Posted in General

First Week of March 2017

Yesterday morning started very cold. It was only 6Β°C and the weather forecast showed the highest temperature for the day would be only 8Β°C. I had to wear gloves even though a few days earlier, I thought I could already put them away till next winter. 

 Around 12, when I finished my Nihongo class, the temperature seemed to be much warmer than expected. It had gone up to 11-12Β°C. I decided to take the bus home instead of the train. I was hoping to catch the no. 7 so that I didn’t have to walk far to go home.

Unfortunately I was delayed because I stopped at a fruit stall to buy some tangerines that looked shiny and irresistible. I ended up on the no. 98 instead. There were not many people on the bus. 

I was busy looking at my phone. An Indonesian friend had just invited me to join their group using LINE. My data for LINE was turned off, so I needed to change the setting. When I looked up, the bus had already reached Nakane-cho stop. 

Nobody got off there or earlier at Toritsu Daigaku ekimae, that’s why I had missed my stop. Someone had already pressed the bell to get off at the next stop, Yakumo Sanchome. So I too got off there. Since I was already there, I thought I would checkout the Uniqlo there along Meguro Dori. I crossed the bridge, took some photos and walked for a few hundred metres, but the Uniqlo was no longer there. πŸ™I saw some men doing renovation work. 

I walked further till I crossed the Setagaya Ward sign and arrived at Fukasawa. I found a Seiyu Store. I never knew there was one around my area. There used to be another Department Store along Meguro Dori in Himonya, a 7-storey Daie but the building had been under renovation for a year. 

I entered and ended up buying a pink deep frying pan. It would be suitable to fry fish keropok. I almost bought a small sakura plant at its garden centre, but on a second thought I felt it wouldn’t be necessary to have it. There’ll be so many sakura trees blossoming at the same time in 2-3 weeks time. 

The flowers at the garden centre were really enchanting. Perhaps, when I feel like walking in a garden full of beautiful flowers, I should just come here. Well, we don’t have to own things to enjoy them. πŸ˜„

After that, I walked home slowly exploring the pathways and parts of Yakumo that I had never been to. I took the path under sakura trees which is actually connected to the other sakura street from Toritsu Daigaku Station. There were already some signs of sakura. I’m excited.

I found a sign in English describing the pathway as one of 23 designated Historical and Cultural Walk in Tokyo. Wow, I never knew that. I should try to explore this Historical Pathway when the weather is much warmer, but not too hot either. 

I envy those people who live in the house facing the sakura trees. In a few weeks’ time, they will be enjoying magnificent sakura right in front of their doorsteps. 

At home, these are the flowers that are currently blooming. Unfortunately, I don’t know their name.

There are also some daffodils still in progress. I do not recall having daffodils last spring. I wonder how they suddenly appeared. Did they take a rest last year? Is that possible?

I have also finally found the name of the bird that often come playing and eating on the flowering dogwood tree. It’s brown-eared bulbul. 

Posted in General, Japanese

Snowy Day

Actually not really. Most of the time, it was just rain and sleet. The snow doesn’t stay but it’s heavier than the one that we had when I attended the earthquake drill.

February is here and it also means we will have more wet days, so please get ready with your umbrella. The cheapest umbrellas are the clear and transparent ones. Some shops sell them for 300 yen.

I remember seeing that kind of umbrella for the first time maybe 25 years ago on the window display of a fancy shop around Marble Arch, London. I thought it was such a sexy see-through umbrella, then. It cost £20. 😱 Definitely not the kind of umbrella a student would use.

But now in Japan, because it’s too common, it had somehow lost its appeal. I wanted to be different last year, so I got a solid red colour umbrella. My husband borrowed it and left it in his office and then it simply disappeared. Someone must have ‘borrowed’ it.

A few days ago, I saw the transparent umbrellas being sold at a nearby shop. This ones are styled differently. Instead of having black frames and handles, they have colourful ones.

So today, when I returned from the Japanese class (we had completed book I and will start with book II Minna no Nihongo next week) and the rain turned heavier, I went and bought one with a purple handle.

