Tokyo | 1

 

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“Oh, Tokyo gave me a lot of surprises”


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Surprises was started with few dramas.

A day before I extended my passport I found something surprising. I spent four years studying Product Design and the most important document a.k.a bachelor’s certificate disappeared from my uni-file?’ LOST? How, Azis? HOW? oh, did I mention I lost my certificate of birth, too?

I had no clue where they were. Till I had to tell myself to keep calm because I knew it was strange and kind of non-sense. Perhaps because of that my brain was frozen when I was at the immigration office the day after. An officer was asking me, “you work outside country, where is your leave letter?” And she was asking my letter of employment contract, too? Those were needed to extend a passport? Definitely NO! I looked like a fool when my extension was postponed cause I thought what I should do was standing on her table and screamed like ‘HEY YOU! I JUST WANTED TO EXTEND MY PASSPORT, NOT APPLYING FOR VISA!”

That was drama number one.

Two days later I had to leave my house around 5am and wishing it was early enough to avoid the queue in the immigration office. It wasn’t that bad till realised I was busy counting sheeps in my head. I had to fly to Bali for a family vacation by 12pm and almost 10am they didn’t call my name? I brought the same requirements and clear mind that if I had to face the same officer and she postponed my passport again, believe me I won’t stand on her table alone. I would make her frustrated by watching me dancing like late Michael Jackson.

Five minutes to 10am my name was called and another officer was checking my old passport and offered me e-passport. Trust me, when she was asking when I would fly to Japan, my eyes were looking at the suck officer that made me lost two days. Just ten minutes after her colleague took my picture, I left with a smile on my face.

Drama number two was I arrived at the wrong airport where my mom and sisters were waiting since three hours ago (hell why I dreamt I would fly to Bali from International airport, not domestic!). Running like a headless chicken to meet my family and what happened, DANG! our flight was delayed for two fucking hours! Say what? Holy shit cheap flights!

The day I had to take my new passport, I had another minor drama. Arrived in the morning and found that it wasn’t ready and hey I had to come back on 3pm and a lady said, “tomorrow morning please”? I started panicking. NO FUCKING WAY I had to lose one more day to apply my Japan visa. Fifteen minutes waiting, the same lady said, “yours is ready”.

Yes, I was ready for Japan, honey.


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I was so confident when I applied my Japan visa. Probably because I knew Indonesia has a strong relationship with Japan so it won’t that difficult to get the visa. Since I couldn’t get e-passport because I ran out of time, and I had paid my flight since a month before, it meant that applying visa is a must (Indonesian e-passport is free visa to Japan). And I was impressed by how fast and straight-forward the process getting visa at Consulate-General of Japan. I got my visa just four days before I traveled.

So, on 31st of July, after I packed my things in my small suitcase, with one backpack, I left my house at 5pm. Did I mention that minutes before I said bye to my Dad, I showed him my passport with Japan visa attached on it? Sometimes that small surprise could be so entertaining. If I shouldn’t say that he was a bit shocked.


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First of August, fifty minutes past 8am I landed at Haneda Airport after nine hours flight from Surabaya. Japan welcomed me with cherry-blossoms pattern on the carpet (they brand their country so seriously), cloudy morning, and Japanese kanji everywhere.

First thing first, I put on my pocket wi-fi, went straight to the immigration (and how I loved Japanese immigration with their smiles and hospitality), bought Pasmo card, activated my JRPass, and the journey began.

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I still remember how it felt the first time I took a train to Hamamatsucho station. A bit strange yet exciting. Hearing Japanese language was pronounced while making sure I checked my map where I had to change to the next station. I realised when I arrived at Asakusabashi station, I was a solo traveler who traveled to a beautiful country which I knew, it would be a surprising journey.

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“Traveling on summer in Japan, say hi to hi-humid days”


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Checking time in my hostel is start by 3pm. I actually wanted to go straight to what I had in my itinerary, Tokyo Skytree. I’d like to experience my first day to see Tokyo from above. Well, first time landed in Tokyo and still learning the complicated train lines would let you change your destination.

I moved back to Asakusabashi station and went to the hostel to check-in. Then I went straight to the oldest and most significant temple in Tokyo, Sensō-ji. I heard a lot about Sensō-ji before, that giant red lantern, osuisha, and damn cute things flooded along Nakamise Dori.

At Sensō-ji, there was one thing shocked me. When I brought out my mirrorless to capture every details of the temple, DANG! the shutter didn’t work. Yes, it was OMG moment. Had no choice but using the camera on my iPhone was the best I could do. All pictures you will see on my Japan-trip posts all were taken with an iPhone. The best camera is what it is in your hand, right?

