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I will be myself

Hello all!

Getting cold now and it’s been raining since yesterday, probably until the end of next week. So, i’ve just spent my super late summer holiday in Indonesia. Coming back to the lab, everything is just pretty much the same. Experiment and writing my manuscript.

Just gonna write a little before sleeping.

My heart is feeling unwell today. (lately).

That’s probably what happen if you try to cut yourself from your comfort zone of 5 years already >.< *geez that’s quite long, uh?* but that’s not the main point!!

 

 

So, lately I have this feeling again of everyone’s moving away so fast. People keep moving forward with their wonderful and full of accomplishment/achievements life (that they show in their social media, i do not know the real struggle, though).

Talking about social media, probably I am always honest at my social media. When I felt sad i will say that I’m sad. I am not really filtering my post so that my life will look perfect or fairy-tale-ish.

And the truth is now like this : people are super fast and shining and sparkling, while I am here with my baby steps and my matte color, lol.

But I guess it’s okay. It’s okay to always be the silent one. Silently works behind everything. Harmless and underdog. Has nothing to be brag about. Not a cool kid? That’s okay, as long as you’re still alive and moving forward, it’s completely okay.

 

 

The most important thing?

I have my goals (and reaching it with my baby steps, lol) and I have to make peace with myself. Probably I have my plus point as well compared to those shining creatures, lol.

But I guess I will just be myself and make peace with myself.

 

There are a lot of wonderful little things in front of me now.

Might not be as shining as what they have but at least I have secured myself a topic for my publication, and… I will talk about DNA to public in November.. and I will play piano in a concert in December, will dance and sing as well… and I will be in charge of my favorite class, International Communication Biology stuffs 🙂

 

Just record this quickly to uplift my mood.

 

 

With a load of love,

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

 

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missbunny’s cooking time 1 : Gyūdon 牛丼

Hello! ♡

Back with me! Right now actually I’m enjoying my (super late) summer holiday here in Indonesia. I guess it’s autumn already actually in Japan, but anyway, this summer holiday is just full of food~

I guess I will write some new restaurant review as well later on.

However, today I will share a recipe in this blog! Well not only the recipe! Actually I am making my first…. COOKING VIDEO! Yay!

 

 

*so, yes, I like cooking and it’s actually really fun to share how to cook delicious food in a simple way*

 

My first time is a very easy and simple Japanese food called… Gyūdon (牛丼), beef over rice bowl. This is a very famous Japanese food, if you are living in Indonesia maybe you can easily find this food in Yoshinoya. But since this food is simple but very fulfilling and delicious, why don’t we try to make it by myself? *wink

 

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SO LET’S GET STARTED!! (thanks Mom for lending the kitchen, lol)

 

This is the video…

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Sliced beef
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • Dashi (fish broth) : you can make it by boiling 120 mL of water with dashi no moto powder
  • Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • Green onion/leek (chopped)

 

METHODS

  • Brings dashi mixture to boil over medium heat and add Kikkoman and sugar
  • Soften the onion by putting it inside the dashi soup mixture, cover the lid while waiting to prevent evaporation of the soup
  • Once it’s soften, put sliced beef one by one
  • Make sure everything is evenly cooked
  • Serve over warm rice with chopped leek and warm miso soup!

 

Simple isn’t it? Anyway, I hope that I can be consistent in making this cooking video!

 

 

With loads of love ♡

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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この4年間ありがとう

Hello all!

I haven’t written anything in this blog for a month, I guess. The summer holiday was quite busy (doing experiment and doing experiment alone). However today, our laboratory has just finished rearranging the student room for the upcoming new students.

I got a very cool new place where I managed to put all my dolls, photographs, files, datas, and a monitor to assist me doing the protein structure study.

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Now 8 PM, I am sitting here alone looking at this particular room with a lot of memories and I just want to share a little bit about my lab here 🙂

I just changed the attendance list on the door, and realizing that there will be 14 students now, it was 7, back then. So many memories, right?

 

Okay, my laboratory.

2012-2013 ようこそ

I’ve known this place from September 2012, yes, 5 years ago. At that time they just moved in to this place from the previous old building and I was an innocent (lol) exchange student knowing so little thing about Japan.

I was startled at first. I received an e-mail from Sensei saying that the topic of research will be green chemistry. At that point i did not even know what green chemistry is.

