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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Hello good people!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Today is the last day of winter holiday. I really just want to spend it lazily. Well, we (me and Mas Yu) will have afternoon tea double date together with my bestfriend and her husband 🙂 But; in the morning I am free, I almost finished my abstract for March conference so I decide to wake up late and spend the morning writing about 2017. A dramatic year full of drama, I guess. What happened in 2017? Let me just give me a quick review!

 

2017 started with mega drama number one. Since everything is over now and I have made peace with the main actor, I really cannot mention the content of the drama here (however, I have a little review about that here).

That time everything was quite blurred I guess. I would not make it without my best friend and in total four times visit from my parent and my sister. During spring and summer, I had a little stolen holiday to Kyoto and Osaka, as well as Izu and Nagoya with good friends.

 

In terms of academic, actually nothing changed much. I am right now Doctoral Second year student, first semester. This year I managed to attend 3 conferences (2 national (Chemical Society of Japan and Biocatalysis Symposium) and 1 international, Biotrans at Hungary). I also try to speak about science in Science なう event! I also found myself a new interesting topic about synthesizing drug derivatives.

In lab? It is getting more complicated but still very fun, as one of the oldest right now I have 12 kouhai in total with 2 directly under my supervision. Challenging but still happy! I wish we all can do research with love and dedication, and I can somehow be a good role model 🙂

My focus next year will be more of computational study (crystal structure refinement) and docking study; plus writing my publication! I will have to start thinking as well about my future career, meaning searching for a faculty position or post-doctoral position in Japanese university.

 

This year I tried also to post more on my youtube channel and do vlogging (which I found to be quite fun!). I know what I am doing in youtube is not that “trending” or so called eye-catching, I am just doing it for fun (but with my heart into it). Ah, I also learn to wear hijab more often, trying to incorporate it with my own style 🙂

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All of these things happened together with mega drama number two and mega drama number three. Really cannot mention the content of the mega drama number two however I have a little snippet here and there. I guess I am quite content with the problem solving of mega drama number two right now.

 

And mega drama number three? Finally I am completely releasing myself from my toxic love relationship for 4 years! Here is the snippet, yes, Mas Yu found me 😀 together with wonderful friends from Kanagawa International Student Music Festival!!

 

although we are so far away from settling down. We need gazillion works to be done to face our huge barriers. But to be honest, I am completely at peace. We learn something new everyday, kudos for him for his patience and willingness to learn.

 

In the end, I wrap up this year with a peaceful state of mind.

What are the keys?

 

  1. Self acceptance

I am accepting myself right now, I am not the smartest and I am slow at doing things. But whatever, I keep moving forward slowly everyday. I mean, my dear family, bf, and best friends, they are all able to accept me with my strength and especially, weakness. Why should I be reluctant to accept myself?

  1. Not trying to please everyone

I learned the hard way this year no matter how hard you try to make someone like you; they will not do that if they do not feel that way! So don’t try to please people, be yourself. They will love you if they love you.

  1. Listen and care only to those who really love you

Not all things should be heard and be put into the deepest core of our heart. Follow your heart, listen only to those who matters the most.

Critic will always come to your life. If they come and bother you, just ask yourself two questions. 1) Have I put my heart while doing it? Have I done my best? 2) Do I have good intention on doing this? If the answers are yes, just proceed. It’s the right thing for you.

(Yu, 2017)

Actually actually, those beautiful words in point number 1 to 3 is not mine. I should put some reference…. thank you Yu Teguh golden ways, lol.

 

 

So that is all for my 2017.

I do not have big and detailed resolution for 2018. I am only taking baby steps cherishing everyday and be grateful to Allah for all of His blessings.

Well, I have to publish a paper and search for job this year, hopefully postdoc or academic position in Japan. These are the only focus.

 

Goodbye, 2017.

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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim welcome 2018 ❤

 

 

With loads of love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Kyoto 2016 : Maiko Dress-up Experience

Hello! Really long time no see :3

I was really busy with my research lately, but this week I have a “legal spare time, lol. I will attend a the annual meeting of Chemical Society of Japan in Kyoto, and since I have morning presentation I can go the day before. Since conference has not started yet today, so I have the opportunity to stroll around!

 

Because i have visited most of the notable temples in Kyoto.

This time I will only want to treat myself with a… Maiko Dress-up Experience! ❤

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*that was me, really

 

In case you want to try the same experience with me, I will give you explanation in detail!

