How am I now? Part 1 (Trip ~ Banana?)

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After 3.5 years being absent from the blog, I want to welcome you all again. Thank you onedayillflyaway for the figure 🙂

Hi y’all, how are you 🙂 ? It has been a really long time for me to be here again since the last writing had been posted. Pardon me for being frequently absent in updating my blog. This is due to my heavy hands in writing, not because I do not like to share things (in fact sharing is definitely one of my favorite activities). And yes, you may assume that currently I still prefer talking directly to people to writing :p hehehe…

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Yes, I should try to write more, as this picture says. Thanks http://www.quoteswave.com.

Okay, so related to the title, how am I now? Well to be short, I am great! There were many things happened in the past 3.5 years, both good and not-so-good things. These things, especially the not-so-good ones, have nurtured me to become the person who I am today (who is much stronger and gorgeous XD LOL), hence I am very thankful for that. Here I review some of my journeys along the way.

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Kelly Clarkson says it right! Thanks for sharing this, Kelly.

Back to 2010:

Earlier that year, as the Indonesian Student Society in Kanto, Japan held a ski event in Nagano, I was very excited to participate in it. That was my first time to ski and then after I tried it, I realize that this is not really my thing :p I was rolling on the snow almost all the time (this was the repeated cycle: started to lose balance-fell ungracefully-got up unstably-fell again immediately-rolled like a snowman, as I was very fat at that time :p LOL ). Moreover I got heavy body aches and unfortunately high fever the day after 😦 However it is nice though to know how tough skiing is (definitely not as easy as we see on the TV or other body balancing exercises such as bicycling or ice skating in my opinion). Well, we shall never really know something if we have not tried it, shan’t we 😉 ?

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Smiling before the ski 🙂 Thanks to Yudha for the picture 🙂

Subsequently in March, the traveling team (Risi, Dita, Andy, and I) travelled to Seoul, South Korea for almost one week and subsequently together with Laras, Risvan, Ipul, and Fafa, we went around Honshu Island (Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Kobe-Hiroshima) for the next two weeks. Ah, what a life 😉 As usual, during the journey I did not take photograph much (in line with my close friend, Andra,’s principle “In this world there are two equally important roles: photographer and model. Since I am a not-so-good photographer, I choose to be the great model” 😛 LOL”).

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Thankfully the wood was strong enough for us. Thanks to Atri for being a tour guide while we were in Seoul 🙂

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Being a (relatively chubby) model XD LOL Thanks to Laras for the gorgeous picture 🙂

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Y S E P / 0 9 (Can you see it?). Thanks Andy for being both a dedicated friend and photographer 🙂

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Kebab eating championship during the trip in Nara, who won 😀 ? Thanks again Andy.

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Finally the photograph of the full team! Thanks all for the amazing trip 🙂 

The trip is one of the best moments in my life! I finally travelled along the way with my close friends and the most important thing is that I did feel satisfied about it. It was not the luxury one though; in fact we were backpackers (ehm, ordinary student ;p ). Then why was I so happy with that limitation? Because before the trip, I did try to save money like crazy from my scholarship in order to be able to fund all my travel expenses. One of the crazy things that I did (oh, this is just too much when I remember this again now) was eating rice and fried egg or bananas only very often (actually almost everyday) until I was really fed freaking up XP hahaha… By doing this unusual thing, I saved much money! All I can say is that I am proud that starting from my 21 years old age, I can fully fund my own trip (a.k.a. being more independent), so I started to appreciate and value myself more and more (in appropriate level). Actually after the trip all the money was clearly gone (I borrowed money from my kind friend, Risvan, while I was waiting for the next monthly scholarship to finally come to my bank account :p ) and it is replaced by eternal happiness and unfortunately I started to eat bananas again at that time @_@ FYI: after leaving Japan until now I am just not really into banana anymore :p LOL

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Conclusion: based on this story, bananas were worth for my happiness. Who else feels the same XD ? Thanks to http://pradeepamohan.net for the picture.

Just for sharing, sometimes I feel (naturally) jealous to many of my friends who come from the very rich family, so that they can just travel around the world and get luxury things very easily. However continuous jealousy is definitely useless, so I take this thing from positive side: by seeing them having great things in their lives then I may know what great things are and I am going to work hard to get those and subsequently share the happiness with others in the future.

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Well said, http://www.political-humor.org. Thanks for the picture.

Even though currently I still have many limitations to get what I want, but I do feel extremely grateful for what I have. As a human being who wants to improve all the time, I do work hard to achieve my goals and try to be more and more grateful for everything.

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I do believe that positive thinking and attitudes are going to lead us to be better human beings. Thank you http://joyreactor.com for the inspiring picture 🙂

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Not Only Young Scientist, But Also Artist!