See, I’m too sexy for my umbrella. 😜

Around me however, I observed many people were using solid colour umbrellas with patterns instead. Yeah, it was either they were still using their summer umbrellas or those were actually their early purchase for the coming spring.

(This was written last Thursday, the 9th of February. We had heavier snow on Friday. After my two-week’s absence, did you expect to see such a vain topic? Well, did you want me to rant about Trump’s crazy travel ban, instead? You might wish I never started, if I did. So, I’d rather stay on safe topics. 😊)

Posted in General

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Happy New Year of the Rooster to everyone who’s celebrating.  My family does not celebrate it but  Ar and Mel are having their one-week mid semester break and my  eldest daughter Fa just arrived last night to spend her holiday here, so we’re going to have some fun together. Yay.

Anyway, in the spirit of Chinese New Year, I’d usually wear pink or red. So, this was us last night at the airport.

There are also fresh flowers I received from a Korean friend who’s teaching me Japanese.  I don’t have a proper vase, so I just put them in the pot. Perfect timing for the celebration. 😍

Posted in General

Disaster Preparedness Drill for Foreign Residence

This morning I attended an emergency drill held at Komazawa Park. The registration was at 9. Even though the nearest gate of Komazawa Park is only a 10-minute walk from my house, the gymnasium where the drill took place is 25 minutes away.

My weekdays mornings are always busy because I have to prepare breakfast, bento lunch for the kids and then walk with Mel to school. It’s always a race against time. Mel must be at school by 8:37, and we usually have to partly run there, especially on the downhill road.

For this morning, I woke up at 6, planned to leave for Mel’s school by 8 and then maybe took a taxi to Komazawa Gymnasium. I might take a bus if the timing was right.

After dropping Mel, I saw the No. 1 bus as suggested by google map,  but I was confused on whether it was going in the right direction. I crossed the road but couldn’t find one that was going the other way.

In the end, I decided to just walk along Jiyu Dori and try to catch a taxi if I saw one. However, all the taxis were going towards Jiyugaoka instead of Komazawa Daigaku. So, despite it being a freezing morning with a forecast of snow, I had to walk all the way for about half an hour. 

I had to stop once to ask for direction and managed to arrive just a minute before 9. The email had stated that we should be there by 9 and any latecomers wouldn’t be allowed in, that’s why I was so anxious, but it turned out, the registration was from 9 to 9:30. 

I was assigned to Group C. There were already a group of Americans who seemed to know each other and also a group of Chinese. I was alone, but just before the briefing started, I saw two familiar faces. They were from my Japanese class at Unesco.

The drill was really beneficial. We were shown model of rescue centre and basic facilities, then underwent an earthquake simulation as well as learned how to remove a person (mannequin) who was trapped under a collapse building and give a first aid.

We were given a list of things that we should have in our emergency kit bag and also taught to write down our rescue plan for such emergency. 
The programme ended around 1:30 p.m. After having pepperonchino and  pizza lunch with my Indonesian friend at Saizeriya, I did some shopping before walking back home. I reached home around 4 and then at 4:45 went out again to go pick Mel up.

After all the walking that I did, my app showed showed that I had walked a mere 8.4 km. Not much, right?

Posted in food

Nasi Dagang

I cooked Nasi Dagang for dinner today. Nasi dagang is a special rice which originated from the East Coast of Malay Peninsula. There are some variations in the preparation of this rice between the State of Terengganu And the State of Kelantan. 

I tasted this rice for the first time when I was 18 when I went to study in Kuantan, Pahang also a state on the East Coast. It is not easy to find this rice on the West Coast of Malay Peninsula, where I came from, that’s why I had never tasted  it before that.

To prepare nasi dagang, the rice is usually steamed but I found a blog which gives the simpler version of cooking it, just by using a rice cooker. This rice is usually eaten with fish curry but I had it with chicken curry instead.

The rice is a bit glutinous and cooked with coconut milk. Sliced ginger, fenugreek seeds and screw-pine leaves are added to give it a special aroma.

