thru Disposable Camera

Hi, folks! I haven't really shared in my blog about what I did last summer holiday (mid July to early Oct!). I guess this roll from Nakazaki-cho stroll is going to be the first one to sit on the blog from the summer holiday serries, having its story to get revealed, briefly. Yes, briefly, because I'm planning to share a more detailed story later on, focusing on pictures I took from my canon camera. There are tons in it!

Moving on to what Nakazaki-cho neighborhood is all about, it's kind of similar to what Shimokitazawa or Koenji to Tokyo. If you love those two Tokyo's hipster neighborhoods, then I bet, you'll fall in love with Nakazaki-cho in no time as soon as you step your feet on its artsy alley. Because that's simply what happened to me!

(A very kind auntie from Nagoya offered me to take a picture of myself in front of this shop. Of course your girl can never say no to a picture offer :p)

Alright you guys, without further ado, here I present to you some Nakazaki-cho snaps thru the disposable camera :>

Below are my top 4 favorites from the roll! πŸ’›


My niche (1)

The highlight is so freakin' blinding I know, but I couldn't love this picture more! 
It was such a lovely sunny day indeed. Ahh, I miss summer (holiday)!

My niche (2)

Neighborhood's famous organic granola shop

Haha I didn't realize that there was someone standing there

Bonus Pictures from the Roll:
Osaka Kuromon Market and Its Surrounding 

I have a major thing with markets, meat stalls and things of such sort! I'm so glad that this picture that I took at a random ready-to-eat seafood stall turned out just as how I wanted it to be!

At a juice bar

Guys, this is Sabilla, my high school mate! <3 I stayed a night at her place in Osaka. It was such a nostalgic reunion. Sabilla was also the one who took me to Kuromon market, introducing me to bunches of yummy titbits! Ahh, miss you bb! 

Alleyway just outside the market

Not particularly favoriting this picture. The grain in it is just not that kind of grain that I like (?) plus, it's waaaay too dark. Don't hurt your eyes for staring it too long, hehe.

This one? my favorite from the Kuromon market bunch!

Another extra from the roll:
Bakery hopping in Wakayama

Some failures:

Inside Nakazaki-cho Station. Turned out lookin' so horror, lol. But trust me, inside is such an eye-catching turquoise-tiled corridor situation. Good thing is, I shot a better version of Nakazaki-cho Station's interior on my canon. Can't wait to share it later on!

Aaaannnd this is the end of my disposable camera journey in Osaka! Apology for a super anti-climax feeling of this post. The thing is, I just developed the pictures from the camera earlier this evening, saw the results, got excited and ended up with "I gotta put these on the blog as soon as I got home!". And here it is, a new post on the blog, after ages of hiatus.

But still, I hope you enjoy this one random post. At this point, I'm sort of tempted in getting myself a film camera. What do you thing? Would love to hear something regarding on film camera, what's your verdict on it? Please please kindly share it on the comment box, will much appreciate it! <3

Sooo, I'll see you on the post, (hopefully) soon!
It's Monday again tomorrow, be readyyyy :>



11 September 2017

Dear Grandpa :)

* We affectionately call our grandpa as "Pae", so I'll just go with Pae throughout this post :)

-September 10th, 2017-

Dear Pae,

I knew that this day would come. To be honest, I've tried to imagined about this before but nothing really came to my mind at that time. Simply because, I just couldn't picture myself living in a world without you, even though I tried.

At the time I received a message from mom this afternoon, I lost control and my sanity was gone for a few minutes. I had nobody by my side, I was all alone with my work, so I frantically touched one stuff to another in my room, trying to take a good grip of myself. I was losing direction, I didn't know where to head with my life. Panic, thinking about how I'd continue this journey without you.

I'm not exaggerating. You and mom, are the only reasons why I'm doing all of these. Yes, every single thing in my life, I've always had you as my number one motivation. All of this time, all I ever think is to make you smile, to make you forget about your pain even only for a few seconds. To make you proud. To make you believe that there are still so much blessings in your life, and I've always wanted to be a part of those blessings. Because I was also suffering when you suffered.

Yes, you. You're all the reason. You're the ultimate motivation. I've never really told anyone about this, but throughout this 24 year of super awesome life, I kept on thinking that I had nobody in this world except you and mom. And grandma. You've filled the half in me. And the rest is mom.

And yes it's true, that my life revolves around you. You're my number one childhood hero. My number one role model once I'm entering adulthood. Literally, my life is filled by the thoughts of loving and admiring you. And I bet you never know about this, right? I wish I had the chance to say all of this thing. I wish I just had the courage. But I know, once I really tell you this, I'd just cry a river. So that's why I've always been keeping it for myself. Oops, for the first time I told mom about it today. Tho I know, no need to tell, 'cause she knew that already.