Please do not feel shock when you read the title, because it is true =9 hahaha… When I was selected as YSEP student, I had never thought that I will be an artist (ok, if it is too much, from now just call it “junior cultural ambassador” for making it clearer =P hahaha…). Yeah of course I had never planned for it also (although to be an artist is one of my silly dreams =9 LOL)…

After I arrived here, there was no sign for us (Indonesian YSEP students) to do some cultural show. Until one day, our “madam”, Lyta Liem (our “manager”) asked us to do performance at Koudaisai (Tokyo Tech Campus Festival) in September 2009.

I thought it would be cool if we could show in our new campus, representing Indonesia. So, I did not think twice: I answered “yes” directly and also other Indonesian YSEP students. It was great news that we would perform, because there were no other Indonesian students that wanted to perform (especially for the men), so yeah, probably you can slightly call us “scapegoat” =p huahuahua…

Of course we could not perform if we did not practice well before. Finally we practiced our dance for first time at Akino’s (our great coach) house. We thought that the dance that we were going to show was Saman Dance (“Thousand of Hands” Dance from Aceh), but if I am not mistaken because there was an earthquake happened in West Sumatera near that time, finally we changed our dance into Indang Dance (from West Sumatera), that become our trademark now =D hahaha…

Ok, first I saw the dance in You Tube, I just felt pretty shocked. Men, this dance is very fast and needs so much collaborations in order to make a great harmony. And what can be expected from us, the very beginner dancer? Yeah although it was pretty tough for first time, finally we had passed it =) The other nice point is we get traditional dance costume from West Sumatera directly, so actually we are ready to perform (as long as we do not make any fatal mistakes =p hahaha…).

So the day had come, our first performance, Koudasai on September 2009 at O-okayama Campus. I was so nervous because I had never done this before and thought that there would be lot peoples watch us. And you know what? The stage must be outdoor (crowded of peoples), but I did not know why it was moved into indoor (less crowded) =( So, our audiences were not that much =| huhuhu… But fortunately some of YSEP students came to see us =)
The dancers were: Me, Laras, Risiana, Risvan, Fakhria, Dita, Ipul, Lyta, Teddy, Ana, and Akino. Yihaaa… In this first performance, I did not make any mistakes in moving (as long as I realized =p hahaha…) and we got one cardboard of melon soda as our “salary” =D hahaha…

The next week, we got call from Indonesian Students Society in Tokyo Tech (PPI Tokodai) to perform at Kawasaki International Culture Festival in Kawasaki City. Another great event, so I did not say no. Just did not understand, why this international event just prepared us a very small stage -_- The dancers were twelve persons: Me, Laras, Risiana, Risvan, Fakhria, Dita, Ipul, Lyta, Teddy, Ana, Isa, and Donna; and we were “paid” only 5.000 yen >.<. Here I did a great mistake because did not get concentrate well (just see at “Shinchan move” part) =D hahaha…

The next month, TISA (Tokyo Tech International Students Association) asked us to do performance again in TISA’s Welcome Party at Suzukakedai Campus. Huhhh… I felt so bored to perform same dance… But this one was also a great event to show. Again, I said yes (rather reluctantly). It was rather strange and nervous when many people who saw us, know us also (just like you perform in front of your friends) =D hahaha… But it was ok, because in my opinion again, there I did not make any mistake in moving =) hohoho… No, we were not paid, but it was also ok, because I drank a lot beers and wines and ate sushi and other delicious foods =D LOL
The dancers were decreased into eight persons: Me, Risiana, Fakhria, Dita, Ipul, Akino, Isa, and Donna.

That time, I felt that I may not perform again: it is hard to be an artist =9 LOL But, the next event was a charity event and how come I would miss this great event (*angel face =P hahaha…). So, I said yes to next event, FESTA, in the end of October 2009. We performed at Nagathachou and were watched by many retired peoples. In this session, we also sang two Indonesian songs, Kambanglah Bungo and Bengawan Solo. In my opinion, although I did not make any fatal mistakes in dancing and singing, this was our worst performance. Probably because the stage was very small (on the other hand the dancers were ten persons) and we did not practice well in singing, so we did not get great harmony. But it was ok, we earned 40.350 yen to be sent to earthquake victim in West Sumatera by Indonesian Students Association. And the strange thing was we also were being paid 10000 yen. I still do not know what we are going to do with that 10000 yen.
The performers were: Me, Risiana, Fakhria, Dita, Ipul, Risvan, Lyta, Teddy, Isa, and Donna.

