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Last summer, I was invited by my friend to the baking class for free trial class. Having her doing the reservation, I just went right away to the Roppongi studio of ABC, craving for Chiffone with fresh orange and mango. At the end of the class, I ended up signing membership as it’s a very tempting offer. 50% discount for student.

They have a lot of studios throughout Japan with 3 courses: cooking, cake, and bread.
After thorough consideration, I decided signing for cooking course. It would be the best for me, it will be quite applicable for daily life. Yeah, it’s too bad, I never cooked for myself. I started cooking since I came to Japan. In my childhood, my mom’s so busy so we ate catering food. And when I moved to Jakarta for the bachelor degree, a lot of cafetarias offering variety of food with affordable price. So I never really cook. f(^^

Ok, to make story short, I did enjoy the cooking class. I went there couple times and invited some friends for trial classes as well. It’s nice due to the studio atmosphere, and the class’s delivered in a small group, consists of up to 4 persons in one session. And the most important thing, it’s not a cooking demo class like in Indonesia – we are all involved for the practical cooking.
As for the cooking course, there’ll be 3 different kinds of menu each month. And last December, Inge and I attended for the Osechi ryouri-御節料理 menu. (Japanese new year’s food)

Originally, during first three days of the New Year it was a taboo to use a hearth and cook meals. That’s why Osechi was traditionally home made, prepared by the close of the previous year, as women did not cook in the New Year. ^^

Here we go..

Each of the osechi symbolizes particular meaning to celebrate the coming new year.
And the presentation may differ from one region to others. Like the shape of mochi as well, will be different from Kanto area(in my case, Tokyo) to Kansai area(Osaka, Kobe, etc)

Shrimp have long whiskers and their backs are curved, they are associated with elder people. People eat shrimp hoping to live a long life.

* Ebi (エビ), skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce,  symbolizes long life as the shrimp have long whiskers and curved backs which associated with elder people.

* Zouni (雑煮), a soup of mochi rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern Japan) or miso broth (in western Japan). The source of the sweetness doesn’t basically come from sugar, but rice with the natural sweetness. The vegetables in the soup symbolizes smooth human relations, having many descendants, being promoted in the world, not to become jealous or petty and to put down strong roots.

* Tazukuri (田作り), dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. The literal meaning of the kanji in tazukuri is “rice paddy maker”, as the fish were used historically to fertilize rice fields. The symbolism is of an abundant harvest.

* Toori yasai maki (鶏野菜巻き), vegetable rolled in the chicken. I don’t know the meaning, sorry.

* Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means “health,” symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.

*Kurikinton(栗きんとん)、mashed sweet potatoes with chestnuts

I got the chance sharing about Indonesia in front of the elementary school students. And they asked me what’s the food for new year in Indonesia? As Indonesian are multicultural nation, so I just gave them example that we have different types of new year celebration. And as for the Moslem who are the majority in Indonesia, they usually eat ketupat. Am I correct? And of course, a very big big meal is waiting right? Gulai kambing, rendang, and so on..

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The tradition of sending postcard – nengajyou (年賀状)in Japan is quite old, dating back in Heian period. In this digital area, instead of sending the physical greeting cards, most people tend to send sms or mms..
But that’s not the case in Japan.. December is the busy month to clean up the house, and also prepare up to hundred postcards i guess..

The postcards are sold in the convenient store, but most Japanese don’t like to use the mass-design postcards. They design theirs, generally beautify them with the family’s pictures or the panorama shots around their house or the shots they took during their trips that year.

