Sunday, June 19, 2016

Indonesian - Japanese blends in

Got a full time job now! I’m working at a Japanese company as a real estate consulting for Japanese who lives in Indonesia. Pfft, spoiled brats. Ikr? Such first world country citizens. Anyhoo, anything that keeps me talking in Japanese language and keeps me away from being sad with the fact that I’m now back in Jakarta, I’d do it. Plus the money is not bad, actually. Cant’ complain.

After working there for more than 2 weeks now, I realize that I entered a very unique office. Nothing fancy with being a real estate consultant, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking about the people here: my co workers. If you wanna know how close Indonesia and Japan is, simply walk to my office. You’ll see the result and the future of blending Indonesians and Japanese. You’ll be amazed, at least I do.

First, let’s start with a guy with initial T. It’s a Japanese name. He’s in late 20s, means he was born around 1987 (?). His Dad is an Indonesian and his Mom is a Japanese. When I first saw him, I didn’t realize that he was a ‘half' person, since his face was very ‘Indonesia'. He is tall, got this dark face, big eyes, big nose. So when I heard his name, I took a second look at his face, checking to find any Japanesey trace in his face. But nope, pure Indonesian look. He grew up mostly in Indonesia, so his dialect is pure native Indonesian tongue. But he can speak Japanese well.

And then there’s a girl named H, also a Japanese name. Her Dad is a Japanese and her Mom is a Chinese Indonesian (or maybe reversed between her Mom and Dad, I forgot). I guess she spent enough time in Japan or because she studied in a Japanese school in Jakarta, she speaks perfect Japanese with flawless dialect. At the same time she also speaks good Indonesian language and English. I heard she was studying in Canada for her bachelor degree. Now this, is a case where I think the world’s not fair. Lol. She claims she never dated a Japanese guy and never will.

Move on, there’s a pure Japanese girl named M. She studied Indonesian language in University of Indonesia (equal to Tokyo University?). She speaks pretty good Indonesian language, but need some work on her dialect. Apparently she is dating an Indonesian guy (who studied at the same university with me, only different major, lol). I once heard she called her bf and spoke in Japanese. I asked her and she said yes her bf speaks Japanese too. He studied by himself. Power of love, much? She claims she loves Indonesia because there’s no winter here, which is understandable. She looks like enjoying her time here and even said she doesn’t wanna go back to Japan, yet.

And then we have another pure Japanese girl named A. Also studied Indonesian language in University of Indonesia. Also need a little work with her dialect. She also has an Indonesian boyfriend. She’s like the super ‘Indonesianey' Japanese I ever met. She loves Indonesian food, not having trouble with spicy food like any other Japanese. And she swears like an Indonesian, lol. I sometimes shocked with her collection of Indonesian language swearing words.

And then there’s an Indonesian girl named R. She studied Japanese language in a university in Jakarta. She told me that she’s sort of dating an Indonesian guy who was born in Japan and grew up there until he was 22 years old. ‘Sort of’ because she said their relationship is not that serious, they don’t plan any future together and the guy is now super busy with his new business so he couldn’t make her as his first priority. Yes, typical Japanese guy, just he’s a pure Indonesian. Confusing.

And then there’s me. Dating a Japanese guy who doesn’t speak any Indonesian language (but currently self-studying) and never went to Indonesia before.

Funny world.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I left my heart in Japan

It’s been almost a month since I left Japan; Osaka to be exact. Not even a night I spent without mising Japan and wishing I could go back there again. In the first 2 weeks, I still thought that it’s normal and it’s not a big deal. I think when a person had lived in a certain place for quite some time, they will surely miss it while adapting to the new place (or in my case, adapting to the chaos Jakarta again).

But recently I think it starts to get worser as the ache in my heart doesn’t seem to start to recover at all. I started to think that it’s not healthy to keep thinking like "urgh, it’s not how we do it in Japan", "argh, the public transportation here is so shitty", or "wow this country definitely isn’t going anywhere at least in 200 years". I do, think like that unconsciously, the whole time. It consumes me more than I want to admit.