Dear Pae, have I made you proud enough? Even if you might say yes, I won't stop still. Because you know, making you proud is sooo addictive and that's why I kept challenging myself to try harder each and every time. Tried to apply this and that, only to give you a good news or two. Only to make you and mom happy. None of you guys force me to do all of these. I'm the only one who keeps on pushing myself, and I'm more than happy, to voluntarily do this and that. For you both!

Oh God, losing the source of your energy is scary. I'm still figuring out a way to keep me motivated when my number one motivation isn't physically there any longer. Dear Pae, there are still sooo many stories to tell. So many coming victories to celebrate together. So many weird experiences to laugh at together. But now, I got to do all of that with mom only. Oh and maybe grandma sometimes hahaha.

I'm sorry if I'm too greedy. 24 years living as your granddaughter isn't long enough you know. I've said this a thousand time today. You must be so bored hearing it, don't you?

Eyes are tired right at this moment. Face has been all tear-stained since afternoon. Guess I need to rest. I'll write for you again as soon as possible :)

Al-Faatiha ❤️

August 6th, 2016

Earlier this year when opening birthday gifts from me!! 😊 I bought him two T-shirts.
Btw, ever since he had stroke, T-shirts and shorts were his comfiest everyday wear, so I got him some cool T-shirts to wear at home ❤️

One of the Tees that I got for him! Ah, how cuteeee! Major love on how the tee just fitted Pae perfectly! 😍



29 July 2017

Some Pictures from Harajuku Stroll and A Little Bit of Despondency

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

While waiting for my bathtub to get filled up

One word to describe myself this Sunday: freakin' exhausted.

I don't know, but I'm not getting excited about things this whole day. No, not just today, prolly some days within this week, I've felt this way. I usually felt so excessively happy and high, even for something that some people might find them boring. Maybe I'm just too tired, too sleep-deprived.

Oops, guess the hot water in my oh-sooo-mini-bathtub has filled up. Alright, I'll continue writing in a couple of minutes. I need to go to the bathroom now and I'll be right back once I'm done dipping. Anyway, I'm using MUJI's lavender-scented bath salt this time, it smells nice, and I'm genuinely happy right now. Omg, I guess I just got excited over something, right in this very moment!! lol.


Hi, done with the bathing business. Felt so good, the lavender bath salt has successfully shed away the weariness. Face is still a little bit red by the time I'm typing this, especially the bridge of my nose.  But I just sprayed tea tree water onto the face just now. So, despite the redness, my face is actually feeling so refreshed. Whoop, perfectness. Now this girl is feeling better, both mentally and physically. 

I'm not sure if the thing that I've just experienced can be classified as a mood swing, but my mental condition changed exceptionally fast. It only took a nice dip in a hot bath for 20 minute-ish. To me, that was relatively fast.

Well, I guess I need to take a break again. Be right back after dinner! πŸ₯˜ 


Saturday, July 29th, 2017

While waiting for my laundry in the dryer

Oh my God, time is scary. Don't you think? 

Two weeks ago I wrote that I'd be back after dinner. But then I didn't. I was too sleepy after dinner, then I decided to have a doze before going back to the blog. Turned out, the doze became a deep, deep sleep. I got busy on the next day, as well as the next next day, until I neglected this post and let it sit in the draft, until I realized that it has been two weeks long. Phew! 

Hella talented procrastinator when it comes to blogging lately. This definitely needs to be stopped. But how? Let me contemplate and figure a way out.

Alright, there's just too much despondency going on in this post. Shall we just jump right into the real deal on the photos I have here? *O come on Shabrina, you can even do it from the beginning of the post if you want to! πŸ˜›*

So, long story short I went to Harajuku on July 12th to meet my best friend, the one who's always been so ever-tempered in dealing with my never ending babbles, lol. We finally managed to try out Luke's Lobster, that infamous lobster roll originally from NYC, after failing to get one in our last meet-up.

 The lobster roll (below); The shrimp & crab roll (top)

They tasted... okay πŸ‘Œ 
I don't know if it's just me, but I didn't find it amazingly wow as compared to all the crazy hypes about this lobster roll in the world wide web. But yeah, being okay is still acceptable for someone like me who's not so hard to please when it comes to food. 

Have you ever tried the Luke's lobster? What's your take on it?

Right across the Luke's shack, we found this vines-covered wall with cute little lilac flowers thriving mostly at the upper part. "You must be wanting to take photos there, aren't you?" my friend asked. Of course the whole universe could easily know the answer even without me necessarily saying "yes". 

