Dunia tak seluas daun kelor

Dalam bahasa Indonesia ada pepatah “Dunia tak seluas daun kelor”, untuk informasi aja daun kelor itu kecil banget loh. Jadi selama 4 tahun tinggal di Jepang ini saya setidaknya mengalami dua kali kejadian yang membuktikan bahwa benar dunia itu ternyata kecil banget.

Yang pertama, kejadiannya sekitar 3 atau 4 tahun yang lalu. Ada rekan kerja dulu pas di Jakarta yang lagi jalan-jalan ke Osaka dan kita rencana mau ketemuan, tapi karena schedule dia padat banget, kita ga sempat untuk ketemuan. Ternyata pas teman saya lagi jalan-jalan ke Arashiyama dan dia tersesat trus dia tanya sama orang yang ternyata adalah teman kampus saya anak malaysia

Yang terbaru, sekitar satu minggu yang lalu saya jemput pacar saya di Shin-Osaka station. Di depan exit gate nya saya ketemu temen saya anak Jerman yang baru pulang liburan dari negaranya. Kita sempet ngobrol-ngobrol bentar, catch up kecil-kecilan, tidak lama kemudian cowok saya muncul dari exit gate. Ternyata teman saya dan cowok saya itu duduk nya sebelehan dalam penerbangan Frankfurt-KIX. Bahkan mereka sempet kenalan dan ngobrol-ngobrol selama di pesawat.

 

“Javanese edelweiss” is not Alps edelweiss

Kenapa saya tiba-tiba ngomong tentang bunga edelweiss?

(Flash back 15-16 tahun yang lalu)

Dulu setiap ada anak MAPALA (Mahasiswa Pecinta Alam) pulang abis naik gunung, mereka selalu bawa oleh-oleh buat saya satu ikat bunga yang mereka sebut sebagai bunga edelweiss. Katanya ini bunga abadi dan cuma ada di daerah pegunungan. Nah karena setiap anak MAPALA pulang saya selalu dikasih itu bunga, makanya saya berpikiran ini bunga pasti ga langka, ada di semua pegunungan di indonesia.

(fast forward April 2016)

Saya dan pacar lagi bahas soal rencana hiking buat bulan depan ke Alpine route japan. Teringatlah saya tentang si bunga edelweiss ini kemudian saya tanya ke pacar.

“Do you know edelweiss flower?. I remember my friends used to gave me that flower everytime they climb a mountain”

“Really? That’s an endangered plant, even in swiss alps it’s hard to find  and if you do you can not pick them”

“They’re easy to find in Indonesiaan mountain”

(2 minggu kemudian)

Karena penasaran, kemudian saya googling “edelweiss”, dan ternyata gambar bunga yang muncul beda dengan yang dulu sering dikasih teman. Setelah riset kecil-kecilan di google, ternyata dua bunga ini berbeda. bunga yang di temukan di pegunungan indonesia adalah jenis Anaphalis javanica sedangkan yang di eropa dari jenis Leontopodium alpinum. Genus nya saja sudah berbeda, mungkin karena sama-sama bunga abadi maka orang-orang indonesia menyebutnya bunga “edelweiss” juga.

Sekian laporan dari Osaka

 

 

 

Japan in every season

Back in my home country The Great Indonesia we only has 2 seasons in one year; summer and rainy. Here in Japan I experienced what it feels like to live in a 4 seasons country. I must say I really love it because summer, which is the hottest time of the year is very short,only 2 months (july and august) with temperature peak up in August. Imagine in Indonesia we have summer all through the year, LOL!. The color is also changing in every season. I don’t know with others countries but here in Japan i can easily notice the color and atmosphere changes.
First, Let’s start with winter. My first experienced with snow was here in Japan, the first time i experienced temperature below 0 degree Celsius. Osaka, the city where I live, winter is not so bad, the lowest temperature is only -5, and sadly snow is  very seldom in Osaka, even when it falls it’ll diasappear very soon. If you’re looking for a thick pile of snow the best place to visit is Hokkaido and Gifu. Every february there is an ice festival in Sapporo, it’ll be the best time to experience Hokkaido in winter.  One noticeable thing with winter in Japan is Illumination. You will see illumination in every city.
Then after winter come spring the season that everyone loves but me. Since I moved here to Japan, I found out that I have allergy to pollen. I have this spring skin diseases (especially on my face) that even my SK-II combo can`t help. Thanks to my secretary, she gave me a lotion from a dermatologist “hirudoid” i can fully enjoy spring.
After spring and several of rainy weeks in june and july comes summer. I come from a tropical country but i really dislike summer in Japan. I can’t stand the humidity, the rule is you go out of the house you sweat. The specialty in summer is the fireworks festival. almost every city has their own fireworks festival.
Autumn is the most beautiful season for me, the vibrant red and orange colors meet the mild temperature. Kyoto is the best for viewing the momiji leaves.
You can visit japan for all season, of course spring and autumn are the best time to visit.

Japan’s hair salon experiences

Living here for almost 4 years, I  experienced the Japanese hair salon service for several times only. I do not visit hair salon very often here in Japan, unlike in Jakarta where i come from, I used to visit hair salon very often twice/month for hair treatment such as cream bath and head spa, hence my hair was really soft and nice before than now. Hair salon in japan is very expensive, to get a hair cut you have to pay minimum 3500 yen. Their service is very good, you’d come out of the salon with a very nicely done hair.

Although it is very expensive, most of the salons offers 20-30% discount for first time customer. There are so many hair salon here, just come to a different salon every time you want to get a hair care. Another way is you can get an online discount coupon from hot pepper.

I only have one problem with the hair salon in japan; they never get it right with my bangs. The first time i visited a salon they gave me a japanese bangs, which i hate the most. But i finally find a hair salon with an artist that know exactly how i want my bangs to be. I end up become a regular to this salon. The hair salon named FURUSHO turns out to be the best salon group in kansai area, and i should mention that it is also famous for being expensive.

I have to mention either about how superb is the customer service here. One time i went to the hair salon (FURUSHO) to get a hair perm but after two days the perm disappered. So, i called them and explain and they told me to come and they will repair the perm for free. I came to the salon aa scheduled by them and it was the salon senior artist that repaired my perm. He repaired it very nicely , using a longer pipe for the curls. I was really satisfied with the result. I paid 13000¥ for hair perm, it is expensive.

I will come to the salon again once my curls disappear. I’m lazy to have curls my hair with iron curl every morning before work.

That’s my experience with japan hair salon. For next post i will write about nail salon.

吉野山 A world Heritage

One of my favorite place in Japan beside kyoto is 吉野山 which is located in Nara (奈良) perfecture. I went last year for Hanami and I went again this year. The whole area is a world heritage but i guess not many peoples know about this place. Yoshino-yama is known as one of Japan’s best sakura spot. There are around 3000 sakura trees and they were planted from 1300 years before. 
It is 1,5 hours train ride from kintetsu-abenobashi station in Tennoji with local train, even if you take the limited express train the arrival time difference is only 15 minutes but you have to pay extra 510¥. You might wanna go to the toilet before you get on the train. It’s a boring train ride, if you’re the type who can sleep in public transportation then you might not have a problem with a boring train ride. The yoshino yama station is the final destination of the train, you might see yoshino-guchi station before you arrive at the last station but that is not the correct station to this area.
The area is divided into 3 parts 下千本、中千本、上千本。The yoshino city is located at the 中千本, the middle part of the mountain. You can find hotels, ryokans, restaurant and souvenirs shops in this area, some temple also located inside the town.
Last year when i visited this place it was during the peak of the sakura season, all the flowers were fully blossomed. The view from the 中千本  was just dreamy. But this year i came too early, most of the sakura trees had not fully bloomed, sime were just about to buds. 
From yoshino station you can take cable car or bus to the 中千本 area. Last year i took bus, but this year we took the hiking trails. The first destination was 如意輪寺, you have to pay 400¥ if you want to enter the garden. Inside the garden they have a budhist museum, a weeping sakura tree and a pagoda.
From 如意輪寺 we climbed even higher to reach the top of mountain. We wanted do it the extreme way we didn’t take the main road, we climbed the river until we met the hiking trails that lead us to the top of mountain. After 30 minutes of climbing we reached the 高城山 observation deck, since most of the sakura hadn’t bloomed yet the view is less dreamy, but still very beautiful. 
We went down to the city from the top, we stopped at one of the picnics area to ate lunch before continuing our journey. We saw many couples doing hanami at the picnic area. In the city we visited several temples, I totally forgot the name of the temples one of them is 吉水神社. 
We took cable car on our way back to the station. Because we had to catch the train that leave at 16.07 or we had to wait 30 minutes for the next train. Everyone including us were looking very tired inside the train, some were seen sleeping on the train.
Even though i couldn’t see the fully blossomed sakura this year, i satisfied with this year visit because i reached the top of the mountain. It was something i failed to achieve last year. I recommend this place for tourist who want to visit japan in spring. You can do one day trip to this mountain.

Friends visit


March has been a very busy and fun for me. Several of my friends from Indonesia cama to visit me this month. Sure march ls not the best season to visit Japan, the famous sakura has not bloomed yet not to mention the rain that often come in every seasonal changing.


On march 12th they arrived in Osaka. I was happy to see them again after two years. They complained about the cold temperature after they breath the japan fresh air. I told them before that in march the temperature already warm around 15-20 degree. But this year temperature a little bit off than the usual. In march the temp was like 2-10 degree.
Anyway after arriving at my place, they rested for half day. At night we went to the famous tourist spot in Osaka “dotomburi”. We also took the famous rakugaki photo “purikura”
The second day, the destination is Kyoto.a little bit off the schedule, because i had to go to the lab for some experiment. For the second day we visited the “fushimi inari shrine”. Famous for it thousand red gates.
From fushimi inari shrine we went to the “pholosopher’s path” near the ginkakuji. It was a disappointment since the sakura has not bloomed yet the path looked really dull. We just spent like 5 minutes there then we continued to “kawaramchi-gion” the area where tourist flocks together. They shoped a lot here. A lit of sweets and also souvenirs.
Third day we strolled around Osaka. First stop is Osaka castle. We got to see the plum blossoms at Osaka castle
From Osaka castle we went straight to Umeda for another “oleh-oleh” shopping. Then after shopping at 5pm we went to Umeda sky building to see the sunset at 6PM. Cold winds and cloudy clouds, it was not possible to see the sunset. 
Fourth day, we visited Kyoto again. “Kinkakuji” was our first spot. I forget how many times i’ve been to this golden pavilion, but still it amazed me every time i visit this temple. The Golden pavilion just beautiful 
From Kinkakuji we went to “kyoumizudera” then  off to “arashiyama”. I visited arashiyama two years ago in autumn and it was really beautiful, in march it was really dull. My friends said she disappointed with the bamboo path because its different from the photo that she saw.
Last day we went to Kobe. I am sure there are a lot of tourist spots in kobe but i only been to one which is “harborland”. We spent half day in kobe before went back to Osaka.
In the end at 6pm our journey ended. It’s time for them to take the bus to the airport. They bought a lot of things. I hope they really enjoyed Japan. For me it was such a pleasure and happy time spent with friends. Completely forgoy with my brain damaging experiments 
Now i go back to the lab…working hard for my phd.

My Friends graduation

Today, three of my fellow phD students had finished defending their thesis. All of them were passed the examination and earn the phD title. One of them is my housemate.I saw the satisfaction on their faces after they’re finishing their presentation, 4 years of hard works, long nights, sweats, tears and even bloods, all paid off in just 20 minutes of presentation. I am so happy for all of them and also sad at the same time, sad because they will be leaving japan in April, I’m gonna miss them. I will be alone attending conference/seminar that we usually attend together.

My turn will come in 2 years. until then I still have to working hard.

Good Luck my friends