 

What is Maiko and Why?

Maiko is a women that perform dance, sings and traditional instrument for visitors during feast. Maiko is the apprentice geiko and usually aged 15-20 years.

Their appearance is always very beautiful to me, all white make-up with a detail of red and pink. Beautiful hair style with enchanting hairpiece and of course the kimono! ❤

Right now in Kyoto, there are many shops that offer Maiko Dressing-up Experience for tourists. So that is why, right now it is very common for normal people to have one day experience dress-up as a Maiko.

 

Okay, so how do you select the right shop?

The shop that i chose is Maica. in Gion, Kyoto Basically I just typed “Maiko dress-up in Kyoto” using google and found this shop. The website has quite good English explanation and prices are also reasonable. They have variety of package so that you can choose which one suits your budget the most.

The package that i chose is “Okigaru” Plan, right now on sale for 6500 JPY (excluding tax). This package cover make-up, hair, kimono rental, wig rental (you can only choose whole wig), hair accessories rental, one studio photograph (printed in B5 size), and one hour of free photo time inside the house.

If you want to do longer, they also have package including walking outside (Gion area) or even guided tour to farther temple, but it also comes with higher price.

 

 

Sequences?

It is actually described well here, but I will just retell you my own version.

Upon arrival we will have to fill a short form (it has English, don’t worry, generally all staffs can speak English quite well!). We will be given plastic bag for our shoes and we are escorted to the third floor. Photography is forbidden at third floor and during make-up and dressing-up process 😦

First thing is kimono selection, although Okigaru plan has limited kimono selection, it is still all very beautiful for me. After that, we have to pay (please note purchase under 10.000 JPY has to be paid in cash). We will then be escorted to the second floor where we have to put all of our camera-related thing in a safety deposit box. After that we will go to the locker room to store our other belongings and change to kimono inner wear and room socks. *we have to pay 200 JPY for the locker

Then… make-up time (which was fast, they just paint our face white with little pink and red detail). Honestly it was really thrilling because they don’t put MIRROR in the make-up room! After make-up then wig placement, which was… heavy, really heavy. And finally, kimono!! There were so many layers, so so so so many and they just keep tightening it more and more 😦

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Tada! Suddenly I transformed into Maiko!

And after that, photo time! One studio photograph was taken and if you come alone (like me) the staffs will help us to take picture (Up to 5 pictures). Other than that we can just explore the house by ourselves and selfie stick is allowed. Although it is small, almost every parts of the house are beautiful with classic Japanese decoration.

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Full body picture with the help of the staff

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Beautiful neck detail

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Tea ceremony, one of my most favorite picture!

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The studio photograph 🙂

Oh, i forget to mention that you can wear contact-lenses for the make up and also don’t worry about the make-up, it is actually light. You can remove it without ease using any kind of makeup remover you bring, they will also help you to remove the neck makeup.

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I was really satisfied with my experience in Maica! I mean, who doesn’t want to look like a beautiful Maiko? <3<3 Staffs are friendly and helpful (and they keep praising me for my Japanese speaking, lol). I discovered that actually being Maiko is really tough. It was tough with all of those tight kimono (it was even hard to kneel down and get up again) and that heavy wig? Honestly, i feel tortured, yes maybe beauty is pain ^^

 

 

That’s all for today’s post!

I hope that i will have successful presentation tomorrow! ❤ enjoy Spring break, everyone!

 

Love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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Summer 2015!

Hello everyone,

Very long time no see! So, right now the summer is almost over here, it’s getting colder everyday so I will make a post about how my second Summer in Japan’s going!

I experienced many things in this second summer, including the heat and heat exhaustion lol. Maybe the only thing that i did not do is going to the beach. It’s okay, still have 4 summers more.

So here are some highlights of my summer!

HYDRANGEAS VIEWING

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What? Hydrangea is the flower that starts blooming in the beginning of rainy season. Once the rainy season has gone, voila.. you have the real summer and the real heat and everything! This flower is really beautiful and colorful (some said the difference of the color is due to the soil’s pH difference)

When? Late May to early June, so basically the weather is still pleasant!

Where? There are a lot of choices but we decided to go to Hase Dera (Hase Temple) in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. Hase Temple has a trail for hydrangea viewing. They will give you number tags to allow you get in to the trail in particular time, this is to avoid congestion inside the trail and be aware, the trail is a bit steep! But it has a good downhill view and in some other part of the temple you can have the mesmerizing view of the sea!

