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 General, Pictures, School

Nihongo C Class 

This morning I went to the Japanese class for the first time this semester. I already knew 5 of my classmates: 3 were from my previous B class and 2 from my A class. Then there are 5 new faces. 

The one from Russia seems to speak Japanese rather fluently and confidently. She thinks smartphones are expensive and she gets along fine by just using a simple mobile phone. Somebody inthe class   mentioned that she needs the phone for maps. I agree because I use Google Map a lot too. Another lady in the class, English if I’m not mistaken, shows that she uses a paper map of Tokyo to move around. Really wow. I’m impressed that such people still exist and they live in modern Tokyo Metropolitan .

I found this class even more difficult which means I will have to work harder. I need to study some more vocabularies and sentence patterns before the next class on Thurday.

Today the maximum temperature was warm at 13°C. Here are 2 photos from my neighbourhood. The plum blossoms are already in bloom.

Posted in Japanese, School

2nd Week of January 2017

Today is a public holiday to celebrate the coming of age day. Tomorrow will be the first day of school in 2017 for my kids. My Japanese class will also start tomorrow.

I will proceed to the C class this semester after spending the autumn semester repeating the B class. (Only 3 chapters were repetition though, then I had 6 new chapters). I’d spent this winter break revising the past lessons especially the “te” form where I struggled the most in memorizing. 

My sensei had suggested learning it through songs and I found several on YouTube. However, constructing my own chart, I think I’ve got the hang of it. Finally! Alhamdulillah.

That’s the chart we got in class.

And here’s the chart I drew up myself. 

In my garden, I can still see some roses. Here they are, my January roses. Subhanallah!

These are probably the last ones for this season. 

Posted in Family, Kids, School

Summer 2015 in Tokyo

To summarise the past 10 months in one go is too much, so I decided to break them according to the seasons.

26th July 2016

We arrived at Narita Airport early Sunday morning and were taken straight to a serviced studio apartment (part of a hotel – Tokyu Stay Aoyama Residence) in Aoyama by an eight-seater cab which had been reserved in advance. The nearest train station to this apartment was Gaienmae.  The place was rather small but it was just a temporary arrangement while we looked for a more permanent place to live. There was a queen-sized bed which could be separated from the living area by a sliding door. We requested for an extra bed for Ar, while Mel slept on the sofa.

My husband, Li’s office is in Omotesando which is within a walking distance from that apartment. A rice cooker was not provided at the apartment, however being Malays, of course we had to eat rice.  Initially, we bought the instant rice from 7-Eleven which could be reheated in the microwave.However, after I ordered some halal chicken from Baticrom, an online store which I’d use during our previous stay in Japan, I could cook more properly, so  I then learned how to cook the rice on the stove-top.  I’d always relied on an automatic rice cooker before, thus to cook on the stove-top, I had to recall how my mum did it when I was small, long before our house had electricity.

Japan has a very hot summer, the heat is even worse than in Malaysia. During the period of one month, we went school-hunting, house-hunting and furniture hunting, all done under the scorching hot sun. Alhamdulillah, we managed to do it all just in time.  August was my wedding anniversary month. We sort of celebrated by eating out at an Indian restaurant in Aoyama, Dip Mahal. We didn’t really plan it. We went out for a walk to Omotesando, saw the restaurant by chance and asked if they had halal food and they said yes.

During the first month in Japan, Li still used his Malaysian number and switched on the data roaming service when necessary. On  our third day, I bought a data sim card for 4,900 yen which was valid for one month. Inside the apartment, we could rely on the wi-fi, but it was important to have a data network so that I could refer to Google map when going out visiting schools. I could not make phone calls using this sim card other than using the Whatsapp call.

25th August 2016

On the last day of our first month, a Tuesday afternoon, we moved to a rented house in Yakumo, a small town in the south of Meguro. Alhamdulillah, the agent managed to find for us a 4LDK, a charming two-storey house with four spacious rooms and sufficient compound planted with plants and trees, really a lot better than I had expected. Before we came here, I’d often thought that living in Tokyo would mean living in a small apartment and the only plants I would have would be potted plants. Now, this was more than I could ask for. I’m so grateful for it. The house is 10-minutes away from the train station. The walk home is uphill, thus it is rather tiring when we carry groceries home after shopping.

