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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.

写真 2013-06-27 16 09 23IMAG0260

 

 

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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Goodbye Ganesha 10! <3

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Now, I’m Officially Afifa Ayu, S.Si. Sarjana Sains. Bachelor of Science. Let’s do some flash back.

Before you begin reading, pardon me for this EXTRA LONG post, it’s really hard to contain all of your feeling for 4,5 years in one blog post.

 

First year, Tahap Persiapan Bersama.

This year I was faced with the dilemma of entering biology versus microbiology. Adjusting to the harsh education rhythm in ITB that really gave me a shock (I mean who would not be shock if their first quiz score was 30s). Being rejected in two units because the lack of attendance (LOL), but whatever, I prefer to do activities outside school, anyway. Found close friends (Hilda, Irly, Helen, Febe, and Uti). I had Hilda’s farewell to Japan which was teary because I really need her and I had my leg broken (again).

Hilda's Farewell Party!

Hilda’s Farewell Party!

The most hated subject of all time, P.E.

The most hated subject of all time, P.E.

Struggling for my P.E. but I ended up with B, which was astonishing. Struggling for tons of examination and experiment, but after two semesters everything turned out to be fine and I had a good GPA, Alhamdulillah. After that, during the holiday was Ospek Jurusan. And after that I ended up in Microbiology Major (and I am grateful for that).

 

Second year,  Microbiology ITB First Year.

Getting to know more about Microbiology for the first time and I really loved it. Did my first laboratory work related to Microbiology, Microbiology project, with Helen, Astrid, Cita, and Galang. I got really close with Astrid from that moment. I had an ambition of finishing my study for 3,5 years so I was busy taking extra class. Flunking biophysics! Busy doing music thing still in the middle of my hectic laboratory works. I also had first independent group project which was Penelitian Kecil about Ekstrak Kunyit.

My first Research Project!

My first Research Project!

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I also had a subject that I really loved biochemistry and also had the guts to take biosafety (a subject for fourth grader).  I ended this year also with amazing GPA, Alhamdulillah.

 

Third year, Microbiology ITB Second Year. More and more laboratory works which came from Molecular Genetic Projects. I also had my most inspiring and mesmerizing subject this semester, Enzymology and Food Microbiology. So I really had my thought split on my final project, whether I would want to work with enzyme or work with fermentation. Finally at my 5th semester I could get rid of my first love (tee-hee) and finding new love. I also had my first band album ever through the hectic semester and opening an online cake shop. 6th Semester was truly amazing, breaking up with my second boyfriend and get my third one LOL. 6th Semester was the most extreme semester with huge independent laboratory works (+ its overnight stay) from Prinsip Teknik Fermentasi and Mikrobiologi Analitik. And my class also went to China for the excursion.

with my 'date' in Beijing, LOL <3

with my ‘date’ in Beijing, LOL ❤

I also got accepted until last selection of a student exchange selection to Tokyo Tech Japan. I started teaching violin and I got selected as Mahasiswa Berprestasi from my faculty, SITH and got to participate in ITB-level competition! (Unbelievable! I don’t really think they ever had a band-member Mapres, that often went home at 2 AM after show).

Receiving the Award, it was like dream!

Receiving the Award, it was like dream!

This is it, 12th best of ITB batch of 2009 (why am i there LOL)

This is it, 12th best of ITB batch of 2009 (why am i there LOL)

 

To made the semester more incredible, I had several really wonderful performances at television and even (with my ex band) got nominated in Anugerah Musik Indonesia. And in the end of the summer holiday, I got the news that I was accepted in Young Scientist Exchange Program Tokyo Institute of Techonology!

 

Fourth Year, YSEP Tokyo Tech. I spent one year at Japan with this exchange program. Although I had a loads of consideration (like graduating late and leaving all my jobs behind for one year), eventually I departed to Japan. Days were nice, a loads of ups and downs but I learned really lot here. I learned how to stop being a crybaby and take care of all my problems by myself. I learned how to take care of myself without 24/7 driver and housemaid. I learned how to live alone. First it was really tough with all of the language barriers and home-sick thingy. But I’ve managed to nail everything. Despite of my retardation on my research project I guess I still did fine, because on the first time since forever I got straight A ^^ I found new boyfriend.

I also managed to slip inside the school’s orchestra, PPI’s Angklung Team, and even got part time job as a research assistant. I had two amazing symphony orchestra concert with school’s orchestra.

