Thursday, October 29, 2009

TMI, or otherwise known as random little things

I have just re-enact a scene from Calvin and Hobbes, the one that involved tsunami in a tub. It then occurred to me that: 1. I should buy a rubber duck. 2. The designer of the room in the house I live in now must have people like me in mind when designed the bathroom. I'm glad the designer did.

The first Japanese word I learned organically is 'tsugi'. You can't help to learn what it is if you hear that word at least 20 times a day during commuting. This is the typical announcement you'll heard on the train: Tsugi wa Chusojima desu. [half a minute later:] Chusojima, Chusojima desu.

I checked my bank account today, and to my delight, I saw 155.000 Yen on the screen. I took 5.000 out of it, as just an hour before I have spent 11.700 on rent. I went to a SMBC cranch near Chusojima, and its surrounding made me happy just to watch it. I have no idea why. Perhaps that street of road remind me of malioboro, in the sense that you get a glimpse of it before the train stops at a station not ten feet away.

In Indonesia, street musician can throw you your 500rp coin back. But here, coins are not worthless. 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen coins can be used in vending machines and train ticket machines. Cheapest food I found is a small weird donut, 40yen.

If my mom ever visit this place, and getting somewhere with local trains, she'll frown with pretty much everybody, as everyone is using 'sumpel kuping'. Yes, you read that right. But I'll show her that these things that goes in the ear aren't the monopoly of the young, as older people also uses it for their PMP and TV-capable handphones.

I have yet to buy a phone. I am torn. I don't think I'll buy an iPhone, unless the one with the biggest capacity. But iPhone will render my iPod Touch and my SE G502 redundant. I don't need to start accumulating electronic waste here. I heard Xperia X3 will be out soon, though.

You get all sorts of people in the trains, though it's nothing like in Indonesia. I have never used Prameks, but I once used the train from Gambir to Depok Baru and the horrifying KRL(/KRD?) ekonomi from Depok Baru to UI. You don't see people smoking, people are civil, no hawkers, and it's brightly lit.

Now I can identify Yamaguchi and Yamada written in Kanji, though I am still lightyears away from able to read advertisement in a glance.

The language course uses the same book I used back in ITB, Minna no Nihongo. But as the participants are more varied, the book is also livelier. There are people from MY, CN, KR, VN, PE, UK, TW, and EG. Ada satu peserta yang menonjol sih, cewe KR, kita sebut saja namanya Ibu Jumu'ah. She's active and confident, and (this one I like) usually come in class after I do.

You see, Friday in the Japanese calendar is usually represented by a Kanji character that has same meaning (I think) with her name, and it's pronunciation is similar too. Ibu Jumu'ah has successfully made me feel inferior, as there was a section on 'at from what hour until what hour you did your activity'. She said she went home from lab (I think) at 9 in the evening. And she also went to the lab on the day of the sun (ahaha). Me? You had me whining not more than three posts ago on nyampah kayak PNS.

Thursday is the highlight of my week. You can smell the weekend near enough, but you're not as lethargic as Friday. The Japanese sensei for Thu is also very active, with flashcard and everything. Granted, at times, her English isn't very good, but she's very helpful and engaging, and creative with the teaching method. It's like back to your happy days at kindergarten.

The first week I got here, the Monday after that, it was holiday. Even better: next Tuesday is also a holiday. Not-as-cool: Test on Monday: Lesson 1 to 5. All instruction will be in kana, not romaji.

I have four sweater from Twig House (half of them are gift from the good people at SEF). And I found out that the one I wear the most often now has a hole in the shoulder seams. Obviously I had no idea how to fix it, but I'll wear it anyway.

Speaking of, I just found out that there's a drama in development back in Bandung. But WHY DOESN'T IT HAPPEN SOONER? I could've used some drama back then.

Still in the topic, I found that an opinion I heard years ago proved true less than a week ago: international debating competition has a VERY STRONG correlation with your financial capability. I have been oversold. Did the fact that I went to some international competition changed anything to be said of my performance other than extremely rusty? Nope.