Maybe the taste is not as authentic but I’m happy to at least relieve some craving. 😍

Posted in General

My Quran

This is one of my Quran copies. Besides the phone apps, I have several copies around the house so that I can read them anytime I’m free. This one comes with Malay translation and is published under Karya Bestari. 

It is my favourite copy. It is of medium size, not too big and not too small either, thus not too bulky and heavy to carry around. It comes with translation which means I can even carry it without wuduk (ablution). I also love it because the size and the spacing of the font is just right for my reading. The font is the most similar to the Quran printed in Madinah.

The writing is also colour-coded to give tajweed guides. The keys for the colours are printed on this bookmark.

I bought this Quran about 2 years ago together with many other copies. They were farewell gifts for my colleagues in the Accounting Department just before I started my unpaid leave.

Last year, I made a cover for the Quran from a 100 yen felt fabric. I hand-stitched this cover. The flowers were supposed to be sakura but it was my first attempt and since I wasn’t very good at cutting the fabric, that’s how they turned out. Nevertheless, I’m rather proud of my achievement. πŸ˜„

On top of using the bookmarks which came with the Quran, I have an extra marker. This orange chopstick is used as a pointer as well as a bookmark. When I stop on an odd number page, I will leave the chopstick with the sharp end pointing upwards, otherwise when I stop on an even number page, I will put the chopstick upside down as shown in this photo.

I had used many other ways of marking too such as writing the date at the place where I stopped. However, that could be confusing if you use the same Quran for many years. I remember being impressed when seeing the Quran of a former student. It was full of sticky notes. That shows she reads it a lot and has written a lot of notes.

Nowadays, beside the physical bookmarks, I also mark the reading on the Quran app. That way, it is easier to refer to when I’m using a different Quran.

These are the 2 Quran apps I’m using now. Besides using them for reading, I use them to listen to the recitations and also to ascertain how to read certain parts  that I’m not sure off.

Despite having all these references, I’m still not good enough in my reading. Some people finish reading the whole Quran once a month, some people finish it several time during Ramadan. For me, I’m grateful enough to complete the reading (both Arabic and the translation) once a year. Ramadan is the time when I accelerate and try to khatam (finish) it.

I hope to increase my memorisation but have not set any target yet. Is 12 short surah (chapters) good enough? May Allah give me the strength and persistence to do this. Aamiin.

Posted in Pictures

Ikebukuro Outing

Today had been rather cold. Some parts of Japan is having heavy snowfall and it’s 0Β° in our area now.

I started my morning with a breakfast of nasi goreng (fried rice). I’m the only one in this house who likes to eat rice for breakfast. The rest of my family had bread. 

We decided to go out to Ikebukuro. My son wants some new pants because I shrank his other pants in the dryer. πŸ˜… I also wanted to have lunch at a Malaysian restaurant, Malay-chan, there.

My nose is sensitive to the cold air but I don’t like to wear mask the way Japanese love to do. So, I looked like this instead.

I had laksa and  murtabak at Malay-chan while my husband had kueteow. 

I received a gift from my father-in-law last month. It was a watch but the bracelet was too big. Today, I had it cut and now I finally can wear the new watch. 😍

My son took hours trying and deciding on which pants to buy. After paying, we had to wait for another hour for the alteration to shorten the pants. I wonder, do other teenage boys go shopping with their parents or with their friends? 

After shopping at Uniqlo,  we had dinner at a Turkish restaurant, Turkuaz. 

We finally reached home at 10 pm.

Posted in Pictures

Winter Blooms

Here are flowers that I see around the neighbourhood, today.

White plum blossoms near a shrine.

Narcissus inside a school compound.

Now, I’m confused. Is spring coming soon?

These are fuyu zakura (winter sakura) near Akasaka-Mitsuke Station. The blossoms are rather small. I took the photo yesterday when taking my daughter to the dentist there.

Posted in General, Pictures, School

Nihongo C ClassΒ 

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 13Β°C. Here are 2 photos from my neighbourhood. The plum blossoms are already in bloom.