I came here and  the first experiment they made me do here is of course, organic chemistry, the thing i used to hate the most. But somehow I survive my exchange year and it became one of the happiest year in my life.

To be honest, I knew nothing about my research back then. I did random mutagenesis and if I saw my bachelor thesis again now I would laugh pretty hard to read my own methodology of library screening. But that year was very fruitful. Despite of knowing very little Japanese word, I managed to develop a deep friendship with everyone here.

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2014-2015 so this is graduate school

Coming back here to start my master program, i was super optimistic for a month, probably. And then my experiment started to fail and fail and fail for months. I was pretty shock, since I used to be the girl who can finish everything  related to academic perfectly. So i guess, welcome to graduate school and real research life! ^^

I was pretty clueless, still, about my research. But i had a very kind senior that taught me everything so meticulously. He was nice but sometimes very strict, but he was nice, the nicest :’)

I will always remember what he said when he finally left the laboratory. I will always remember that he was proud of me that I can finally do the experiment according to his teaching. Really, I would not know how to survive my initial months without him by my side :’) After he left, I started to obtain good datas and I started to love my research so much. I could attend a conference and even applying for grant.

I remember saying to myself, “Let’s get it rolling!!”

Friendship was marvelous at that time, the good old days, with a lot of party and games!

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2015-2016 Establishing myself

I was in full throttle. Not only I had more and more promising results, my Japanese language gets better, and I could start teaching my juniors, and even do administrative things inside the lab. I was like a flowering flower bud, i guess. I would do my research non -stop and feeling happy about it. I would be very active in lab discussion. Even more, I got the grant that i applied for. I was also sent to represent my laboratory in more conferences, even 2 international ones. That was my very first solo trip to Europe :’)

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But of course, along with the joy, there were some drawbacks.

At that time it was still bearable, I guess. Work place rivalry and misunderstanding that turned into working place b*l*y*ng? I guess that was the right word to sum it up for short. That was hard. I did not remember how many times I would also sit on the laboratory’s floor crying by myself. Or to think how worthless I am for not being able to publish paper, yet, despite the promising result that I got.

But then, my mood was lifted up again by more good results, or more trust from Sensei or being able to teach my junior more. At that time, probably i thought things will get better from now on, but…..

2016-2017 To the hell of Ph.D Program, and life.

Welcome to hell, i mean, Ph.D program. It started with a month of uncanny behavior of my bacterias and maybe a month of uncanny behavior of myself. My reasons to cry bounced from research to a guy to research to a guy, everyday. It was tiring because at the same time, i had to put a brave and proper face as a Ph.D students. I would stay until late to finish my thing and try to fix my bacteria, and I would pretend nothing happen in front of my juniors in the other day.

It was also difficult to divide thoughts. I would stay in the morning and afternoon not doing my things fully but also assisting many people. At night I will have time for myself. I started thinking that maybe I did everything wrong,  I focused too much on other people and the laboratory well-being. But I also did not want to be that kind of unapproachable and ignorant senpai (senior).

To make things worse, a mega problem and misunderstanding happened in the lab. It was tiring and scary and stuffs. But I guess all of us learned something from that 🙂 It did not end there, though. Another problem arose from this Spring, a problem that made me question myself, as a human being. A problem that taught me to be independent and be brave enough to forgive and let go of toxic people from my life 🙂

 

But now, here I am. through thick and thin, i am still here 🙂

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I am a second year doctoral student, quite happy and well. I haven’t published anything yet but I’m pursuing for it. I am aiming for two kind of papers with combination of enzymology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, crystallography, and structure analysis.

I love my research so much, I even talk with my enzyme when no one’s around and give them honorifics like alanine-chan or tryptophan-kun, lol. My love of teaching and research grew more and more. It is more like a calling to solve all of this enzyme mechanism mystery (lol).

Am I still childish? Yes I guess. But definitely I am more mature than my 2012-version of me. My lab has a lot of freedom as well, but I guess it shaped me. I had to push myself to be obedient, to do research passionately without anyone telling me or scolding me; to be punctual and responsible for your work, to teach well, to respect other people, to be tough and continue working despite of the acknowledgment, most importantly, to love yourself and your research :’)

 

 

And, yes, uhm. This lab and Matsuda Sensei, thank you very much 🙂

研究室、この4年間ありがとうございました。また大切な思い出を一緒に作りましょう。また2年間よろしくお願いします。

I hope I can make the remaining 2 years here more fruitful and I can contribute more for this lab :’)

 

With loads of love

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema (almost D2)

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Daily Kawaii Review : Hands Cafe Chuorinkan

Hello! Back with me!

