One thing I really wanted to get but didn’t manage to during my visit to Japan a year ago was Geta. Geta is a Japanese traditional wooden sandals that are usually worn to go with Kimonos or Yukata. View Wiki’s Geta here. Geta comes in many different styles and colours – beautiful.

There is an in-depth article about Geta I found in KIE Magazine July 2008 which I scanned many months ago. The article describes how a Geta is made and its different styles.

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Download the full hi-res articleΒ Geta Article.

There is another great article about Geta from Kimono Box.

Sometime last week (probably Tuesday) I finally got what I’d been waiting for! The 2010 Calendar from the wonderful illustrator, Ana Aceves. Thanks, Ana! Can’t wait for 2010 to use the calendar, and many other reasons. Below are some shots of the calendar:

Calendar

Calendar

the illustrations - she makes it look effortless yet beautiful and soothing.

the illustrations - she makes it look effortless yet beautiful and soothing.

So yeah, the calendar is now safely stowed in my IKEA box, waiting for 2009 to be over, which I’m sure will go in a heartbeat.

Other than getting the calendar, I and a few friends also went to Milsons Point over the weekend for a picnic celebrating a friend’s birthday. It was my first time ever going for a picnic, better late than never right? We ate mostly junk foods :p but still it was a blast, the weather was perfect! It wasn’t too cold/hot. Just the perfect picnic weather you could ever ask for. Even better, we got the whole view to the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park – would love to go again someday. We found the spot accidentally while we were jogging a few weeks ago, it was even more beautiful at night. We couldn’t stay too late though, it was getting colder.

Somehow my camera only has the BW image of the view.

Somehow my camera only has the BW image of the view.

Yes, junk food's the best. Currently detoxing my body - been eating all the healthy stuff since morning.

Yes, junk food's the best. Currently detoxing my body - been eating all the healthy stuff since morning.

This dog came over with a wooden stick in his mouth! So we played throw and catch for a while.

This dog came over with a wooden stick in his mouth! So we played throw and catch for a while.

What a mess *sigh*

What a mess *sigh*

Looking forward to this week! So far so good. πŸ™‚ Have a good week everyone.

Though I’m well above 17 years old, I actually never participated in Indonesia’s presidential election; until few days ago, 8 July 2009. I am now home in Jakarta on a 2-week off from work and my life in Sydney to settle few matters. Below are some snapshots on the voting scene I went to just near my house. The weather was scorching hot.

venue

The voting place near my house, in front of a national middle school. People sitting down are waiting for their names to be called to vote.

registration

Had to show the summoning letter from the RT (Rukun Tetangga) or simply put in English; Neighborhood Community; with our listed names on it. If your name is not on the list, no need to worry; show them your ID Card, and you are now listed.

bilik

The small voting chambers to tick your favorite candidate. Note that the cat underneath the first chamber is not dead, it’s just sleeping ^^. There are lots of stray cats in Indonesia. Usually the ones wandering around residential areas are quite friendly.

ballot

calon

The paper ballot with the candidates pictures on it to put a tick mark on, we call this practice nyontreng.

dipping

After voting, we dipped our pinkies to this purple ink, marking that we’ve used our votes.

purple pinkies

neko

Another stray cat…

I’ve been to numerous Ramen shops during my stay in Sydney, but I never discovered this ‘hidden gem’ Ramen shop until around 2 years ago or so, quite some time after my arrival; called Ryo’s Noodle. It’s located in quite a secluded area near where I live. Given that it’s a pretty small shop, it’s doing damn well! I heard rumors that they imported the ingredients straight from its main branch in Tokyo, and it’s a rare occasion for people not to line up in front of the main door during dinner/lunch time. I personally never visited the shop during lunch time, but I have several times for dinner. And as rumored, people always line up at the front door, (im)patiently waiting for their turn to slurp their well-known Ramens, often the famous no. 3 dish, Tonkotsu Ramen! πŸ˜€

Ryo Ramen

People still lined up even though it’s freezing outside. And no one in front of the Thai resto. ^^ But their dish is pretty good too, went there couple of times.

Menu banner

wall

Wall full of choices. Yummy…

Wall

calpis

They also have rows of authentic Japanese canned drinks sold for A$2.50 each, around Β₯185. I think Calpis tastes like Pocari Sweat, only better πŸ˜€ don’t you think?

Another famous Ramen-ya in Sydney is called Ichiban Boshi. They used to open one in Bondi, but it closed down for relocation (I don’t know where to), and the main branch is just in front of Kinokuniya in city. But if you want a more traditional Ramen place, Ryo’s Noodle in Crows Nest is the place to go to!

I’ve got a friend who wants to study Korean, she was looking forward to buy a couple of proper Korean tutorial books so we dropped by the language book store just in front of my bus stop in QVB. They were pricey though, those language books! We thought it’d worth a shot to visit Kinokuniya too since it’s just a block away, even though we both knew Kinokuniya seldom has its sale on language books. But still we went.

And this is what we saw right in front of the main doors of Kinokuniya.