As I said before, as long as the event is related to charity, I will dance with my pleasure. The fifth was Sumatera no Kaze (charity event for earthquake victim in West Sumatera that was held by Indonesian Community in Japan) at Ark Hill Café, Roponggi in December 2009. Because this event was limited to special guests, the performance also did not need many dancers, it was only six persons: Me, Risiana, Isa, Laras, Akino, and Batari (the newbie!!! =p hahaha…). Yeah, this event was very elite and filled by young executives.
As performer we could eat buffet in that luxurious café, but only after we had performed. Men, it was eight o’clock at night and we were starving at backstage, waiting for our session. Probably this hunger that made us (the dancers) could not concentrate well, so we did many little mistakes (that fortunately was not seen clearly by the audiences, probably because there was rather dark there) =) hahayyy… And I like this performance, because we did modification in our position so in my opinion it was quite nice to see ^^
Guess how much money did we get from this event? 172.000 YEN =) hahaha… What amount of money to give huh ^^ ? This donation has gone to CARE International’s Emergency Appeal for West Sumatera.

Hmmm… For conclusion, based in this story, just guess who are the persons that have never been absent in five times performances of Indang Dance Group of PPI Tokodai in year 2009?
Yeah, they are me and Risiana… hahaha… While others finally decided to skip one or more events (because of one or other things), we still did this performance (may be because we have so much free time =9 ? hahaha…).


And how about year 2010? I still do not know what it will be, still being an artist or just retired =9 LOL Until now, there is no call for us, but may be if there is, I will not mind if there is charity event. Other events, probably not. Hope that we can change our dance, so it will be more interesting then… hehehe…

Largest Tokyo Gas LNG Terminal: Sodegaura

December 08th 2009, destination to the third Factory Study Tour(FST)’s place: Tokyo Gas LNG Terminal which is located in Sodegaura, Chiba. It was a nice trip because we passed Tokyo Bay by using underwater road. After 1.5 hour trip, we arrived there. Unsurprisingly when people say that this LNG terminal is the biggest in the world: yes it is absolutely huge! This terminal was built in 1973 and started to receive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from many countries such as Qatar, Alaska, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

What is LNG? The extension has been mentioned above and it is quite clear from it: gas that is transformed becomes liquid phase. This is just phase change by changing its temperature from room temperature to around -162oC. Gas is a very free phase, it is hard to purify, carry, and transport it. If it is liquefied, it will be easier to do those. Now LNG is commonly used as energy source because its cleanliness in combustion. LNG consists most of methane gas (CH4) and others (NOx and CO2) in small numbers (compared to petroleum and coal as energy source). NOx and CO2 gas can be described as impurities that must be removed in liquefaction because they can decrease amount of energy results from LNG’s combustion. NOx and CO2 gas may also contribute in acid rain if their form become oxidized and play role in water pollution.
Here is the brief description about what they do there: they receive raw LNG from supplier country, then store in suitable LNG tank (each of this tank named by the country which supply the LNG) and dehydrate it. By complicated process then impurities are separated from methane. Some of the separated ones such as H2, N2, and O2 gas can be liquefied and used as fuel cell or cryogenic energy to gain electric energy. Carbon atom from the impurity also can be produced by breaking its molecule structure and used for research purpose in making artificial diamond or in radioisotope form, 14C-urea, can be utilized for Helicobacter pylori bacteria detection in human gastric (breath test) that cause peptic ulcer disease.

In pure form, then LNG can be liquefied and stored well. If it will be sent to consumers, then this liquid has to be gasified by heating it with hot seawater. After it turns to be gas phase again, this LNG can be pushed into long connecting pipe where the destination is consumer. Before it is transported, LNG has to be odorized by merkaptan gas so that if there is a leak in the pipe, it can be easily detected (natural LNG has no smell).

After we were told about those, we were shown how cold is LNG and its dangerous effect to many materials. Thermometer that used to detect temperature of LNG just could not measure it correctly because LNG’s temperature is very low; on the other hand the limit detection was only -80oC. With this coldness, it can also affect material characteristics. In a very low temperature, kinetics energy (that related to atom interaction) is also low, that is why when the material was soaked into LNG, it became very stiff and fragile (they showed us that even flexible ball could be broken after the soaking).

The performance was ended then we travelled around the company: we saw huge LNG tankers, big LNG tanks, and large pipes around it. The final session was question and answer with the junior and senior engineers. Finally around 17.00 we finished our FST and enjoyed the very nice return trip.

For more and better informations, please visit http://www.tokyo-gas.co.jp/index_e.html.

Tire’s Time: Bridgestone Corporation Factory Study Tour

Bridgestone Mark

At November 10th 2009 we finally went to the second Factory Study Tour’s place; tires company. I think I was so lucky being there, one of the largest tires companies in the world which is Bridgestone Corporation. It was quite far from O-okayama Campus; it took almost one and a half hour journey to Kodaira City. We arrived there about 15.45 and were guided to some kind of big conference room. In the room were given information about company’s profile and how to make a tire. After that we were divided into two big groups. There were two main locations that we would visit: the factory and museum.