Writing again in the train after finishing the whole day doing enzyme structure refinement training, I guess I can do this, posting one blogpost every week J

 

Differs from the last topic which tends to deal with my inner struggle, this post is really light. Yes, I will only talk about a cute café near my place, Hands Café Chuo Rinkan.

Access : 2nd floor Etomo Shopping Mall, just outside Chuorinkan Station in the terminus of Tokyu Denentoshi Line

Price : 1500-2500 yen for one meal with drink, moderate for café type in Tokyo

Reservation : cannot be made

Website : https://www.handscafe.jp/chuorinkan/

 

What’s special about this cafe?

 

In normal day this café is just another western-style type of café, but once every one or two months this café has a collaboration with some cartoon character or set a certain theme to make a thematic café. I went to this café twice already during a collaboration with capybara-san character and Korilakkuma (a minor character in Rilakkuma series). Let me tell you about the story in detail!

 

Capybara Café

Period : April 2017

This visit was random and I did not even know that capybara exist in this world. So, if you guys also don’t know what capybara is, capybara is a kind of rodent (larger type compared to rabbit) ^^

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During this time, the whole café was decorated with capybara plushy, you will get one or two dolls in each table. Really, at first I thought it was a cat (blame the shape of the mouth, lol). And the shape of some of the plushy resembles rat in my opinion, but it’s cute, anyway.

Food was also decorated with capybara theme, but it is also possible in that time to order the normal café menu. I ordered beef stew with omu-rice (omelette rice, rice covered with thin slice of fried egg) which tasted really good. I really like the mash and hash-brown potato served on side.

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Korilakkuma Meets Chairoikoguma Cafe

Period : June 2017

So who are these bears? They are rilakkuma’s friends, lol. And why do they have the similar name as Rilakkuma?

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Ko (小) in Japanese means small and indeed korilakkuma (the white bear with pink outifit is small and cute). While chairo (茶色) in Japanese means brown, indeed the other bear is dark brown and I think probably still smaller than Rilakkuma. So that’s the origin of their name, I guess. Don’t ask me about more detail, I know nothing about rilakkuma’s story line.

Differs from the previous visit, this visit was planned with my best friend and I was able to do more makeup and styling to match the atmosphere of the café.

Compared to capybara café, I think that this theme is more popular, since I think every Japanese knows who rilakkuma is.

That time me and my best friend decided to order one main course and one dessert.

 

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Main course (right side)  : チャイロイコグマのがお〜!てりやきチキンバーガープレート(Chairoikoguma’s face shaped teriyaki chicken burger plate)

Dessert (left side) : なかよしストロベリーマウンテンパンケーキ (strawberry mountain pancake)

 

It was very nicely decorated and cute. Unfortunately, the main course did not taste as nice as the capybara’s menu.The chicken burger tastes a bit bland, and it really has a small piece of chicken >.<

It’s just full of vegetables only (maybe it’s designed for those petite Japanese girls, not for a meat-lover like me)

Ah, and I think for this theme they have more varieties of cute drink as well. We had fun doing our routines as well (dress up, eating small portion in a cute café, acting like a cute Japanese girls) but ended up eating again afterwards, as always.

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So, that’s it for now. I hope you guys enjoy reading this post ^^

And if you visit Japan don’t forget to visit thematic café like this, since it is so cute! (although it may not have the best food taste). I will keep you updated more about daily kawaii things and restaurant near where I live! See you!

 

 

xoxo, with love

 

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

 

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LIFE UPDATE (it’s okay to be an underdog, really)

Hello everyone!

It really has been a long time since the last time I post something in this blog. Doctoral degree life, combined with many life twists and conflicts have made me really preoccupied in the past few months!

But now, everything is pretty much okay. I am writing after a long day from Tsukuba attending a crystallographic refinement lecture with my collaborator. Honestly, I am a bit tired because I have just arrived from Hungary.

So what’s actually happening in life recently?