But the debaters here always had something from the competition: copy of adj sheet (space to explain decision in writing, and two columns for suggestion for each team) and scoring sheet from each adj that adj them in the comp. Somebody should suggest this in Indonesia. Perhaps for record of intercomp, or newbies.

And I think I might have the chance of observing the life of SEF ITB in the past. You see, the union that they have here isn't only focusing on debate, they only had it for once a week. but they have discussion and speech program, and if I had been right in hazarding a guess, drama as well. Memories of fading photograph with cutbray pants that I saw at SEF office now back to life.

But enough about debating. From the desk of mental pembajak dunia ketiga, I am completing download the whole season of Penguins of Madagascar while keeping myself updated with my favorite TV series. I have also been bragged to my sister on hasil mengunduh Brooke Waggoner, Matt and Kim, dan Marina and the Diamonds. You should also give it a try.

I lost my short after laundry day, leaving me one short short for short. After two days intensive search of my room surface, I found it crumpled beneath the pile of futon and the like at the end of my bed.

The weirdest attire I have seen in the train is this one girl yang pake jepit rambut(?) at least 5 biji buat nahan poni, dengan jarak jepit yang satu yang lain simetris, dan membuatnya keliatan pakai flashdisk di kepala. Add that with the fact that this girl was constantly putting make ups with an A5-sized mirror during the whole train ride.

I had a 'seminar' yesterday. an hour, supposedly covers two section. only able to cover half of it, and the worst confusion ensued over the dimension of force (something you had back in 1st year of junior high), and the divergence of a vector. Hegh. Now why does the USyd poster in the library seems so appealing?

Speaking of library, they have the coolest library I have ever seen (I only have seen three library, actually: ITB, NTU, and Kyodai). Masuknya aja harus gesek kartu perpus! It's brightly lit, unlike satu gedung kusam mirip toilet yang ada di gerbang belakang ITB.

After that Malam Indonesia stint last Sunday, I realized that if there's any reason why I don't eat outside is less because of the language barrier (I can just hazard a guess and main tunjuk) but more on the price. One serving of okonomiyaki and a small bottle of coke cost me 1100 yen. GAH! All I thought during dinner was: ini makanan mahal, sayang kalo ga abis.. :( There's a spice that doesn't suit my tongue.

While my lunch today was awesomely priced 514 yen: nasi dalam bowl paling besar yang mereka punya, dua potong ikan goreng yang gede, bola-bola semacam bakso yang gambarnya ayam, dan miso soup. I practically walking away singing after lunch.

There are more random little things, most of it are on the photo description on the pictures in my MyOpera album. See the link on the right side.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sorely misses old times

Feels like it's been forever since I hang out together with people from Persma. Will I ever got the chance like them? Iri!
Apa kabar ya SC E-02? Masih bocor-kah?

For some of you who don't know them, meet @zulf1kar, otherwise known as Ijul; @pelangisore, or Lija in short; @memorabiria, or Ria, and Mita! Old gang from Sunken Court East 02.

Might be related: Past Woes

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Traffic and Money

I have been a little bit behind with my RSS reading. Well, 4045 new posts from 209 feeds are certainly something. Then I found this, and honestly, my thought was: I never really thought of it that way.

"You didn't crash into other people's car, you didn't do drunk driving, you didn't cause any harm to anybody. You made a turn at a wrong time. It's an honest mistake.

Imagine how many people will have to push the papers because of this. .... All this people, pushing papers."

I've had a couple of run-ins with the police officers. the first time was first year high school: I don't have a license to ride a motorcycle, I stopped at the wrong stop, the officers signalled me to follow them. 

I ended up paying more than 150K IDR on the spot, and I was the laugh of the family for at least a week. Bear in mind, I was naive and scared. Just wanted it to finished. However, I did remember vividly that the officer puts the money inside his cigarette package. I don't suppose the government ever see a dime of it. Ever.