Bridgestone Company at Tokyo

Process to Make Tire (it is rather complicated though @-@? )

My group was accompanied to go to the factory first. We traced there like steps to make tire. First we saw a glance about mixing process and tread extruding process, then cord, steel belt, and bead manufacturing process. These things (tread, cord, steel belt, and bead) are components of tire. They were produced and cut by automatic machine while stratified arranged become “green tire” (immature tire) by half-automatic system (used human being’s work to arrange them then passed fixation process by special machinery). The final stage is vulcanizing process, to create tire’s shape by applying high heat and pressure. The last part is inspection process (including quality control), but we did not see the process. The size of those machineries depends on tires they want to make (they are proportionally equal). That was an interesting experience for me, but unfortunately in my opinion the factory lacks on several safety procedures. They do not use a gas mask for protecting their workers and visitors from gas pollution. They use natural or synthetic rubber, carbon black, sulfur, nylon, polyester, etc and apply heat to mix and make shape of them to make tire. It means there is a big possibility that some of those components evaporate become poisonous gas (hydrocarbon, carbon, sulfur, etc). I felt no so comfortable with those smell actually.

The Museum; Bridgestone Today

Felipe Massa's Car in 2001 Formula One (trust me, it is bigger than you usually see at TV screen ^^ )

The most interesting part was the next session; the museum! It was awesome when I saw real Formula One (it was Felipe Massa’s one) car at powerful motor sports corner. It was in the first floor. Not only the car, I also saw types, roles of tires, and materials, tire, and pattern sciences in that floor. In up stair, we were showed about tire research development, testing evaluation, and manufacturing process. It was nice also watched display of the biggest tires in the world there. Bridgestone has a commitment that they have to develop a great technology of making great tire, because tire grip to the road only with the size of a postcard; it must have a great shape, texture, and applied technology to accommodate a smooth riding. The last floor we visited was basement. In that basement, seismic isolation rubber bearing visit room, I knew that ace rubber was used as a component of building foundation especially in Japan to decrease earthquake effect to the building. It can absorb earthquake vibration by its elastic strength.

Seismic Isolation Rubber Bearing (do not underestimate elastic rubbers then ^^ )

After these sections, we were collected again in the conference room then had discussion section and took a picture together. Finally we went home around 17.00. It was rather sad that we could not take a picture there, so I do not have a picture at all there. But overall the tour was great though.

For more information, you can go to http://www.bridgestone.co.jp/ (but all contents are in Japanese =p hehehe…).

(Temporary) Transformation from 10406014 to 09R12110: The Departure and Arrival

This was it, the time had come

The day had come. Although I was not ready yet to go far from my family and close friends, I had to go. This is my choice and I have to be responsible for it. Time goes fast, yeah after I finished my internship, two weeks after was just like running. Here it came, Thursday, September 24th 2009: the day I went to somewhere where it is 5.750 km distant from my home; Tokyo, Japan. In that day my feeling was mixed up with everything: happy, excited, nervous, sad, etc @_@ I went from my home in Bandung to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. Although in that time was close to Idul Fitri’s Holiday which meant there was a big possibility for us to have traffic jam, but my journey was really smooth, it only took one and a half hour (faster thirty minutes than usual), so I thought this one would my way to go to Japan ^^. At our unique-traditional international airport, I met other five Indonesian YSEPers (except Risvan Dirza; he went from Medan, North Sumatera), then we flew for two hours with Malaysian Airlines to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Malaysia’s airport finally we became full Indonesian YSEPers team (plus Risvan of course) ^^

Narcist Part 1 (Ipul-Risi-Fafa-Dita-Laras-Me) @ KL International Airport

Narcist Part. 2 (Me-Dita-Laras-Fafa) @ KL International Airport

Took a picture before took off (yeah we always have time to do this "important" thing ^^ hahaha...)

I thought at Kuala Lumpur International Airport I could met other ITB’s student who also go for experiencing student exchange in Osaka University, but unfortunately our gate was far each other (I thought it would be cool if we could meet our friends at airport in another country =p hahaha…). After waiting there about two hours (yeah, you can guess what we did at airport instead of waiting: narcist time!!! hahaha…), finally we were called to get in to the plane which took us to our final destination ^^ It was in the middle of the night, so I took a very long sleep in airplane (even though there was a shaking in airplane because of big wind or landing, I was still in very comfort sleep position though =p hahaha…). We were being in this airplane about 7 hours; so we arrived at 06.30 in the next morning (Friday, September 25th 2009) at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. It was a sunny morning that made me excited being in Japan (the first impression was great =) hehehe…).

