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.. Finally decided ending the long hibernation f(^^

For the last 2 years, I’d been sending nengyajo – postcard for friends in Japan and outside Japan. I prepared buying, hand writing like somewhere in November, but this year I haven’t even bought single postcard, I am afraid I spent time buying lil presents for friends, baking and attended some company and pre-christmas events.
As it seems like i’m not able to keep my two consecutive years tradition sending the postcard this year, I’d like to wish you my warmest advanced warm Merry Christmas and Happy New Year greeting. Wish you many many more for the upcoming 2011. I know it’ll be exciting for all of us.. 🙂

We had a Terry Fox running,  it’s a Running for Hope volunteer-led event which the raised fund goes to the cancer research. I personally view it’s a run family or friend time for good cause. Not only for health reason, but also for charity. 😉
The participation fee is the donation of at least 3,000 yen with the targeted participants as many as 1,000 people. This is an annual event held by the support of Canadian embassy and Four Season Hotel. And the running itself takes place in Imperial Palace, giving the option of 5km or 10km run. Not all the employees ran. almost half enjoyed good walk, the other half participated the 5km run, and a few completed the 10 km run. Unfortunately I only managed to run a 5km course, stamina’s dropped due to no endurance training since winter.

Terry Fox - Run for Hope

Start line for 10km run

At the end of the run, each participant was given a bag of banana, apple, ham bread sausage, energy drink. They also provided salmon snack and yaki onigiri – grilled rice ball for free.

Energy Drinks & Mineral Water

Yaki Onigiri - Grilled Rice Ball

The interesting parts are also that they gave out the participation certificate with the name of participant on it. And also there’s lucky draw, we’ve got piles of numbers.. And guess what I got? I got 3 coupons and I got 2 prizes out of those three. It’s a cute winter cap and also a Dr Ci LaBo BB Perfect Light Cream which costs like 4,200 yen. Lucky! The first prize is Four Season Hotel stay.

Certificate of Participation

Winter Cap & Dr.Ci:Labo BB Cream

The other company event is the annual year-end event, a Christmas dining which requires us to dress up to the theme decided. This is my first year experience, and the theme was dream job. I’m wondering what I should wear, the simple one which needs no money is to dress up as Balinese dancer as I already have the whole set costume, but it’s winter and I don’t think it’s a good idea to dress up having the full course dining with the summer-like costume. LOL. The other thing that I could think of is ballerina, but I don’t want it to become like an adorable wow beautiful ballerina that I could get compliments during the party. I wanted something different, so kept on browsing the online shops until
stuck on one interesting costume. I requested Arman for help if he could order and send it to Japan since the shops I stumbled that time provided no delivery to Japan. The unfortunate thing is also that it’s so closed to the Halloween when almost all the costumes were sold out. Finally I got one from Amazon UK, it costs me like 2K yen+ but the delivery cost is like 4k yen+, phew! f(^^
And are you ready to see how I looked like in the party? The most embarrasing costume among the ladies.

(more…)

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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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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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Happy 6th day of Chinese New Year, not that late, aite? *wink wink*
(during my childhood days, ppl keep celebrating CNY by visiting the families for fifteen days, visiting relatives, so those days’re considerably acceptable for hunting the hongbao-red pocket;P ~)

Well, No CNY celebration in Japan as the Japanese celebrate new year on Jan 1. So nothing’s fancy, no holiday.. no chinese nuance stuffs. It’s simply just like another any other day.