This is what I love from traveling. Something can happen. Unexpected. I’m griddy for beautiful pictures if I may say, so when I found I couldn’t even snap one single picture with my mirrorless in Japan, I felt somehowe for a second but couldn’t keep smiling for the rest of that day. It taught me to keep positive and enjoy with what I had. The best part was I enjoyed the moment.


“Live the moment”


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“I should spend my Japanese ¥ to experience that jinrikisha, right?”

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Tokyo Tower

“I know I’ve been dreaming standing under The Eiffel Tower in Paris which I believe it will happen very soon”


I could actually see Tokyo Skytree from Sensō-ji but still, I chose to experience Tokyo Tower instead. Google map would tell you ten minutes walk, but ten minutes could be fifteen or twenty if you just arrived at somewhere new. 

I arrived around 4pm at Tokyo Tower which looks like Eiffel’s sister (now you know why I chose Tokyo Tower) and spent ¥1600 for a combo ticket. Enjoying Tokyo from 150M and 250M was an experience. I wanted to stay for golden-hour on my first day but left cause I wasn’t sure when I saw the clouds. Couldn’t imagine if I stayed until night, all the city lights would mesmerise me, I believe.

My fav one below is the “Tokyo, from above”. See, iPhone was not bad if you know how to use it, right? :)


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Day one taught me how to enjoy each destination and live the moment. Something unexpected can happen but you just need to enjoy every second of it, right? :)

Believe it or not I wanted to cancel my trip just because of two things. First, my two bestfriends, Ruli and Maya were meant to travel with me to Tokyo. We had conversations before I landed in Indonesia but for some reasons they couldn’t go with me. Second, as far as I knew Tokyo is expensive. Japan is expensive. Oh, “should I let the money I paid for full-service flight disappeared and cancelled the trip?” I could even use pocket money for my this trip to build my kitchen, yes? 

But there was one thing came out in my mind,

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And traveling could be one of that life experience that worth every penny. Traveling will teach you how you should enjoy your life by experiencing the beauty of this earth.

 

 

P.S. I didn’t want to post this trip one by one, but a ton of iPhone pictures from Japan will be too crowded on one post. So, more to come! oh my Dad found the two certificates after I came back from Bali trip.

Chicken Lasagne à la Azis

 

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“Quick one, what is your definition of simply joy?”


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Entering a mall to get some new outfits in the afternoon on weekday? when other people have their ‘an-hour-lunch-time’ and they’ll come back to work while you’re shopping? I agree.

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Sitting in the restaurant on Saturday morning where you can easily choose delicious food with a thick wallet in your hand for your breakfast? I do agree, too. If you think so.

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We all have our own definition of simply joy, right? No need a leather Gucci backpack for free, just a simple thing that could make you smile and feel happy, yep? I had to say two ‘simple joys’ above were mine two weeks ago while I was in Indonesia.

Oh come on, that was two weeks ago!

Trust me, I already woke up from a mental-vacation and hundred percent enjoying my REAL LIFE here (oh I don’t have an idea why my iTunes is playing “WELCOME TO NEW YORK!, IT’S BEEN WAITING FOR YOU, WELCOME TO NEW YORK!). No, I don’t say that my other SIMPLY JOY is coming to New York even that song always make me dreaming walking in New York at night.

When the smell of chicken lasagne was spread in the air from my kitchen, I thought that was a simply joy. I found that I had lasagne noodles in the kitchen last night and turned them this morning in to my first ever lasagne (this sounds garish, who cares?!). I never read about lasagne recipe before except how to boil lasagne noodles (no, I’m not cheating right?!). So you can call this recipe such an experiment, but trust me it was sooooooo yummy! and, sure it is so easy!

(Click to the image if you want to see the ingredients clearer, pardon I just love thin fonts!)

I don’t have an idea if this one is too-heavy for breakfast?

 

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HOW TO COOK

  • Sure, first thing first, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  • Time to cook the chicken! After you finish with ‘dice-cutted’, heat the pan, put 3 tbps O oil and butter, add garlic, stir-fry until it smells good, then add the chicken. Sprinkle a pinch of white pepper, taste if before you add salt since you already put salted butter. It doesnt take time, until you feel it’s time to pour the milk cream (add small water if you need too!). Chicken finish!
  • Take your non-stick backing pan, start with the first layer of lasagne noodle at the bottom. Add mushroom and chicken, then put another layer, spread tomato sauce and carrot, plus sausage. Another layer again with chicken and mushroom oh and cheese!. Repeat until the last lasagne noodle is ready to be covered with the rest of mushroom and looot of mozzarella!
  • Pour the rest of O oil, and an egg (whisked) sprinkle chili powder on top to make your lasagne prettier
  • Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven

 

Easy right!?