Fly in the sky

Arrived at Narita International Airport (Risvan-Me-Laras-Risi)

After registration in the airport was done, some of other Indonesian YSEPers’ academic tutor went to the airport to pick them up (yeah, it was so sad that until that time I even still did not know who is my tutor exactly =p hahaha…). So, yeah, I just followed them. Men, I had never thought before that Tokyo is a huge city; means that distance between two places are relatively far. From Narita, we used Narita Express Bus to Tokyo City Air Terminal and then walked to Tokyo Station (took 2 hours!), then trains’ turn! ^^ We used Hanzomon Line to Shibuya Station and changed to Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line to Fujigaoka Station (took about 2 hours also @_@)… So I strongly recommend you to use Narita’s service delivery for your big luggage (it will be sent directly to your dormitory). Trust me, you will die soon if you still carry your big luggage =p hahaha… I think 2.700 yen for paying that service is just worthy instead of carrying your luggage ^^

From Narita to Tokyo City Air Terminal to Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line @-@? (you can see that they made the circle railways inside Tokyo ^^)

Shibuya to Fujigaoka (3 station before Nagatsuta Station)... That was 4 hours journey in total mennn (from Narita to Fujigaoka) -_-?

Finish? Of course not! We have walk about 20 minutes from Fujigaoka Station to Umegaoka Dormitory -_-? And sadly, it was a very sunny and hot afternoon… Yeah you can imagine how tired we were =| hahaha… For first time, it was a night mare… But now I get used to do it faster (to walk from dormitory to the station only 10-13 minutes, especially when I am going to be late for class =P hahaha…) ^^ hehehe…

This dormitory belongs to Tokyo Tech

Board name for indicating my room ^^

Finally we arrived at our beloved dormitory =) I think that the dormitory is very nice and has a great facility ^^ So lucky that I can get this lovely dorm as my home for one year ^^ There are two room types here, single and double room. I get the double one, because I have already chosen that as my first priority before. Yeah, I have a roommate; his name is Zhao Xinming (a hard worker Chinese boy who studies in Thailand; men, he is also a great musician I think ^^). He is a half-year YSEPer, yeah it means that I am going to have another roommate in next semester =p hehehe… Here is our room… Really, I do not want to make it fake clean and neat, just the way it is (messy) =9 huahuahua…

In the corner there is main door & here he is my roommate, Xinming (he is usually called "X" to simplify his name)

Two devices that also help us for staying alive easily; refrigerator & of course washing machine ^^

Experimental Practice Place; Kitchen

Place where I use for wasting my time (chatting & facebooking) =p hahaha...

Can you imagine that I use this 1,5 m X 1 m room for taking a bath @_@?

This is the ultimate messy place, my bedroom of course =p hahaha...

That were lot of applications that we had to make and manage in the next week. The next Monday, we went to Aoba Ward, near from Ichigao Station (two stations from Fujigaoka), to make our Alien Card (Japanese Temporary Identity Card for Foreigner) and National Health Insurance (these ones are the most important things that you have to manage as soon as possible when you arrive and are going to stay in Japan). It was rather funny there, that the special locket is designated for foreigner, but the receptionists cannot speak English (as I said before that most of Japanese people cannot speak English) -_- Fortunately we had our dormitory tutor, Ms. Gulimire, who guided us, so we could make those successfully ^^ After managing those (it took two boring hours @o@ ), we went to Tokyo Tech Campus at O-okayama (do you know how to say it? Oookayama, with longgg “O”; Japanese peoples will not notice if you say Okayama with no long “O” =9 It is very unique, isn’t it =p ?) for having YSEP Orientation. Yeah, in that event we were introduced about YSEP very clearly by Associate Professor Yuriko Sato (Sato-Sensei) and met other International Student Office’s members of Tokyo Tech (finally we could see their face directly; before we only saw their photos at Tokyo Tech’s website ^^ ). In that time we also made our bank account (which is very important to accommodate our money for scholarship =p hehehe…) and commuter pass (to get PASMO card for train transportation service).

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Bank Account (Anyone wants transfer money for me? Please ask my account number =9 hahaha...) & Commuter Pass PASMO (Electronic Ticket for Train, yeah everything here is just sophisticated ^^)

The next day we got orientation program which was very awesome =) The method was great I think, just like Amazing Race (we had to find some clues to get somewhere and fulfill all of the questions which were given first; the fastest group which can fulfill those would a prize and unfortunately my group was the second-best =p hehehe…), so it was not bored at all ^^ After seeing Tokyo Tech’s campus, I think it is a very great place for study ^^ So nice that I was given the opportunity being part of Tokyo Tech member (even though only for one year). I hope I can get a lot benefits from that ^^

Me, in front of the main building of Tokyo Tech (just like they usually use this building as their treadmark ^^ )

(Temporary) Transformation from 10406014 to 09R12110: The Preparation

My Luggage; It had a huge job: brought my 27.2 kg stuff =9 hahaha...

