there’s always a reason to be thankful November 9, 2013Posted by lumierre9 in life lessons.
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about half a year ago, just a week before I was supposed to go on a mission trip to Bali that I had been waiting for, I got a very shocking news that I had to be quarantined for 3 months for TB bacteria infection. all plans were cancelled, I couldn’t go to work, and I couldn’t go anywhere for 3 months! even just imagining that was a nightmare for me. a part of me couldn’t accept that fact and couldn’t help questioning “why is this happening to me?? why now??” but another part of me was struggling to stay strong, keep rejoicing and trust God.
even on my first day in the hospital I already felt so bored that I wanted to get out from there immediately. I expected a miracle that the doctor would suddenly come to tell me that I can be released. but it didn’t happen.
I needed three consecutive negative test result to get released, but they only conduct the test twice a month. that meant the earliest I could get out was after 1.5 months. apparently I “failed” the first test so my staying time had to be extended, 2 months at least. I could only pray that the next one will be negative. and God answered my prayer. I got all negative for the second, third, and fourth test so after 2 months finally I could go back home.
it was a very tough time of my life, but thanks to all my friends and families, especially everyone from osaka church, who kept praying for me, supporting me, visiting me in the hospital, bringing me soo many stuffs for me to fill my free time there, I could endure from all the loneliness I felt at that time. with God’s love through them I feel so loved and it strengthened me up.
and with all my free time there, I could have more quality time with God. it made me realize even more that God is always there in every situation. He told me so many times to just trust Him. I still don’t understand why it happened to me but God only wants me to keep trusting Him. He knows what He’s doing and He’ll never leave me no matter what.
looking back to that time, I learned that even when I feel that I’m in my worst condition, there’s always a reason to be thankful. in my case, there’s even not only one but many reasons that I can thank God for. great friends and families, all the love I felt, or all the strength He gave me. I can’t say it’s a pleasant experience but after getting through it I know I came out as a stronger person.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. [Romans 5:3-5 NLT]
passion for language May 8, 2013Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat.
Tags: language learning, passion
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in my previous post I mentioned about the book Wild at Heart, about men need to take challenges that can make them feel ‘alive’, men need to find out their true passion. I’ve been thinking about that, what is my true passion? what makes me excited? what kind of adventure I want to be in? I couldn’t get the answer right away. I feel that I’m not the type of person who can get very excited about certain thing. even when you ask my what is my favorite thing (food, book, movie, etc.) honestly I can’t really pick one. I still can’t tell what is my biggest passion, but I realized I do have some things that can make me excited.
these days since I have ‘too much’ free time, I decided to utilize my time to learn something, to gain new skills. at first I thought I would learn some iOS programming which I’ve been wanting to for quite a long time, but apparently I feel I’m still not motivated enough to start that. so I decided to learn languages, French and Chinese Mandarin. I learned them before a bit and I want to be really fluent in both. then I stumbled upon some books and videos in youtube about polyglots, or people who can speak many languages, and somehow it motivates me more. I got really fired up to learn languages, and I feel that this is it. language is one of my passion. I love doing it, and I want to have more adventure with it.
inspired by the book The Polyglot Project I also would like to share a short story about my language learning journey and what I want to do with it.
I grew up in an environment which is surrounded by basically three languages. Indonesia has hundreds of local languages and my parents are from Yogyakarta province where people speak Javanese but before I was born they moved to West Java province where people speak Sundanese. at home most of the time they speak in Javanese and that gave me some understanding in Javanese, although I never try to learn about it or even speak in it. daily I only speak in Indonesian, at home and at school. we learn Sundanese at school also but in my school, as I suppose also happen in most other private school in Indonesia, we never speak fully in Sundanese but only mix some Sundanese words into spoken Indonesian. so I’m never fluent in Sundanese as well.
many people I met often asked me, “do Indonesian people speak English? why all Indonesian people can speak English very well?”. the answer is actually no. we never speak English in daily life. but I guess the environment helps us Indonesian people to learn English. at school we learned English just like in any other school in the world I suppose, with all the grammar rules and vocabularies we need to memorize but so little opportunity to communicate with. however, in university, we don’t have many books or references written in Indonesia, so most of the time we need to use English books. somehow that forces us to learn to understand English as well. so educated people would at least have a fair understanding of English.
