My no cellphone Sunday: good day, good book, good food

So, I decide to stop staring on my cellphone at least start from this week.
I don’t want to depend on my cellphone forever, but I think we agree it makes us addicted. I want to stop for a while, and enjoy my day. I just brought my mini pocket camera, and from now on I will take photo everyday.

I left my cellphone at my home, while I went to Saitama to practice Koto (it kinds of traditional Japanese string instrument). My teacher offered me to start my first concert next April 🙂 finger crossed, and wish me luck. I am so happy, because beside of my research life, I have another artsy life! And well… that’s not really bad I think.

Back to my place, Tsukuba. I decided to  take a walk… and enjoy my Sunday afternoon.
I saw some youth are playing Stand-Up Electric Scooter. It looks so fun! I want one hahahahhaa. But already have one cute bicycle.

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And I realized that Tsukuba center is so beautiful with greens everywhere. I love the scenery.

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I also realized hibiscus are already fully blossomed. You should see them!
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And hmmm… take a bit selfie also not a bad idea! So this is my Sunday afternoon face 😀 hahahhaa
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Why some people are so good in taking selfie?! I couldn’t! And it is sad because I always tried to take a very good photo for others but I can’t to take a good selfie.

Btw, because it was cloudy… I want to 100 yen shop and bought a super bright umbrella with just 200 yen (around 2 USD), but tadaaaaa…. the rain delayed their schedule hahahhahaa. Oh come on! I already have so many umbrella now.
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But I love the color hahahhha… neon color seems rare in Japan.

Good! No rain… so I could ride my bicycle. I parked it in a free bicycle parking, no wonder everyone just park their bicycle here. Almost had no idea where is mine hahhahaha.

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Well, with my ride with me… I will teach you how to explore Japan a bit 🙂

If you are a student with tight budget, but you really love fashion, you can go second hand shop! Second had shop in Japan is veryyyyy gooood. They already clean all the stuff, and grade them based on the quality, brand, and the age of the stuff. So, you can find something cute by match it with your budget. One of the nice place to find second hand fashion stuff in Japan is 2nd Street: Jumble Store. You can find it anywhere around Japan.
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And I was so happy because they also held summer discount! Voila!
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I will show you my choice within this week, I would like to clean them up first and I will show you when I finished 🙂

After shopping, you might hungry, and I really want to eat unagi (うなぎ) or Japanese eel. It is in season now, so I should eat them! And I really love them! So, without thinking I just went to a family restaurant and ordered my favorite unagi! While waiting,  I finished read another Michael Pollan books titled  In Defence of Foods. I think this is the second best book from Pollan after Omnivore Dilemma. I really love Michael Pollan.
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Pollan is someone who really bright and objective when talking about foods. He not forced us to be a vegetarian or become a super loyal consumer of one very very super specific products. He is not! He is a very nice writer and teacher for his reader. He just give us some tips to choose good foods. Something like:
1. Pay more, eat less–> because some high quality foods are a bit more expensive
2. Eat meals
3. Do all your eating at a table
4. Try not to eat alone
5. Eat slowly
6. cook, if you can, plant a garden

and so on… and so on… I will not reveal everything to make you curious 🙂 But really, it is very good book to real and feed your brain 😀

Well! Living without cellphone is not really bad! Don’t you think so? 😀

BookVoyage review: Traveling the world by books

While now I am living a little bit distance from the central Tokyo, and it is very expensive to go out of the town. It takes about 25 USD (3000 yen) for round trip between my town to Tokyo. While I really love books, and I feel depressed if I am not reading books (and it will be very bad because I have lots of deadline to catch, no time to get depressed, stress, or whatever is that name). So, I tried to subscribe book subscription boxes. I already have some which provide non-fiction books to feed my brain hunger. But I also need some fiction books, to entertain my soul. I don’t really like YA genre… so it is also a little bit challenging for me.

One of the most interesting book subscription box I tried is book voyage.
What is this? Here, their short description…

“BookVoyage is a monthly subscription box for avid readers and global citizens. Each box is country-themed and contains a foreign book written by a critically-acclaimed local author and translated into English, tea or coffee from that country, as well as a sweet or savoury treat to go with the hot drink, giving you what we like to call a truly global immersive reading experience.”

So, yes! Every month you will get a book from different country. And for me, it is very exciting! Last month I got Lebanon box… and of their coffee was awesome (can’t forget that).

This month, they give me German stuff. I made a little unboxing video for this one. You can check this out if you have time.

So here is the full spoiler for this month box.
The hanuta is awesome, the coffee also good but still I prefer the Lebanese coffee…
and the book? They always make a good choice. It is a classing fiction “No Way Back” by Germany writer Theodore Fontane. However, the story is also taken place in Copehangen, Denmark. Well… but Germany and Denmark are neighbor country.