Angklung Team!

Angklung Team!

Orchestra!

Orchestra!

I got many friends with golden hearts (Apichaya, Shuyin, Jew, Richard, Danielle, Mika, I miss you guys!) and very nice host family.

Dears <3

Dears ❤

Beloved YSEP!

Beloved YSEP!

 

I traveled to amazing place with friends and family. I even passed JLPT N4. In the end I could finish my research and wrapped it home as my final project. In the completion ceremony I was asked to give valedictorian speech.

Matsuda Ken!

Matsuda Ken!

Officially a YSEP Alumni!

Officially a YSEP Alumni!

My first Valedictorian Speech!

My first Valedictorian Speech!

Everything was so heavenly, it was really hard to leave for Indonesia, because I was already too comfortable with all of the things in Japan >.<

 

Fifth Year, Bachelor Final Year. Starting again in Indonesia was not as easy as I thought. I had to go inside unfamiliar class with my junior and this creepy feeling of being left out by my batch’s friends was raging. I mean everyone else was graduating except me and 3 other friends (2 were exchange participant as well and 1 was still working with the final project). To made things worse I was being kicked out by my long-term band without any explanation. I spent quite a lot of time grieving but well, life must go on.

Eventually I think with all the struggles, everything started to get better. I got along quite well with my new classmate, and the study was not horrendous at all.  I made a clean start over at music and started playing jazz and everything. I started teaching English as a part time job. I applied to 3 master program (IGP A Tokyo Tech, Erasmus Mundus Lotus Unlimited, and TOTAL Scholarship). I got accepted in IGP (A) and half accepted on the rest (I mean I’ve stopped the selection process of the rest due to my acceptance in IGP (A) Tokyo Tech). I wrote my final thesis pretty well and somewhat somehow I succeeded in my bachelor seminal and final defense, and graduated with cum-laude title ^^ and again a valedictorian speech, but this time, spontaneous! 😀

S.Si!

S.Si!

my cum-laude medal!

my cum-laude medal!

 

Thank you very much for all of those who had helped me through this bachelor chapter of my life! My wonderful family, my siblings, my besties from ITB, outside ITB and YSEP, SITH ITB 2009, Mikrobiologi ITB 2009, and all of my lecturers, especially my supervisors. Without the support of everyone I definitely would not pass this chapter of life with flying colors. I certainly had learned a lot and I hope this learning process could further be beneficial for my life ^^

Now it’s time to take a little rest before starting my new chapter of life as a graduate student in my dream university, Tokyo Institute of Technology!

Probably, some people’s dream universities are as high as MIT or Harvard or Oxford but I’m grateful for what I have. And surely I don’t have the guts nor has adequate intelligent to follow the rigorous graduate education of those world top 5 Universities. But whatever, in some world-ranking, Tokyo Tech is 11th and in case you really want to enter MIT or Harvard or Oxford, you can always try exchange program ^^

 

Embrace your last months in Indonesia, Afifa! You will surely miss it!

Thank you Institut Teknologi Bandung! Bakti kami, untukmu Tuhan, Bangsa, dan Almamater! Merdeka!

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Love

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema, B.Sc. (LOL)

 

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Finally Bachelor of Science!

Hello everyone!

Maybe you have noticed from the title of this post.. yes, I am finally a Bachelor of Science, alhamdulillah!

 

Finally after 4 and a half year, struggling to study Microbiology and Bioengineering plus travelling back and forth from Bandung to Tokyo. Long sleepless night at the laboratory in ITB, frustration over my thesis, frustration over failure and language barrier at TIT. that creepy homesick feeling in winter when you still have to go to lab on a heavy snowing day. frustration of graduating late and be left by my fellow friends.

Well, I can’t believe that i can go through it all, and pass it with (probably) flying colors~ Alhamdulillah, I am a Bachelor of Science!! aku sudah Sarjana Sains!! 私もすぐ卒業する!

Afifa Ayu Koesoema, B.Sc

Afifa Ayu Koesoema, B.Sc

I had my final defense on 27th of February 2014 so this post is however, 2 weeks late, since i’ve spent almost the entire last week in Bali 😀 But I guess it’s never late to tell a little story about what happened on my final defense day and also to give some acknowledgments 🙂

 

—–

So I was judged by Bu Pingkan, Bu Maelita, and Bu Dea. The presentation session was smooth, as i had run through the presentation almost everyday. The Q&A session was a bit of a struggle, I think i have an OK understanding about my topic but I am not very good at memorizing all the subject for comprehension.