kyoto

Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto

It’s unbelievable that today is already the last day of the month.
What things have I accomplished in this month?
(1) Trip to Osaka and Kyoto, making use of the juhachikippu.
(this was my second time using juhachikippu, last time was somewhere March 2008 with another three friends)
There’s one day in Dec, when i felt so upset and on the way home, the crazy idea splashed my mind, that I wanna backpacking with the seasonal cheap ticket so called Juhachi kippu – 11,500 yen for 5 days and we can travel anywhere in Japan (but with the local train or express train). I thought that it’ll be great for leaving the routines, as well as self-introspection having nobody to accompany with in the trip. That’s why without calling any friend, I just bought it.
But somehow, I finally made a trip with ko DW.
(2) This week is the end of semester..
Argh, finally.. I’ve been struggled finishing those presentation slides, writing reports.. But now still have 3 assignments for Java programming class for the deadline in Feb 17. yosh ganbarimasu.
(3) Shuushoku Katsudou
OMG, it’s somehow frustating me, this year is tough year to find job.
I’m just collecting information, research on the companies I’m interested in, and did some pre-entry (it’s a procedure for the employment that we should register to the companies’ recruitment web as the pre-entry, later every single updated information will be sent to the emails.) So you can imagine, how many emails I get from those companies in which many of them need to be compiled. for eg. there’ll be setsumei kai – company briefing/explanation which need to be reserved as first come first serve. So lots of details need to be taken care.
Related to the employment in Japan, the unemployed rate becomes higher and higher recently, like Yahoo Japan, automotive companies, and recently NEC. Also got bad news that my friend also got the notice from the company last Dec, but somehow he’s really superman showing that he’s competent, has the selling value, so he’s now “hijacked” by other company. While another friend of mine, a very kind sincere person I’ve met ever, got fired as well. She’s been living here for more than 10 years, doing her bachelor until PhD course. With the amazing Japanese skill, management skill, no wonder she has a very good living quality – highly paid that can make you shock if you know the number, living in the prestigious Shinagawa area. What’s make it unbelievable that she got fired. I’m trying my best not to get distracted by those things, but sometimes in my bed time, it’s kinda haunting me. -_-;
(4) Seeking for PhD scholarship
Oops, watz? Kinda inconsistent with Point 3). Well, my PRIORITY is still on job hunting, but I might reconsider if I obtain scholarship for the PhD course.
It’s been an angel vs devil fight inside my head since last year before telling my sponsor of my post-graduation plan, as i strongly believe that enrolling PhD, the research and the independence for the research skill’ll be important point, I don’t want it to be like ordinary one in order to get the degree only and have no contribution to the research area. Sounds so idealist, I know.. so let’s try keep focusing on the job hunting.
(5) I was on the N** for the TV show
It’s sort of discussion show presenting foreigners to speak out their mind about the Japanese culture and how it is perceived by the international community that have recently made Japan their home.
We’re 8 persons in total (UK, Canada, France, Australia, Italia, Colombia, Norway and me, unfortunately the only Asian. :P)
We talked about how those Japanese people really freaking conscious about their health. Not only taking care of healthy food, doing exercise, while equipped with the high technology related gadgets. (step counter / pedometer, calorie counter, etc), the annual check up for every employees.
I then learnt that in Japan there’re lots of companies that provide the medical check-up to the companies site. Those medical staffs and the devices’re brought to companies, it’s for the sake of the time efficiency for the employees. A special room will be arranged for conducting the check up while the bus itself for the device like xray.
The interesting part of the discussion was how the masks’re really popular in Japan. It’s a common view that the ones who get cold wear the mask, but recently as the influenza just like alien attack the town, many of those who don’t get cold also wear mask. It’s for the prevention. gosh! What do you think about that?
Well, for me, it’s still okay if you think it’s disgusting to get the cold transfer from strangers in the trains. But how about if you’re overdoing? Do you guys think it’s rude? I mean wearing the mask because you don’t want to be transferred cold by your family members (assume. no kid in the house).
While doing comparative to Indonesia, I think the mask won’t be sold, as the mask is used only in the medical staffs or the ones doing in laboratory. I bet all eyes’ll look weird on you if you wear the mask. They’ll think you’re out of your mind, or might be you’re a pickpocket or any similar. (no offense)
It’ll be nice if the prevention actions are having enough rest and food, consuming vitamin C.