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Like any classical story, it is a romance with lots of conflict and well… I think quite tragic. I haven’t finish read all of this while I should concern to my research this time. But my first impression, it is beautifully written, with classic poems, letters… a combination between historical fiction, classic, and romance.

I always excited with how book voyage will surprise me every month. I review this, because I hope their business can be survive, and they will always be able to surprise us.

 

 

A story behind the foods: Mom’s love

Recently I interested in foods sustainability, and if you follow my instagram account, I also do a little campaign about sustainable meal which become one of FAO campaign this year. I also share my hobby in gardening.  I also share some books and literature about which books you can read if you interested by local foods. People said that you haven’t officially learn about food science if you haven’t read Michael Pollan’s books, so I complete my library collection with all of his books.

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I even cook! And share the photo to my friend on instagram. I just hate facebook and other social media, so I choose instagram as my fave media. I don’t really like cooking but I am living far away from everywhere! so, I cook. And I challenge myself to use local ingredients around me, and I make a small garden for several vegetables and herbs in order to boost my organic and low carbon veggies. And… I love it!

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If you already friend with me for quite a long time, you will know that I do a research about agriculture. I also food lover… one thing that I really hate is people who leave their foods… and sayin’ “Owch I am on diet” ARGHHHHHHHHHHH…..
you should know that on farm work is nothing but very complicated and tiring works.

From all the books, I learn how to find and choose the best ingredient…
I find how to reduce food waste…
I learn how to cook everything in a good well…
My cooking skill, not to be big headed, is increasing.
But no matter how good the ingredients, no matter how much my progress in cooking, I never be able to duplicate my mom’s foods. You can replicate every recipe, but never your mom’s love.

Every time I cook something, and eat them… enjoy them…. I wondering about what my mom already done for me and a whole family. Choosing the best nutritional intake for her child. She should make sure it is both sufficient both in quantity and quality. Choosing is easy if you have everything, but if we are in lower-middle income condition then we will face financial constraint. So, I wondering… my mom (and I believe, our mom) is not only a good chef, but also a potential financial planner and manager.

Then for me, talking about food now is more philosophical than before. It is not only about the hard work of the farmers, not only about the emission path,not only about how far the foods were transported until reach our dining table, not about awesome research written by Pollan and any other awesome writer and researcher, but also about how great our mom is, how great she is to provide the best thing for us.
Food is another tiny yet precious story about the struggle of a mother.

I wondering, if I never have a good mom like my mom… maybe there will be no today’s me. I remember, when my mom got sick, I become easily to get sick. I have a little problem with my liver and it was because I have no idea how to cook well when my mom was in the hospital. I will become nothing without her.

People said, never tell about your dreams to other people. But well, may I share a bit? Far away from home make me miss my mom so much, and I promise I will cook for her every time I am back home. Later, when I am lucky enough to have my own child… I also will cook for them, and that’s because some love no needs any words.

“We should all be feminist”, should we? 

I am not a feminist, at least I think I am not a strict feminist.
My brother maybe more “feminist” than me… “Kakak, you should be happy! Achieve everything you want to achieve! Go far…”
To be honest, I never think too much about gap equality on salary because I think the most important thing is what I did on the job, and I’ll have time to compare how much my salary compared to the men with same position with me.
I also will have no problem if someday I should have more time to take care my kids, why not…I love kids. I will find the job which quite friendly enough to facilitate my preference.
And if I am an actress, I also have no problem if the categories in Oscar divided into male and female, well… why not… more winner, more happiness… why not!

And I think, maybe most of women think like me (some of course have a broader ‘feminism’ perspective).
The problem is, sometimes men asked more without communicate everything first with the women. At least, that what I got from my personal perspective and also from what I read from “We Should all be feminist” By Chimamanda N. Adichie. Adichie, in my opinion (and I believe you agree with me)is very bright woman. She got some points to capture about gap inequality happening in the world. Arghhh… I like her 🙂

(PS: If you are too lazy to read the book, you can see her speech on youtube)

I remember in one page she talking about marriage. If men too late to get married, our community will see them as men who still fight and focus for their career. Building their brighter future.
While women? In some community (including my country actually), women who pass their middle 20 age are considered as spinster… and maybe (just maybe) it will be hard for them to find man who want to marry her.

Women also will face many obstacles to continue their career, and well… that’s not really bad. The worst thing is if divorce should be happened, the women who continue their career will be blamed more by the community than the men who workaholic and don’t have time for his family.

Maybe the gender inequality is more serious than I noticed… I just lucky because I always surrounded by very nice people around me.

But I am thinking, how far “feminism” should be?

feminism:
1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 :  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

I agree with the definition, but how far the equality should goes?
As a woman, in the future I am okay to take care my family… to educate my kids, to prepare some delicacy for my husband, taking care my family. That’ll be my pleasure. I even don’t have any idea to threat men authority. But I also have lots of potential inside, I still want to be a researcher, a writer, a photographer, play music, I also still love to teach. And I hope my future partner can understand that.

I know that our community sometime more-cruel than our inner circle family. They become a commentator without knowing what really happened inside. I remember when one of my friend told me that she has a friend who made a mean comment about a women who came very late from home by said “Hish… she must be never take care her kids”. Who knows this woman have a serious financial problem in her family, who knows her husband already passed away, who knows the income of his husband is just not enough… who knows? Have we think about that before we judge about other people?

The same question for my self.

Maybe… we no need to be a real-radical feminist.
Maybe just become a wiser and better person is enough to make this world become more comfortable to live in.
Yeah… maybe.

Time to learn from the trees: A little review of “The Hidden Life of Trees”

I am sick with all of my social media, so I uninstall some except my instagram (because I love photography), twitter (because it just short and and Linkedn (because some news and information are great there), and I also leave my cellphone off since this week. I want to detox my life from any kind of negativity and hoax! I am not sure whether I am not good with human or I just sociopath. But, seriously… I am tired and what I really want to do is refresh my mind with positive vibes around.

Then I got a very beautiful book: The Hidden Life of Trees
My first impression when I open this book is it is like “Pocahontas” soundtrack

“But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name”
– Color of the wind-

Yes… now we can sure than even tree also has a life, spirit, and name at least after you read the book.

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From this book, we can learn how the tree can cooperate each other, for example the have a specific and special root system and network to “holding” each other in such steep land in order to protect each other from landslide.

They also have their specific mechanism to protect their body and seed from any kind of weather and harsh condition. The way they adapt with the environment also always impressive. We also will notice how they communicate each other and also how the way they nurture their “kids”.

In my opinion, Peter (the writer of this book), deliver some simple and basic information and knowledge about tree in such a philosophical way. For me, it makes me to be a better person after I read this one. I mean, if tree can communicate well each other, help each other, taking care of each other, than by logic we…. human beings can do better!

It is sad for me while we human, sometimes, rather than taking care our environment we broke it… broke it and over-utilize it… and have no time to learn from it. Then, because of lack of contemplation we even hurt between each other. Oh come on! How can trees beat us in character.

Every time I read books about nature and environment, I am thinking of my self… do I really already do a good thing and right thing to my surrounding. My tongue! Oh sometimes it has its specific “venom” and I might hurt between each other.
As an “environmentalist”, I sometimes get crazy by my own research.
While outside there, even trees and plants are try their best to run their role as one of God’s great creatures.

Well! I will take care of you planet! for sure 🙂

Book Review: The Omnivore Dilemma

Again, I always think that we designed as an omnivore, so it is not a sin when we eat both meat and vegetables. The problem now is how to be “wise omnivore”

I went to a book store in Tokyo, and finding the most popular book in popular science on their shelf. Then I found a very interesting book: The Omnivore Dilemma by Michael Pollan. People said you haven’t learn much about agriculture and foods if you haven’t read any Pollan’s book. And yes!

One of the best Pollan’s masterpiece is this book. I you are a young reader (or at least love bigger and more attractive layout of book), I recommend you to find the “young reader edition” because it is very easy to read and some information box and graphics are really help us to understand a whole idea in this book.

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It is like my whole research in easy words. In this book, Michael Pollan tried to bring us investigate every point on the food’s chain. From on-farm until off-farm. You’ll find out what human actually do for the shake of industry needs. This book will open your eyes about some hidden facts of all agricultural products including, of course, our foods. A book which brought me to visit farm area in Japan and motivate me to learn more about food chain, agriculture, and stuff. I will recommend it so much, especially if you totally green about animal cruelty, mono-culture in farm, and sustainable agribusiness. This book will be a good start and encourage you to find more.

Another thing I love so much in this book is Pollan, in my opinion, in not kind of “hardliner” about vegan VS non-vegan, he is very neutral and wise, and to be honest we need lots of writer like him. Also, while his background was a journalist (and I think he also guest lecture in Barkeley now), so the way he deliver his ideas is flowing and nice to be read.

So, yuph! If you still wondering which book to read next, then you can try this one 🙂

[Just a little bit of] my reading history…

Happy world book day everyone 🙂 (Opps… a little bit late)

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So, how is it? How many books you already read this month?
I am the one who believe that you don’t need to be hurry in reading, the most important thing from reading is you can contemplate what the writer wants to deliver. Reading is not a competition, you no need to hurry for that. Read is feed for your brain, and as we do a “right and healthy eating“, we never eat in hurry and we eat from varied sources.
You may love fiction books, but read non-fiction as another “multi-vitamins” for your brain. You may rarely read fiction, but read it sometimes to let your brain relax and have another kind of entertainment, just like us who really love to eat chocolate and ice creams sometimes.