I have some feedback from the lecturers, it’s a constructive criticism. As a person you have to be able to listen to critiques and that’s why I think we have 3 lecturers to give you feedback. They will tell you what’s the right thing to do especially about developing a research.

Like they said, my research might not be something really triumphant nor does it get nears excellence. I am aware that I still have to learn A LOT, really A LOT. But I guess I should be (a little) proud and give (a little) appreciation to myself, to be consistent on finishing it 🙂

Try to adsorb the advice implement it on my future research and learn from the past mistakes! #positivity

—–

So that day was such a joyful day. My parents and my aunt were there to support me. Some of my friends also came and give me surprise and present after my final defense. I’m so happy! 🙂

Thank you Mommy and Daddy for continuous support! You both are the best, Love you!

Thank you Mommy and Daddy for continuous support! You both are the best, Love you!

 

with my wonderful aunt, De Lilly :)

with my wonderful aunt, De Lilly 🙂

Thankyou for all the guidances, Ibu Pingkan and Ibu Dea <3

Thankyou for all the guidances, Ibu Pingkan and Ibu Dea ❤

 

double A :*

double A :*

Thankyou Microbabes :*

Thankyou Microbabes :*

I also would genuinely say my thanks to my siblings my professor sister Mbak Allya Paramita, my artsy sister Mbak Azisa Noor and my musical-genius brother Mohammad Ilham Akbar.

Also to my best cousin Rafdi Ahmed,, my best Aussie girl Palmira Vidya Mumpuni, my music inspiration Mas Ammy Kurniawan, Associate Professor Matsuda Tomoko and all members of Matsuda Laboratory Tokyo Institute of Technology, YSEP Tokyo Tech 2012-2013, all friends of SITH and Mikrobiologi ITB 2009,  my partner on stage Syarif Maulana and all the bassist of Bandung String Trio (lol), Klabklassik, Klabjazz and Ammy Alternative String Bandung, and of course all of you, readers!

—–

 

Some people said that getting your bachelor degree is nothing compared to the ‘real life’ out there. But I bet when they were also on my state, they also considered this process as something quite tough 😀 And i should appreciate and embrace all of this, Alhamdulillah 😀

And anyway, my ‘real life’ is still way too far, after graduation i will soon enter academic life again. I’ll be flying to Tokyo on September for Integrated Master-Doctoral Program! I will catch my dream to be an academic! I am so happy and grateful to have the scholarship. Yet I am very anxious at the same time, concerning the rigor of graduate education 😀

 

But I have to have faith to do this, just like what Coco Lee said..

Remember, you are amazing and you have to believe that you’re gonna go far!

 

Love

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Review : Autumn Semester Class at 東工大

Hello all!

I hope you all are doing well and fine, because here at Yokohama, it’s becoming quite cold (again) and it will rain until tomorrow 😀

This is, again, a very late post. Actually I really want to post about it from such a long time ago, but i just forget. Since yesterday I have just got my supervisor’s signature for Spring Semester Course Registration Sheet suddenly I remember about my intention to write this post 🙂

 

So in last semester (Autumn Semester 2012) I took 4 Classes, 3 with credits and one no credit class. As a Young Scientist Exchange Program student I took 2 compulsory classes which were Topics on Japan I and Study on Japanese Companies and Industries I. I took Japanese Class with no credit which was J1 and one class from my major which was Advanced Bioorganic Engineering. As an addition, I also had my Seminar and Sotsuron (Research) inside my lab.

And here I will explain a bit about each class, just in case someone is interested on this exchange program, for the full information you can just go here  🙂

 

Topics on Japan I (2 Credits)

Topics on Japan I is a compulsory subject for YSEP student and there we learn about Japan, it was taught by Yuriko Satou Sensei. From basic knowledge (from trivial facts and knowledge about Japanese societies), some history of Japan until some aspect about economic development and education of Japan.

This class was interesting because all the international students were mixed with Japanese student so here we can not only learn about Japanese culture and custom but also other country’s culture! We were asked to make group and give presentation about a country (we can present as our own country or other country). In that opportunity I present about Italy, mainly talking about its music, although some people said at that time it was more or less like a music class! 😀

My Presentation :)

My Presentation 🙂

From this class we are able to exchange ideas and deepen our understanding about Japanese society and in the end comparing it with other countries, thus knowing the strength and weakness of Japan.

