Posted in Family, General

September 2018 Update

Assalamualaikum.

I just want to give the latest update. My family is no longer living in Tokyo.

Last year, on the first day of school when my kids had just started their new school year, we received the news from my husband’s company that we were supposed to return home by the end of the year.

To say we were shocked was an understatement. When my husband’s contract was renewed at the beginning of 2017, it was for a 2-year term. So, we were mentally not prepared to go home yet.

I had just spent weeks in August looking at furniture and curtains because our 2-year lease of furniture with Tokyo Lease was ending and we were renewing it for 18 more months. I even ordered a red Kenwood food processor for my kitchen.

I had also just arranged for a shipment of food packages from Malaysia. Of course, I would not be doing so, if I knew we would be leaving soon.

So, what souvenirs did I get for myself? Definitely not Noritake like many other Malaysian women. Not handbags either,

All I had was my stock of stationery. Even though I had mentioned in my earlier post that I wasn’t into expensive and branded stationery, by October I went to the Traveler’s Factory in Tokyo Station to get myself the limited edition Tokyo Station Traveler’s Notebook leather journal cover.

I also collected a lot of fallen ginkgo and maple leaves as souvenirs. I turned some of them into bookmarks.

We would miss the cherry blossoms in April 2018, so in December I was busy taking photos of fuyu zakura (winter cherry blossoms) whenever I saw them, even though nobody else cared about them.

One week before flying home, we moved out of the rented house in Yakumo and checked-in into New Otani Hotel in Akasaka-Mitsuke.

Then we had to deal with the shipment of goods to Malaysia, the return of furniture to Tokyo Lease, the termination of Internet and phone services and finally the house inspection and the return of the key.

The hardest part was dealing with disposal of waste. I had to plan it carefully around the days of disposal of recyclables and burnable/combustible and the volume that we could dispose off in one day.

I was lucky that the roses in the garden were still blooming even though it was already late December, so I could still take one last photo before we said sayonara.

Now, 9 months after coming home to Malaysia, I really could appreciate that this was actually the best plan Allah had laid out for us.

My son had the chance to sit for SPM even though he will be taking only 8 papers. I had also been involved with my eldest daughter preparation to further her studies in England.

In July 2015, we left her to study in Malaysia when the rest of the family moved to Tokyo. Now, just after turning 21, she left us in Malaysia to pursue her degree in Newcastle.

That is the circle of life.

Even though I haven’t blogged in a long time, I have been sharing my journals on instagram instead. My handle is @aijournals. 💕

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Posted in General, Pictures, Writing

Ramadan Journal and 50th Year Chronicle

My Ramadan 1438 Journal
My 50th Year Chronicle

When did I start writing in a journal again? Well, just less than a week ago, actually. I started making a journal to prepare for Ramadan 2 weeks ago, (Ramadan will start this coming Saturday) however I then realized the content would be somewhat limited to Ramadan and my preparation towards it. In other words, it is a religious journal.

Suddenly the urge to have a real notebook to write anything under the sun again, came back. I feel it’s crucial to document the 50th year of my life, but doing it on the phone or computer would somehow limit the contents and the accessibility.

So I went to the small Tokyu Hands store in Jiyugaoka looking for a suitable notebook. There were all kinds of notebooks, planners and diaries in plain colours, pastel, leather bound, pvc and whatnots.

I had only found out recently that some people are so obsessed with brands. The newly released Traveler’s Notebook Tokyo Station leather cover went out of stock just after its launch even though it costs 4,000 yen. People had to queue and take numbers to enter the shop.

Some notebooks in Tokyu Hands were rather pretty  but then the price did not really appeal to me. So, I went to a 100 yen shop near Toritsu Daigaku station. It’s called Casa.

There, I found a very plain brown-covered notebook just the right size to carry around in my handbag and I hope thick enough to last until my 50th birthday. Its plainness made it more attractive because that meant I would be able to personalize it and nobody else in the world would have a similar one.