the pop culture also influences our people in learning English. when I was a kid, there were so many TV programs in English with Indonesian subtitle. I still remember I watched sesame street on TV a lot. perhaps that’s the first time I learned English. nowadays there are less English TV programs in local TV stations, but more and more people are subscribing to cable TV where they can get access to many English TV programs. american pop songs or movies are also popular. although the degree of fluency for each people is different, but I guess these facts support us Indonesian in learning English. and that’s also how I learned English.
the next foreign language I learned is Japanese. I love comics, I read comics a lot, especially Japanese comics. I think that’s what motivated my brother to take a Japanese course when I was in 3rd year of junior high school. I had no interest in learning the language at that time, but somehow I started to learn hiragana, katakana, and even some simple kanji characters (like the characters for ‘one’, ‘two’, and ‘three’). but it didn’t go further than that.
in 1st year of high school, beside English, we had Japanese and Chinese subjects, although they are only for one hour a week each. I knew hiragana and katakana already so I did pretty well in Japanese. for Chinese, it was my first time learning it but I wasn’t interested at all so I was satisfied just by passing the subject.
around that time, me and some of my friends started to fancy some Korean pop artists, especially a girlband called Fin.K.L. I downloaded and watched many of their videos. I didn’t understand any Korean and I also never thought of learning Korean, but one time, comparing what they said with the Hangul (the Korean alphabet) displayed on the screen (I assumed that’s the transcription of what they are saying), I noticed some kind of pattern in it, and I just thought, I think it’s not difficult, I can learn it. so I looked for some lessons in the internet and indeed it’s basically just combining consonant and vowel like alphabet, not like Japanese or Chinese characters, so there I learned it with some simple Korean phrases.
during my 2nd year of high school, I decided to study more Japanese so I took a course starting from the beginner level. a course level in that Japanese school took 4 months with 2 lessons per week. but due to some circumstances I only finished one level at that time and didn’t continue the study.
since I always have interests in Japan and its culture I joined a Japanese cultural club in my university, and in my 3rd year I took another level of Japanese course with a friend, but again it stopped after finishing one level. after graduating from the university, instead of getting a full-time job I tried to look for some scholarship to continue my study in Japan. basically I had a lot of free time and I had the thought that having more Japanese ability can increase my opportunity to get a scholarship, so I decided to take the Japanese course again. to make the story short, finally I got a scholarship to Japan and before I left for Japan I managed to take two levels of the Japanese course.
during that time, I had the chance to study French as well. the inspiration came from my mom who studied French before and can speak French quite fluently. she always said that she wants to be able to converse in French with one of her children. since I had the time so I tried to give it a go, and I enjoyed it. unfortunately I could only take two beginner levels of French course before leaving for Japan. I could speak a bit, make some simple sentences in French, but slowly I started losing it after coming to Japan.
about my Japanese, the first time I arrived in Japan I couldn’t speak anything. I couldn’t use what I learned before to communicate with people. but after taking an intensive course for one semester, I started to get used to it, listening and speaking in Japanese, but it didn’t improve much afterwards since I used English most of the time to communicate with my friends. it got better after my third year when I started my job hunting, because the condition forced me to have a better Japanese. I need to write my resume and essays in Japanese and I had to conduct interviews in Japanese as well. in the end, I got a job in a Japanese company and I started working last year. I have to use Japanese everyday and as I use it more, I’m also getting more and more fluent at it.
throughout my time in Japan, I met people from different countries, make friends with Thai, Chinese, Italian, Swedish, and many other nationalities. many times I tried to learn their languages but it didn’t get me far because I wasn’t motivated enough. but now I realized that actually I really like learning languages. it’s always in me. naturally I always want to learn new languages. but perhaps because I never set any goals through my language learning, I didn’t get enough motivation to go for it. sometimes I kinda regret how many opportunities I have missed up to now.
after reading so many stories on learning languages, inspired by the methods they use to learn, which I’ve never thought of before, I want to have those kind of eagerness to learn language again. I want to learn more languages so I can communicate with my friends in their native languages, and I want to help other people who are struggling to learn languages. only a simple goal for me at the moment, but I hope this can be my motivation to learn more. starting from French and Mandarin, I hope while I’m having this ‘free time’ at least I can be quite confident speaking both languages even if it’s just on simple conversations.
a lesson from the unexpected February 15, 2013Posted by lumierre9 in inspiration, life lessons.