The special features of this class are the inspiring special lectures and cultural activities. We have the chance to heard special lectures from David Zopetti, a Subaru Literature Price award Novelist. For the cultural activities we all could watch Bunraku (Japanese Puppet Theater) at National Theater with such a low price and we also had one day visit to Chisetsu Elementary School to do some sharing! 🙂

After watching Bunraku at National Theater :)  photo credits : Alfan Presekal

After watching Bunraku at National Theater 🙂
photo credits : Alfan Presekal

I think it is not hard to get high score for this test, you only have to attend all classes, special classes, participate in cultural activites, be active, and collect the final report (it’s 600-1000 words) 😀

 

Study on Japanese Companies and Industries I (2 Credits)

This class was also taught by Yuriko Satou Sensei. Only one word that can be said for this class : FUN! From the name, we can predict that we visit a lot of companies and industries to see how actually the industrial activities in Japan are. But, actually I think it’s only 20% of the course, the rest 80% is having a fun trip! 😀

First we visited Life Safety Learning Center where we experienced earthquake, fire-fighting, and fire simulation, it was really fun. We also visited Fujitsu Ltd., we had special lecture by someone from Gurunavi (it’s some kind of mobile application to find any restaurant near you, which’s pretty convenient to be used in Japan), visit to Nissan Motor Company and JFE Steel. Here are some photos, photos were taken from http://www.ryu.titech.ac.jp/~ysep/tour/tour.html

Fujitsu Ltd.

Fujitsu Ltd.

 

Nissan :)

Nissan 🙂

 

JFE Steel, with the helmet and safety clothes :D

JFE Steel, with the helmet and safety clothes 😀

But what was very epic? During the Christmas day we were going to Atami, a city at Shizouka prefecture. Indeed, we still have lecture about job opportunities for foreigner in Japan, but I think most of the time we were having fun, enjoying the splendid city, soaking ourselves inside Onsen, eating marvelous dinner buffet, and sightseeing! On the way back home we also visited Asahi Breweries, yummy!

Atami Sightseeing :D

Atami Sightseeing 😀

Visiting Asahi Breweries as well

Visiting Asahi Breweries as well

The score for this course i think was pretty easy, we only have to submit short report after each visit and the best of all, we did not have to submit final report that time!

 

Japanese Class J1 (no credit)

Actually Tokyo Tech’s system about Japanese Class is a bit confusing, and i don’t want to write something misinterpreted, so if you’re curious please just go here. Anyway i took the class without credit which was two times faster than the class with credit. In this class we were using 2 books which were Hakase 1 and Hakase 2 (roughly equivalent with Minna no Nihongo 1). The book was fun, i mean it had funny pictures inside it, and it did not contain as much grammar as Minna no Nihongo 1.

We got regular homework from the class, but mostly it wasn’t such a big deal, only one paper per one lesson. Beside that, the final test was not difficult and i think most of the teacher were very nice 🙂 We can also ask for a certificate to certify that we has passed this class to international student center. After this class we can continue to J2 or Jpb3, or even taking JLPT N5 (just like me!!)

 

Seminar and Sotsuron (6 Credits)

First sotsuron, is your research, basically the central part of your life here, lLOL. It weights 6 credits (i think mine weights much more). So once you arrived at Japan, for several weeks everyone in the lab will tutor you about how to use stuffs and do stuffs. After that your Sensei will decide in which subtopic of the lab’s research will you do research. Basically, we do progress report every 1 month or 2 month during the seminar time. Seminar is kind of gathering for the lab member, in my lab it’s only 2-3 hour per week, but the duration varies between lab and also the number of people inside the lab. There are some lab that can have seminar for whole day, usually they have more than 10 people inside. In weekly seminar we are told to read one paper related to our research and describe it to your friends, and also telling everyone what you have done during the past one week. But as i told you, once every 1 or 2 month, you will have progress report seminar where you have to make slide about your progress.

 

Advanced Bioorganic Engineering (2 Credits)

It’s a graduate class, but since it’s conducted in English, so I follow this class. The other reason why I took this class is because the first half is really related to my research (of course, it’s my sensei that taught the first half of the course). The first half mainly was about book which she edited (cool!), Future Directions in Biocatalysis.

Advanced Bioorganic Engineering Book :)

Advanced Bioorganic Engineering Book 🙂

It talks about novel reaction for biotransformations (like using other solvent than water such as ionic liquid), uncommon kind of biocatalytic reaction (like Baeyer-Viliger Monooxygenases), etc. Those few topics were really what we do in my lab. The last half was taught by Hisakazu Mihara Sensei. Mainly talks about synthetic DNA, and protein.

We are requested to one presentation about one paper and in the end one report about one paper. So it doesn’t actually give you that much burden.

 

And i guess that’s all for the class sharing, I hope that it can give you slight information about YSEP Classes and if you are interested please tell me! 🙂

 

Love

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Ski Trip to Naeba with マツケン!

Hello all!

I’m happily reporting from my dormitory room, safe and sound and healthy with no injuries (beside minor bruises and common delayed onset muscle soreness) after… a SKI TRIP!

Thanks God, i’ve survived this ski trip *LOL

So, my wonderful laboratory 松田研究室 had just went to a ski trip to Naeba Ski Resort this thursday and friday (7-8 February 2013). Actually, i’ve heard some scary stories about ski and just for your information i am really absolutely not a sporty type of girl (in fact i am always flunking every sport and i have a lame strength, agility, dexterity, and anything you can named related to outdoor’s activity). But whatever, i’m at Japan, they have snow, my sensei agreed to teach me, my lab mates are very nice and they would not let me down, so i decided to follow this ski trip!

Naeba is a mountainous area around Niigata Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, in winter it is famous for its ski area. It’s quite close from Tokyo and by Shinkansen we can reach it only in 1,5 hour. Rice and water in Naeba is said to be one of the best so the omiyage from this area is mainly sake (rice wine).

So we departed at 6.32 from Tokyo Station using Tanigawa Shinkansen to Echigoyuzawa Station. There were me,  Masuda-san, Kawaguchi-san, Matsuda Sensei, Cao-san, and Sugiyama-san. Later on at Omiya Station, Yamamoto-san also joined.

Actually, it was pretty much a struggle to get to Tokyo Station by 6.10. I had to walk from my dormitory from 4.50 to catch 5.10 train. But, i made it on time and we all ate breakfast on the train.

It only took 1,5 hour to reached Echigoyuzawa Station, the nearest station to the ski area. Just before we reached the station from the train’s window i could already see snow everywhere. Yes, it snowed the night before and everything were covered on a beautiful thick white blanket :’) When we reached the station it was really cold but the sun was shining very brightly. It was my first time to wear such a full gear winter clothing, from ear muffs, scarfs, until gloves :p at Tokyo it was never that cold.

越後湯沢駅

越後湯沢駅

After we arrived at the station, we took a shuttle bus to Naeba Ski Resort. We gonna spent this ski trip at Naeba Prince Hotel and Ski Resort. So this gigantic resort hotel with 4 buildings connected to each other is located just in front of the スキじょう. And you have everything ready there, from ski gear rental area, ski school, ski gear shops, plenty of restaurants, two onsen (Japanese Public Bath, and one of it has an open air area), souvenir shops, and European styled room.

苗場プリンスホテル

苗場プリンスホテル

Once we have arrived at the hotel we immediately rent the ski gear. From ski shoes, ski board and poles, ski wear, and goggles. We also had to wear woll hat and gloves. For the inside, we wore heat tech and sweater. I found out that the ski shoes is really the heaviest shoes i ever wear, ice-skating shoes is nothing compared to this heavy shoes.

When i have fully dressed up with ski gear i had this uncomfortable feeling because only walking around with this heavy layered clothes and shoes is already tiring for me. Can i really do ski?

But anyway,  i have no point of turning back.

We went out and wow, i was really astonished! The view was amazing. And it was really bright the sun shines shined brightly and the white snow reflect the lights so much. So that’s why we have to wear goggle.

Vast and Bright Ski Area ;)

Vast and Bright Ski Area 😉

The next thing i had to face is… the ski board which is really heavy (okay maybe this is a bit exaggerating but at least for me it is heavy) and even putting on the ski board to the ski shoes is difficult for me. And the degree of difficulty increased very much to walk with ski shoes and ski board. Now it was not only heavy but also slippery!

Boards!

Boards!