 


 

Bike Scenes in Japan

I’ve been eyeing for some hostels in Amsterdam on Booking.com lately and found it is so pricey, tho. Pricier than Paris, Vienna? Oops, I had no clue. I never been to Amsterdam next year yes! but heard how lovely strolling around the city with bikes. Biking and wondering those beautiful Dutch building in the same time, even by writing this sentence here my imagination could picture the scene perfectly. I promise, if I’m in Amsterdam, I’ll rent a bike and enjoy the city. Noted.

While I’m still wonder how I’ll enjoy Amsterdam with a bike, I’ll share some ‘bike-scenes’ I found in Tokyo and Kyoto via iPhone (click the picture for a bigger view!).

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“It was such one of simpliest joy in my life while I could freely photograph something interesting surrond me”


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I’m jumping into bike-scenes while I’m preparing for some travel posts. More to come!

Hello Sunshine!

Been stuck for this blog and that’s not good enough! Currently, I’m looking for inspirations and trying to finish what I’ve been writing for two days and I ended sharing some iPhone pictures here (cause sun shine has come back! go cloudy season, I need light to take more and more picture!)

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Lately

Apart of “I have tried eight, nope, ten times to sing ‘All I Ask’ properly today” on this app and failed (oh, if you like to sing like… *coughing*), there was another annoying moment when I cooked pancake yesterday. Since I had an idea to enjoy pancakes for breakfast yet failed because I NEED A NEW STAINLESS STEEL PAN please!! :( even after I putted a tiny slice of butter before I dropped the dough, it didn’t work. Sigh, an old pan had scattered the pancake :( I know it’s time to pick a new pan if I have money :P, sure will doooo!

Rather than wondering scattered pancake, let me share images of pancake from my brekkie months ago. I found them when I searched for something ‘blog-worthy’ for upcoming post. All was taken with an iPhone.

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Is it only me that think ‘All I Ask’ is the best song from Adele’s 25? If you never listen that song, check this cover. Ssst, ‘All I Ask’ has played 20 times from my iTunes :D

I Know I Miss These

If yesterday I fell on my bed right after I went home from James Bond themed party, I finally could cross legs on my bed and updating this blog. It was such a crazy time prepared, worked and finally transformed a venue into Bond ‘feel’ when hello! it was just a day before (I know this is sounds ridiculous) we realised that the party was yesterday. It was just a dangerous one but finally thanked God for everything passed as always. If you asked me was I happy for the result? Nope, just I wish we could do more. But well, it passed.

Let’s move on!

On this post I just want to share some iPhone shots that I immediately realised it becomes an annual post (after this). Reminiscing a heaven called food (by clicking the picture, I guarantee you’ll be h’angry’).

1 | There was nothing but blessed when you spend time with kind human, shopping ;D, best friend’s talk and share delicious food then. Crispy fried duck with sambal, extra tofu, and extra tempeh I had with Andhi that evening blowed my mind (holy shit! I’m suddenly h’angry’ looking at this picture below).

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2 | Yes, I’m missing you guys. The dark chocolate one, in particular :(. Below the donuts is one of my fave-ever snack. Shredded savoury beef on top of fluffy fresh bread is brilliant culinary invention.

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3 | Until I had to come back to show my sister how delicious fried duck I had (yes, that one on top!) was. I chose ‘mie ayam‘ after I enjoyed ‘semanggi‘.

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4 | There is always a room for Bakso. Enough said. I should explore and enjoy Indonesian traditional snacks more, I know.

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5 | One of the best time for food I had when I was in Indonesia this year was having a family dinner. Pardon for low lighting on this picture below :P, I was managing my iPhone.

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6| Oh God, that crushed fried onion and chilli inside sweet soya sauce plus fried milkfish, plus tempeh, plus tofu, plus urap, I mean, may I fly to Indonesia right now? :( and Rujak Cingur?

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7| If you are a reader of this blog, you know how many times I mentioned Batagor as one of my fave Indonesian food ever. Gosh! that peanut sauce :( those dumplings :(

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8| When I had lunch with my Dad only, in one fine afternoon, I realised I should do that kind of quality time more often. I chose Ramen while he chose ‘nasi uduk‘. I know I’m a straight one if I talk about street-food, especially for fried snacks, but it was an exception when I was there, I stopped by and bought some ‘filled tofu‘.

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9| As I wish there was Starbucks cafe here :(

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10| Sushi time with best friend was awesome. Ayos and Winda were so kind paying all of these food below :D

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Now, I’m trying to get rid of these foods and finish my early snack ;|(read : just an apple).

Hello fried duck, hello tempeh, hello bakso, starbucks, sushi, I’ll see you again :(

Congo in Frames

It was an obligatory visit to the Art 21 Saturday last week after I did some hall measuring for upcoming events. And what I saw there was quite someting else, photography of Congo by the photographers, Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin.