Done with the photo session in front of the vines, yeah, we had to stop taking photos because another tourist was lining up behind us while mumbling in a language that I didn't understand. But from her tone, I could decipher that she was complaining about us being too long 😌 oh, come on...

We continued walking casually. Getting in and out bunches of stores, touched many products, bought nothing, and ended up getting some shaved ice 🍧 in "Ice Monster" to close our meet-up session. We talked about tons of stuffs, as per usual. But this time was mainly about sexual preferences. Definitely my favorite topic to talk about.

That's that! I miss having another casual stroll already.

Anyway, July ends in two days. I did various stuffs this month. I'll try to write some recaps about this. Not to be cocky, but I'm satisfied with my performance this month. Hope August is going to be a great month too! Despite the crazy summer heat we're having here in Tokyo πŸ”₯

Well well, hope you're all having heaps of joy in this very month too! I'll see you on the next post ;)

In the meantime, go explore your neighborhood, dance to your favorite songs and eat lots of yummy desserts. Or just do whatever that will make you happy and love yourself even more! πŸ’Ÿ



10 June 2017

Sea of Nemophila Baby Blue Eyes: Is This View Even Real??!

May 4th, 2017

Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture

Whoop! My year long wait has finally come to a good end! So happy, i could say it a thousand time. And this is to tick off the last major item in "Shabrina's Flower Pilgrimage Bucket List", ladies and gentlemen! #owyea *wink* *wink again with more energy*.

Been dreaming of witnessing this surreality ever since last year

So, for those who don't know, these cute little blue flowers are called 'NEMOPHILA' or the 'Baby Blue Eyes'. These baby blue eyes had kept me waiting for the longest one year in life ever since spring last year. It was the time when Lina, my ultimate flower viewing partner found a one-day bus tour from Shinjuku to Tochigi for 'Whisteria' viewing and proceeded to nemophila in Ibaraki at the same day, in a freakin' good deal! I guess it was only around 10,000 Yen for these two destinations? Damn! πŸ˜­ 

But yeah, everyone loved good deal and they took action waaay faster then us. So we registered and the organizer kept us in the waiting list till one day before the departure day. But unfortunately, we had no luck for the bus tour eventually. Sad? Don't ask, just don't. This one goes without saying.

"Let's see the nemophila next year" said Lina and I to each other after we decided to drop the Nemophila from the list and chose to enjoy Whisteria instead. That "next year" thing finally  turned into something that was just around the corner! We finally managed to witness it last month.

The Wait Paid Off! Let's celebrate it with a wefie or hundreds!

We were so lucky, since rape flowers (Nanohana in Japanese) were in season too at that time!
I'm so loving how the yellow and the blue layered each other beautifully.

I'm beyond glad to find a partner who equally takes flower viewing trip as serious as I do.
Luv youuu cici Lina :*

Hitachi Seaside Park is indeed a piece of heaven on earth

This 190ha stated-operated park is definitely one very place that you should never ever miss whenever you make a trip to Japan, especially if your main destination is in the Kanto area! Walking for less than 10 minutes from the entrance gate, you'll arrive at the Miharashi Hill, the hub of this exceedingly vast park.

I guess that's the pacific ocean at the background 🌊

The 3.5ha Miharashi hill is painted in psychedelic bright blue Nemophila during Spring, fresh green Kochia in Summer and seductive crimson red Kochia in Autumn! One word: Breathtaking 😳 Here let me show you how the park looks like in Autumn → click click!

Here's the park's website for a more detailed information regarding on how to get there and some precious information about the flower seasons!  CLICK HERE πŸ’™

Anyway, the entrance fee is 400 yen for adult!

The only problem with this super huge park is that, the ground was sort of dusty. Especially  at the Miharashi Hill where the 4.5 millions of nemophilas were planted. 

Imagine when the wind blows so strongly and the dust will just fly all over the place. This happened all the time. I wore my black boots and they ended up completely covered in thick dust at the end of the day.

Not a very a big deal I know, but some people pretty much pay attention to their shoes cleanliness. Or maybe it's just me? I hope this "Too Much Information" can be useful for someone with the same nature, lol.

Spot the carp streamers over there? They're called 'Koinobori'! The children day's decorations that you'd possibly see all over Japan from April to early May :)

Spotted another type of Nemophila: The Yayoi Kusama-ish

Now they look more surreal with some polkadots on... Gosh.

Well, I guess that's all for today! I actually took tons of photos as well as videos, as per usual. I'm now in the process of collecting the mood to combine and edit the videos. Hopefully I'll get back soon on the blog with the dancing nemophilas video, or maybe just with another topic! 😘

Alright guys, I'll see you on the next post! I'm about to shower afterwards and get ready for some grocery shopping and dine out for today's iftar. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!



Other Posts You Might Love to Read