Ok, gotta stop aite now, still need to equip myself with the knowledge in order to be hired while keep doing good for my study. wish me luck guys. Have a nice weekend

PS. Sorry for rarely BW, and slow response to the comments.
Stay tune.. ^^

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tokyo-tower

Location :
Tokyo Tower

あけましておめでとうございます。
皆様が健康で幸せな一年がすごせる様を祈り申し上げます
本年もよろしくお願いいたします。

Happy New year to everyone.. ^^)v
Wish you a colorful year in 2009.

-Sakuralady-

rainbow

Location : Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba

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Never stop counting your blessing..
There’s infinite faith in the vastness open to human heart, where the day should be spent for its full value.

Nobody wants to have tough time, and it will never be easy..
But no matter what, we’re the one who’s responsible to deal with it.. Yup, it’s the matter of our self control management, what motivators usually tell..

While negative mindset people think that they’re really desperated for the miseries that come from one to another, the positive mindset ones will try to treasure them as the lesson, feel blessed as it’s the life-time training to be a better person..

So, let’s observe around us, try to lessen the complain.
Have faith that when darkness gets beyond the limit, then comes ray of light as delight will come after suffering as long as we don’t lose heart, keep striving and keeping faith in nature..
Be thankful and blessed for all we have in the transitory lifetime..

Frenz, I probably not be able to send you Christmas greeting on the day, so let me greet you in advance for you who celebrate it : MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Yeayy.. ^^)v
(yokatta, I’ve had the postcards sent, hope you guys’ll receive it soon)
I’ve no special gift for you guys who celebrate it.. but the wisdom words and the video of Rio Febrian singing “First Noel” – though not good in quality (in the christmas celebration by KMKI) may turn out to be a good gift for u.. *wink wink*

Christmas gift suggestions :
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To the unfortunate, charity.
To all, caring.
To every child, good example.
To yourself, respect.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Lil update :
– Happy 75th birthday to Emperor Akihito today
(didn’t catch up going to Imperial Palace, hu hu..)
– December Lasik plan’s cancelled due to my eye condition, the inflamed and allergy. I got three types of eye drop for treatment.
Gosh, really i suggest you for not wearing soft lens, it’s really freaky bad to your eyes.
– My mobile phone didn’t work, it’s broken dude.. ihik.. Got the temporary replacement from mobile provider and later just knew that the repair charges me 40,000yen, arggh.. no.. but the system here’s really troublesome, i can’t change mobile phone due to my contract, it’ll be over next April.. f(-_-

Soyuz kun, gomen ne, senshu no nichiyoubi, chousi ga warukatta no de, ikinakatta, hontou ni gomennn.. Demo shasin wo mite, kakkoi datta yo soyuz kun wa.. fufufu..

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In Japan, holidays are abundant, except for Christmas as it’s not celebrated here.
You can just name it!
Golden Week that will be given almost one week holiday in May, almost one month of holidays in the summer(for students) with lots of festivals as well, and so on ..

And last week, we here had san renkyuu - 三連休 (three straight holidays) last week. Um, never I observed if there’s holiday within one month or not, so generally I have no idea what kind of holiday it is. Not good one, aite? But wait, I knew it this time. So last Sunday, November 23 is the kinrou kansha no hi – 勤労感謝の日( Labor Thanksgiving Day). And the good thing is that, in Japan such kind of compensating holiday exists. Lets say if national holiday falls either in Sat or Sun, then there will be furikaekyuujitsu 振替休日(compensating holiday) for the next day. That’s why we got holiday on last Monday to replace the Sunday one.

This time, I had lot of fun, well.. not going somewhere, but had lot of parties!! Which means cooking experiments for me..
Recently my sensei initiated kinda like weekly chakai – 茶会 (Tea Party) in the lab, where all the lab members gather, having tea and some snacks while raising any free topic. My sensei is the one who loves hiking, I still remembered when he invited me to Takao-san for hiking with his family. To make it short, during the chakai, he offered us to go somewhere for hiking. It’s only me who seemed so excited, even giving crazy idea for marathon, wotzz??!!! Unfortunately, all of them didn’t show interest. Then, somehow, my ex-tutor senpai popped up the idea of having BBQ. I then suggested them the BBQ area in the dorm, while last time my house warming party plan inviting the lab members not yet realized. (it’s just done only to some friends). So it’s gotta be good idea.