Continuing the first one, yeah I was very happy when I knew that I would come to Japan and get many experiences there for one year ^o^ Do you think that is it? NO!!! I had to prepare lot of things after @_@ First I booked an online ticket from Malaysian Airlines. That was the cheapest one (350 US dollar), so I thought it was worthy for me (I did not look for the facilities then) =P hahaha… What a happy boy I was, so that I booked the ticket for September 24th 2009… But it should have been for September 25th 2009!!! WHATTT??? Men, I picked the wrong one (and I could not cancel it, I have already used credit card to pay it) T@T I was panic at that time, but yeah that was nothing that I can do… Fortunately I could change my departure time through Malaysian Airlines’ Office in my city. Fiuhh… So finally I could depart and arrive in the right time ^^ But, I had to pay 50 US dollar more for the change =P What a “great” experience, wasn’t it? hahaha… Nothing is free, include experience I think =) That is why now I become a careful person especially in taking care about important documents ^^

My E-ticket (can you see the 50 USD "extra" =9 ? hahaha...)

The day I knew that I am accepted as a YSEP student was June 27th 2009 (Saturday) and the next week I got an internship every workdays in Jakarta (Indonesia’s capital city, about 120 km from my city) for almost 2.5 months. Actually I get used to come back to my city every weekend, so I should have time to learn some Japanese language (the MOST important preparation you have to do before you come to Japan) and prepare some stuff in the weekend. But, I missed all of those things =P hahaha… After my internship was done there was only two weeks more before I went to Japan. In that period of time (actually one week before departure), I prepared many things in order to go to Japan.

Some Gifts that I Brought from Indonesia (they are called "Wayang" and "Batik") =)

I bought so many things to bring. That was clear enough when my luggage’s weight was 27.2 kg =P hahaha… In my opinion things that you should interest of are your country’s gifts. I think you should bring a lot of them, because based on my experience peoples will be very grateful when they are given our traditional gift. You cannot buy that in Japan; so prepare it before you go. Others like clothes, toiletteries, and electronic devices; actually you can bring from your home or you can buy it in Japan. For clothes, because after you arrive to Japan (about end of September) there will be fall and winter or cold seasons, you better bring a lot of clothes that suitable with these season (especially for who cannot stand facing cold weather). In my opinion about toiletteries; just bring for one month stock, it is better for you to buy those here than you bring from your home heavily (like I did =P ). About the last one; for those who have laptop / notebook, you are strongly recommended to bring that, but your cell phone will be almost useless in Japan because the operation system here is rather different (especially from my country), and Japan’s cable stacker type and voltage are two-flatted and about 110 V (if yours are not suitable, please prepare the converter and adaptor first in your home).

Two-flatted Stecker

Yeah, in brief you can conclude it: I did not prepare myself well before I went to Japan. So I missed a lot of things here =P hehehe… That is why I want you to be more well prepared than me next time ^^ Especially in Japanese language. Men, I am tortured here, because almost all of Japanese peoples cannot speak English @_@ It is very hard for me to communicate with them. You just cannot get closer with them if you cannot understand them, can you?

Japanese Language Textbooks for J1 and J2 (I think you should "eat" these ones before you go to Japan ^^ ): I wish I could learn those before =P

Here are my brief special tips for next (especially Indonesian) YSEP students:

1. After you get a certainty that you are YSEP student: you are going to be in Japan. That means you have to fly there. Please book ticket as soon as possible on RIGHT time (you will be given information about your arrival time’s choice from Tokyo Tech). Remember, do not repeat what I did =P hahaha… Because you cannot predict how many seats will be left, move fast! You also can arrange same flight with other YSEP students from the same country ^^

2. Make a visa in Japanese’s Ambassador Office. The location depends on your jurisdiction region. For example if you made your passport in North Sumatera, you have to go and apply to Japanese’s Ambassador Office in Medan; if your passport from West Java one, you go and apply to the office in Jakarta, etc (please check http://www.id.emb-japan.go.jp/conind.html). About visa’s fee and application schedule, you can look further at http://www.id.emb-japan.go.jp/visa.html. It only took four workdays to get my visa (it was quite fast I guess) ^^

3. You have to take a break temporarily from your home university about one year. You have to apply some applications for arranging that. You can contact me if you want the template ^^ Of course, taking a break does not mean you do not have to pay fee to your home university =P hehehe… Put some enough money to your academic bank account so that they still can take your money to discharge your duty.

4. If you are lucky enough, you can get some dispensation allowance from your home university to lighten your living cost in Japan ^^ Just make a proposal about your student exchange as soon as possible (you can get the template from your university’s office). Remember, you only can ask money for living cost until December (next January will be a new account book for your institution, so it means this year spent will not be continued to next year). Please make a reasonable demand, do not ask too much: you have already been awarded by Japanese scholarship and there many students in your university who deserved more than you.