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How to get there? Take Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden, for short) from JR Fujisawa Station (Tokaido Line) or JR Kamakura Station (Yokosuka Line), hop off at Hase Station and take a few minutes walk to the temple.

FAMILY VISIT AND TRIP TO KANSAI

Although i could not go home this summer, my family visit me and we spent wonderful time in Kansai plus celebrating the Eid Al Fitr together! 🙂 We stayed in Kobe so that we can shuttle back and forth between Osaka and Kyoto!

As an aquarium lover family, finally we went full team to the Osaka Aquarium, Kaiyukan (i have posted about Kaiyukan here before). We explored a bit more in Kyoto by going to the Fushimi Inari temple and exploring Gion District.

Fushimi Inari Temple

What? This is one of the most beautiful and famous temple with its gazillions of Red Gate in Kyoto. It is located on the hillside and the red gate will continue up to the top of the hill. There is no admission fee for this temple.

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How to get there? Take JR Nara Line from JR Kyoto Station and hop off at Inari Station, the temple is just outside the station. Using Kyoto city bus is a bit more complicated and crowded too.

Gion District and its Yukata Experience

What? Gion District is one of the preserved Geisha district in Kyoto. Besides enjoying the sudden appearance of geisha or maiko on the street you can also enjoy the wooden merchant houses architecture. The streets are also filled with shops, tea houses, souvenir shop, and ice cream shops. I will write about recommended ice cream shops in Gion in the next post. One of the interesting part is the yukata experience. Gion is filled with yukata-renting shop, so you can walk around with yukata along the traditional wooden houses! The renting price differs among the venue, if you are lucky you can get a one day yukata rent around 3.000 yen for whole day! 🙂

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How to get there? There are variety of Kyoto city bus going to Gion (number 7, 205, or Kyoto Loop Bus) and stop at Shijokawaramachi stop. From Kyoto Station, train requires transfer.

FIREWORKS 

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What? The true Japanese Summer experience will not be completed it you haven’t watched fireworks or hanabi yet! Hanabi (花火、literally means flower and fire) in Japan are held throughout summer’s weekend (July-August) in various places, usually along the river side or beach. It is really beautiful and special in my opinion. I think Japan really has the latest technology for the fireworks that make it really beautiful. The experience is further fulfilled with attending it using yukata with your friends and chatting plus sort of doing picnic while waiting for the fireworks!

And take purikura (Japanese cute-styled photo box) after it while wearing yukata! The memory will last ❤

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Where? This year i visit Tokyo Bay Fireworks and watched it from Odaiba Beach. The magnificent view as you can see, is the graceful rainbow bridge with the beautiful fireworks!

What to expect? CROWDS!! There will be people everywhere, loads of it. But as long as you stay alert, and follow instructions from the officer it will be okay I guess. If you want to get a good spot, you can come to the watching place the night before, put a tarpaulin cloth and stick your name on it. Since Japanese are polite, they will not disturb your place and you can just come around 2 hours before the fireworks start.

N.B : But be careful if you use bus to the watching place, sometimes the road is closed if it’s already nearing the launch time! So I still advice you to come in advance.

SUNFLOWER FIELD

What? Last thing to make your summer complete? Sunflower viewing! Japan has plentiful of vast sunflower garden and the sunflowers are really tall and beautiful!

Where? This year, i pick a near viewing spot from my home, Zama Sunflower Matsuri (Matsuri means festival) in Zama, Kanagawa-ken. Along with the sunflower garden, they also have small festival containing food stalls. The festival was held only several days from late July to Early August.

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How to get there? This sunflower festival provides free shuttle bus from Odakyu Soubudaimae Station.

What to expect? Heat of course, wear adequate UV protection, bring umbrella or hat and water to prevent dehydration. Uneven terrain, of course. It is a field, so the terrain will be uneven, wear comfortable shoes! Full cellphone or camera battery, believe me the view will be breathtaking, both for serious photo hunter or selfie hunter like me :3

So, these are all my experience for this Summer! Let’s fight for the new semester!

Welcome, Autumn :*

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Spring 2015 : Hanami

Hello everyone!