I think the effect is close to a heartbreak. It’s pretty much like you just broke up with your girlfriend / boyfriend. The sadness, the cries, the mourn, the pain, the list is going on like crazy. The ache in your heart everytime you see anything related to your ex, is the exact same ache I feel everytime I see anything related to my life back when I was in Japan. Everytime I hear the songs I used to hear a lot in Japan, I can’t help to be sad, no matter what I do, no matter where I am.

I read somewhere that you can be addicted to sadness, and I realized that when I’m voluntarily give my heart a space to be sad. I will turn on the ‘Osaka playlist’ songs and just lay down in my bed hugging my pillow and let tears start falling down my cheeks. Now THIS is not healthy, at all. It’s not OK and I dont know what do I have to do to get over it.

Japan. This country touches my heart, to the deepest part of it, slowly grabbed it and now Japan is completely the owner of my heart.

I left my heart in Japan.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

5 things that every students who will study abroad in Japan need to know

First thing first, I arrived in Osaka on early April just as planned. To think of it, I can't believe I've been living in Japan for more than half a year! Gosh it feels like in a dream, time passes surprisingly fast and oh how my skin has adapted to Japan's weather just fine *lol*.

There's just SO MUCH I wanna write about my experiences here, finger cross I'd still be writing posts after this one. ((Oh, I just saw my visitors chart and surprised how people still read my blog recently eventhough I haven't write anything))

Really, I wanted to write everything, but you know how it goes when real life is more exciting than you expected, you just dont wanna sit in front of your laptop and write. That's pretty much exactly what I've been doing in Japan besides sleeping and watching lame Japanese variety shows on TV.

Well, these are 5 things that every students who will study abroad in Japan need to know:

1. Prepare your ass for riding bicycle

*If you're coming from a country where everybody commute with bicycle, just skip this part*

In Indonesia, we dont commute with bicycle. Considering the distance and the pollution, there's just no way, let me repeat with echo, NNOO WWAAYY you can go to work or school everyday with bicycle. Thus, my ass is not prepared for long distance bicycle ride. So yes, on my first 2-3 weeks living here, my ass was crying everynight (as if they can cry). The pain continues every morning when I get on my bicycle again. But then it gets better, of course. Now my ass is so tough, even after miles and miles rides. Okay, enough about my ass. It starts to get awkward.

2. You can buy basically EVERYTHING in 100 yen shop

I knew about 100 yen shop in Japan since I was in junior high when my brother in law had tons of times of business trips to Japan, but I just realized how convenience it is until I had to fill an empty apartment with limited budget. You dont need to worry about spending a lot of money because you can find ANYTHING there. And I mean it when I say 'anything', because they really sell anything. From potato peeler to neck pillow, you can buy all at one place with a very reasonable price.

But I had to be really careful not to buy any unnecessary thing just because they look cute and only 100 yen.

3. Japanese houses have thin walls

I'm not even sure if you can call them walls. It's very light and doesn't keep the heat nor cold from outside. So, in summer, your room will be so hot and humid, and in cold, it will freeze your blood.

When I arrived, it was roughly 5 celcius degrees. As a girl who came from a tropical country, it felt like I was pushed in to a refrigerator and locked in it. I didn't took a shower the next day *lol*, I wore 3 layers of clothes and 2 socks to sleep. It was nightmare. I blame the thin walls.

4. It's not easy to buy a cell phone

Buying cell phones in Japan is something that I never thought would be so complicated. I couldn't buy a cell phone until 2 weeks after I arrived here. I was looking for a 0 yen smart phone, but there are sooo many terms that I had to fulfill. First the bank book and then the cash card and then there are tons of datas that they need to collect before they hand me the phone. It's really different from Indonesia where people can buy a cell phone in 10 minutes.

5. Vending machines are everywhere

They're literally everywhere. In a parking lot, inside a hotel, under the stairs of a crooked mansion, inside and outside the stations, in a shopping mall, every floor of a tall building you can find in big cities in Japan.

And not only soft drinks, they also sell beers, liquors, potato chips, banana, even condoms (i never actually find a condom vending machine but I heard they exist).