Started by reserving the BBQ area two weeks before, planning of what foods to serve, what sightseeing spots I could tell ’em around here. It then turned out to be good on the day.. Everybody’s so great, they shopped in JUSCO near Toyosu beforen Indonesia. Lots of good food – Australian Beef, Yellow Chicken (we called it like ayam kunyit), veggies, snacks, beers, wine, and so on..
While as for me, I shopped in Shinokubo and prepared the ingredients on Friday after going back from lab. It was the first time for me shopping for Indonesian ingredients. Believe me, I’m not that longing for Indonesian Food, so I basically prepare my cook from common supermarket. Well, I just amazed why all the stuffs are xpensive!!
Its kinda like Ademsari somehere around 500yen (60,000 Rp ?? omaigat), Minyak Kayu Putih 700yen(84rb), really small one, oh My!!

I bought 800g Halal Chicken, shallots, kecap manis, bumbu kacang, and green bean – longin for bubur kacang ijo. huhu..
Guess wat I’d plan to prepare? Yup, yup.. It’s Lontong Sate Ayam and Fried Ragout Bread – Angel version. (2nd time try for the Ragout ones)
Haha, seemed like impossible project, u know I hate cooking, bad cook and never really crossed my mind of the hours spent for cooking.
I’d planned of preparing the peanut sauce by myself, but really ran out of time, so just bought the instant sauce. And the bad news, daun pisang was not sold in the shop as we need to reserve for that beforehand. ha ha..

There in the experiment laboratory (read: public kitchen), the chaotic started @abt 10 PM, the chicken I bought was the whole chicken, I assumed it’s the breast only. oh no!!
Rather than grumbling, I then prepared the Ragout with the sausage, fish meat, mushroom, carrot while preparing for lontong as well. Without daun pisang, I replaced it with the plastic wrap and tied ’em wif thread, boiled for three hours. It’s done around 2AM, crazy me experimenting that late in the kitchen. Then early in the morning, I rushed to Hanamasa to buy chicken meat for the satay.
Yokatta, finally made it, while all the members came at about 1, we prepared the food, setting up the BBQ equip, ate, chatted, and had fun until 6 PM. It’s tiring but really enjoyed it. Whilst I’m also proud of my “mendadak dangdut” ability of cooking. LOL. But unluckily, I was getting back my allergy due to drinking beer and wine (though it’s only 13,5%).. Yeah, I should admit I am suck in drinking those alcohols. Huhu, it’s still here on my back, red ones as I scretched ’em due to the itchiness. What should I dooo?? huhuhu..

And.. my Japanese Resident Assistant on my floor celebrated bday, as I prepared two sets of Ragout, I just presented it to the party. Everybody was wondering what it’s, they thought of mini pizza, haha.. and said it’s good. Thanks Angel for the recipe! 😉 Umm, one more thing, I’m clueless if is it the reason of having holiday that made me so motivated to do more experiments, haha.. I cooked India Chicken Curry, which for me looks more like rendang. It’s too bulky cook that I shared to friends..
And this morning I cooked bubur kacang ijo.. yummy.. it’s good for feet, suggested by previous ballet teacher.
Well, well.. I think I should really care for the weight management control as well. *sigh*

To the BBQ area

To the BBQ area

Canopy Path to the BBQ area

Canopy Path to the BBQ area

Grill Table

Still grilled my satay + lontong with peanut sauce (@ right bottom)

Still grilled the satay + lontong with peanut sauce (@ right bottom)

More BBQ pic, here

These are the Ragout pic and also the India Chicken Curry.
I guess I should fasting for eating good food for next week, too much oily food this week. Yup, working out harder, and studying harder for the 10days to go JLPT. Yeayyy!!!

Fried Ragout Bread

Fried Ragout Bread

Nasi Uduk + Chicken Curry

Nasi Uduk + Chicken Curry

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