5. This is a special occasion: for those whose passport will be expired in Japan (like me =P ). You are going to Indonesian Ambassador’s Office in Tokyo and must bring photocopy of your birth certificate, old passport, four pieces of your photographs 3 X 4 cm (from your home), and photocopy of your Japanese Temporary Identity Card for Foreigner (you will get that in Japan). Generally, I think it is better for all of you to bring lot of your photographs in many different sizes and photocopies of your passport. You are going to use that for registration, application, etc.

My Alien Card: Japanese Temporary Identity Card for Foreigner

(Temporary) Transformation from 10406014 to 09R12110: The Journey

(Temporary) Transformation (10406014 to 09R12110)

Confused about the title =P ? hehehe… Let me explain what it is. 10406014 is my student number in my home university (Bandung Institute of Technology / ITB) and 09R12110 is my student number in YSEP Tokyo Tech. So from September 2009 until August 2010 I become a temporary Tokyo Tech Research Student (R in the number refers to Research Student). Yeah, as I mentioned before at the previous post that as a “focused on research” YSEP student, research should be my first priority.

So how can I become a YSEP 2009 student? It was a little bit long journey though. Every January, Tokyo Tech offers YSEP program to ITB. ITB’s International Students Office (ISO) will give announcement about this offer. Do you want to see the example? Here it is.

YSEP Tokyo Tech 2009, The ITB's Announcement

You can see from the announcement that documents we should prepare are not much, only your current academic transcript (Indonesian is ok for the first time), curriculum vitae, TOEFL / IELTS certificate (fortunately you can use the institutional one ^^ ), and 4 pieces of your photograph (3 X 4 cm). It is very easy, isn’t it (for the beginning =9 )? hahaha…

ITB has a mechanism in selecting its students to apply YSEP. After I applied all of the requirements (mentioned above), ISO did a first selection based on the documents (secretly =P hahaha… Because I do not know what is the exact criteria for being a YSEP candidate). My tips for the first selection: I think that ITB has great standards for its candidates, probably GPA ≥ 3.25, TOEFL ≥ 550 (Paper-based Test / PBT), and impressive curriculum vitae will give you some advantages ^^

After one week of that, ISO informed candidates who had passed the selection and his/her interview schedule. Yeah, the next selection was interview in English =P hehehe… At the first time, I was very nervous about this one though (actually because of my English) =P hohoho… I was interviewed by Mrs. Ayi Rohayati and a man (I forget his name, sorry =) ). In the interview, I strongly emphasized that the main reason for me to go to Japan is for getting an independent life and being a strong person (yeah fortunately it worked =) ). Do not think that the interview was very scary though. We just laughed much at the interview in fact (especially when I told them my kimono got off when I was in Japanese restaurant =P hehehe…) ^^

My tips for the interview: relax & just be yourself! I think that my English was not that good compared to other students (that I knew), but the students whose English is better than me did not pass selection. So keep your positive energy in your mind ^^

About the next week after second selection, ISO gave exact ITB candidates to be submitted to Tokyo Tech. Luckily, in 2009 there were five persons who were chosen (and these five are also become official YSEP 2009 students now ^^). Being ITB candidates means more effort of course; we had to fill real YSEP application form. There were lot of documents we had to prepare, including academic transcript (it must be in English now), letter of recommendation from our dean, photocopy of passport, TOEFL / IELTS certificate (institutional one was ok), three pieces of your photograph, etc. You can look it in more detail at http://www.ryu.titech.ac.jp/~ysep/data/checklist.pdf. In ITB’s selection stage, you do not have to fill this application form (but of course after you are chosen to be ITB’s candidate, you have to fill all of these completely). The deadline of the application was February 28th 2009 (it was my 21th birthday, so in that time I hoped passing this further selection could be the best gift ^^ hehehe…).

My tips for filling the application form:

1. Please write in a very neat and clear handwriting (block letter).

2. You have only one week to fill all of the application form, so please prepare well some documents before. I think you can prepare some photographs, academic transcripts in English, and photocopy of passport and TOEFL / IELTS certificate before so you do not have to be so busy in filling the application form. It is crucial for you to prepare your passport and TOEFL / IELTS at least one month before you apply though (because you cannot get that in a very short time, can you ^^ ?).

3. You need your dean’s letter of recommendation. Please put this one as the first priority I guess. Yeah you know how busy is your dean, don’t you ^^ ? So move fast for this one. Remember, only one week.