Some of you got the postcards from me.. but I apologize if I missed sending to you.. I did it manually to give personal touch, and it was so hectic that I sent them separatedly, however there’re some errors from my side. Some postcards sent from Shanghai after the conference, and the others were sent from Japan around 5 times delivery.
In the Shanghai airport, I rushed to find the postcards, writing the names but when I was about to send, I found out that I ran out of money! lol.. so eventhough they were already written, they had to come back to Tokyo with me and finally sent by Japanese postage. Did you notice that?
*poke the recipients*, I hope you didn’t. LOL..
And I felt that I missed writing the country name, so it went back to me, and there’re also postcards without my address, I guess. (because Naki didn’t get my postcard last year). So maybe either it ended up in the post office belongs to nobody or it was the mistake in Indonesia postal. haha.. *human error*

By the way, there’s お年玉付郵便葉書 – otoshidama tduke yuubin hagaki (postcard with new year present). So if you see there’s serial numbers on the back side of the postcard..
And there’s kinda lottery for that.. The winners are based on the 6,5, 4, and 2 last numbers..

It goes like this..

For example the 1st prize (the one who got the postcard with the serial number of 975424, and one present can be chosen out of these five :
– Sharp AQUOS Digital Hi-Vision 32 inch LCD TV with built-in Blu-ray Disc recorder
– Overseas or Domestic trip
– Toshiba Netbook + Casio Digital Camera + Canon Inkjet printer
– Canon Digital Video Cam
– Office goods sets
2nd prize nintendo + Wii and so on and so forth..

I’ve checked mine and I didn’t win.. how about yours? ^^
Please checked this site
If yours are one of the mentioned numbers.. You can send it back to Japan, haha.. The gift exchange period was started and will last on July 26.

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Thank you for the best wishes ^^
The presentation’s finally finished, even though I still haven’t known the result..
I was the first presenter on the 1st day of defense, starting from 9AM.
Four professors for examiner role with 30 minutes time limitation: 18 minutes presentation and 12 minutes Q&A. I made it pretty good, sharp 18 mins for the presentation.

I did have sore throat and influenza symptom in the weekend and now I’m officially catching cold, having runny nose and severe headache. The disturbance during the night had to be one of the reason too. I got phone call when I already got into deep sleep, I guess those guys just wanted to invited me to go down to the courtyard playing snowball fight or making snowboy.. fiuh, just didn’t pick it up, appreciate it, but it’s just not the right timing and ruined my night.-_-;
Then woke up 3 to 4 times during the night worrying about waking up late. In addition, I had nightmare.. I dreamed that I misinterpreted the date, I went to Hongo campus instead of Komaba campus. It takes 1 hour to commute from one to another. Even if I still could rush, I just realized that it’s already 10.30 AM which means I was late 90mins for the presentation. what a dream! *heart attack in the dream* lol..

I don’t know when I’m going to get the result but I got the revision suggestion from one of the examiner. So we submitted 4 copies of our thesis, and only 2 were back to me. 1 set full of revision suggestion, and the other one is completely blank.
Ok, I think at the time being I can relieve to some extent..

*In the morning, most of the trains have the seats fold up due to rush hour until 10 AM*

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Just like in Korea, the temperature here is jumping down quite significant. Judging from the look of the sky, it’s quite dark to start a new week in a new month yesterday.. Ummhh, quite confused whether I should bring umbrella or not since I’ve so many stuffs to be carried.
After checking the weather forecast that it’d be cloudy only..
It’s recently hot in the daytime and then windy at night. So I just covered my neck with pashmina and fur ear cover. (yup, those two spots are sensitive to the chilling cold weather).

But.. the weather’s very tricky.. on the way to my campus, it’s raining, the light one though, and terribly windy. Since i wore no coat, only long sleeve shirt, it’s suffering! So I just left the idea eating in canteen, and had korea nori instant ramen in the lab.