It has been so long since my last post! Now it’s already April and Sakura season has almost ended here in Tokyo, Yokohama and its surrounding. Since i came back to Japan from my spring holiday in the right timing, this year I could enjoy the beauty of Sakura in Tokyo! So, let me share you my story about this year Hanami (Japanese tradition of flower viewing experience!

26 March 2015 – Ueno Park

Access : JR Ueno Station, ~3 minutes walk

Entrance fee : Free

This spot is really popular because they have numerous sakura trees lined up where you can do hanami just underneath. Spaces are already provided and partitioned, according to the rules you can use it for about 1 hour. Not only you can do Hanami here, but you can also visit many museum, Ueno Zoo, and many temples. You can also enjoy local delicacies by buying snacks from food stalls (Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Grilled Corn, etc.)

I went there when the Sakura had not bloomed 100% yet but the place was already quite full. So please expect it to be really crowded during Sakura full bloom. P.S : try the Sakura Cake from Starbucks located nearby, it’s so delicious!

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Enjoying Hanami with Starbucks

IMG_2183Local food stalls in front of temple :)

27 March 2015 – Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Access : Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Sanchome Station (Shinjuku Gate) ~5 mins walk, Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station (Okido Gate) ~ 5 mins walk

Entrance fee : 200 Yen for Adults, 150 Yen for Group Admission

One of the most popular hanami spot in Tokyo due to its vast lawn, selections of park, and selections of beautiful sakura trees. Beware! The park is very huge! Do take the map and take a look carefully on where the sakura trees are located. Generally sakura trees are clustered around English Landscape Garden (nearer to Okido Gate). There are also some individual trees located in French Formal Garden and Japanese Traditional Garden.

During the time i went there it was pretty early so only some sakura trees had bloomed. We had the chance to watch some early blooming Sakura : Yokohama Hizekura (bright pink one), Youkou Sakura (light pink), and Ooshima Koshioyama Zakura (white)

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Line of Youkou Sakura Tree

Line of Youkou Sakura Tree

29 April 2015 – Tama Plaza

Access : just outside Tama Plaza Station of Den-en-Toshi-Line

Entrance fee : Free

There is a street lined with sakura trees just outside Tama Plaza Station and it’s quite beautiful.

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Sakura trees lined beyond the busy neighbourhood

Sakura trees lined beyond the busy neighbourhood

31 April 2015 – Tokyo Institute of Technology Suzukakedai Campus

Access : Den-en-Toshi Line Suzukakedai Station (5 mins walk)

Campus is (surprisingly) lined with beautiful sakura trees! The sakura trees are just everywhere! It lined up beautifully on the main intersection, it grew also in the canteen area (and there were dozens of it), and also it scattered in some other spot, like near J1 Building.

near the main intersection

near the main intersection

Welcome to J3 Building!

Welcome to J3 Building!

Just behind our canteen!

Just behind our canteen!

forming a sakura-forest pathway behind our canteen!

forming a sakura-forest pathway behind our canteen!

I went to the Suzukakedai PPI Tokodai Mini Hanami, it was fun to eat just under the sakura trees!

Mini-hanami!

Mini-hanami!

Selfie under the sakura tree!

Selfie under the sakura tree!

3 April 2015 – Naka Meguro River Side

Access : Tokyu Toyoko Line Naka Meguro Station, Main Exit (~3 mins walk)

Who said that sakura can only be viewed during daytime? Night time sakura viewing is called Yozakura (夜桜)and it is as popular as the regular hanami! The several meter line of sakura trees were lit up during Naka Meguro Festival! It created such a spectacular and beautiful view. You can also enjoy the atmosphere by eating some locally sold Yakitori, and Grilled Sausage. I went here with Kak Ay, my former band friend, and also met new friends there! 🙂

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along the river!

along the river!

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みんな!(my first night Hanami 夜桜)

4 April 2015 – Shinjuku Gyoen

I visited Shinjuku Gyoen once more and this time with PPI Tokodai (Tokyo Tech Indonesian Student Association). At this time, it was the first weekend after the full bloom, so the park was packed with people! But still the park was huge, it was still spacious! The sakura was sort of falling into the ground, creating a lush beautiful pink carpet on the grass and also on the lake! I did a little photoshoot with Hilda and explore the park more than my last time.

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Sakura trees falling into the lake!