Tags: audrey, オードリー, 部族滞在記, kasuga, vision, 春日
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that’s a famous meme by Toshiaki Kasuga (春日俊彰), one of a popular comedian duo Audrey (オードリー). if you’re a japanese, or if you watch japanese tv shows a lot, i bet you know it. first time i knew about it was when junior high school students in an english summer camp i went to in 2010 taught me about that.
when i first searched about it in the internet, what i found was this stupid-looking guy with slicked-to-the-side hairstyle wearing pink vest and i didn’t really give much care about. time goes by and i got to see him again as a guest in a tv program called Sekai Bandzuke (世界番付) that i started to follow. the show is about country ranking of many categories, basically anything. then things went interesting where in the show, Kasuga got his own special part called 「オードリ春日の部族滞在記」(tribe stay diary of audrey kasuga). when he first explained about the program, it just sounded as something stupid as what he usually does, where he visited a tribe somewhere around the world with a mission to make people there wear his pink vest. but seeing several episodes of it changed my opinion about him.
someone who is famous for his stupid joke apparently has something that i think deserve a huge respect. seeing him getting into a very small isolated tribe, staying in places where i think is far from comfortable, learning a very different culture, and being able to blend in with all the people although only within a few days of stay, is really interesting. well, they must have made things so much easier for him to stay there, no language barriers with the existence of a translator, and who knows what happened off-the-camera. but there are at least two things that i respect from him in this program.
1. he went to places where there might be no other people wants to go
so far he went to three tribes, in africa, papua new guinea, and the phillipines (as far as i remember). and all of them are isolated, very far from civilization, and takes lots of time and efforts to reach. maybe only a glimpse of people ever heard about these tribes before. but he did it anyway.
somehow it also opened my mind more. in this modern era these kind of people still exist. people who don’t need electricity. people who can live without cellphone or internet. people who content with what they have although we might think that they have nothing. reminding myself again to be thankful of what i have. and it reminded me again about vision. i feel i’ve been living a very comfortable life, but if someday God wants me to go to places that i feel “not comfortable” would i be able to happily go?
2. he’s not afraid of any challenges
there are some customs or cultural things in the tribes he visited that modern people would think as crazy things, like going shark hunting without “proper” equipments, or getting honey from a bee nest naked. but he challenged everything. he was never seen afraid to try new things, he didn’t care if he will fail or not, he just did it so that he can be accepted by the tribe and can get them wear his pink vest. this is also a reminder for me who sometimes couldn’t get out from my comfort zone, couldn’t get that first step to try new things. in reaching out to people, in order to be accepted by them, most of the times i will need to try new things which can be a huge challenge. at that time, will i do it?
these things really encouraged me which i totally never expected i would get from someone like Kasuga.
energy saving – hyouka (省エネ – 氷菓) October 11, 2012Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat, life lessons, movies.
Tags: energy saving, hyouka, vision, 氷菓
several months ago i started watching an anime called hyouka (氷菓). i’m not gonna write about the story, only about the main character which i found interesting. his name is Oreki Houtarou (折木 奉太郎) and he’s an “energy saving” (省エネ) person. he doesn’t do many things because he doesn’t want to waste his energy for unnecessary things. he studies only to get passing score although actually he’s smart, and he never intended to join any club activities. he doesn’t like troublesome things. his motto is “if it’s ok not to do it i don’t do it, if i have to do it i finish it quickly” 「やらなくてもいいことならやらない、やらなければいけないことなら手短に」
i found this somehow kinda similar with myself. i also don’t want to spend my energy to do things that i don’t think is necessary. when i go up on stairs, i always take two steps at once because i feel it’s less tiring compared to taking every single step. back in tokyo i chose to stay in apartment near to my campus, and now also my apartment is close to my office. although it’s a bit pricey, but i prefer that way because i don’t need to spend much energy to take the train (and some other reasons also). whenever i do some works, i always try to find a fast and efficient way, i don’t like complicated things, i just want them to be done quickly without so much hassle.