My 140 cm set, ski board, pole and shoes, killer tools for me :D

My 140 cm set, ski board, pole and shoes, killer tools for me 😀

Anyway my friends and sensei took me to the lift and it brought me uphill. And my sensei also convinced me that it would be alright. The view was astonishing from the ski lift but i was also a bit frightened to see the elevation of the hill, it was really steep for me. And, just like i have imagined, once i tried to ski down, i could not stop and once i fell down it was really hard for me to get up 😦

(the truth was everyone has to drag and pull me up everytime to get up >.< and sometimes because sensei was holding me tightly when i fall she also fall with me, i really really really feel bad for this, ごめなさい せんせい 😥 )

So, what i learned today? I learned how to get up. So when you fall and you still have your ski on you. At first you have to bring your ski together to one side and use your pole to help you stand up. Just like this picture.

Let's get up!

Let’s get up!

But since i was really terrible, and keep falling all over again, i went down the hill eventually by walking and even on that time walking was also difficult due to the steepness of the hill. And that was how my first ski day end. Bruises on my both hip and muscle pain everywhere. But at least after that we had a good rest by soaking ourselves at hot onsen, fulfilling our stomach with good Chinese dishes, and sleep for a long time 😀

The second day, snow was falling quite hard, but everyone decided to keep on skiing. It was really cold. And sensei took me to practice downhill because she was afraid of losing me in this little snow blizzard. So she taught me how to stop properly. I think this is the most important aspect of skiing, how to stop. Because actually when you are skiing downhill you will just move and even gaining speed, so you have to be able to stop, in case you gain speed to much, or someone is in front of you or a tree is in front of you.

And when i checked on the internet just now, actually she was teaching me how to do snowplough turn, a beginner technique. So when you are skiing downhill you have to make your ski parallel to each other and push with your pole. To stop, you have to bring the front of your skis together and the tails pushed wide away. Your knees should be put together also and you have to rolled it inward.

Basic Snowplough Technique

Basic Snowplough Technique

Well after sensei and my friends decided that i’m (a bit) ready to go, they decide to bring me uphill, this time to an easier course. But still i flunk and cannot stop. So Masuda-san was in couple meter in front of me and i had to ski to her and stop just before i hit her. But that was useless, since i cannot stop and i crash to her 😦 Me and Masuda-san were just screaming, とめない!!! all the time X)) and when i crash to Masuda san and we both fall or get entangled to each other and slipping downhill slowly, but at that time Kawaguchi-san was always there to help us! so thanks a lot Kawaguchi-san 😀

After lunch everyone brought me uphill again and this time during steep slope i hold on to sensei’s back while she skii downhill. I really appreciated her dedication to teach me and it really reminds me of how my Mom used to teach me swimming. And anyway, i’m really thankful to her and i bet she could be a real ski instructor :’) And during not so steep slope i tried to ski downhill by myself.

Ski lift!

Ski lift!

Me and ski, anyway this ski wear is cute, isn't it? At least i've managed to look feminine enough :p

Me and ski, anyway this ski wear is cute, isn’t it? At least i’ve managed to look feminine enough :p

At last when i got better i tried to ski downhill and slide for a longer time. But this was a nightmare because i could not stop. There were poles on the right side of the road and i had been trying with all of my power to turn left but i still could not. And i crash to a pole and i fell and i stop. I could only laugh and i decided to stop skiing, and anyway it was already 3 PM and we had to leave hotel by 5 PM. And i ended that day by having a bath again at onsen, and this time was the open air one. And it was really wonderful to feel the hot water altogether with snow falling on your hair :’) I bought omiyage for my friends and we went back to station to take the Shinkansen for Tokyo 🙂

Anyway, that was my first ski experience (and probably the last), quite fun, wondrous sceneries but hellish tiring and a bit frightening. I could only conclude that i am really not the type of girl for skiing 😀 and also, i advice you if you want to go ski, do exercise at least one month before it. Because you will use all of your body and for me the muscle pain last 2 days and it was not pleasant, at all :p

And also i would really say thank you to my sensei, Matsuda Sensei for the patience when teaching me, and my laboratory friends. Masuda-san for the kind teaching and also lending me some ski gear, Kawaguchi-san for getting me and Masuda-san out of trouble, Yamamoto-san, Cao-san, and Sugiyama-san for helping me, dragging, and pulling me up. Thank you マツケン without you all i will not feel this life time experience! :’)

マツケン!almost all team :)

マツケン!almost all team 🙂

See you at my next post! じゃね!

Afifa Ayu Koesoema