But, well… just like foods, we might also have some books we really don’t like. I don’t like young adult genre just the way I hate banana (yes, I don’t like banana). But, hmmm… I still eat banana in some case. However, not kind of fruits I will buy often. I read young adult and romance genre when they have very unique and special story, but well I rarely choose it by default.

People always ask me why I keep reading books, and spend a lot of money for those. Personally, books are my first friends… along with cats. I don’t have lots of friends since I was kids, and while my family are really love to read, and they gave me books. I sleep with my books and cats. When I am alone, books accompany me, and help me to create my own world.

My family also not such a rich family, and another sad fact is I was living in such a remote village when I was kid. we can’t travel far… Books helped me to see the world outside my home windows.  I even read my grandfather’s Encyclopedia Americana although I didn’t understand English. My Dad gave me some comics, then along with my reading ability increased he bought me a novel by Alan Lightman: Einstein’s Dream. My mom told me that the outside world is full with adventures and quite tough… the she introduce me with all Detective Novels like Sherlock Holmes and bought me all series of Agatha Cristie’s Novel. She also introduced me with Winnetou and Kara ben Nemsi by Karl May.

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But did reading always give a good experience for me? Not really… at least in Indonesia.
People kept thinking that I am such a weird person. I remember once, people in my classroom laughing so hard to me because I told them, in front of everyone, that formerly toothpaste was made by using urine. Then people said I am stupid, just because I read something that no one in that classroom ever read.

I also remember, in a class, the teacher asked all students to mention any terms in music and art. I remember I raised my hand and answered “SONNET”, and everybody again…again… and again laughing on me. They said I am very “dangdut” person, because in Indonesia there is a Dangdut Band “Soneta Group” which lead by the King of Dangdut in Indonesia: Rhoma Irama. No one in that class ever read that “sonnet” itself means a kind of poem.

Books is my best friends, read is my hobby… but in the same time it is also make me looks strange sometimes.

Am I mad with that? Yes! At first…
Because it was hard to look and sounds “stupid” while you believe that you are right.
But then I realize that in my country, where reading is not such a national hobby, it is very hard to find a good book. The themes… the genre…. everything are so limited. In my village, when I was kid, if I want to read something we should wait second-hand books from the schools in the town. Lucky me because my parent routinely bring me to the bookstores in the town, at least once a month.

Not like Japan or China for example, they translate almost all great literature from all around the world to their language. In my country, yes… of course there are several translation of worldwide books, but not much.
We still have limited non-fiction books…
limited books for kids….
Everything!

And like the vicious circle, because of limited good books, limited good readers, then there are also limited good writers.
If teenlit is become a trend this month, then everyone will write teenlit.
If a handsome vampire is a trend, then everyone will write about the vampire.
If a romance is the trend, then everyone write about romance.
So, if our taste is far away from the recent trend, then it will be very hard to find an alternative for us to read.

In this opportunity, I wish for nothing except I hope the literacy awareness in my home country can be increase.
I hope people start to realize that, reading is cheaper way to travel around the world.
This year, I think I am already read much classics so my reading target I want to read books from all around the world. Finally in the end of my PhD study, I want to go travel and visit the place from my favorite books 🙂

I think it is kind of motivation also for me ^O^b don’t you think so?

(sstt… a bit of my want-to-read list)

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My New Book log: A book diary for every bibliophile

I really love books, but while life getting more serious and busier, I can’t read as much as I want. Of course I am still reading, but reading academic journal, country’s data, my program syntax. That’s fun at first, but I get bored sometimes by that academic stuff.

So now, I utilize my 5-10 minutes to read every day whether in the morning or before sleep. The problem is, that time is too limited for me, because I am kind a person who love to make notes from every books I read. I love to leave some notes there to remind me which are the interesting or important part of the books.

Know that I really love books and making notes about it, my secretary in my office recommend me to have a “wanna do diary”. I know Japan really love diary and stuff, but “book’s diary”? it was my another “huh?” here. This book log is only sold in Japan Loft shop. And it is AWESOME at least for me hehe. So here is my new book log.

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I wonder it still not really famous outside Japan or between the foreigner, so mainly the content is in Japanese. But google translate will give some help :p
Inside you can write your short synopsis, interesting parts (and from which page), photo space,and you can make your own spider web so you can easily score your book. I love it! It will ease me to recommend books to my friends who love books (or give up to find a suit books for them from my book shelves).

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I will not talk too much today 🙂 I feel so excited to try my new book log 😀
So excited. While I also should prepare my day for working tomorrow.

Happy reading!
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