in some ways i think it’s good because i can do many things efficiently. but in some other ways it’s not that good. because of that “saving energy” thing, i tend to become lazy. sometimes i don’t want to do things because i think it’s too troublesome, it takes too much effort. but just recently i started to get quite a lot of responsibilities, i was pushed to do things that actually i didn’t intend to do. but after doing it for a while, i started to feel something different. the passion that i once had when i was still in indonesia and gradually disappeared, i feel that i’m getting it back. my vision is getting bigger, i want to do much more things, i want to improve myself, taking challenges and grow as much as i can. to be honest there are still some parts of me inside that feel these things are too troublesome, but i think i have to overcome it. i realized that the laziness will bury down many of my potentials. i should be able to control my laziness, keep getting motivated, release all i have to reach my vision!
i love my life! October 5, 2012Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat.
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it’s been 6 months since i moved to osaka, and i want to thank God for every blessings He provides me. at first when i was looking for a job i wanted to stay in tokyo because i already feel comfortable with the life there. and when i got the job offer, i was kinda reluctant to move to osaka, but i took it anyway and gave it a try. until now, in some way i still like tokyo better than osaka, but i’m not regretting being here.
first i’m thankful of a great workplace. it has always been my plan to work in japan for several years and then go back to indonesia, so i was looking for a japanese company who will allow me to do that. but probably that was the main reason i didn’t pass the interview for other companies, i think. and this job is exactly like what i wanted, being in japan for 3 to 5 years (feel kinda short compared to what i thought though) and then transfered to indonesia.
before entering the company i was a bit worried about what kind of boss and colleagues i would have. and again i’m so thankful for getting into a good team. everyone is very kind, especially when i compare it with another new employee fellow in other team whom i saw a couple of times being scolded by his mentor (and i see that mentor’s unpleasant face quite often). and another good thing in my team is no one smokes, so it’s good for my lungs especially during nomikai where people usually smoke freely.
second i’m also thankful for a great community in church. Jesus Lifehouse Osaka is just awesome! i went to JLH Tokyo back then in tokyo. it was great but i feel that JLHO is even more lively and more fun. maybe because it’s still not so big, still in the growing phase compared to tokyo. i feel that i can get along with people here much easier. more than that, i get more challenges to grow. when i was in tokyo i chose to be not so active, but here i couldn’t do that because everyone is just pushing me to go to the next level all the time. it’s kinda tough but i know it’s good. after i felt stagnant of being in my comfort zone, it’s been a while since i feel this excited again.
well, this is just the start, but i believe things will get even more exciting from now on. i love my life! i love my God!
my bucket list July 15, 2012Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat.
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i stumbled upon this site that inspired me to write down my own bucket list, 101 things that i want to do, experience, and achieve before i die (or before the world ends :p).