There was unexplained feeling when I stood in front of those photographs. The emotion of those portraits, the scenes, the landscapes, is just beyond words. I personally have more interest in to food (of course), travel and lifestyle photography, but Congo took my attention how to capture human beautifully. Deep and alive.

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FYI, if you heard about Congo, there is two countries called Congo. The bigger one, the immense Democratic Republic of Congo, previously known as Zaire, the former Belgian colony, whose capital is Kinshasa. But Majoli and Pellegrin’s Congo is the other one, the Republic of Congo, the former French colony, whose capital is Brazzaville.

My favourite photograph is just below this sentence. How beautiful the emotion in that scene, o my word.

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Vacation Mood

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Let me dreaming for a second.

Morning breeze, beach, seafood, walking on the sand, and ocean call. I’m dreaming when I can wake up late and first thing I see is blue ocean. White sheer curtains on my window is calmly blow by the wind, white thick blanket is on the floor. I’m wearing short pants and white linen shirt. My shirt is very light, typical fashionable beach shirt. I’m looking at my wrist watch, 8;30 am. I should take a shower in my open yet private bathroom. It’s very classy and clean. Then I will take my breakfast. A bowl of fresh tropical fruits, toast bread with avocado on top, fresh green salad with kale and edible flowers, plus a glass of fresh orange juice. Oh coffee, of course. It’s called breakfast with a view. An hour later, I’m out from my hotel and nothing on my mind but let myself decide what will I do, where will I go, and come back to my room for a sunset. How serene, even in my dream.

I know it’s just a dream for now cause I’m crossing my legs on my bed, being lazy a whole day but I’m thank God. I feel I’ve recharged myself and beyond happy cause I had a chance updating this blog (yes, two in row and I’ve changed the header-design, bolder and black :)). I’m preparing myself for next week projects, cause I know I will face a lot of obstacles from each ones (as far as I can predict!). Oh there is one thing I find it very interesting lately. Checking flight and hotel apps on my iPhone like as if I’m preparing my next year vacation. It reminds me every time after I work hard, I’ll think to pay off for a vacation. I think it will be my main goal next year to spend what I earn for proper-proper vacation. Before I dream another thing, let me share some iPhone shots from a little throwback to somewhere outside Lagos mainland, in February, when I had to take boat to reach there for an assignment. Designing a beach house.

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Spending a whole day in the house was all I needed. Now, let me lay on my bed and dream another dreams. Hoping I’m not missing you, Indonesia :).

Jamie’s Italian Singapore

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It’s better for me to squeeze my time to post this since I’ve been having hectic weeks lately. And it is such a sign that I have to prepare myself for an earlier December when I will probably have to work from Monday to Sunday.

And here is a short one of reminiscing the last meal I had with Maya when we were in Singapore. It happened when we were on our way to buy ferry tickets at Vivo City for Maya and Ranu, since they went and came back through Batam. When we passed Jamie’s Italian restaurant, I said to Maya, “Oh, I should enter and get some light meal. In fact, we should May. We still have time right? Come on, just a quick one”.

Then, after Maya and Ranu had the tickets in hand, I couldn’t even keep my last USD and changed it to SGD near the ticket counter. It was just because I wanted to see the interior and to taste the food at Jamie’s Italian. I requested specifically to have a seat near the glass window for a reason (read : to get natural light :P). We didn’t order heavy meals cause Maya and Ranu had to rush for the ferry of course, and I, my stomach was still full from ‘food-court’ meal I had in the afternoon and again, I had to rush as well to get some pieces at H&M store :P.

So, we just ordered mini burgers for Ranu, ricotta bruschetta for Maya, and I chose crab & avocado bruschetta with crunchy kale slaw. For me personally, I love the freshness of the ingredients for the kale slaw, it was just perfect. The bruschetta was on point, light and very Italian. The balsamic-roasted cherry tomatoes on top of Maya’s bruschetta was juicy, I was thinking how to cook the tomatoes perfectly like what they’ve done. Since we were in rush, I didn’t take many pictures of the interior on my iPhone, but I still remember there is an interesting hanging display of fresh ingredients where the chefs cook. And of course, I wish I had more time to have a proper breakfast or lunch or dinner there. Oh FYI, I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver :).

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I suddenly missing Maya and her face, when she looked confused by looking at the price :P.

Some, Randoms

I’ve been wanting to update this blog since. Seems like my December has come earlier, it took me to the middle of October to post a short one like this.

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Can’t even lie that I mentally tired of my work since two weeks ago, been thinking so many random things about life among my random deadlines. Been thinking what is next, where is next. It’s human, I know. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning with clear mind and ready to face my day, sometimes I’m worry and scare and bored of my work.

Every time I feel that way, I’ll remember one thing that I have so many dreams. Let me not continue writing random thoughts here, let me keep working for those dreams.

 

Cheers!