I don’t really hate brands but I have never been keen on following other people’s fashion, trends or brands. I love being the unique me. Yeah, I’m vain in my own special way. 😄 So, I customised the notebook using washi tapes. I had already have a collection of  washi tapes and stickers which I also bought from 100 yen shops.

As for the content, I don’t really write everything under the sun. I censor my own thoughts. I realized being truthful might hurt some people around me.

When I’m gone, or even when I’m still around, if people read this journal, I don’t want them to feel bad about themselves.

Whatever negative feelings I have about other people, I hope will be gone soon. I want to forgive people every moment of my life because I don’t know when my time will end. I wish other people will do the same for me.

The most important thing is, I want God’s mercy and forgiveness. If I don’t forgive other people, how could I expect forgiveness from Allah?

Posted in AtoZChallenge, food, General

Craving and Cooking

Cravings are usually associated with pregnancy. However, throughout my three pregnancies, I never really had any strong cravings.

The cravings that I have is more due to living far away from my homeland. Malaysia is a blessed country where food is abundance. Whenever I feel like eating certain kind of food, I didn’t have to put much effort in the kitchen, provided I have money to spend.

Cooking takes a lot more effort because it requires googling for a reliable recipe, driving out in the traffic jam and trying to find a parking space to buy the necessary ingredients and then more hours slaving in the kitchen. Even worse, the cooking didn’t turn out the way you wanted, your family refused to eat what you prepared and the kids preferred to dial the pizza anyway.

Now that I live in Tokyo  with a working husband (instead of living on a student’s budget), we had a choice to go out to Malaysian restaurants once in a while. I had also known a lady whose husband works at the Malaysian Embassy who takes special order every Wednesday. For this coming Wednesday, this is the menu she’s offering: nasi dagang and laksa Penang.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-02 at 18.54.45

I had tried cooking nasi dagang before and shared the pictures in this entry and then another entry, but I have never tried making laksa Penang even though it was my late mum’s favourite. My sisters too are great at making it. Somehow, I have this fear that it might not turn out the way they made it if I tried to make it.

However, there are some Malaysian food that I had tried to make but usually with some modification to the recipes, depending on the availability of the ingredients as well as my family’s taste preference.

Among the noodles that I had made are laksa Johor and mi rebus. Then I had also tried making nasi kerabu.

 

The other rice such as nasi lemak, nasi ayam (chicken rice), nasi biryani, nasi minyak and nasi goreng are considered as pretty common.

Posted in General, Pictures

Birthdays

Birthdays are reminders that we’re getting older each year and also to be grateful of the good things that have happened in our life. This year marks the fourth time of my birthday celebration in Japan. Having a spring birthday is an added bonus because as I’d mentioned before, I love flowers.

The first time I had my birthday here was in 2006. That weekend, we went to Niigata City and spent time at the Niigata City Aquarium.

Then in 2007, my birthday weekend was spent at Kashiwazaki.

Last year, both Mel and Ar were having their spring break on my birthday, so we decided to spend the day at Tokyo Tower. The weekend was spent going to hanami at Nakameguro River.

This year, it was cold and rainy on my birthday. The temperature was around 8 Celsius. I didn’t feel like going anywhere. Mel made me a lava lamp that she had learnt to make at school and Fa sent me an edited photo of our photo taken last autumn.

During the weekend, we went to a nearby cafe where I had a slice of cheesecake to mark my birthday. We walked around Yakumo enjoying the not yet fully bloomed cherry blossoms because we just didn’t feel like going to crowded parks on a not so warm day.

So, the fiftieth year of my life has just begun. Based on our current plan, I’ll most likely celebrate my fiftieth birthday in Japan too, insya-Allah. I’m grateful for all the wonderful people and things that have happened in my life. I shouldn’t complain about the not so nice to have, either. I’m sure they happened because Allah wanted to teach me something and also to make me more appreciative of the good things.

Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah, thank you my dear family and friends, and not forgetting the wonderful readers of this blog who have spent your precious time to read, like and comment on my posts. 🙂

 

Posted in General

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April is here. Time flew by and we’re already in the second quarter of the year. March had been a rather cold month this year.

Throughout the whole month, we had only a few sunny days when temperature reached 17°C. Most of the other days had maximum temperature below 10°. There was even snow in some mountain areas yesterday.

Even today, the highest temperature was only 9°. Compared to last year, we were already enjoying warm sunny days and managed to get beautiful hanami pictures by the final week of March.

Last week, I went out on a rainy day with a completely wrong outfit. I had under-estimated the rain and put on a long dress with woolly boots. Even with the umbrella, the rain managed to wet my dress and the water from the dress eventually soaked my boots.

After a 10 minute walk to the bus stop, my feet were soaked. I was tempted to cancel the outing and go back home, but I hadn’t been to the meeting (a Quran study circle) for a long time, I had to fight the demons inside myself really hard just to proceed walking and waiting for the bus in thecrain.

I knew, if I walked home to change my dress and shoes, I would end up staying home instead. I’m happy I won against the demons. 😊

I spent 2 hours at the Indonesian School in Meguro (thre was a farewell party before the study began) and after the meeting ended, had to put back on the wet socks and boots.

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I was the only Malaysian there but the Indonesian sisters are always so welcoming, I never feel out of place when I’m with them. Indonesian language is slightly different from Malay, but I usually understand about 80-90%  of the conversation.

That night, I posted the picture of the Quran that we were studying that afternoon on my instagram. It was Surah 84, Al-Inshiqaq which describes the rewards for the believers and punishments for the non-believers.

img_1644

A Japanese follower asked me if I could read the writing. The answer is, yes, I can read the Arabic writing in Quran because they are written with diacritics. Without diacritics, it’s hard to read Arabic because I have only learnt basic Arabic so far. I even gave her the link to website so that she could listen to the recitation of the Arabic verse. She later told me, that was the first time ever for that she’d listened to a Quran recitation.

I saw this April A to Z Challenge last week. It would be interesting to participate. Do you think I will succeed if I try to take part in it?

 

Posted in General, Pictures

Anthophilous

Anthophilous

A few days ago, I saw this word of the day on my dictionary app. I feel the word really describes me. I really love flowers. I enjoy strolling in a park full of blooms, walking around the neighbourhood looking at the flowers other people have in their gardens or simply just appreciating wild flowers such as dandelions.

Anyway, my husband went back to Malaysia last week and he took the pictures of our neglected little garden.


Unfortunately, the waterlily has no flowers now because it has not been fertilised for a long time.

However, I’m so happy to see the frangipanis. Masya-Allah, Subhanallah, I wish I could smell their fragrance too.

Posted in General

Spring is finally here.

It’s officially spring now.

I have this white starflower (ipheon)  in my garden.

I also had sakura tea to celebrate the beginning of spring.

It was quite warm and sunny with the temperature reaching 17°C, but Tuesday will be colder and rainy. 

The kids are having their spring break now. My husband is away enjoying himself in sunny and hot Malaysia with all the yummy food. We hope to enjoy sakura this weekend. 😍Insya-Allah.

If you do not live in a four-season country and would like to find the meaning of equinox, you may check this link.

http://blog.dictionary.com/equinox-solstice/

Posted in General, School

Keputusan SPM Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia

This post is in Malay.

31 tahun lepas (I’m revealing my age here 😜) semasa keputusan SPM keluar, tengah buat kursus bahasa Inggeris di Bukit Sekilau, Kuantan. Tinggal di asrama rumah kedai beramai-ramai. MARA dah hantar kami berkursus sebelum keputusan SPM diumumkan.