1. near native fluency of japanese (can understand 90% of the content in a newspaper)
2. get at least 90% score of JLPT N1
3. fluent in chinese (passing at least HSK level 4)
4. fluent in korean (passing at least TOPIK level 4)
5. fluent in french (passing at least DELF B2)
6. learn (american?) sign language
7. learn to speak in british accent
8. learn to read thai characters
9. visit all prefectures in japan (by may 2014: 29/47)
10. visit all provinces in indonesia (by july 2012: 6/33)
11. visit ujung kulon national park
12. visit komodo national park
13. travel to europe
14. travel to US
15. travel to australia
16. travel to new zealand
17. set foot on each of the continents
18. travel to all ASEAN countries (indonesia, thailand, malaysia, singapore, phillipines, vietnam, burma, brunei, cambodia, laos)
19. visit the great wall
20. visit all disney park in the world
21. visit 50 unesco world heritage sites (by oct 2013: 12)
22. ride at least 10 record breaking roller coaster (by aug 2011: 4 – fujiyama, eejanaika, dodonpa, takabisha)
obtain a diving license (Jan 2, 2014: officially certified as PADI Open Water Diver)
24. scuba diving in raja ampat
25. try bungee jumping
26. try skydiving
27. take pictures of aurora / northern lights
28. take pictures of solar eclipse
29. go on a cruise vacation
30. fly in hot air balloon
31. design my own house
32. write a book
34. fly on a helicopter
35. take pictures from a helicopter
36. fly first class
37. swim with dolphins
38. whale watching
39. ride in a submarine
40. attend the olympic games
41. attend the world cup
42. attend an f1 game
43. attend a motogp game
44. try surfing in hawaii
45. start a movement/NPO for disabled people
46. meet nick vujicic in person
47. build a school
48. start my own business
49. become a CEO of a company
50. invest for my family’s business
51. create my own video game
52. become an apple developer
53. publish an iOS app
54. obtain a professional certification
55. own a canon L series lens
56. become a photo stock contributor
57. win a photography contest
58. own an underwater photography equipment
59. achieve my ideal weight (more than 65 kg)
60. participate in philatelic exhibition again
61. achieve at least vermeil medal in philatelic exhibition
62. achieve large gold medal in philatelic exhibition
63. watch a cirque du soleil show (aug 2014: watched OVO in Osaka)
64. do paintball games
65. be in a flashmob
66. go on a safari in africa
67. stay in an igloo
68. master free style swimming
69. take pictures of a perfect lightning bolt
70. eat fugu
71. eat kobe beef
72. collect a set of figures of all the main characters of one piece
73. go on a road trip
74. learn to fish
75. drive in a convertible with the top down
76. own a beach house
77. donate blood
78. get a free flight from collected flight miles (sept 2013: some of my collected miles is expiring and it’s enough to get a one way domestic flight ticket so i used it to go to kyushu this november)
79. stay in a tree house
80. ride a camel in desert
81. try gokart
82. watch a rocket launch, live
83. see a platypus
84. see a kangaroo crossing a street
85. attend the oktoberfest in germany
86. attend the brazilian carnival
87. attend the songkran festival in bangkok
88. solve rubik’s cube in less than 2 minutes
89. learn to make macarons
90. create a youtube video
91. ride on a ship from japan to korea
92. experience zero gravity
93. upgrade my DSLR to the one with video recording feature (or full-frame one) (sept 2013: got myself a second hand Kiss X5 to replace my Kiss X2)
94. create a compilation of timelapse video
95. swim in dead sea
96. learn to play guitar
97. try horseback riding
98. ride on trans-siberian railway
99. try shooting in a shooting range
100. ride on a limousine
101. ride on a dog sled
Osaka train system July 6, 2012Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat.
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it has been three months since i moved from tokyo to osaka. when people ask me which is better, tokyo or osaka, i still prefer tokyo. osaka is a nice place, but i feel that tokyo is more convenience, especially the train system.
1. train fare is more expensive
in average the train fare in osaka is more expensive than in tokyo. comparing the subway, we need to pay 200 yen even if we only travel within one station in osaka, while in tokyo it only costs 160 yen.
2. almost all the station don’t display the time of the next train
in tokyo we can see clearly what time the next train will come, so we know how long we should wait. while here, i can hardly find that. if i want to know that information, i have to search in the whole train schedule.
3. we can’t choose the ticket before inserting money
when i need to buy train tickets using the ticket machine, i used to choose the ticket type first and then it will display the amount of money i need to insert, but here i can’t do that. if i don’t insert any money, the ticket type won’t show up.
4. very long name of train line or station
i found it very annoying to see some train line and station names are very long. the subway line that i usually take to go to the city central is 長堀橋鶴見緑地 (nagahoribashitsurumiryokuchi). so difficult to remember. even i had some difficulties to pronounce it the first time. and some station names: 西中島南方 (nishinakajimaminamigata), 太子橋今市 (taishibashiimaichi), 天神橋筋六丁目 (tenjinbashisujirokuchome), or に四天王寺前夕陽ケ丘 (shitennojimaeyuuhigaoka). why don’t they just make it short and easy to remember. i don’t remember any line or station in tokyo that has long name like these.