4. About the study statement (why you choose Japan, YSEP, and what kind research you want to explore). Please make it brief, clear, and short. You do not have to be a novel author here =P hehehe… Just ensure that your statement will make person who read it impress (I think it is important enough to tell them about your short and long term plan after you complete your undergraduate study and strong desire to learn lot of things ^^). How about me? Mine was only one page (three paragraphs, each for the question) =9 hehehe…

5. Also about your professor choice. It is said that you have to fill it up to three professors (it means that one or two is ok). But I think you should fill all of the three. Why? Because based on my experience, I chose only one and I got a problem when my only choice cannot be my adviser, so I had to add two more (meant that I had to search all professor’s website again to get the suitable one). It was a little bit bothering me, wasn’t it? So do not hesitate to fill the second and third choice ^^

6. I know that it is quite confusing in filling all of the application forms. Fortunately you can see some previous YSEP student’s application forms at ISO office as examples to get some ideas ^^ Do not look at mine, especially the statement, because I am shy enough about that =P hahaha…

Next was time for me to wait (for a long time) @_@ hehehe… Tokyo Tech decided to take me or not by the end of April 2009. Here is the result (I removed some contact informations for safety):

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: YSEP 2009-2010: Results of the selection
From: “YSEP-Tokyo Tech”
Date: Thu, April 30, 2009 4:46 pm
To: Dini Ariastuty
Cc: “Young Scientist Exchange Program”
————————————————————————–

Dear Dini Ariastuty,

This is Akiko OHGUSHI from Tokyo Institute of Technology.
I would like to announce application results for YSEP 2009-2010 program.

The following students are selected as YSEP student.

1.Ms. Laras Ayutirta Pramesti*
2.Ms. LIMURIA Risiana*
3.Mr. JINATA Chandra* 
4.Mr. Risvan Dirza*
5.Ms. ITMAINATI Fakhria ***

Applicants with * will be recommended for JASSO International Student
Scholarship. The final result of JASSO scholarship will be sent to you by
the end of June.

Applicant with *** will be recommended for Sato International Scholarship.
The final result of Sato International Scholarship will be sent to you by
the July.

As for successful applicants, could you please confirm their final decision
about the participation of YSEP program with the above condition by May 11?

We are arranging your students’ supervisor at our institute at the moment.
The formal acceptance letter will be mailed out to you after we decide their
supervisor.

Please contact us if there is something we can do for you.

Sincerely yours,
Akiko OHGUSHI

**********************************
Akiko Ohgushi (Ms.)
International Student Exchange Division
Tokyo Institute of Technology.
**********************************

But even Tokyo Tech said yes to me, it did not mean that I would join YSEP; I had to wait again until end of June to ensure that JASSO is willing to give me its money for my living in Japan for one year because when I filled the application form, I chose the “I will apply for the JASSO scholarship and will NOT participate in YSEP without this Scholarship” choice, so if JASSO is reluctant to give its money: it meant nothing for me (I will not be able to become YSEP student). I think my choice was reasonable because here I am only a research student, not a master or doctoral student, who will not get any official academic predicate from this program. For what I have to pay for that though =) ? Besides, yeah, living cost in Japan (especially in Tokyo) is quite expensive (probably it is true if people says that Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world ^^ ) hehehe… Here is my e-mail (I also removed some contact informations for safety) about final assurance to receive JASSO scholarship (meant that I successfully become YSEP 2009 students) ^^ :

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: Selection Results of the JASSO Scholarship (BANDUNG INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY)
From: “YSEP-Tokyo Tech”
Date: Wed, June 24, 2009 12:35 pm
To: Dini Ariastuty
Cc: “Young Scientist Exchange Program”
————————————————————————–

Dear Dini Ariastuty,

This is Akiko OHGUSHI from Tokyo Institute of Technology.

I would like to announce that Ms. Laras Ayutirta Pramesti , Ms. LIMURIA
Risiana, Mr. JINATA Chandra and Mr. Risvan Dirza were selected as the
recipient of JASSO Scholarship. The amount of the scholarship is as follows:

Duration of scholarship: September 2009–August 2010
Monthly stipend: 80,000 Japanese Yen
Relocation allowance: 80,000 Japanese Yen (upon arrival only)

Formal letter of adoption will be mailed out to you with the formal
acceptance letter for YSEP program.

As for the SATO international scholarship regarding Ms. ITMAINATI Fakhria,
we will send the selection results soon.

Best regards,
Akiko OHGUSHI
**********************************
Akiko Ohgushi (Ms.)
International Student Exchange Division
Tokyo Institute of Technology.
**********************************

Thank God that I have passed all of those selections, so now here I can share my experience to you ^^ If you are interested to be the next YSEPers (we are usually called this, which means students who join YSEP), why do not you prepare for that from now ^^ ? For more detail information, you can find it in http://www.ryu.titech.ac.jp/~ysep/home.html. Good luck ^^

Tokyo Tech Board, Suzukakedai Campus, Yokohama, Japan