The budget allocated by Li’s company also provide us with most of the basic furniture, electrical appliances that we needed to live comfortably and even curtains. The furniture was efficiently delivered by the leasing company on the same afternoon. Even on our first night in the house, we could already sleep on comfortable beds. I just needed to buy cooking pots, some kitchenware such as knives and dinner plates.

On our first night here, we only had some instant noodles.  The landlord  provided us with an induction cooker stove and a built-in dish-washer. The first time I use the induction cooker was at our previous apartment in Aoyama where they also provided suitable cooking pots to use.

On Wednesday, we went to Jiyugaoka to look for the kitchen items. Because I was going to ship our dinner set from Malaysia, I didn’t want to buy expensive things, so we just bought some dishes and mugs from a 100 yen (Can Do) shop in Jiyugaoka. We also somehow managed to find a reasonably price Meyer’s set of pots and pans from Watashi no Heya also in Jiyugaoka. We were lucky because the cashier at the shop spoke some English.

Then on Thursday we went for registration at Meguro-ku Municipal Office in Nakameguro. Now that we have a permanent address, we could have it printed on our residence card (zairyu). With that also my husband could open a bank account and apply for a credit card. We needed to have a credit card before we could subscribe to a phone line. The next few days we were busy with the installation of home phone and satellite TV.

Our three kids’ birthdays were at the end of August, but Fa was away at her university in Malaysia. That weekend we went to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro to visit the aquarium because Ar loves animals. That was what we did 9 years earlier when we also spent our summer in Tokyo. I wanted to look for the Build-A-Bear shop where we bought a bear to mark his 5th birthday and Fa’s 9th birthday, so that we could make another bear to mark Mel’s 8th birthday. However, the shop was no longer there. In the end we bought a little penguin puppet for her from the aquarium.

31st August was Malaysian Independence, Merdeka Day. It was Ar’s first day of school. He started as a freshman, a 9th grader of a high school which follows American syllabus. Since he was not familiar with the public transport and didn’t have a phone, I had to accompany him to school and pick him up after school. He could use either the train or bus to go to school, but if he took the train, he needed to change train either in Denenchofu or Shibuya, so he preferred the bus. I did this for a week until he was confident enough to go and come back by himself.

As for Mel, school started on the 1st of September. She was placed in the 2nd grade rather than 3rd because she seemed a bit immature for the upper primary syllabus. I didn’t really mind, perhaps it’s better for her to be in the lower grade in order to feel more confident. Her school is actually only a 10-minutes’ walk from our house. However, during the first two weeks of school, the new building was not yet ready, so we had to go to the old building of the school in Jiyugaoka. On the first day, I had trouble finding the school even though it was so close to the station. It turned out, the school has 2 buildings in Jiyugaoka which caused the confusion. I was so relieved when we didn’t have to go to Jiyugaoka anymore. At least, we would have more time in the morning.

September was still rather hot here. We did not need to wear any jacket or sweater yet. Li’s birthday fell on Malaysia Day. Mel help me baked a small chocolate cake for him. During the 3rd week of school, Japan had a public holiday to mark the beginning of autumn, but this year we had extra holidays known as Silver Holiday. We did not go anywhere outside Tokyo during the holiday. We were still trying to settle in. Just when the kids had to return to school, it was Eidul-Adha, The Feast of Sacrifice. The kids went to school on that day, my husband was the only one who went for Eid prayer at the mosque in Yoyogi-Uehara. We did not have any celebration at home. I did not cook any special dish; we did not dress up and take photos. My husband and I went out to have our Eid lunch at an Indonesian restaurant in Shin-Okubo, Merah Putih Café.

Posted in Family, General, School

House-hunting in Summer

I can’t believe I’d neglected this blog for the whole of August and September. I’d earlier planned to update everyday throughout September but as it turned out, I even missed the 1st of October. I admit I was very busy in the beginning but now, not so. I could really dedicate some time to blogging if I’d really had the will.