Sekolah jauh nun di Seremban. Emak ayah pula di Perak dan tiada telefon juga di rumah. Nak tau keputusan, kena telefon sekolah, tapi talian telefon sekolah pun sibuk haritu. 

Kalau guna telefon awam, jenuhla nak cari duit syiling, entah berapa jam nak beratur, silap-silap nanti duit dah masuk, tapi operator (telefonis) kata duit belum masuk, hangus gitu je duit. 

Alhamdulillah, kami dapat menumpang guna telefon di rumah seorang makcik yang baik hati di Bukit Sekilau tu. Jadi bergilir-gilirlah masing-masing menelefon ke sekolah. Ada yang sekolah mereka di Kulim, ada pula yang di Kota Bharu.

Bila dapat keputusan tu, paling tak percaya bila kerani di sekolah bagi tau keputusan kertas BM, sungguh tak sangka boleh dapat A1. Selama ni, selalu mampu A2 sahaja.  Kimia pun agak mengejutkan. Selalunya dapat kepujian je, ni Alhamdulillah boleh dapat A2. 

Yang lain-lain tu – Prinsip Akaun, Pendidikan Islam, BI, Matematik Modern, Matemaik Tambahan, Fizik semuanya lebih kurang seperti yang dijangkakan. Geografi pun Alhamdulillah, selalunya setakat lulus sipi, tapi dapat C3.

Alhamdulillah. Terima kasih buat guru-guru yang telah mendidik kami seikhlas hati dan sentiasa mendoakan kejayaan kami. Jasa dan budi cikgu-cikgu semua memang takkan mampu kami balas. Moga Allah sentiasa merahmati cikgu-cikgu dan keluarga semua. Amin.

Buat anak-anak yang akan mendapat keputusan SPM hari ini, moga mendapat keputusan yang terbaik. SPM bukanlah segalanya. Terimalah keputusan dengan reda dan syukur. Ucapkan penghargaan buat semua yang telah membantu. Ingatlah, perjalanan hidup anak-anak masih panjang, insya-Allah.

Posted in food, General, Pictures

Still Too Cold 


The daffodils in my garden have bloomed.


It seemed sunny outside so I thought of enjoying my lunch in the garden.


However, it turned out to be still too cold. I had to bring the food inside and just ate in the living room because the dining table is too far from the window. 


I have started to open one layer of the kitchen window and just leave the transparent glass so that I can see the sky while doing the dishes. My neighbour’s plum blossoms are gone. I can see some yellow mimosa (acacia) now and soon, their sakura will bloom. I will be able to enjoy the sakura through my kitchen window. 😍🌸

Posted in Family, food, General

Sunday Morning Delivery

Spring equinox is approaching and each day sunrise is getting earlier and earlier. Japan doesn’t have Day Light Saving clock adjustment, so this will go on continuously until we reach summer solstice.

For those Muslims living in the tropical countries, prayer times do not vary much throughout the year. The most is probably 30 minutes difference.

However in the four-season countries, we have to keep track of the daily changes because our daily five prayer times are set according to the movement of the sun.


That is today’s prayer times. Shuruq means sunrise. Muslims Subuh or Fajr prayer must be performed before sunrise.  So we should set our alarm clock early enough to allow us ample time to wash up before the prayer.

There are two types of washing up, wudu (ablution) or ghusl (full body washing). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghusl 

Thus depending on the type of washing required, the alarm clock is set accordingly.  😊

This morning, I had to wait for the delivery of halal food that I’d ordered online from Baticrom. I had once missed the delivery guy because I went back to sleep after Fajr prayer. So, this morning,  I reset the alarm clock for 8:30, though I was anxious I might miss it that I didn’t go back to sleep at all.

The delivery 📦 guy from Kuroneko arrived around 9 am, carrying 2 boxes with him.


That’s the genkan, the entrance of a Japanese house where we leave our outdoor shoes.


Those are the contents of the boxes. The dry box contains rice and the wet one contains frozen halal chicken, beef and paratha.