So I learned, and when 2 years after that, I found myself in a similar situation, I prefer to go to the court. I didn't mind, I had reason to skip class. More than happy to oblige. As it turns out, there wasn't so many people at Pengadilan Klaten, and all I had to do was waited until ticket was given to a judge and my name was called. A short lecture afterwards, I found myself ushered to a booth where I have to pay my fine. 20K IDR. Bent on revenge, I have prepared for this: I gave the officer in the booth a plastic bag, filled with spare changes, Rp 100s, 500s, and 1000s. Ha! Now what are you going to do with it? 

Two years after that, in Bandung, I was given a ticket: I was giving a ride to a friend, and with no spare helmet, it was such luck that there's a police officer happened to be in Tamansari crossing. So I got myself another ticket, and I prefer to go to the court. But then I realized it was a waste of time. I mean, at college you can't just easily skip classes. And in Bandung, the courthouse was packed! Think of the sort of event where people are cramming in to receive zakat fitrah when it's near lebaran. But these are people with similar tickets.

The officer who gave me the ticket wrote the date of the trial--if I can call it like that--on a public holiday, so I went there a week after, again with the spare change. But apparently there's no need to go there, as my files were at Police central office, not at the courthouse (due to the date confusion). Here's where it's funny: I had difficulty extracting the changes from my pockets, and after 15.000 IDR fished out and displayed there, the officer took pity. So I paid even lesser amount of fine! 

Though this rises the question, how much is the fine exactly for these sort of thing? I tried to looked it up, but I don't find anything on it (or rather, I don't know where to look). At any rate, this was an inefficient way of sorting out the mistakes people made in the street. Do people learned any lessons from the mistakes anyway? We paid, we got lectured, we're back on the street, slightly poorer, but business as usual. If that's really how it goes, might as well make it all streamlined and easy. And this is how I found the post from Indonesia Anonymus made me feels, "I never really thought of it that way"


Disclaimer are in order: riding without a helmet is dangerous. Can't really say for myself that I've crashed and without a helmet I'd be dead by now, but protection is what helmets are made for. And as far as riding without a license, I'm not one to give lessons, but I heard the police are making efforts to ensure that you need to be able to do more than paying the officers or the calos to create your driving license.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It sucks. It does.

I'm the odd new guy. Story of my life. Can I have another set of personalities? You know, just as spare and variation. I'm bored with this one already.



I decided I'd better move the whines and rant. Not really encouraging, that's why. So I made it un-public. Thank you for those who gave me support in response for the post. Time to move on, I guess.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Pirate Solution

I always love The Big Bang Theory, but now more than ever, the newest episode just really got to me. Boy, it's hilarious!

Raj: By the way, when I say squat,I mean diddly-squat. I wish I had squat.
Sheldon: So, wait, what have you been doing for the past six months?
Raj: You know, checking e-mail, Updating my facebook status, Messing up wikipedia entries.
Raj: Hey, did you know netflix lets you stream movies on your computer now?
Sheldon: And you've continued to take the university's money under false pretenses?
Sheldon: Highly unethical for an astrophysicist. Although pctically mandatory for a pirate.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First impressions

Today is the beginning of a long weekend in Japan, and there has been so many things done and waiting to be done, impressions, hopes. Let's get on it reverse chronologically.