In the first two weeks we were here, when we were so busy going for school visits, the heat was unbearable. Even Malaysia wasn’t that hot. By early August, we had finalised the schools for Ar and Mel. We couldn’t get a place in a school where both of them would be together. Not many schools have the elementary and high school together in the same building and some schools are gender-based.

We started looking at the properties only on the 11th, though we’d browsed  the internet and looked at the possible available properties earlier. From the suggested properties we got from the agent, I shortlisted three. We used the service of Ken Corporation. It’s an estate agent hired by my husband Li’s company. However, when we met with the agent, he said he wanted to show us more since a few more properties had become available since he gave us the first list. The same day, it started to rain in Tokyo. Lucky for us, the property agent took us to see the houses in his company car, so we didn’t have to take the train and get wet.

We focused our house-hunting in Meguro ward mostly since the kids would be going to school there. There weren’t too many to choose from, really. We only viewed five houses. The first one was next to the landlady’s house which I found to be too close for comfort, the second one was really huge but it looked too old and shabby, and I immediately fell in love at the first sight with the third one which originally wasn’t in the list. Its size, its neat little garden and interior seemed better than the first two. After that, Shimada-san took us to see two more beautiful houses but they were a bit far from the kids’ schools. Li really liked the house in Komazawa Park, it was really pretty and came with a beautiful garden and landscape, maintained by Ken Corporation which owns the property. It was also only 4 minutes away from the train station. However, it wasn’t too practical because the location of the house would require everyone to commute to school and work. At first, we were thinking of finding a house which was closer to Ar’s school and I would commute with Mel everyday, taking her to and picking her up from school.

In the end, we settled on a house which was closer to Mel’s school and Ar was the one who would be commuting. The train station is about 10-minutes walk from the house. Li definitely had to commute but what made him unhappy was the fact that he would have to change train once in Shibuya to go to his office in Omotesando. If we had chosen the Komazawa Park house, he would be taking only one line.

We had to make our decisions fast. Li wasn’t too happy that I’d rushed in making the decision. However, our first month would be over by the 25th of August, which meant we would have to vacate the temporary apartment in Aoyama. After choosing the property, we would have to look for furniture, so that we wouldn’t be moving into an empty house. In the house that we would be moving, only cooking stove and dishwasher would be provided. There was no fridge or washing machine. Many windows were without curtains and some rooms did not have enough lamps. We had to include all that in our furniture list.

Fortunately, Li’s company would be paying for the rent plus the furniture lease. The company hired Tokyo Lease Corporation.  So we had to look at furniture catalogue, go to the warehouse, decide whether we would rent used or new furniture. In some ways, it was fun. It felt like newly-married couple looking for a new house together and then shopping for the furniture. It coincided with our wedding anniversary month, being married for 19 years this year. However, the feeling wasn’t really the same because we were rushing to meet the deadline too. We had to submit our furniture list to Li’s company for budget approval and wanted everything to be settled before we moved on the 25th so that the furniture delivery could be done on the same day. We had another challenge too, since many people were away from the office during the bon odori holiday. Trying to make appointments in between was rather tricky.

Alhamdulillah, we made it. The secretary who was in charge of finance returned from her holiday in Europe by Friday 21st of August, we managed to make some minor change to our furniture order on Saturday the 22nd. and finally on the 25th. we checked out of Tokyu Stay Aoyama Residence and moved into the present home.

Posted in School, Work

Translation course and a new laptop

I registered for a translation course a few days ago. The course will be held for 10 days beginning April  6th. I was told that it’s advisable to bring our laptop during the course. Since the parts which connect the cover of my old laptop are broken, it would be hard to carry it around. At home, I lean the screen against the wall. So I went and got myself a new one.  Yay. Alhamdulillah.

I was told to study Kamus Dewan  and Tatabahasa Dewan in preparation for the course. I’m rather excited about the whole thing. I have Kamus Dewan 4th Edition at home,but will need to buy the Tatabahasa Dewan. I wanted to get a new set of  pencil case and stationeries. However my daughter Fa said she had many spare pencil cases, so she asked me to choose. 

This is what I have.  An elephant patchwork pencil case.