Saturday, May 21, 2016

Settling Down, Part Three

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I liked today, again,
And these past three weeks or so.

I've been bragging much about how Jakarta had improved in here and there, making my life easier. Well apparently it's not only the tangible outer atmosphere that has shifted. It's myself, and my surrounding too, that gave a big portion of happiness to... Myself.

Lots of things happened to me recently. And it was like boom boom boom, so fast, I even forgot to breathe. My jobs were crazy. My fast-paced activities came and went away before me. Yet somehow, I managed to get myself in the zone.

Zone of life I've always imagined I'd live.


It's always my major weakness. But I knew I've put off enough. So I did some friendly sports I can always tolerate doing. Swim, with my family; walk, like really far - most people find my walking habit crazy, but that's the only way I exercise! - and jog, not that typical mini run at some tracks near my house, but more to real jogging at one of the city central park.

Simple exercises. Yes. But for me, for this lazy ass bastard, pulling off those movements are considered pretty cool. And if only I can keep doing this, well, it's a wonderful life I'm really living.


Gone are my clubbing days—that's not the type of nightout I'm talking about. Well, I'm actually still eager for that, but it has become one of those mere "nice to do" activities which I'm okay not doing. So my newer type of nightout consisted of something like going to a themed dinner, a pasta night one, and having a long talk with strangers, enjoying beer—I mean, ROOT beer, conducting some ambitious discussions, dining Thai food, going on a night lone ride, visiting street fairs, picking up some random eateries by the street, having a big grilling dinner, attending musical shows, completed with a late eat at downtown hub afterwards. My city pretty much never sleeps either so, these kinds of nightout never seem to be a bad idea.


Well I don't know why, but recently life seems to be generous enough to me in the sense of sending great (new) people throughout my days. Old ones getting closer, new ones making me grateful of being a human: a constant mentor, helpful locals, like-minded stranger, friends for life, new friends, new co-workers—hm. 'New', co-workers?


Some of you might know that I'm a proud freelancer. I work from home, doing the job I proudly claimed after returning from Japan—and some other job in film industry. When I'm pretty much sick of just staying at home, I bring my laptop out and chill at some cafe. Needless to say, it's a really nice routine. People I share my work stories with are always jealous of me not having to go to an office.

But then again, I realized I need to progress. I need to learn more, in which I need to make mistakes and have got to have a next-to-me superior I can always take lessons from. Plus, working from home is not always beautiful. The boredom and the stress you can't share with anybody else (like an office team, for instance) can sometimes be unbearable.

Therefore once again,
After all my on-and-off habit,
I'm employed one more time.

And this time I'm convincing myself not to go anywhere else, unless it's for the master degree. I've explored enough, and this company I'm now working at, is too hard to get and too big to ditch.

See, even the random restaurant I chose off the street told me to work hard.


Jakarta has decided to transform, with all those elements I fond of. And I, without myself knowing it, has been slowly immersed to the life in the capital.

I think, I THINK, this is
My real "Settle Down"

Saturday, May 7, 2016


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Ever since I returned from Japan,

I still haven't got the spirit to go back working at the office. I'm still enjoying my life working for the Japanese company from home, and doing some other projects. So I got lots of spare time, and--wow, hold it. It's not what I'm going to talk about.


Ever since I returned from Japan,
I still haven't completely moved on.

Best trip so far.

Well, I've always said that after finishing one trip.
But seriously, this one, is crazier and incomparable.

Giving the fact that it's a trip I find really, really immaculate, I never want the memories to fade too quick. So I write many memoirs about the journey, I keep contributing for the company I did my internship with, and, this is the one I like the most:

I watch K-ON.

I stood here, right where they were standing. Pic's from here.

An anime about a school band, consisting of five female high school students. Despite the title ("K-ON" derives from word "keionbu" which literally means "light music"), most of the episodes tell about the girls' daily routines like finishing homeworks, going on a vacation, arranging their club room, and many other non-music-related stuff. Yet so rich in Japanese day-to-day dos.

And that's why I love the show.

Watching K-ON reminds me a lot to the country I've been, and am still in love with. And it's smoothly created with delicate human gesture, natural dialects and intonations, and most importantly, 100% representing Japanese high school students. Unlike any other anime which sometimes can be, too much. Like Naruto. But still, I love that bastard ninja.

I've watched the show for quiet some time before I flew to Japan, but after my trip, everything seems to be much more relevant. How they go to the convenient store, how they arrive in Kyoto Station and visit the major tourist destinations, how they eat the soba sandwich I once ate in Osaka, damn, I'm now one million steps closer to the girls.

And of course, you know what happens next.
I'm emotionally invested to the show.

I have spare time, remember? So I spend my afternoon on Monday to Friday to get myself closer to the girls. And weird things have started crawling inside my mind ever since.

Like the fact that I began to think that Mio is cute and could be a perfect girlfriend. Mugi, too. And Ritsu could be a best bud I can do crimes with. I also constantly laugh to their jokes -the humour it's really my kind of sense, I imitate the way they speak as a part of my Japanese practice, I can even relate the feelings they create to each other, and the feelings that they are feeling.

Including the time they performed at the school festival on the senior year. Yes, their last performance. Finishing the top-notch play, they returned to their club room, and started recalling that performance they just did. One thing led to another, and they began to imagine how would their life be after this, after high school, when they go on separate ways and can't spend time together again. And being girls, high school girls, of course, they cried.

When Mio (the one on the very right) started crying, I began to lose control. Pic's from here.

The scene was so touching I even shed a--kidding, I didn't cry, I just, well--okay, I was going to deny, but no, I'll man up now. I cried. I knew exactly what they felt, and I felt like I was so close to them so, I also cried.

What made me feel worse that this episode remarked the end of the show. Literally. The anime is about HIGH SCHOOL music club. When they are to go on for university, of course, the club has to be broken up. But apart of the fact that "I feel close to the girls" thingy, which I'm pretty much disappointed because my bonding with them will end soon -am I starting to sound like a weird otaku guy now!?- it also upset me that, I was going to lose my main channel to reminisce the journey in Japan.

You see, I traveled there alone.

I met people, lots of people, but that's all. It's not like they were 24/7 with me during the trip, and it's not like they're available 24/7 for me to talk about the trip with.

And that's why I hated it when these girls left.

But yea, that's the price of solo traveling.
All stuff that happened, only matters to you.

Damn you, Japan.
I miss you

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Settling Down, Part Two

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I liked today, again.

Just when I thought making the most of living life in this city could only be done during weekend, I had a wonderful Thursday instead. Well, no wonder, because it was a holiday. But still!

The holiday was of the commemoration of Prophet Muhammad ascension. As a religious man, the presence of this day gave me an ultra inner peace. Everyday's a holiday for me -as I'm a freelancer who works from home- but when this day came, I felt that exact joy felt by people who works and having a long weekend.

On the very same day, my cousin's held his wife's shower at his house, which is just steps away from mine. I got to dress in koko suit, got exposed to the verses, met my relatives and of course, had that typical family reunion pleasure.

What made it even better was because I planned to catch Europe on Screen again. This time, it was a spontaneous call and I was to go alone. This plan ignited such awesome mood since the time I woke up in the morning. And nature decided to conspire.


I usually hate this thing. But today, the rain was of that nicer type. It was somewhat slowly pouring shower, rather than a drenching waterfall-like one—a kind of rain in which my tiny umbrella can handle. The chills, the breeze, I felt like I was in the middle of a tropical rain forest, riding an elephant having the freshest day of my life.


Of course the elephant of my Jakarta rain forest, is TransJakarta buses. I originally didn't expect much for today's buses because, one, it was raining, and two, it was TransJakarta. You don't expect much for TransJakarta, and that's the tips. But surprisingly, my ride that day was enjoyable. Passengers were civilized. Ambiance was hectic-less -everybody seemed to be in the mood to be the prophet's best ummah. It took less than an hour to downtown Jakarta, making it so suitable for spontaneous decisions.


A nice, well-written Agatha Christie's "A Caribbean Mystery". And tranquil beats of Filous remix ran trough my earlobes. Can you imagine how serene my feeling was? Nice cold ride, sitting by the bus window, raindrops dripping next to me, music playing on my ears, plus a good reading in my hand. Get myself indulged doesn't always require expensive meals or fancy activities!


Of course, on top of everything was the Europe on Screen itself. It was not the film that became the highlight of all these -although yea, the film, "Tabu", turned out to be a romantic drama I adored a lot. It was the fact that this kind of thing, shows or somewhat, being accessible to Jakartans—that was what made me so grateful about today.

You see, until recently, our main means of entertainment revolves around malls, and malls only. I really long for high quality shows or events we can easily enjoy as easy as New Yorkers wake up in a weekend morning to decide, "Oh, I think I'd love to catch The Lion King today in Broadway". The show today was in Institut Francais Indonesia, right in the heart of Jakarta. It was more like a culture space, rather than a commercial venue. And reaching the place, despite the distance, is as easy as whining. It was so awesome to be able to get out of house and ended up somewhere non-malls!


It's not soon, I guess, but obviously, my city is transforming to the one I've been expecting. When we're reaching that stage, and I got to feel this kind of peace everytime I leave my house, I'll be totally in deep love with my hometown.

Just in front of the venue, and there it is, the central of Jakarta.
And yes we could walk, that's the best part of all!


If settling down in Jakarta this easy,
I swear I'll never again think about
Residing overseas

"Game of Thrones", or "Perebutan Takhta"?

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This has been the greatest anxiety of my literacy life.
Picking books never been this complicated before.

V I C K Y   A M I N ' S
.(weird) chronicles of


Well yeah, I know.
But no, I ain't mainstream.

I haven't touched even a single episode of its TV series version. I promised myself not to start doing that, before I read all the published books. Five of them now, yes? So it shan't be long to finish all and get myself exposed to the series, and let myself craft some smart-ass comparisons of the book and the show.

But no, it's not that easy.

It all began when I saw the book in local store. "A Song of Ice and Fire #1". "The Game of Thrones". It was the Indonesian version, so it sounded more like, "Perebutan Takhta". To be honest before the show boomed, I had no idea at all about "A Song of Ice and Fire". Just when my friends in campus started talking about the show, I began to be aware of it. And when I saw the book, and it was already in Bahasa, well, there's no harm in trying to join the euphoria, no?

At first, my plan was so simple. I just wanted to enrich my Indonesian vocabulary. Plus, the red cover of the book looked really amazing - yes, I judge the book by its cover. So I brought home this 1000 something pages book, and got myself mesmerized by the world of Westeros and beyond. The story was amazing, the characters were many - you may know that I have this weird obsession of some stories with a bunch of characters, and Sansa was pretty. Story-wise, no negativity. George R. R. Martin instantly came into the second place of my favorite author, just below Agatha Christie. But delivery-wise, I was pretty... Tingled.

It was fine, although, I was pretty much disturbed by some inconsistencies found in many ways, like... Translations, mostly. Some terms and names, in the Indonesian book, were translated. Like the houses slogans - it was "Dengarkan Raunganku!" instead of "Hear Me Roar!" for the Lannisters. Some others, on the other hand, were not - "Littlefinger" instead of "Jari Kecil", "The Neck" instead of "Leher". Well after all, it was okay and I was pretty convinced to stick with my plan.

But then the second book came. "A Song of Ice and Fire #2". "A Clash of Kings". Or should I say, "Peperangan Raja-Raja"? It also came with the same great cover, but the inside, totally wrecked. So disappointing!

The inconsistencies were much too intolerable. Typos were everywhere. And there were this unnecessary repeat of chapters, as much as 100 pages! I mean, okay, I know, it was 1200 pages or so, creating extra works for you guys, but I don't care! You took the risk of getting the copyright, and publishing it in Indonesian, so do it good! I was, and still am, on the verge of regretting my decision in buying this version.

Then again, I can't stop doing this.
Collecting the Indonesian versions of it.
Which will come from the same publisher.

I have the first and second book, both with the same cover only different in colors and symbols. These covers and how they just harmonize, it fulfills me inside out! And I'm literally looking forward to the next cover—will it be green? Will it be blue? I'm more psyched to see whose banner will be on the face of the book, rather than finding out what will happen to Jon Snow!

Look how they are beautifully crafted in an identical yet unidentical way. How do you feel if
the third one is not the same? Well, nothing, I guess. It's just me and my weird fetish.

My OCD shit will definitely kill me if I ruin the pattern by stop buying the book from the same publisher :)


What should I do next?
"A Storm of Swords", or...
"Badai Pedang"?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Settling Down, Part One

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I liked today.

Sunday well spent, I suppose. As a nicely-put end of weekend I've always longed for, yea it happened.

It all started when a friend of mine, Robert, asked me if I was interested to catch some movies of Europe on Screen Festival. Okay. I haven't even once been to EoS in my life. Indie films aren't my thing. But I've been into new stuff lately, so I told him that I'd love to join him.

So the plan was to watch something at Erasmus Huis -Robert lives in Kuningan, and he's Dutch. Plus I never been there, so of course! I proposed us to meet earlier so we could grab something to eat, and he came up with this place I've been dying to visit but I haven't got a chance to -so tell me now Vick, what have you been doing so far??

We gathered near his place, walked down the pleasant Sunday morning, and apparently it became one of my favorite slackoffs so far.


Brunch and Sunday are like, the sweetest couple in the world -second best to me, after my parents. When I have to get out on a lazy Sunday, it better has an essential brunch in its agenda. And this time, it was oh so delightful. Robert read my mind when he mentioned Basque, a Spanish -or Mexican?- dining in Mega Kuningan. Roasted pollo and ensalada, iced berry tea in the middle of crowd's chattering, complemented with good talks about books and projects, damn, it doesn't feel like Jakarta at all!


The brunch occurred pretty quick since we were almost late for the film. In seconds we already hit the streets, walked through Kuningan area -another highlight I really enjoyed, with great weather and locals as well as expats alike were spotted everywhere, doing sports- and reached the embassy. We watched "The Program", a movie about cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Despite the good movie itself, watching a non-commercial piece of arts apparently sent chills up my spine. Who would've thought I enjoyed it!


The sun almost set but Robert and I still got a lot to catch up. So we decided to grab some drinks, still around Mega Kuningan -I love this neighborhood!- and talked our hearts out. About career, personal passion, the movie we just caught -and we would possibly be watching next, romance, this, that, every, thing. Seemed too much? Well that's what coffee is for. We kept talking and enjoying our sips at this Dutch styled bar, as daylight turned to shimmering darkness. Could I ask anything better to close this nice day? Yes. A typical, Sunday--


I missed Liverpool's because they were aired when I was still at the bar -good thing was, the TV in that room was playing The Reds' game. So instead of Liverpool, the game that came to my enjoyment that time was, Formula One. Yes, it had caught my attention lately, as we have one racer in the competition. He didn't win the race—he didn't even manage to pass the finish line, the Russian Grand Prix, I really remembered. But then again, it was the experience that I was seeking for. The significant feeling of anticipation and excitement of being so sporty at the end of the week... that was what I cherished.

Oh, my.

Just when I thought I couldn't love my life more, the nice life I've always been dreaming about is actually here. The life I'm pretty sure I'll always have all the time if I live in New York, or London, or Tokyo, can actually be felt here, in my hometown.

Cazbar: not only good for talks, but pretty sure for writings too. I'll be back here soon enough.


If settling down in Jakarta this nice,
I swear I'll get rid of any possibilities
In moving out abroad