Day 3 i.e. today
not much being done yet, but this is the first day I can wake up at 10.50! and to think that last night I went to sleep at about 11pm here, so I got almost a 12-hour sleep. I like to think that I need this much sleep as previously my sleeps were scattered in couples of hours but I hope I won't need this much sleep in the future. Else I'm doomed.
Day 2.
the last thing that I did yesterday was knocking on other people's door and being knocked. Some guy ringing my bell looking for a bald, Chinese guy. Obviously wrong room number. But before that, I had a chat with other Indonesian student who also lives in the same international house, in the same floor. Unaware that I had been spent 2 hours inside my own room, I stepped out to his room with only a polo shirt on. Obviously not long after we're pretty much shivering from the cold. From our conversation, it can be concluded that there is one Japanese dish that is pretty much safe (that means halal) though I can't catch the name. Honestly, I'll put my concern more on other issues, as..
I already found out that the tap water is safe to drink. Thank god I didn't bought the bottled water. It was only on my way home from the supermarket that I realized that the lack of bottled water display are probably because of that. Nevertheless, I did some shopping for sustenance, bought several foods and more. However, what really baffled me is the sections that displays various items that I believe has something to do for cleaning. Problem is, I can't figure out what is for cleaning what. I set out to the supermarket with the idea that I needed soap, detergent and dish cleaning liquids. I didn't find the detergent, or at least, I can't read which one is the one saying it's detergent. None of the items displayed are in the form of powder just like Rinso or Attack we had back home. To say that I am baffled would be an understatement here.
On that day, I visited 3 different supermarket/convenience stores, mostly for food. I still thought that supermarket here should be more like in Indonesia, where there's also a section displaying pans and everything/ how am I supposed to cook instant noodles if I don't have any pans? I think I'll find some tomorrow.
I had the time to visit the supermarket because there was an item on the planning list that I haven't got to do: meeting with my professor. You see, from the morning I was already visiting offices: dorm offices, quick tour to what the dorm has, then to Uji city hall, registering for alien card and national health insurance, then to the main campus, registering to foreign student division and making an account in the post office. Boy, it's a lot of walk! I thought this would be a breeze, as I can tire my sister quite easily when we're walking a distance, but this time: dorm-eki, eki-city hall-eki, eki-campus-getting around campus-eki. I'll find out how many kilometers I have walked yesterday.
My biggest surprise happens in the campus: it turns out that I will have a desk! My first thought on that was “I am royally screwed! I am screwed in five different ways from Monday.” I mean, I don't even have any idea what I'm doing here. I thought that I would be able to buy time for 6 month, until the admission test, but no. Urgh. On top of all that, it will require me to actually make a social connection. Unlike Uphie, whose pride was wounded when I called him party pooper and thus able to make a conscious effort to change himself, it was different with me. Of course, I might found myself comfortable around them in the future, but well.
Day 1
on my first night, however, I thought that everything I have was impressive. My flight arrived 6pm, and after I cleared immigration, I was picked up by Mbak Kiki herself. The shared shuttle taxi has to be canceled as the delay was too long, so she decided to pick me up in Kansai Airport. From there we took trains to Uji, and I remembered that I felt I might be interested in pursuing doctorate here, when mbak kiki said that the scholarship can be automatically given if the scholarship recipient is capable. I'll have to cope with the workload first sih to make it that far.
My flight itself was uneventful, though when I watched The Hangover and The Taking of Pelham 123, I regretted why I didn't just watched The Hangover while I was in Jakarta and chose The Grudge 3 instead. It was hilarious! Nonetheless, it's was a good way to spend my time in the air.
Oh, I guess it's pretty clear by now that I should've done my registrations in Day 1, but because my flight was delayed for 9hours, I didn't get to do that. Instead, I got myself an interesting Day 0.
Day 0
It was the day I went from Bandung, went nearing 1pm, and it took us almost 5 hours to get to Cengkareng. My first pick was of course to just go by travel shuttle, but a relative of mine obviously has its own plan. Which involves getting lost for a while.
So I arrived at the airport all grimy and everything, but then when I checked myself in at SQ counter, the guy told me that my flight out of Singapore will be delayed. As it turns out, it was delayed, but then every passengers were given lodging in Grand Mercure Roxy. I couldn't be much happier! Great lodging, great breakfast in the morning after, and I was leaving to Changi in a much much better mood!

So that's how events pretty much transpired here. As of now, I am hoping I will be able to cope with the workload and actually able to communicate with others here. Wish me luck!
And if you're interested, pics of my room and surrounding, as well as the pics of the room at grand mercure are at http://my.opera,com/cormocodran/albums. Until then.