5. the osaka subway doesn’t have any 回数券 (multiple tickets)
sometimes it’s better to buy multiple tickets to save your expense for train. usually there are several types of multiple tickets: normal multiple tickets which you can use anytime (11 tickets for the price of 10), off-rush-hour multiple tickets that can be used from 10am to 4pm (12 tickets), and weekend multiple tickets that can be used on weekend and holiday (14 tickets). generally i only go out on weekend so the weekend multiple tickets can be quite economical. i can get it in the train line closest from my place, but i can’t find it in the subway. they only have this “multiple ticket card” which only give 10% benefit (3000 yen for 3300 yen worth of card)
6. most people don’t sit squeezedly
i always see people here sit by leaving some space within each other that makes less people can sit, although when the train is quite crowded. as far as i remember, generally in tokyo, when the train is getting crowdy, people who are sitting will just squeeze up to let other people sit also.
break out that wall April 28, 2012Posted by lumierre9 in life lessons.
Tags: comfort zone, english, japanese
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after graduating, i started working in a Japanese company from the beginning of this month. we have a lot of trainings for new employees, and this first month we had some ‘basic’ training, about company’s philosophy, work manner, divisions in the company, etc. the last two days, we had English seminars, basically about business communications.
after the whole month i had to think, listen, speak, and write in Japanese only, which was very tiring, i felt quite excited that finally i can talk in English again freely. but apparently my expectation was too high. i can say that i still couldn’t talk freely.
from what i observed during those two days, although the instructor spoke very slowly (too slow for me), but many of the Japanese still couldn’t understand what he said. we also watched some videos where they speak faster, and it got worse. but i found that some of them didn’t even seem to give any effort to understand (probably they weren’t even really listening). during discussions, a few could converse well, some tried so hard to say some words, but some just kept silent.
one of the reasons i found about their problem in English (a friend also wrote something about this here), compared to Indonesia, is that everything is already available in Japanese. all text books in school or literatures from foreign publishers/authors are all available in Japanese translation. in Indonesia, mostly we use English text books in university because we don’t have the Indonesian versions. English tv programs mostly are dubbed into Japanese. we still have English tv programs without being dubbed (and when i was a kid we had the sesame street which i think helped me a lot in learning English at the first stage). they have their own web contents in Japanese for most things. we don’t have much web contents in Indonesia so most of the time we go to English ones. games are also available in Japanese, of course it’s because mostly they are created by Japanese. in Indonesia we didn’t have local games so we play the English one.
that makes a huge problem. Japanese people are in their comfort zone. maybe they think that if they can have everything in Japanese, why they should learn English. i observed in the seminar, the ones who can speak English well are those who have ever been living in an English-speaking environment, maybe living abroad, even only for several months. the leader in my group said that at first she also couldn’t speak English, but being abroad, she had to be able to speak in order to survive.
many Japanese asked me, why a lot of Indonesian can speak English. well, that’s the answer, because we were forced to get out from our comfort zone. we wanted something, and we couldn’t get it in our comfort zone, we have to get out to that “uncomfort zone” called English.
i admit it’s difficult to get out from our comfort zone. many times we don’t want to get out unless something forced us to. since i came to Japan also i felt that most of the times i was in my comfort zone of speaking English. in my lab i spoke only to international students in English and only took classes in English. that made my Japanese improved slowly. i felt that when i break out that wall of my comfort zone, especially during my job hunting time, where i needed to read-write-speak in Japanese, it just went up significantly. sometimes i kinda regret why didn’t i do it earlier, if i had a better Japanese skill maybe i could get into my first choice of company (but i’m still thankful for what i have now). and again this time, i have to do everything in Japanese, i’m already totally out of my comfort zone, sometimes i feel very tired, but even within just a month i feel that my Japanese is already much better compared to last month.
we can only go to the next level if we are willing to get out from our comfort zone. don’t wait until we are forced to get out, because at that time we may regret that we didn’t do it earlier. the longer we stay there, the more difficult it is to leave. find something that we want that lies “out” there and go for it!