When I was about to leave for home, it was raining too. Oh! Very unfortunate! More than thousands ppl predicted in Yahoo weather that it’d be cloudy and only 58 ppl predicted it would rain though.. Arggh! With less clothing and no umbrella, what a day! Peeping through the room, I took whoever-he-is-who-owns-the umbrella from the umbrella holder. It was 7 degree and kinda lil snowy balls hitting umbrella from Tokyo teleport to the dorm. And…… fiunnnggg..
umbrella’s upside down, huhu.. however I decided to bring it home, like hero holding knight? 😛

I have no idea, how many umbrellas I broke and ended up in the rubbish bin. And need to buy new one to replace the broken umbrella to the lab. hihihi.. And here it is..

broken umbrella

Broken Umbrella

The weather change usually makes ppl getting sick. So I decided to fight the dramatical change of the weather by equipped myself with coat,ear cover and scarf. And consume Tolak Angin at least once a day. LOL

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Since the Japanese have recently adopted many Western customs (valentine, christmas,etc), many stores’re selling colorful costumes and decorations for Halloween.
For commercial purpose, this event is also promoted in Tokyo Disneyland and USJ (Universal Studio Japan).
Somehow, it’s said that Japanese obon is pretty similar to Halloween. It is a
Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars.
(Quoted from wikipedia)

I got buzzed by my Thai friend, he’s interested in cooking and baking recently. As he succeeded making kabocha manju(pumpkin bun), so he’s kind enough to let me be the tester.. *happy*
And Here’s the pic I took on my way back home last night.
Do you think they’re considerably fancy?

halloween1

ハロウィーン

I recalled last year Koko kun visited Tokyo and we went to Roppongi club. Oh, one year passed! Everybody Happy halloween..

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This post’ll be about random things within these 5 days.

August 29, election in Japan!!

Historical shift in political power. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which has governed for decades lost to the opposition party : Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and Yukio Hatoyama will become the next Prime Minister of Japan.

He pledged raising the minimum wage and discourage hiring through agencies or on temporary contracts.

The voters’re mostly frustated and want the change from the new government, to get out from the recession which was claimed as the worst recession since World War II.

In its election manifesto, the DPJ said it will pay about $3,000 per child to each family every year — to encourage women to have babies and reverse the country’s rapidly aging and shrinking population.

It will also pay about $1,000 a month to each unemployed Japanese as he looks for a job.

Do you think it makes sense and will likely to occur?

That day almost the whole day rained, it’s still summer though..

August 30, heavy rain and typhoon no 11.. I broke my umbrella while trying to protect two notebooks with me.. On the way home, I saw bulk of damaged umbrellas in front of convenient store. Oh My!  I had the meeting and not long after the meeting’s finished, I just thought that I’d better leave earlier from lab, and what I did when I reached? I baked the almond crunch bread. In 2007, when there’s typhoon, I also cooked bulk of curry.. maybe typhoon’s my productive day for cooking. LOL

almond crunch almond crunch2

Sept 2, Hadi’s birthday dinner.. We’re 8 and had too much pasta and pizza until i feel like no pasta and pizza for three months.  LOL.. Happy bday Hadi!

Sept 3, Doraemon Logo on Google Japan.

I was wondering if today’s the anniversary of Doraemon, but I found out that the original run was April 2, 1979. But finally got the answer.

It’s because.. it’s said that the birthday of Doraemon’s September 3, 2112. ^^

doraemon google

Btw, I got one Hagen Daz, new taste.. it tastes really good.. Have a try frenz! Blueberry cheese cake flavor..

haagen daz

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Summer starts in June and lasts until August, this’s the hottest time of the year in which temperature exceed 30°C and been the no no no season for me.

In the last one week, the weather’s totally changed, making big jump from the hot and humid weather to milder ones day by day and even today it rained heavily. As far as I remember, the remaining summer temperature’s remained uptill the early of September last year but not for this year. That’s why a lot of people agreed that Tokyo’s hot and humid summer weather seems not that tough and also shorter as compared to last year.
It’s somehow good since I dun like the humid summer in Japan, but too bad, I havent gone to the beach, wearing bikini. hihihi..

But does it mean the autumn start earlier?? So before the summer ends, here I uploaded what’s on around Odaiba in Summer.
1) The giant life-size Gundam in Shiokaze Park,Odaiba – celebrating 30 years anniversary of first anime series broadcasted(1979).
More precisely 30 years since the original Gundam anime series appeared (1979).
*Btw, give a guess what’s the life-size height of Gundam?*

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And the answer for your guess..
(more…)

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