Stormtrooper

Stormtroopers! They were so cool, I even asked them to pose with me :p Sorry for the low quality, I didn’t come prepared, had to use my cameraphone instead. But it’s better than nothing. And we were presented with even more surprises inside the store. Kinokuniya was having its manga sale! How tempting is that? I ended up buying a set of GetBackers series, I’ve been wanting to read this since a long time ago, I only had a chance to watch the anime. Each tankoubon was on sale for A$4.95, not a bad price at all, compared to the normal price of A$20.95. That’s only 1/4 the original price. People were swarming around the manga section and there were even people cosplaying. Turns out that day was a free-comics-book day, each of Kinokuniya customer was entitled to a free (American) comics, though the comics I got was full of advertisements 😦 (I had Sonic the Hedgehog — brings back memories when I used to play it on SEGA).

My friend ended up getting 11 Samurai Depper Kyo tankoubons and forgetting the Korean part altogether. ^^; She actually wanted to buy some more, but guilt came over her, so we paid for the books and escaped from being ripped off even more. Only a week later (2 days ago) my friend told me that she regretted not getting some other manga when they were on sale, I told her that the sale has ended already, that day we were there was the last day! But still we went to Kinokuniya, and I was totally wrong:

Manga saleThey were still on sale!! 0.0 and with more other titles!

Manga saleSome more…

Manga saleAnd more.

I am not sure if it’s still on now, but that’s what I said to my friend and look how it turned up. It’s worth a try πŸ™‚ thankfully this time I managed to hold back from buying anything.

Finally! I got this done yesterday after being abandoned for almost a year. Too bad some parts were too delicate and hard to be attached, but I am pretty happy with the result. I got this during my visit to Kyoto Manga Museum last July, it was a wonderful experience — especially when on the way out there was a merchandise shop where you get to buy stuff like this for Β₯500.

Gegege no Kitaro

Medama-oyaji was one of the hardest bits, I gave up trying to stick its eyeball to the paper base.

Gegege no Kitaro

During my four-and-a-half year stay in Sydney since 2005, I spent the last four years staying in North Sydney in four different places (five, if you counted the first 2-week stay before I moved to a homestay in Cremorne, which is full of awful memories). Despite having friends who mainly reside in the City (Sydney CBD) area and being endlessly persuaded to move there, I somehow managed to stick around North Sydney. I know that NS is like a dead city at night — no foods, no supermarkets nearby (except ALDI, which by the way shuts down at 7 every night, unless you count Thursdays 9PM), no friends (I used to have a few, but they went back to Indo, the other one is on holiday for a month abroad), but I get the luxury of having hours of uninterrupted silence at night. No blaring sirens, no gibberish yellings from drunkards, other than occasional distant sounds of vehicles passing through the streets.

So, so far I have no regrets dwelling in North Sydney, especially when I get to see a view like this every day.

NS at dusk

NS at dusk

NS at dusk

No regrets! πŸ™‚

What in the world is poken? Trust me it definitely is NOT food! It’s a device to connect you and your friends through social networks (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Digg, etc.). But it’s not another social network community, it will only act as a bridge between you and your friends, or say new friends that you want to keep in touch with. (if not, forget about ‘pokening’ them :p) If you and your new friend both have a poken, simply tap each other’s poken and both of your social networks profiles will be dumped into each poken, so when you connect your poken to your computer — tada! you’ve got your friend’s social networks details and can add them easily!

Well that’s as far as I know about these cute little devices called poken πŸ™‚ I do not have one yet, and I thought it’s gonna be sooooo handy!
That’s why I am entering this poken contest: http://blog.japansoc.org/2009/04/12/japansoc-poken-contest/ Maybe you should too — if you’re interested!

To know more about poken: http://poken.jp/en/

Ok now I need to continue editing my friend’s farewell video. I’m so exhausted after assembling 22 Ikea furnitures, and it’s 3.03am now! But she’s leaving the day after tomorrow, so I have to get this video done asap!!

TTYL!

One of my nephews’ birthday is coming soon, and I kinda promised him (his parents actually) to draw his face when I was there in the US few weeks ago. But giving the small amount of time my visit was, I didn’t have the chance to do so. Now that I’m back in Jakarta and have plenty of time to spare, the thought of drawing his face for his coming 3rd birthday this weekend is pretty interesting. And so I shuffled through the photos I took of him while I was in the US and found one which is quite expressive. It’s been months since I last drew (that was for my final project in uni.) so the idea of drawing a life subject again after so long was at first a bit intimidating. But then I thought, why not just give it a go? I needed more practice too! So I did, and I finally got it done, here’s the result.

Pencil (3H, HB, 2B and 4B) was the only medium I used in the drawing.

So I figured I need a bigger space to work. And this is what I did to my work space. I moved to the attic of my house during my stay in Jakarta.

The ping pong table hasn't been used that much anyway.

The ping pong table hasn't been used that much anyway...

Accompanying friends.

Accompanying friends.

D (the mouse itself is really old though)

Last but not least, my newly decorated mouse! πŸ˜€ (the mouse itself is really old though)