Sakura trees falling into the lake!

new kind of sakura :)

new kind of sakura 🙂

We didn’t only get beautiful sakura pictures but also our own picture ! (happy, thank you Hilda)

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After that, we did the hanami! The activities were fun from Potluck, games and cooking competition. Today, i had breaded chicken cutlet and tamagoyaki with sesame-mayo dressing, i also had green salad with olive-sesame dressing I tried to join the cooking competition and got a takoyaki maker as a prize. Happy!

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My hanami menu!

Takoyaki Maker

Takoyaki Maker

So in overall my Hanami for this year is perfect! See you in next year’s Hanami, Sakura!

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Love

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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I’m coming back Japan!

Finally this is the day!! 24th of September 2014 and I’m coming back to Japan!!

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So, this time I’m going to pursue my Master and Doctoral Degree in International Graduate Program (A) majoring Bioengineering in Matsuda Laboratory in Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. I’m thrilled yet very nervous, since my program is an integrated Master and Doctoral program, it will take 5 years to be completed.

Some people said that 5 years is such a long time to be spent in one place. Some of them worried that i might get bored, some of them also worried about my love life. Since I am gonna focus in a totally rigour higher education, I guess they think i’d forget about love and marriage. LOL.

But I believe this is the best way for me and I have plenty of reasons to support the argument. Since my career aim is to be an academic , i should pursue the fastest way to reach my Doctoral degree and further start my career. I also want to be an expert in one kind of field (in my case : enzyme engineering), that’s why i have decided to pursue master and doctor in the same place, to get a crystal clear understanding about my own field 🙂 And the last reason? I love Japan! The culture, the people and everything (but especially the food, fashion, and cute things) I wouldn’t mind spending years in Japan! ❤

Although i know I am still my Mommy’s and Daddy’s little princess (look, he’s also coming to Japan with me right now… with Mom, as always) i think my previous one year experience had given me confidence to live by myself, although the stake is higher right now. The difficulty of my research will doubled yet i really have to get along with a completely independent life (by living in apartment instead of dormitory). But, i think (and i hope) that I can excel everything! 🙂

I am also planning to try new kind of activities in Japan. I’m going to play with Khatulistiwa (a Tokyo-based Indonesian ethnic band). I might also reenter the orchestra or trying to follow some jazz bands. I also might want to find part time job, maybe as a music teacher (hurry up Afifa, get your ABRSM diploma! so you can be a legit teacher).

I want to live my new life, career, music and love to the fullest! 🙂

Now we’re going to the downside.

Do i have some anxiety and uncertainty? OF COURSE.

I’ve said this gazillion times but Bandung is really my comfort zone! Bandung is the place where my beloved family and friends live. Bandung is the place where I’ve started my career. I’ve done so many things in Bandung, from being an owner of a cupcakery, teach english, play music, play band, and so on. It’s really hard to leave a place where you have felt comfortable and it’s really hard to leave a place where you have gotten acknowledgment.

And of course, it is really difficult to build a new life in Tokyo, you have to start from the scratch again. Building network, finding friends, and trying to get recognition again. It’s such a hard work but i’ve gotta try for it 🙂

I have to move out from my comfort zone 😀 I have to be able to strive wherever I am!

I guess though i have some (MANY) anxieties and fear i have to keep moving on! I have to be grateful of this opportunity, not all people can go to school in one of the best university in Asia for free :’) I have to try to look at the positive side and try to reap benefit as much as i can from this education opportunity! 🙂

 

Last?

I want to say thank you to those who have been a true friend for me during my time in Indonesia. Everyone who had fought together with me, share every happiness and sadness with me. I am definitely no one without your support right now, so I want to say thank you from the deepest part of my heart :’)

Thank you Mom, Dad, Mbak Allya, Mbak Azisa, Ilham, and De for being the best family for me,  my big family in Bandung and Surabaya especially Mas Rafdi and Rio, my lectures in ITB especially from Microbiology Department,  Pak Gede, Bu Pingkan, and Bu Dea; my fellow friend of SITH ITB 2009 and Microbiology ITB class of 2009; my seven year duet and bestfriend Mas Syarif; Klabklassik friend, Ammy Alternative String friends, PEP fellow teachers and students also various Bandung Indie Band (4 Peniti, Mocca, Beside, Kuburan, and all); my music teachers Mas Ammy, Pak Krishnan, and Pak Oerip Without you I will never be like this 🙂

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I hope I will see you again in the next five years, and by the time I would already be Doctor Afifa Ayu Koesoema! 🙂

 

With loads of love

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema