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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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Sanrio Puroland!

Hello everyone and happy golden week! 🙂

So yesterday I went to Sanrio Puroland with my bestfriend Hilda. And since we are sort-of a Sanrio-addict we were really-really excited! We even managed time to get the same dress for this particular occasion.

Before I told you about our adventure there, let me give you a general information for this park.

So, what’s Sanrio Puroland?

Outer Look of Sanrio Puroland!

Inner look of Sanrio Puroland!

Definitely from the name it is an all Sanrio-character theme park located at Tama City, Tokyo. It is located just a short walk from the South Exit of Odakyu Tama Center Station (Odakyu-Tama Line). You can basically meet any Sanrio character there from the famous Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars, to the little known ones like Monkichi (or it’s just me that don’t know Monkichi?).

In my opinion this park is really popular for Japanese (but we spotted some foreigner, though) and popular for toddlers and children (though we also spotted other grown up women, mainly come in pair with twin dress, just like me and Hilda). It was Golden Week so the park was kinda fully packed with people, but it’s indoor and the queuing is nothing like Disneyland, so don’t worry!

What’s the main event currently held there?

When we came, Sanrio Puroland also celebrates My Melody 40th Anniversary (geez, she’s that old). So they made special shop for her and the theme is just all for her! Good for me as a huge Melody fans!

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What’s the main attraction there in Sanrio Puroland?

Character Boat Ride

The boat ride is the first thing you will see at the entrance. During the first half of the ride you will get an overall introduction of all Sanrio Characters. During the second half of the ride you will see them all inside Hello Kitty’s Party! The decoration and character are so cute, you can even smell cinnamon when you see the cinnamon roll!

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Lady Kitty House

Next thing up is Lady Kitty House. But please note that Lady Kitty is not Hello Kitty (Kitty White), Lady Kitty is actually Rose White, Hello Kitty’s Grandmother. How can you see the difference? Rose White wears rose instead of red ribbon!

But the house itself is super cute and magnificent! You can go inside the house, look around all the cute stuffs, take picture, and in the end take picture with Lady Kitty :3 (but you will have to pay 1600 Yen more to get your photo printed). You will be greeted by Lady Kitty’s baby grand piano upon arrival and after that you can see Lady Kitty’s huge teddybear, her make-up, her dress collection, her bed, and everything!

It’s definitely a perfect place to take pictures!

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And this is me and my twinnie official picture with Lady Kitty Rose ❤

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Kiki & Lala – Twinkling Tour

This adorable twin is also my favorite and they also have attraction related to Kiki and Lala! Inside the Twinkling Tour you will watched a video about their born and also why did they descend to earth 😀 You will also learn about Kiki and Lala’s magical power and about a cloud machine that can grant anything that you wish for!

After we’ve finished watching the video, we will walk inside Kiki and Lala’s cloud house, it’s very cute!

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And of course, a photo with Kiki and Lala 🙂

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My Melody and Kuromi – My Meroad Drive

My Meroad Drive is another attraction hosted by My Melody and Kuromi. You can ride a very cute melody vehicle and the attraction mainly tell you about My Melody’s birth. The ride itself is only about 3 minutes but we have to wait for 1 hour for that, however, it is still worth it.

Any Musical, Parade or Character Greeting?

Yes, they are. But we did miss the parade and character greeting, though. Due to golden week, they did not have character greeting for main character (Hello Kitty, Melody, etc.) but only for some minor unknown character. But the musical, Hello Kitty in Wonderland is really excellent! Kitty is helping Kyle to search for Heart Queen’s lost heart (which was stolen by Joker, but Jack was the culprit).

You can watch it in youtube just search for ‘Hello Kitty in Wonderland (Sanrio Puroland)’ (but I think the feeling will be different than watching it directly)

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What i love the most of the musical is the song with very touching lyrics : 君にがいる大好きな家族、どんなに喧嘩しても、愛してる :’) (You have your loving family and no matter how hard you fight or have quarrel with each other, you will still love each other :’)

How about the shopping experience?

It is definitely a shopping paradise for Sanrio lover! :3 They have so many stores, like store special for Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars. But we explored the biggest one located near the main entrance, it had the combination of all characters! They basically sold everything related to Sanrio. From common things like doll, accessories, until shoes, bag, and even trunk!

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I ended up buying three Melody-related things. One stuffed toy (but not the LLL size probably only the L size), one melody-shaped tupperware, and one Melody transparent bag 🙂

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So, in overall?

I rated it 10 out of 10 (because i’m a Sanrio maniac, lol) 😀 I really want to come again later when it’s not Golden week, so we can get more photos with the main character!

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See you sooner or later, Sanrio Puroland! ❤

Love,

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