Yep, I guess that's it for now. It 10.30 PM here now and I'm getting sleepy. Promise I'll write again *still, finger crossed*

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Lot Happened in a Couple of Months

Been a while.

I thought this time I could really update my blog frequently, but life happens. Several things that I think I should write down, because A LOT happened in the last couple of months.

1. I resigned from the company where I’ve worked for 1,5 years.

When I start working there, I thought I’d work there for at least 2-3 years. But apparently a girl just has to do what a girl has to do (I don’t know if it’s the right phrase, lol). I found some things that excite me more. I just knew that some bigger things are waiting for me outside and I just couldn’t miss them. I’m willing to take the risk, because I know I’ll regret it if I just let it pass me by.

We had 2 farewell parties; I received so many farewell gifts. I was really happy and sad at the same time, a common mixed feeling people usually have, I guess. It’s been an honor to work with them and I learned a lot. I met some amazing persons (and some not-so-amazing-person, to be honest).

Farewell gifts I received from my co-workers
Custom key-chain version me. Look how detail it is. I cried when I received it, haha (T,T)

The best thing is, I have a lot of friends from all over the world, literally. If I ever to visit China, Philippine, Dubai, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, and some other countries, I can safely say ‘I have some colleagues there and I have their Skype contact’. It’s amazing how a professional relation can be personal. I’ve always thought of work life as people just talk business without making anything personal for the sake of business. Turns out I’m wrong. My Japanese colleagues are excited when I told them I was going to Japan to continue my study. This is when I know that I’ve made a right decision.

I have to say that all my colleagues have helped me to realize that I’ve always enjoyed being in an international community. I don’t care if people say I’m not a nationalist (seriously, there are STILL people who thinks that if you act like you love other country more than you love your own country, you’re not a nationalist and that’s a bad thing, apparently).

2. I lost my phone

I lost my phone right 1 day after the last day I worked. It was a shocking and unfortunate experience. My bag was torn by a knife in a train station and that bastard got my phone. I received some comments from my dear friends, like ‘meh, how long have you been in Jakarta?’ or ‘oh, just phone? You’re lucky’. Nope. Nooope. That’s not where decent people should live. This is JUST the right time to leave Jakarta.

I couldn’t stop thinking that this kind of thing would not ever happen in Japan. In fact, when I told my Japanese friends that I lost my phone, their first impression is that I lost it by accidently left it somewhere and forgot, or that my phone slipped off my pocket or my bag. This is where cultural differences theory applies. And to be honest, I don’t mind living in a country with a low crime rates where people don’t think that phone pickpocket is a thing. F*ck nationalism.

3. I received my Certificate of Eligibility

The document that I’ve been waiting for 3-4 months is finally in my hand. Actually the school send it by email at the last day I’m working (phew, what a timing!), and 2 weeks later the school’s rijichou came to Jakarta to see us and hand the documents by herself. I get to meet my classmates and I’m really excited!

After working for more than 2 years, I realize that it’s a lot more fun to study than to work. It’s like when you’re a little kid you always hate it when your parents tell you to go to sleep, but when you’re all grown up you just seem to never get enough sleep.

4. Came home before I’m off to Osaka

Just like any other lovely Minangnese girl, I came home to meet my Mom, to visit my Dad’s grave and of course, to stuff my belly with delicious lip-smacking traditional cuisine before my long journey to the land where people eat raw fish. I also went to my Dad’s sibling’s home which is in a different province and met my cousins there. Fun stuff.

I already bought my ticket to Osaka and just yesterday I received a text message from Air Asia that my flight will depart 3 hours faster than the schedule. I think that’s just how a budget airlines works. I don’t mind it, though, as long as it takes me and my friends to Osaka safely. Can’t wait to see the cherry blossom! Oh I also will attend the Osaka Youtube Hanami Party by Unrested. So excited!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Things I Learned from Interviewing People

Since I’m the only local person in my department who speaks Japanese, I helped HR department when they’re interviewing a Japanese speaker staff. Well, besides looking for my successor, apparently my department decides to have a manager who speaks Japanese. Wicked!

I became a little bit used to interviewing people. It’s basically just questioning them in Japanese, which is I’m not that excel too (haha). But yeah it always makes them feel like “Oh God this girl can speak fluent Japanese!” or “Oh look this girl is so calm throwing questions! She must have lived in Japan for several years!” or at least that’s what I assumed seeing them all nervous and sweaty (yes, almost all the guys I interviewed were sweating).

Last Friday was pretty interesting. So there are 3 guys that we interviewed, let’s call them Mr. A, Mr. B, and Mr. C. Please note that most of the person I interviewed was older than me. I feel like a little princess who’s looking for a guy to amuse me because I’m super bored and don’t own a wifi router.

Here are things that I learned after interviewing them.

Mr. A

He went to a not-very-reputable university and took English Literature major. He studied for 3 years, did NOT finish it but instead went to Japan for some 3 years factory internship program. That’s where he got his Japanese language skill (d’uh!) but he doesn’t own a legitimate TOEFL certificate. What a lousy English Literature major student. And to be honest, his English was really not that good. He even requested to answer the question in Bahasa Indonesia! Dude, not cool.

After he’s back to Indonesia, he went to a different college, start from zero in computer major. The weirdest thing of this guy is when he described his job. He basically only did administrating job and a little translating in between, BUT he receives a much higher salary than I did! What the heck?!? I’m highly doubt that and believe he exaggerated his current salary, like, probably almost twice than the real salary he got.

Lesson learned:

-          - Do NOT ever request to change the language when you’re interviewed in a language other than your mother language. Just, don’t.
-          - Do NOT exaggerate your salary TOO MUCH. It’s OK to do it from time to time, but don’t over-do it.

Mr. B

He went to universities in Japan for both of his bachelor and master degree, graduate with summa cum laude GPA (perfect 4.00 GPA for his master degree), received the Monbukagakusho Scholarship, his TOEIC score was 825, have a JLPT N1 certificate. Bottom line, he’s not human. He’s a mutant with a super intelligent brain. Yet he’s very humble, calm and he even referred himself as “not very good in Japanese language”. I was ready to throw off my pencil at his face.

When my manager tells him about our business, he listened to it and asked some very good questions. I could see that this guy is really, really smart with eagle eyes that sees what human generally don’t see. He’s that good. And cool. And good looking. And married.

Anyway, beside my broken heart of seeing his wedding ring, this guy is top-notch but probably over qualified for the position. He expected high salary, which is OK considering his background.

Lesson learned:

-          - Be bold when questioning about the company and the job. You can see immediately what you’re gonna get through if you take the job.
-         -  Be humble. Even though it makes some people want to throw things at your face, it’s still a lot better than be a smug.

Mr. C

Firstable, this guy doesn’t speak good English and never took any TOEFL test. He’s currently working in an Indonesian company. When we asked him why he wanted to leave his job, he said that he wants to work in a international company. I think he meant was bi-national company since he only speaks Bahasa Indonesia and Japanese Language. International, you say? We wouldn't hire this guy, but for the sake of humanity, we still interviewed him. I don’t know why HR department sent him to us.

He has a really loud voice despite the fact the he also went to Japan for a 3 years factory internship. I guess he went to a part of Japan where people speaks loudly to each other. I don’t know what part of Japan is that, but oh well.

Lesson learned:

-          - Try your best to adjust your voice volume to match your surroundings.
-          - When you apply for an international company, for the love of God, SPEAK ENGLISH. Seriously.

Soo.. I’m not the one who’s going to choose them since I’m only helping. Not sure the management already picks the winner either. But it’s a good experience since I’ll be having some interview for my self too in the future *wink*.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The difference between being alone and being lonely

"Being alone is a fact, while being lonely is a state of mind."

-read somewhere in twitter

I’m a shitty introvert who actually like being alone but also needs to be in a crowded place sometimes. So, you’ll see me in a crowded place but looks … lonely (?). It gets me in a kind of ‘nowhere’ state when I was’ here’ but wishes to be’ there’, but when I actually get ‘there’ then I wish to be back to ‘here’. Haha, confusing, huh?