  1. Most simple, age-wise… I have turned 26 several weeks ago 😀 meaning that probably i have passed my quarter-life crisis! LOL. With my new age, I must be more mature and be grateful in living my life!
  1. Academic-wise?

I think I am doing pretty much okay, i guess.

Doctoral degree life is quite tough and I am taking my own pace to do my research. But, I have just passed through my Doctoral Progress Presentation.

 

However, sad to say apart from my high frequency of attending conferences (the last one was Biotrans Budapest last week) I have not published any scientific journal, yet. But I guess it is okay. Although I cannot say that I know 100% of what I’m doing right now, but at least I am in the right direction.

Of course I am an underdog compared to other international students in my lab. One of them has published so many international journals and even book chapter. One of them is really brainy, has perfect English, about to publish his paper, and also one of the most sociable person in this campus. One of them is really brainy and can take this life so patiently. One of them is really good at Japanese, English, art, brainy, and has a really strong personality. Compare all of them with me? >.<

But I have some reasons to be not that upset to myself, probably need to list it down here :

  • My study is multi-disciplinary.

So actually I have a quite good skill-set from microbiology for bachelor (which makes me a little bit stronger in genetic and biology), organic chemistry (weak, though), biochemistry and enzymology (my love!), and right now I am studying crystallography as well. So it’s a complete package from up-stream (enzyme engineering, enzyme production, and enzyme characterization) to down-stream of both application (organic chemistry for enzymatic reaction) and the process of enzyme structure elucidation.

I know I have not published anything yet. But I genuinely think that I have learned so many things.

  • I am quite good at doing things considered unimportant by others

Things considered unimportant include managing the lab condition (read it as cleaning up the mess), organizing things, making English manuals for many things in the lab (how to buy things, how to use Japanese system, etc.), and making laboratory rules. Of course, some people judge me as being not effective and I should have used my time for myself but I believe this kind of skill is important for me since I want to be an academician.

I know I am not smart. but if i can help on something? Definitely i will help 🙂

 

  • I am given the chance to pursue one of my passion, teaching

Honestly I really love all my teaching assistant jobs and the time when new student get inside our laboratory. Because at that time I can teach them and I can prepare teaching material, which is something crucial if you want to pursue your career in academia.

  • I speak decent English and enough Japanese to live and discuss about research

Of course my English is not good compared to my other international lab members. But I am grateful enough that it is decent enough for daily conversation, writing blog, writing assignment, and writing conference abstract, hopefully it will be enough for writing a paper.

My Japanese? It is also not good but it is enough to live my daily life and even to discuss about research. With practice, I can even explain my research poster in Japanese and conduct an academic-related conversation.

  • Being an underdog actually push me to study and work more

Of course the feeling of being the worst in this laboratory drives me crazy, and makes me to be so hard on myself. But I do love my experiment and my topic (I have been with my enzyme from 2012, I am already falling in love with her). Cmiiw, it is better than not having the passion to do the experiment, or doing the experiment only for the fame or money.

  • I am actually mentally strong

I’ve been through quite a lot in the past year, yes, I have been bullied in many ways. From harsh type of bullying until the smooth gaslighting. From personal thing and decision that I made in life until the way I conduct my experiment (common type of work-place bullying).

Although again I have been judged for being too weak, too nice, ineffective, unstable and so on, what I do is just keep moving forward. I will just keep doing experiment and keep learning everyday. Although sometimes I do it with tears literally falling.

The most important thing is not stopping! And keep doing what you love ❤

Perseverance is the key.

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  1. To sum it all up, I am quite happy and I will fight for my life. I will just do what I love although I am not yet good at it J

Do small positive things in my life. Cooking, writing in this blog, playing music, and I’ve even started editing my first vlog, lol.

Be happy, love yourself, and remember to always be grateful. Always keep in mind that your family will always be there for you during difficult times (and in some special case a very few selected friends will be there as well). For me? I don’t mind having few friends since I know that I am very strange and not many people can accept me for who I am 🙂 Happy summer holiday everyone!

This summer holiday I will just do experiment and spring back and forth between Suzukakedai to Tsukuba to learn crystallographic refinement, very necessary for my first publication ^^

 

It’s okay to be an underdog, just be a beautiful one ❤

 

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And you can still be a hero 🙂

 

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With love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema