Thursday, December 31, 2015

Arigatou, Ni Sen Juu Go

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It's that time of year all over again.
The end of year, welcoming a new one.
This might be a rough goodbye for me.

Because this year,
Has been too good to be true.

2  0  1  5
The Year of  緊湊的樂趣


Now what the hell are those Chinese letters all about?
Last year's theme made sense and now, what are these?!

Okay, chill, dude.
So for 2015, I claimed it as

"The Year of Compact Fun"

Yes, those Chinese letters literally mean "Compact Fun" (well, not sure if it does literally mean that, because I was using Google Translate but, yea, at least it'll be somewhere around that phrase).

I made it in Chinese because by the time I was generating my new year's theme, the only plan I had for 2015 was my trip to Hong Kong and Macau. That's all. But I don't know, I had this sense that somehow in 2015 I'll visit somewhere else just near those two places, say like, Korea or, Japan maybe? So yea that's why I came up with the idea of using Chinese letters.

And by "Compact Fun", well, it was sort of a hope that in 2015, I'll have an unstoppable back-to-back kind of fun. Some endless fun. With no break. Eternal fun.

Which turned out, to come true.

Because since my trip to Menjangan for the new year, then went on to Hong Kong and Macau, then my second book project, then started working for SOGO and the side jobs, then all those local trips up to the ultimate two-month Japan adventure, until finally now, I'm in Bali again for another new year,

It was indeed, surprisingly compact.
Just like what I expected.

I didn't even, even know how.
It worked just the way I wanted.

Now.

2016 is ready to replace my favorite year.
And it seems like I need to find a new theme...

But you know what, I can't decide now. It's too early, maybe after a week or two I'll come up with something. And maybe after I know what I'm going to achieve for 2016, I'm not going to spoil it too much here and just let it flow for the whole year, see myself if it's going to be so much relevant like this year or not.

Although I'm pretty sure it will be.

And oh, I think I have a little sneak peek of what my theme will nearly be about. This is a mural quote my Japanese friend spotted in Harajuku for me, and I kinda like it.

Saucy.

Yea well,

Whatever I'm going to have for 2016.
I must give all the credits first for 2015.

Thank you, you crazy year.

I seriously didn't expect you to be this striking.
To be this great, to be this enchanting, to be this--
Oh fvck, I can't even find the best word for you.

Well just remember that you,
Have been the best year so far.

And all the things you've done to me up 'till now,
Will linger on me forever

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I Don't Know How I Did It

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2015 is reaching its end.

Never thought that this year will be the time of my life where I focused really big on,

Career.

Ugh, career. One thing the 2010 me had always avoided from. Because the word relates closely near to adulthood. A stage of life even the 2012 me had always denied about. But what could I do, as I grew up the 2015 me finally gave in and worked a lot on, career.

But it turned out to be a fantastic year.

As I got my very first permanent job. In fashion retail industry. Shite, what a new experience no? Although still, my part was revolving around writing  but fashion? I must give credit to myself because I survived nine months for this main job.

"Main job". Oh yeah, I had side jobs too. "Jobs". As in two side jobs. As a web and social media administrator in film industry, and copy and Twitter writer in a music event. Fvck, more new experiences? I mean, film? Music? Those were all so not me.

But then I got to do all those three jobs, for learning. Lol kidding. Of course, for the sake of money making. I had this big BIG plan I had never done before, that really needed big BIG money so, I took the risks of taking those three jobs.

So, it seemed like I was forced to put off my real passion, eh?
Yes, "seemed like". But no, I will never abandon this part of me.

Traveling.

I kept on pursuing this one. Having my second baby the Cheating Hong Kong & Macau, publishing another article for MyTrip magazine, and of course, going on real trips to Harapan, Pahawang, and Krakatau - and it was all Indonesian trip, for God's sake I'm so proud!

But ultimately, of course,
When it comes to traveling,
In the year 2015, it's undoubtedly

My internship to Japan.


It happened all of a sudden. The vacancy was open in January, right when I was working on my second book while searching for a new job after doing my trip to Hong Kong and Macau. Then I got that job in fashion. Yet two weeks after, the manager from Japan interviewed me via Skype, and then boom, I got the internship.

Then I started to prepare everything like, everything, to get me safe and sound to Japan, while I was also doing my job. Then I realized I needed more money for this project so I took the film job. Then I discovered that I could still bare a little more responsible for more money, so I took the music job. Then for three crazy months, I had to do three crazy so-not-me jobs, all for the crazy trip I had been dreaming about since I was like, three years old?

And I kept surprising myself even after arriving in Japan. Six weeks of non-stop exploration, four weeks of which were assigned with one mandatory article per day. Other interns failed in meeting the requirements but I, with my crazy obsessed freak trait, eventually produced 28 posts and saved myself by earning the promised money for completing the task.

I don't know how I did it.

This year generally, and that internship specifically, really taught me more than all the things I ever done in my life, combined. It opened my mind about my true strength in pursuing my dream. About how I can get whatever I want, with my own power. About my actual potential.

And I'm sure it's not even half of it.
There's more of me I need to unveil.
There's more skill, more opportunity,
More and more things I can benefit

That for the time being, I still
Don't know how to do

Monday, December 7, 2015

Living Life

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It’s been an unbelievable month.
I didn’t even get a chance to update my blog.

From my last post, it wasn’t clearly said why I resigned my position in SOGO, for what reason I was brave enough to jeopardize my growing career, and why so sudden.

Well, I’m going to tell you guys briefly, because at this moment I just realized that I have a spare time to write on my blog.

So.

I was accepted in an internship for a tourism website.
The name is JapanTravel.com, and I’m required to do it in,

Of course,

Japan.

This was really crazy. I mean, the day they interviewed me and obviously gave me this sign that I was accepted, the craze started there. I mean, this is like a mixture of everything I dreamed of. Writing, traveling, and, Japan.

Long story short, five days after I resigned from SOGO I flew to Japan right away to start the program. And that explains why I had no chance to update, eh? My main job in this internship, is to explore Japan and write about all its tourist attractions. Sounds too good to be true, yes?

Well, it is.

Even up ‘till now I still couldn’t believe that out of 1.000 applicants, they picked me. Invited me to Japan, in which I’ve always been dying to visit. Assigned me with writing tasks, in which I’ve always been improving at. And on top of all, gave me chance to cover topics of traveling—in which I’ve always been trying to put my life within.

And so far it’s been a job I’ve always dreamed about since I was a little. Got a pack of name cards titled ‘reporter’, earned privilege to take photos of something that regular visitors aren’t allowed to, living life as a true journalist.

I carried my small notepad everywhere I go. I brought my laptop to cafés so I could work while sipping a cup of hot chocolate –that’s what I’m doing like right now. I asked this and that, in limited Japanese, just to find out details to complete my articles—oh, my God. I’m living life of my dream.

But now I’m near to the end.

It’s been five weeks already I guess, and I have to remember that this journalist thingy is just an internship. And it's just temporary.

Say hi to my kitty notepad and the drink I've always ordered in COFFEE shops.

But I change my mind.

I'm gonna take back word ‘just’.
And put it somewhere else better.

Because in this 'just' internship,
In this 'just' one month traveling,
I learned a lot, too lot actually.

And at least soon in Indonesia
When I'm feeling down or something,
I could always say to myself that once,

I lived life other people
Could 'just' dream of

Monday, November 9, 2015

Second Child

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Second child is something.

I looked up to my aunts from mom and dad. Both are the second child of their own sibling lines. Aunt from mom, she's a fighter. From what I see now, and from what mom told me about her, she is, was, and I'm pretty sure she'll always be damn tough. Then my aunt from dad, she's the central of my big family's attention. A determined lady I've ever known in my life.

But they're just a glimpse of what I know about second child. My complete belief, of course, comes from my own little brother. A nerve-wrecking guy. Independent as fvck. A kind of guy we can rely on.

Now what is this second child thingy all about?

Well, it's because I want those qualities from my closest second-child relatives, to be inside my very own second child:

"Cheating Hong Kong and Macau"

Don't ask me how,
I could barely believe myself.

Right after my trip to Hong Kong and Macau, I didn't waste even one second and started working on this book right away. Then I sent it to the same publisher I did my first book with, and the next thing I knew, we were doing the book process all over again.

By that time I got a job already. Several jobs, actually. So the editing process was somehow pretty packed. But still, I enjoyed it like, hey, I'm doing this again, which means that I will have another book displayed on the book store!

So I made it through everything, and did the same scheme I conducted last year. Bringing my family to lunch, forced them to the bookstore, and entered the book right before their faces. It took us another 30 minutes photo session just by the bookshelf, but hey, who cares.

What I cared is to see this spark of pride on their eyes.
This sense of trust about my bright bright future.

Oh this is a good sign.

My second child will be the point where my family begins to let me go. To let me do whatever I want to do. To let me off to the world. Which I actually am doing now, as this second I'm currently in Japan for the pursuit of my travel writing career.

Japan? But how--when--why--
Soon, okay, soon I'll tell you all.

Right now is about my book
And how to wish him the best
For what he's doing in Jakarta.
While I'm doing my best here

In Tokyo

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Story of the Ordinary, Gone Overwhelming

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This is a tale of a big family with their clothing business empire.

Meet Victor. A youngest child of three. He and his two older sisters, Lorraine and Renee, works for a clothing company their parents had given legacy to, from their grand parents. Katrina, the mom with all her strict rules, and Criss, the dad that loves creativity and creativity only, are the ones behind the company's main desk. All five of them had been living a normal life as the company runners, and everything would seem to be okay.

Until one day, Lorraine got a job abroad. And Renee decided to start her own design business. It struck Victor in his heart, knowing that he'd be all alone dealing with their company. The girls left, and Victor got overran with the leftovers.

But then God heard his prayers. A scholarship application he sent long ago, accepted him in a year-long writing program. Victor was more than ready to leave, but the whole family wasn't. Everybody trembled in shock that the company's sole successor was about to leave.

It was hard at first for Uncle Boyd, Mom's step brother, who was personally (and of course, professionally) so close to Victor. Also for Randall, Uncle Boyd's eldest son. But the younger siblings Stanley and Jaclyn made it easy for them to give approval.

Things got a little bit easier as Mom's step sister Nina, encouraged Victor to leave. She had always been Victor's favorite aunty and he knew she would support him. Her husband Razaq made it easy too, as his witty-wicked personality distracted Victor from all his doubts. But the best support came from his closest cousin Franchesca. His partner in crime, his other half in the family.

Soon after that, supports kept coming. From his other cousins: Simon the international minded guy, twins Chandler and Chantall, brothers Rickard and Patricia (yes, Patricia is a name of a boy here). Also from his other uncles and aunties: Frida, Gina, Yvette, Wagner, Undine, Yvonne, Horrace, Maria, Amish, Barry, Poppy, Ilda, Igor, Damian, Kiki, and everybody else, yes, they got Victor's back.

Everything had been really smooth, until suddenly, two weeks before Victor's departure, Mom left to check on the girls. And Dad knew he'd be doing everything alone, running the company alone, managing all the necessities alone, if Victor really meant to leave.

So the days of new great offers and promises started. Dad kept coming over and over again to Victor, promising him with this and that, higher positions and money beyond compare -- all made Victor turned unsure with his decisions.

But passion won.
Victor eventually left.

With the sisters, during their alay days.
With the whole family, before Mom left.
Victor's favorite cousin, Franchesca.
With Aunties Nina, Maria, Frida, Yvette, and Gina, Franchesca, Chandler, and Victor's new friend Kirby.
This was taken on Victor's last day before he left the company.

Today,

Is three days before Victor's departure to his dream. He's now sitting in front of his laptop, writing, stop writing, and thinking about many things. About his comfort zone in the family's company. About whether he's making the right decision or not. And about how he's grown from an ordinary little kid, to be a man overwhelmed with values, after all the lessons he learned from the company.

But he knew he's grown well, yet still got to grow.
And so, gone is he to battle

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Missing My Friends

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When I was still in college... Oh this is cliche, but
When I was in college, I did have the best time of my life.

I got to taste a bit of adulthood. I learned to live independently, my parents slowly unleashed me from their sphere of over-protection. I had a valuable social life, balanced with my budding professional path, but on top of all, I still owned free time.

In which I used, mostly to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Pic's from here.

I was so crazy about this serial back then. When I was still staying at my TV-less rented room, their episodes had always been the only thing I watched on my laptop, to accompany my meal time. Not enough with that, whenever I returned home and despite the cable TV provided, I still preferred watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Then my university period ended. My freelance year started and to fill all the spare time, I stood by Warner TV at 9 a.m. sharp - 9 a.m. and still at home, what a beautiful life I had back then, no?? - to never miss F.R.I.E.N.D.S., no matter how often and how familiar I am with whatever episodes aired.

I kept replaying and replaying the episodes, from "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate" until "The Last One", or random ones which were my favorites, anything. Until I began working like a normal guy, and started losing my free time.

Oh yeah, real professional life has been drifting me away from maximizing my me time. Me time with my F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I used to be so close to all six of them. Backing Monica up for how weird her obsession is, mimicking Chandler's gesture, being on Rachel's side for her "on a break" issues, holding myself back from hitting Ross because he's such a pain in the ass, also from hitting Joey due to his idiotic acts, and laughing my ass off of Phoebe's natural innocence. They're the best, yet I haven't seen them in a while.

Until last night, they appeared in my sleep. Clearly, undoubtedly.
I'm not exaggerating here, I did dream about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. last night.

I'm not sure which episode, because I was in there. As a part of their gang. I arrived in New York and all six of them wanted to take me out. Rachel brought me to some lunch - we had grilled cheese, I remembered so clear because by the time I woke up, I was super craving for some bread meals - and Monica played tag with me on the park. Then Chandler wanted to bring me shopping, and Joey showed us this store with crazy ass discounts. Phoebe was there already and with her random ideas, she challenged all of us in a race to get the best discounted stuff. It was fun, really. And Ross, well, I forgot where he was, I don't really like him anyway.

All of us strolled by Central Park on Upper East Side, walking and laughing together like real friends do. Then we called it a day, everybody returned to their places and I returned to real world. I got up from bed, with a big smile on my face. And a bit sadness too, because... Dreaming that could possibly mean two things.

One,
I missed America and that's why I ended up in The Big Apple on my dream.

It's probably true, really, giving the fact that by this time two years ago, I was in New York. And I'm pretty sure for the upcoming two weeks I'll subconsciously be in my deepest commemoration because, sigh, should I say this again, America was the best trip so far.

Two,
I just missed F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Period.

I was still too attached to them a year ago, never spent a day without at least one line from anybody in the show, and today, it's been six months since the last time I heard the opening theme with that iconic fountain and sofa. It's a shock.

It's like you've been in a relationship with somebody you loved six time greater than anybody else you ever loved, then you gradually lose contact with them yet you denied, and when they appeared in your dream, you realized,

That you've been missing them too bad.

Well.

I was so crazy about this serial back then.
I still am, only different is, my time now is limited.

But what kind of a friend I am,
Deserting them just because I'm busy?

I'll start watching them again,
I'll never leave anymore, I promise, because
They'll be there for me too

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Kid with Big Fishy

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On my story to Krakatau, I did tell you that I “crossed path with the most gigantic non-whale fish I ever seen with my very own goggle” — right?

Well now, I’d like to talk more about this.

No, no, I didn’t change the script. I still have no evidence. The photograph is still non-existed. I was fool enough to get down the water camera-less, fool enough not to borrow any from my friends who got GoPro back then, or AT LEAST, any camera from ANYBODY who were swimming around me—yes, I was that fool.

Then the story has been left unveiled. I get to swallow what I saw all by myself. I’m feeling like Harry when he escaped from the graveyard in “The Goblet of Fire”—returned from a shocking scene he just witnessed with his very own eyes, only to be blamed by everybody about Cedric's death. But our things are different on so many level. Mine is real, and the struggle to convince people is, real.

I failed reassuring in real life, but who knows if I can succeed here?

It was in an island called Labuan Cabe. One of many pearls scattered throughout Mount Anak Krakatau. As usual, to get away from those amateur snorkelers, I swam around the area alone. Far away from the boats, far away from people who was floating with heavy, fat life-jackets. Maybe it was like, around one hour of swimming, until finally I heard the signal that our time was up and we needed to return to the boat.

Labuan Cabe from my camera

I, of course, reached the boat a little bit faster than anybody else. But seeing people still struggling to drag their sea-turtle-weighed body back to our station, I eventually ran out of patience and did some more swimming—you know, rather than doing nothing and just wait.

So I snorkeled just nearby. Just around the other boats, around other people, with shallow seabed, and... This gargantuan fish swimming still by the shore.

I stopped moving. My eye caught his –not sure tho if it was a male or female but, let’s just say it’s a he. His size stunned me. His flat figure reminded me that I saw that kind of fish at least once on TV, but my logic was distorted due to fear. Fear, because he was just there, floating like a dead body-less fish head, not moving either, being the biggest thing I ever seen in my underwater life.

Well I swam with whales in Philippines but that was totally secured, with guides, and fishermen and stuff. Plus, it was a whale. Everybody expected whales to be big, so I was mentally prepared before I dived back then. This one, was A FREAKING FISH! A fish in adult pig size, apparently existed just near the place we were swimming—who would’ve not panicking!?

The fact that I was alone, accidentally spotting him without prior warning, and that he was just there, petrifying –I had this terrible feeling that he might have been shocked too, seeing me seeing him, and he was planning to attack in 3… 2… 1—I left as fast as I could. As a matter of fact, I was literally screaming in panic. Salt water rushed into my snorkeling pipe, filled my throat but fuck I don’t care, I have to fucking run away from fucking here.

I told everybody about that fish. They seemed to trust me, but they also laughed. It was like being a kid again, when I tried to tell my dad that I just saw a Godzilla following us when we were driving, then he obviously pretended to be scared and told my mom to take cover—only to make it seem like what I saw was real, and he believed it.

Those kind of responses stopped me from telling more about the fish. But I promised myself that I would definitely see that fish again so I can proof to people that I didn't tell a lie. But then, long ago I also promised myself not to visit the same destination twice so—I changed my promise to AT LEAST, make myself sure that the fish I saw, was real.

So I began my observation.

Collecting pieces of my memories about that fish –it was ruined, really, his color, his figure, I was too frightened by the size and his eyesGoogling “largest fish in Krakatau”, “largest fish in Indonesia”, browsing anything I could do to find the best visual to restore my mental picture of him. A guy I met on my trip to Krakatau said that it could be an ayam-ayam fish, but when I googled that, no, it wasn’t him.

I met a dead end. All keywords I browsed didn’t match with that fish. Until today, several weeks after I left my case untouched, I came back with smarter mind.

And smarter keyword: “Largest Fish List”

Wikipedia appeared with its page. I opened it up, felt nervous, and finally stopped scrolling when I saw a picture of “The Ocean Sunfish”.

Because well, this is it—it's him.

Obviously, what I saw was smaller than these. Pics are from here, here and here.


I swear, this is just what I bumped into. The size, the figure, it all matched. I didn’t remember if he had dorsal and ventral fins but—I swear, this is him. I opened the links to all types of fish mentioned on that page in Wiki, but no, nothing came closer to sunfish—because I swear, this is him. So I dig deeper about this fish, and after reading sentence “The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the globe”, I stopped reading—that's when I'm sure enough to swear, that this is him. Or at least it's close to him.

Well this is the best I can do.

I don’t have the visual proof, I can’t even make sure the real name of that fish, this is the best I can do and I hope it’s near the reality.

I hope it was really a sunfish that I stared at,
I hope there’s actually a sunfish living in Sunda Strait,
And I hope I’m right about what I saw because otherwise—

It means that I’ve been telling a
Stupid kid nonsense

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flying Solo

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When I was younger, I’ve always had this huge desire to explore

By myself.

Vicky Amin presents



I remember when my family and I went to Singapore 7 years ago. After we called it a day and headed back to the hotel, I asked for my parents’ permission to go out on my own –while my younger brothers decided to eat fried chicken and watch Smackdown at their room. Mom and dad agreed, and I went to Clark Quay. I can’t ever forget about that moment. When I rode the MRT, asked the staff where particular places were, asked strangers to take photos of me, damn, I felt like I was ready to take off of my home and rule the world.

Then I started my annual solo traveling habit. MalaysiaThailand, VietnamCambodia, Philippines, and finally Hong Kong–Macau. It was all crazy, really, like, if you ask me which one is the best, I literally can’t answer.

But if you force me to answer, with cold dagger lingering on my throat, and blood slowly bursts out of my Adam’s apple –shit man, I’ve seeped too much inside the Game of Thrones, I gotta say that, the best solo traveling moment actually came from inside this country.

Yes.

From my “Conquering Indonesia” mission.



I met so many people during my international solo trips. Like, hundreds of them. Whether I knew their names or not, I literally met and talked with people from everywhere.

Knowing that I was traveling on my own, on such young stage of life, they were impressed, yes. But that’s all. After that, we kept on talking like nothing spectacular had happened to me, like travelers normally interacted. Because solo traveling is not a big deal for them. It’s common. Everybody from their country does that—even they have done that many times.

Then back in my country.
Where solo traveling is considered as, well, peculiar. Some say it’s crazy, some others say it’s desperate –oh what a narrow-minded, corny persons they are, and the rest of them say it’s… Mesmerizing.

Harapan was my first experience. I was grouped with originally twenty people, half of which was a bunch of stupid high school teenagers so I would only say that by that time, I was joined to a group of eleven. Aside of me, the other ten came literally in a couple. So basically they had a company. I, eventually, got called ‘Hachi’ by them. You know, that lonely honeybee hutch? Yea they called me that.

But that didn’t make me down. I was psyched instead. Those people saw me and looked after me like I was their youngest brother –well, I WAS, the youngest of all eleven. They talked to me, offered foods to me, make fun of me being so lean and lonely—after all, I went home bringing new friends more than anybody else in the group.

Care to guess which 10 people I did make friends with?

One month after, I went to Pahawang. This was even better. A bigger group, of 32, but since it was split into two boats, I only got to know half of them –which was good, because on the other boat there were these flamboyant boys I really wanted to punch and this fat girl whose mouth I would want to shut with a duct tape. So what made the trip better?

I personally knew these people even deeper than the ones I met in Harapan. They were originally a group of people knowing each other pretty well, and they welcomed me as if I was one of them. Talked to me, offered foods to me, make fun of how I slept like reclining Buddha—I swear at this stage, I fell in love with joining an open trip.

The rest of the group were drinking coconut somewhere on the beach.

Oh I was right. Because the best thing happened in my Krakatau trip. It's a whole bigger group, consisting of several different smaller groups, and all of us shared one same boat. So the rumor about me being the only one who came down there alone, spread like virus. Making everybody impressed, and curious about why on earth would I decide to hike Mount Krakatau with strangers.

And I literally talked to each small group. Groups that were not interacting with other groups, because they only wanted to hang inside their group. But since I wasn't a part of any group, they came to me. Talked to me, offered foods to me, make fun of THEMSELVES, for not being brave enough to do what I had done so many times—and I swear at that stage, I was so proud of myself.

I miss my strangers.

Oh well, Tricky Traveler.
You surely found where you belong.

I may have said this too many times but, I really like traveling solo. I really enjoy meeting new people. And how they will judge me about my self exploration. But nothing beats the joy of seeing their face in either amaze, wonder, or worry, when I start telling them my adventures.

Honestly, my mouth is getting tired of answering question "why do you like traveling solo?" and answer "because it's free, and I don't have to wait for anybody, and I can be mad to whoever I want if they're slowing me down because they're not my friends" has been spilled too often.

But I never got sick of that.

Because that question is where everything begins.
It's a cue that will lead me to a deeper conversation,
Stronger relationship and of course, eventually, a new friend.

And after all,
That's the beauty of
Flying Solo