So it got me thinking, what’s the difference between being alone and being lonely? What kind of relation do these two words have?

You will know if someone is being alone when you see them sitting in a park without anyone sitting beside them and talk to them. That’s alone. You can actually SEE them being alone.

You see a person sitting in a bunch of people in a party, talking to each other, laughing, but secretly one of those people doesn’t feel quite the same happiness as others. Can you SEE it? No.

Being alone does not always mean that you’re sad because you don’t have a companion at the time. You CAN be happy even if you’re alone. Everybody needs a ‘me time’. So you have no right to judge a person when they go shopping alone or watch a movie alone. Especially when they look happy doing it. Even if they don’t show the happiness, I can still sense if someone’s enjoy shopping alone. Wow, introverts do stand with each other. #IntrovertsUnited

The other thing about being alone, for me, it’s more like an accomplishment after the ‘extrovert’ things I’ve been through all the weekdays. After 5 days in touch with the people in my office; from fun person who cheers me up to fucktards who makes my life turns to a sudden hell, I always need at least a day in 1-2 weeks of being alone. It’s like I’m charging my energy to mingle with people again. Trust me; dealing with people can be an energy-sucker

Being packed in a crowded laughing people does not always mean that you’re completely happy, either. Probably it is, for some of you. But for me, the shitty introvert, it’s not like that all the time. I like to be in the middle of a crowd; hell I even need it, sometimes. But when I run out of my extrovert energy, that’s when I feel I have to crawl back to my cave, just sit still in my short pants sipping ice tea while reading some books or watching sitcoms. And just laugh like Beavis and Butthead.

I can tell when loneliness attacks me. It’s when being alone doesn’t help anymore. It’s when being with another people, also, doesn’t help. 

So yes, I agree with the statement I saw when scrolling down my twitter timeline: “being lonely is a state of mind”. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you do. When you FEEL lonely, you can’t help it.

Fortunately since loneliness is just a state of mind, you can turn around this situation by yourself. When you reach certain maturity, you WILL find something to prevent you to feel lonely. Most of the time people would just hit a party or meeting people, but in other case, being alone might help you. 

Funny how you can cure loneliness by being alone. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Grace Mineta’s “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy”

I used to own a blog through high school to early college and my blog address was “crazyvinny”, so when I know about this book I don’t feel that it’s weird at all. Somehow I feel so much related to the author. It’s good to admit you have a little craziness inside you, isn’t it?

This book is about an American girl named Grace being married to a Japanese guy named Ryosuke. This is not a romantic novel of interracial marriage. It’s a comic book about their daily life in Japan, which I think mostly contains each other’s misunderstood because of the cultural differences that somehow comes up really cute. Even though it’s racial; something that people usually avoid or just don’t talk about, Grace can put it up in a funny way in her comics. If I were Japanese, I guess I wouldn’t feel offended at all.

Not just comic, Grace also writes about how she sees Japan culture from American point of view; which apparently represent how people from other country mostly see Japan too.  I found these writings pretty deep, especially when Grace talks about onsen (public bath) in Japan and how it can boost a girl’s self-esteem about their body. I’ve never been to an onsen, but to think that you have to be completely naked already shivers me. However, after reading it, I think I’m scared because I’ve never been to one. If I give it a try, I probably can see her point in her writing (maybe, let’s see).

What I like the most of this book is that Grace makes interracial marriage sounds very fun, despite of all the stereotypes. Getting married with someone who doesn’t have the same mother language is already hard, let alone moving across the country where most of the people don’t speak her first language. Her ability to see a problem not as a problem is somewhat amazed me. She just doesn’t seem to make it as a big deal, although sometimes I can sense the anxiety in her writings. Ryosuke manages to calm her down and it makes me wish that in the future I could marry my own Ryosuke too.

If you’re about to go to Japan, studying Japanese culture, having a relationship with a Japanese guy, or just love something to do with Japan, I suggest to read this book. Grace is on her way to publish the second book “My Japanese Husband Still Thinks I’m Crazy” *gasp*. Cool, right? You can check out her website (not sure if I’m doing her any favor because this blog is new and don’t have a lot of visitor).