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Little Fighter With a Big Dream

 

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Hello, back with me here.

So right now I am enjoying a “holiday” period at home. I was diagnosed with Influenza A on Monday and according to the school’s policy I should not go to school for 5 days. According to my academic supervisor i should not think about research this week, lol. So here I am, just lingering with all my thoughts, writing from my bed.

 

 

So, what’s happening lately other than Influenza?

Well, I think something quite やばい is happening to my life right now. Of course, my problem is really tiny compared to some real world problems (like war, world hunger, poverty, drought, or pandemic disease). However, I learned so much from all my experiences, that’s why I think it is good to share it here..

 

 

はい、始めましょう。

I hope no one will get offended with my post. Anyway, if anyone feels offended, please contact me immediately through personal chat, I will discard this post.

But I hope not. This is just a little writing to encourage all people with similar experience as me to move forward 🙂

 

 

I struggle with self-esteem and confidence issues a lot.

I was bullied several times (I will not tell any detail here). Based on my experiences, I exactly know how destructive words can be for someone’s mental health.

Not that I want to underestimate the physical form of bullying, of course it is such a detrimental thing as well, but believe me, words can stab you just like the sharpest knife that cut your throat. I was lucky all the time I always have adequate mental support from my family and religion. Although not much, I also have best friends.

But yes, it left me scar.

I am always overcautious when dealing with new people, I am always afraid that people might not like me for who I am. I never feel good enough, although my GPA was like the best in my batch or I had a very good music career at that time.

 

Moving to Japan. I see Japan as a beautiful country that respect many beautiful values For a split second, I think this is my opportunity to be completely free from my self-esteem issue because no one will ever disturb me. But I was wrong.

It’s not because of the country. Indonesia is also a very beautiful country that respect many dignified values. Bullying attitude is a personal problem from the bullier, you can meet bullier basically anywhere.

Even in Mars, if you can find any intelligent life forms there, lol.

 

 

To make one and a half year of story short, and to avoid going into any detail I will just say that, yes, I experience bullying here.

It’s severe because here I only have my research. I don’t have my music career as my backup because I only play music here for a hobby. I do not have my family here 24/7, of course I have my best friends here 24/7, but sometimes nothing can beat your Mom’s hug, right? I have so many responsibilities in my hand as one of the most senior student in my lab. Most importantly, I haven’t published any international scientific journal yet. And it’s killing me, man~

I learned through some psychological article and discussion with my sisters, that all these times I’ve been a victim of gaslighting. And that’s really true! At times, I really doubt my own sanity, whether or not the mean conversations, the bad words, the hurting words, ever happened in the first place.

 

Yes, maybe I am weak, but at least I am brave enough to say that I crumbled and seek for help! If you’re bullied, it’s okay, even your courage to admit that you are being bullied and hurt is already one step forward!!!

Next step? Seek for help! Don’t be afraid, there must be someone that still wants to listen to you out there! Go to your teacher, go to your counseling department at your school, go everywhere, as long as you can still talk and still continue going to school! :’)

 

 

All praise to Allah. I still have a great support system from my family, Sensei, and best friends. All praise to Allah I still can think clearly and finally being able to speak out and fight back all the injustice even a little. All praise to Allah even know I have influenza so I can rest peacefully and think even clearer ..

 

 

To end this post I just want to say that every people in this world is a fighter. You might not see how people struggle in their life. But I believe, to reach their success, everyone will have their own way, their own time, and ways. Maybe, you might not be able to see how people evolve because you think they are too slow according to your pace. Maybe you might think that you are just so much better than someone else. But please, respect other people’s struggle.

You might not know what they have sacrificed to be here right now.

Just as much as you think you have fought, everyone also fight hard for their life 🙂

 

 

To all my little fighter buddies, I cannot say how much I owe you for all of your kindness, mental support and encouragement.

I pray to God, not only for our success in the future but also for our golden heart to remain unchanged for worldly success. I pray for a kind heart willing to help others and speak the truth gently.

 

 

To be a little fighter with a big dream that will achieve big but never belittle others.

 

 

With loads of love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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January Favorite Things!

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to my blog. Yes, I haven’t written anything for such a long time I’m really sorry. Many things have happened, including me graduating from master program and now becoming a doctoral degree student~

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My graduation day!! – photo credit to Antonius Priyo

The last 6 months have been difficult in many aspects (study, lab-life, human relation, love relation, etc.) and apparently i am in a point where I feel to busy and cannot handle it until I decide to slow down a little bit >.< BUT, at least right now I only have 2 more deadlines : my grant final report and my publication.

 

 

So I am now trying to slow down myself by developing four habits : cooking, singing and playing violin, writing food journal, and… start to write in this blog again regularly.

Let’s start with something simple : JANUARY FAVORITE THINGS!!

So yes, as you maybe already know, I love kawaii (cute) things and it is such a heaven to live in Japan. Japan is full of cute things, and these are my favorite things in January!

  1. Pink sweets haul from school shop20170204-3i just love these! They are pink and super delicious! First, ふわふわ Pocky Midi (ストロベリーふローマジュ – Strawberry Fromage) — this is not the ordinary Pocky, Pocky Midi is shorter and a bit fatter (chibi, in my opinion). The taste of this? So delicious! ふわふわ means fluffy and this pocky tastes like fluffy strawberry cheesecake! 🍰 Chupa Chups ストロベリークリーム- Strawberry Cream  delightful old-fashioned lollipop! Tropicana Essentials 食物繊維 Peach Blend  食物繊維 means dietary fiber and this juice is really delicious! This is my favorite juice this month.

2.  Unicorn Iphone Case and Mobile Battery

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So well yes, I am obsessed with iphone case because I think phone case is also an important item for your fashion statement! Mainly I will go with book type case (it is super safe for your phone) with girly, pink and cute tone or elegant. My main themes as you can see are princess, disney or sanrio 😀

This month i bought a unicorn-motif case from Rakuten altogether with the unicorn mobile battery. I’m feeling pretty much like in a fairy-tale land.

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3. Purple Glitter Sailor Moon Nail Polish

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Sailor Moon Nail Polish JPY 700+tax, Nail Oil Stick JPY 1400+tax (all from Its Demo Aobadai Shop)

This nail polish comes from my favorite shop, Its Demo, located dangerously outside my train station (lol). I am already longing for this nail polish for long time because it’s sailor moon special series, for God’s sake! It’s purple, glossy, and glittery. As an addition to my nail polish, I also bought a nail oil stick. It is like a lipbalm for your nail and it will keep your nail moisturized especially during this cold and dry winter.

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And… above is my masterpiece by using this nailpolish!! Combining it with my 100 JPY light purple nail polish from Cando I can make a lame gradation imitation nail, lol. Quite beautiful isn’t it?

P.S : this kind of nail art will cost around 3000-4000 JPY in proper nail salon, lol.

 

So these are my January favorite things! Anyone want to share their favorite things to add up my kawaii Japan things?

 

 

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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Home Sweet Home <3

Hello everyone!

This is my first post in Japan! So i have been here in Japan for 1 month (so approximately there is still 59 months left LOL!). So the first month was quite tough, adapting again with Japan, finding apartment, taking classes, and directly doing my research.

But now, finally I have settled in my new petite house! ❤ Say hello to my white-pink-shabby chic 25 square meters petite mansion!

 

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Finding an apartment in Japan is quite difficult, especially when you’re picky (like me). And it is just impossible to find house that suits your criteria by 100%

So now, i will share some points that i have gained from my experience to find an apartment.

1. Try to understand everything (although it’s damn hard)

I know that you can always find an agent that speaks English, or you can always ask your tutor to accompany you, or ask someone whose Japanese is pera pera to accompany you. But you will still have to be able to(try to) understand everything by yourself. You are the one who will live in that apartment.

My Japanese was of course not good but at least being in my level (passing JLPT N4) i could already find apartment by myself although i could hardly understand the contract. But at least i could do verbal communication with my agent and don’t be shy to ask the agent, you have paid a lot of money of them, you should use them! LOL.

2. Try to understand the apartment renting concept

Apartment renting system in Japan is quite complicated. You have agent that will introduce you the room and yet you will still have the apartment broker/realtor (不動産) for that particular area. On top of the chain there is still the owner or landlord of the apartment. Seems like there’s so many people involved -_-

Please also note the difference between apartment and mansion in Japan. Apartment usually refers to building less than 4 stories-high while mansion refers to building higher than 4-stories, usually safer (equipped with auto-lock system) and slightly more expensive, with better facilities. In my point of view, it’s better to live in a mansion especially when you’re a woman and you live alone.

If you are not Japanese, some owner requires you to have Japanese-citizen guarantor (奉書人) or even some of them are reluctant to rent you a room. The moving in fee is also generally quite high (especially when you rent a mansion). There are so many things included from agency fee, rental deposit or shikikin(敷金)to gratitude fee or reikin (礼金). But you can always find an apartment that omit those fees.

3. Know your needs

Finding an apartment depends on your own needs and you need to know your own needs very well. Some people don’t mind to walk quite far from the station because they consider it as an exercise. While some people prefer to have apartment closer to the station. Some people prefer quiet place some people prefer a little bit busy and bustling place. Some people want a separate bathroom some people want to keep pet some people don’t like morning sunshine while others want it. You should list your needs or kibou (希望) so that you can efficiently explain your criteria to the agent.

4. Be Careful about Garbage

Don’t forget to know about how to separate garbage, it could be problematic and i think they will not take the garbage if you put it out at the wrong day. You could get the English version on the local ward office!

 

So now let me share some pictures of my mansion. I bought all furnitures in Ikea Yokohama (there’s a free shuttle bus from Shin-Yokohama station to Ikea). Ikea also provided delivery service and assembly service as well 😀 My furnitures are all white and the small things are pink. My mansion is really petite but i love it! ❤ I really love the location as well, only 3 minutes walk from the station and it’s really near to shopping malls, convenience store, Daiso, and many restaurants ❤ I also haven’t tried the salon located on the first floor of this building ❤

 

Hallway.. Fresh air!

Hallway.. Fresh air!

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Hi I’m on 4th Floor!

 

Bed Area :)

Bed Area 🙂

My Little Kitchen :)

My Little Kitchen 🙂

Dining Table + Study Table :)

Dining Table + Study Table 🙂

Kitchen utilities trolley :)

Kitchen utilities trolley 🙂

Mini book shelf!

Mini book shelf!

I tried to decorate it as nicely as i could, because i hope i will not have to move out during my 5 years of stay… 🙂

 

 

With love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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The Magical Walt Disney World (1)

Hello all~ I hope that the fasting month is going well for all of you 🙂

Again, a very late post (this has been a habit for me, posting a really late post) 😀 So in this post i want to tell you about Walt Disney World!! 😀 I went there on May when i visited USA and it was such an experience that no one could ever forget! So magical and joyful~

 

So, Walt Disney World is not only a ‘Disneyland Park’, it’s much more than that. Despite of having only one disney-themed park like Disneyland, Disney World is like an integrated site of theme parks, resort and other entertainment scheme owned by Disney Production. They have numerous hotels and resorts, 4 theme parks, waterparks, shopping center, golf course, and almost every recreation facilities. You name it, they have it.

It is located at Orlando, Florida (if you want to get there, just book a flight to Orlando International Airport). During my stay there, I stayed at Walt Disney World Swan Resort and we visited Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, Downtown Disney, and Disney Boardwalk. So i will tell you about some of the sites that i have visited!

 

Walt Disney World Swan

Swan? Did you just imagine about a fairy-tale-themed hotel? Unfortunately you were not that right. The only swan related or fairy tale related thing was the outer interior of the hotel and giant swan statue on top of the hotel. But still, i think the hotel was quite magical~

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welcome!

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Swan Statue

The hotel is co-owned with Sheraton Hotels and Resort so Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) member you are welcomed to redeem your point for your stay! The hotel itself was a bit old (especially the lift and room doors that were wearing off) but still well-maintained.

What’s the benefit of staying in this hotel? First, it made you eligible for Park ticket purchase in the hotel with fast-pass service (a part of Walt Disney World privileges). Second you got free access to every parks by bus and ferries (from and to Disney Hollywood Studio and Epcot Park). Third, because my dad was a Platinum-life member of SPG they put a special surprise in our room. A bowl full of snickers, mars, time-out and every other American chocolate for me and my sister’s graduation! Fun!

Congratulations MFA!

Congratulations MFA!

Congratulations B.Sc.!

Congratulations B.Sc.!

The dining was quite good, for breakfast we could go for a buffet in . Where they claimed guest can have breakfast with Disney character if booked, my family had one, though, although we did not book it, LOL.

Breakfast with a Disney Character!

Breakfast with a Disney Character!

However, I specially recommend the Japanese restaurant and also the room service, it was really good! The view from the hotel at night was also incredible, you could see the fireworks from Magic Kingdom’s parade and you also had an astonishing view of the bridge connecting this hotel to its sister’s hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin.

magnificent view~

magnificent view~

 

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is a small downtown for the whole resort where they have shops, restaurants, cafes, and even cinema. For sweet lovers, i recommended you to go to Goofy’s Candy Co, you can have every disney-themed treats here. From cupcake, cookies, candies, chocolate, and everything sugary!

Goofy's Candy Co!

Goofy’s Candy Co!

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Sweets!

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Sugars!

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Mickey & Minnie’s Cookies!

The special treats from this shop, however are the specialty apples (coated with chocolate), 5-topped pretzel rods, topped crisped rice treat, topped marshmallow, and top gingerbread cookie. You can choose the kind of chocolate and topping that you want!

Form to make your order!

Form to make your order!

Caramel Apple in the making!

Caramel Apple in the making!

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extra large Mickey Krispy Rice Treat!

I chose to have topped crisped rice treat. The rice crispies are sticked with caramel and it has mickey shaped, topped with colorful sprinkles and milk chocolate :9 yummy! but beware of the size, because it’s extremely sweet it was almost impossible to finish it by my own! 😀

my own treat, sugar high!

my own treat, sugar high!

If you want to taste America’s most famous chocolate you can also go to Ghirardelli Chocolate shop, which was truly delicious. You could have shakes, ice cream or just a simple signature ice-chocolate.

Ghirardelli Chocolate~

Ghirardelli Chocolate~

We have ice cream, shakes, and original iced chocolate~

We have ice cream, shakes, and original iced chocolate~

:3

:3

If you’re fond of shopping especially for Disney’s goods, going to World of Disney is really recommended. It is such a huge disney-themed shop where you can get everything. From usual souvenirs like t-shirt, pen, magnets,mugs, and key chain until suitcases, jewelry, make-ups cooking utensils and everything! You will definitely love it here! And if you have little children, they also sell princess costume and makeover here, at Bibbidi Bobbidi’s Boutiques.

World of Disney~

World of Disney~

In some day, they also have food trucks parked outside the Disney Downtown, so American, isn’t it?

Food Trucks!

Food Trucks!

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Disney’s Boardwalk

This boardwalk is close from my hotel, it only took 5 minutes walking from my hotel, located near the ‘sea’ it imitates the real American boardwalk. Unfortunately I did not have any picture describing about this site. However this boardwalk consists of cafe, restaurant, food stalls, and game center, just like common American boardwalk. We can also see some street performances along the boardwalk from magic performance until music performance.

I think this boardwalk is especially recommended for a night dating with your boyfriend/husband 😀 You can have a nice dinner in one of the restaurant, your boy can win a doll for you in the game center, and you could also see the spectacular fireworks from the parade!

 

So this is my first review about The Magical Walt Disney World, i will write about the park in the following post!

See you soon~

With loads of love,

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema