The Journeys in 2017

It was such an amazing life experience that I had in Japan; a place that I ever dreamed of so much. Alhamdulillah for the opportunity trusted on me during those 2 years. Even though I still have the courage to live there but current situation just put me into living back in Jakarta. I perceive that returning home is still a good plan Insya Allah, as I'm continuing to learn Japanese language and working as a junior geotechnical engineer. I don't know exactly what future holds but I'm just following my intuition and given chance. I do believe "there is a will, there is a way"

Before time gone far, I want to sum them up in this post. Here are some snippets of my life during 2017. Let's start from the beginning month of the year.


the neighborhood of Ikenoue station

It was cold, still in winter, around 3 degrees in Tokyo. You would not find continuous snow in Tokyo, but at least a day of the shower. There was no new year party with my host family or even friends haha, because I was so busy with lab activity. We had traveling around Tokyo on Christmas day instead. I don't celebrate Christmas, but they said they wanted to accompany me during Christmas day so I wouldn't feel sad. Sweet moment :)

Hanging out with friends in Starbucks close to Okachimachi mosque.
Can you see us (especially me) freeze? I miss hanging out with you guys!

my favorite moment at night after conducting an experiment: watching Sherlock Holmes
series :D I miss my apartment so bad :(

I succeeded to perform 2 consecutive tests before having a joint presentation. I was so happy with that because it was a good beginning for further research.

a captured shear wave velocity from a soil sample recorded by an oscilloscope.
It was my very first time got perfect recorded data from a real soil sample

the soil samples that mostly I have tested during the last term


In this month, I decided to return home (Jakarta) for 10 days after completing joint seminar. I needed to go home even I didn't want to. After that, I returned to Japan for another awaited great trip: Going to Hokkaido!! I spent 3 nights in Otaru city with Hafy, others stayed in Sapporo. We were in a group of 7 people. The dates were set to match Sapporo Snow Festival. An exhausting part is that I was the one who organized the whole trip, so it was tiring somehow.

Can you spot Sapporo tower at the back? I took this picture at the night when
we just took off from the bus from New Chitose airport to Sapporo city.
I continued the trip to Otaru city by local train where Hafy and I stayed.

Taking picture at Shiroi Koibito Park

Me and Hafy in Otaru city close to the place where we stayed 

Snow was falling in Otaru city. I and Hafy were about to go to Sapporo by bus. An unforgettable moment was when we were confused about which bus stop bound for Sapporo city should we take between the two. We almost missed the bus since we took the wrong bus stop. Once we realized that, we only have 3 minutes left before departure time. The bus bound for Sapporo only passes every 1 hour! We took the crossing bridge then ran as fast as we could to reach another bus stop located 500m away.

Me and Hafy at Sapporo Snow Festival 2017.
Carved Star Wars statue stands in huge scale behind us

Basically, February is a month full of trips even though I should have continued to conduct the experiment. Instead of progressing nothing, I decided to continue learning for my research even though I didn't conduct any experiments. Come on! Life should get balanced, right? :D The next trip is field trip held by Civil Engineering Department.

taken from uphill of Mishima island! 

It was a great ride with the two sensei (on above picture). Since no seat available for me and Eka san to bring us for the trip (haha, I even can't believe this until now), so we took a ride by private car together with sensei and another two students from India. So, shortly telling, the two sensei have a great soul of an explorer hahaha (so am I, sensei :p). They really wanna show us to see Mount Fuji from a very close distance. While others chased their lunchtime, we were chasing moment to get the closest spot to Mount Fuji hahaha. Such a great experience with the cool sensei haha.

One of the spot to capture beauty of Mount Fuji

Taking picture at Mishima Sky Walk

So this is another epic story hahaha. The committee (my friend) has already chosen this place to enjoy the beautiful scenery from this long-span walking bridge. But.. rain was falling heavily. This is something unpredicted. The scenery turns to be so scary haha. Can you imagine crossing the long-span bridge with fog surrounds you? Nothing you can see except the closest footstep in front of you. My shoes got wet completely. It was February, so my feet were freezing! Anyway, it was an unforgettable experience LOL

You will find those people often seen further on this blog :p

My friend asked me: "why you eat ice cream in this cold weather?"
Me: "I don't know, I just want to eat it XD"
Miss you mba Eka! 


In the beginning of the month, Civil Engineering of The University of Tokyo held an annual symposium in Hongo campus. It was a one-day full seminar where many important people from civil engineering sector in Japan were invited to give a presentation. Such opportunity has broadened up my knowledge about how the development of civil engineering in the practical setting especially in Japan. I was amazed at i-Construction at which technology takes dominant place at almost all project phase even starting from preliminary design. It's gonna take the job of the people, but decision making by human never can be displaced. 

Sensei, speaker, along with students of Civil Engineering Department
 The University of Tokyo

Party after closing the symposium.
We had Indian food in a restaurant near Hongo campus.

In this month also, my role as secretary in PPI Todai has ended. The election of the new leader has run smoothly. I was happy with this because that role was imposed on me as a secretary. But it was a great experience to hold new better (hopefully) way of leader election. 

Taken after the election completed, in front of Akamon (the red gate).

In the middle of the mess of my experiments (haha), I was sooo excited that my close friend would come to Tokyo! Particularly staying in my apartment for one night (I hope more than a day). It was raining so we couldn't stroll around many places. I brought her to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and ShinOkubo. At the time I met her in front of Ikenoue station, I felt sooo happy to see her in Japan. "I still can't believe that we can meet here!" Even I got many people know me, but she is one of the care people in my life for my up and down. Thanks, Ika :)

I and Ika were in front of Harajuku station


It's Springtime! Sakura usually fully blossoms in this month. Every time I cycle around under rows of cherry blossom tree, its beauty pours serenity to the heart. 

Cherry blossom tree close to my apartment. Such an heart-charming view :')

I welcomed another friend in Tokyo again! She is my friend since we were senior high school then we went to the same university. She took the Japanese language and she works with Japanese people too in Indonesia. So, no issue of language difficulty. I was so happy to welcome her in Tokyo.

In a park. There are some beautiful parks in Japan, especially in Tokyo.
You'll find park is packed (LOL) with people strolling particularly during peak season
of cherry blossom and autumn

I continued to progress in my research (actually I had started again since February after traveling). Lots of overwhelming problems occurred that I need to figure out myself and solved it. Unless I won't get my research rich with findings. It was possible for me to conduct 3 experiments in a week; takes 2 days for 1 experiment to be completed: sample preparation on the first day and testing on the next day. Because I conduct laboratory experiment, it drained me a lot every single day. If I missed a single step, failure could happen anytime and I have to restart, missing another day. Frankly speaking, being careless is unacceptable. Anyway, it has trained me to specific soft-skills that I won't regret.

This is the machine that I talk about
I took the picture not the whole part


A morning view from my window

I attended some religious seminars because of Ramadhan just right in the corner in the following month. One of comfortable thing for me living in Japan is that finding how people from various nationality practice Islam. So, not only Indonesia Muslim community that I joined, but also another community such as Sout Asian community, Japanese, Turkish and Arabs community. I found it in a different perspective which is good to enrich my understanding of empathy. 

I and Hafy after completing Ramadhan preparation seminar in Otsuka mosque

Ramadhan preparation in SRIT Tokyo

The annual May Festival (五月祭) is usually held in Hongo campus The University of Tokyo. Unfortunately, PPI Todai couldn't join this year. That's okay, I could just enjoy the show hoho. But TUICS asked some women who can help them on their booth to explain and to help those who want to try hijab. So I bring some of my instant hijab (as my friend from another country like this Indonesian hijab style for its simple wearing). Surprisingly, some Japanese girls are interested to try and some also even have visited Tokyo Camii. 

They are beautiful wearing hijab, aren't they? :)

May Festival around Yasuda Hall

May Festival around Akamon (the red gate)


The holy month of Ramadhan just begun (started from end of May) the second Ramadhan I had in Japan, awaited moment. I like to breakfasting and spend night prayer in Tokyo camii mosque. I was so happy when I got an apartment surprisingly close to a mosque two years ago. It was last year before Ramadhan 2016. So this year was the second time I spent daily routine of Ramdhan in Tokyo camii. 

First day of fasting (for me) at Tokyo camii hallway

Typical Turkish menu for breakfasting served in Tokyo camii

Night prayer at Tokyo camii

Taken from women area.
I took this picture on the last night of Ramadhan 2017. I was sad because I couldn't pray
So instead of being at home, I prefer to go to mosque just to enjoy serenity of Ramadhan

A night date with Hafy

We had coffee time in Starbucks, Yoyogi Uehara station before she left home. We were talking about our research. We complained a lot haha. But now I think that's the way how students are trained to be independent in facing future independent research for Ph.D. Hafy is always positive even many things went wrong within a limited time. Contrast to that, I was so down haha. Her positive look at the future had lifted me up again and become an important lesson for me too. Lots of laugh and joy at that time. Such mind got refresed. 

Komaba Open Campus was also held in this month. It is an event to present various researches open to the public. I was amazed by Japanese who put interest in research especially science and technology. Even many parents encourage their children to come to experience small experiment on this event. 

Poster of laboratory that I belong to
(re: Kiyota-ken which means Kiyota Lab)

Komaba Open Campus
The University of Tokyo


The deadline was getting closer. I postponed baito (part-time job): teaching Bahasa Indonesia to a Japanese for a while in this month. My activity was only home, laboratory, shimokitazawa, and shibuya (having dinner and late night chit-chat with friends). 

Doing research from home

messy look of my table in the student room

Indie band concert in Shibuya.
Friend of Eka gave us free ticket hehe

Night of Tokyo city seen from Tokyo Metropolitan Building

Spending night time with Akae san, Hafy, and Cesar at Tokyo Metropolitan Building


Finally, I completed the final presentation on August 2nd. I will always remember this important date. All the hard work paid off! I finally at least can present the result of my independent research. I understand why it is written as Independent Research on the transcript because I INDEED had to figure out most of the difficulties by myself, figure out research flow also by myself. I know sensei wanted me to develop my own learning system on research. It does teach me so many things.

Check my Youtube VLOG for final presentation :)

Relieved look after final presentation

Awa Odori Festival in Tokyo

With the dancers :)

I completed my assignment as LPDP awardee coordinator of The University of Tokyo students

Another great trip this month is that climbing Mount Fuji for the first time in my life. Yep, for the first time, I climbed a mountain and it was Mount Fuji. I couldn't reach the top because I couldn't force my body more to complete the climbing. I know my own health better than other people would think. I stayed in the hut after reaching 8.3th station, close to the summit (3 more stations left). After climbing for almost 9 hours LOL, finally I dropped and decided to stay in the hut until the next morning. Got sweat, hit by strong cold wind, rainfall with the thunderbolt. Such a great experience (LOL, my mom just shake her head after listening to the story). But at least, I could manage myself to keep going until that far.

You can check my VLOG on Youtube for the trip :)

A great team that I ever had for climbing mountain!!
Based on my friend's experience, you would find out true characters of a person
when climbing a mountain

Special thanks to Gesti who always help me to climb


I tried to take another part-time job, a cool baito because transportation and homestay are arranged by the company. All I need to do is to work as teacher team to empower the student to be confident especially when they use English as daily conversation. The company has arranged me a round-trip ticket by Shinkansen to Takasaki city where I stayed for 5 days in one of the student's house. They also provide me the meal. So basically it was a home-stay program for me as a foreigner haha. But unfortunately, the program drained me so much. I couldn't interact to empower continuously for a week. One of my friends said that it was indeed too much for 5 days working consecutively. 

With Miyuna's family :)
They looked sad when they knew that I would return back to Indonesia in October


The time to say a 'see you' greeting to Tokyo is getting closer. I joined (had to) several farewell party this month. Also a lab field trip and GRADUATION day!

Farewell party with Islamic circle group

Farewell party with PPI Todai

Farewell party with Kiyota and Kuwano lab member

Farewell party with International friends

Farewell night with Hafy and Tita. Then we walked home from Omotesando to Shibuya
The last time I met Hafy at Shibuya station. Feeling so heavy but the time has ultimately arrived

With Todai Indonesian friends in favorite cheap restaurant: Saizeriya

Field trip with all Geotechnical Lab member

Graduation day inside Yasuda Hall

Winter batch 2015 Civil Engineering Department

With my family and host-family

Thanks Tita for a good company. I learned many things from you, Sist :p

me and sensei
Thank you for all the lessons sensei and to make me feel stronger too :)

Thank you okaasan for your kindness as always..
I never forget our moment of togetherness in Japan :)


Almost all my friend from the same batch have returned to their home country, some continue to stay in Japan for work. I tried to revisit the place that I used to live before moving to Komaba: Mitaka. This is also the time to say goodbye (I found out it was just a short-term goodbye haha) to Eka san. Lots of things have happened and she always is by my side to give advice. I never had a sister until I met her :p Even until now, I still get connected with her as well as connected to Japan! Haha. I perceive that my life will be surrounded by Japanese things, that's why I decided to push a little harder to master Japanese language skill. 

My tears poured down when I hug Eka san in front of Departure gate in Haneda airport. A bitter moment of my past instantaneously recalled. I felt that I had burdened her with my own problem. But, that's the way it is. Because he was close to Eka san even before knowing me and he was the one who decided his own way in an unexpected way, at the same time, made Eka upset, even me. Forget about past but learn the lesson behind. As simple as we are not meant each other. 

The night before my flight next morning. We had dinner in Halal Gyumon Shibuya

I went to Hakone with Tita, my college-mate. Now she is pursuing Doctoral degree in Todai 

Farewell with Ibu Suzuki, whom I teach Bahasa Indonesia to
She ever lived in Indonesia for 5 years back in 90's 

After arrived back in Jakarta, I met Patricia again.
She has graduated a year before my graduation

Thanks, Risa and Ika for our same-frequency mind talk hehe


A full month of traveling unexpectedly. I went to my mother's hometown Ngawi, attended to my brother's graduation day, and met Eka san again! hahaha. See? It was only short-term goodbye to Eka san a month before. Such a great moment for me to fit back with Indonesia customs.

With my mom, aunt, and uncle in my grandma's house (Ngawi, West Java)

On my brother's graduation day in Malang, East Java

Meet Eka san again in Jogjakarta!!!


I got a job offer as a lecturer at a private university. I took the chance but I promised the university that it was just for trial first but it appeared as a trap for me. After trying to learn the system there, I decided to resign before the permanent contract would be processed further. However, the experience got me inspired on what actually I like that is research. I want to be a researcher. But another offer comes again from a famous consultant that currently working for MRT project with the position that I wanted to be: geotechnical engineer. I think, being an engineer will develop supporting understanding as researcher too, as my sensei told me his story before becoming a professor. I decided to take the opportunity while chasing my dream to be a researcher. I don't know whether I can get another opportunity to be a researcher.

And ... in this month... I met my college mate! We were doing our own experiment in the same laboratory until late night. We were in the same critical period at that time haha. Now she works in Japan and she had to visit Indonesia for project tender in Patimban. At the first, we were anxious that she couldn't have much time to meet me in Jakarta, but she made it. Additionally, I met another Todai alumni who work for global company too. Such a great night we had.

Me and Luisa in an authentic Indonesian restaurant

Together with another Todai alumni

2017 has been a great story that I never forget. Living in Japan was a big dream for me and Allah made my dream came true. I do want to continue living there but I think going back home for a while is a good decision also to reassure my self on the future plan. Japan is a good country to raise kids haha. I love their education system, especially for early age kids.
Hope everyone can achieve their goals too in 2018. Hope for the best, work hard, and pray hard. An honest wish? I wish that I can find my destined life-partner soon even I don't know how to hehe. Just a random childish wish. For now, just enjoy the show :) 


Thank you for sharing Ape. This post is really interesting to read. Amen for the prayer this year :)
Ayu Nuradi said…
Thanks Hiday!
Which prayer? Haha

Popular posts from this blog

Back To My 90's Favourite Songs

Opini Tentang Depresi

Sarang In Ga Yo - Perhaps Love (Princess Hours OST) - Music Piano Sheet