Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7 things I love about Eid (Lebaran)

1) Food Galore
All my favorite food on the same table. 
Especially there will be an enormous amount of beef Rendang cooked by my grandma!

2) Countless jar of cookies
Non-stop munching. All day long.

3) The 'new' outfit!
Wearing new clothes on Lebaran day has been a tradition since... I don't know when. Batik is on top of my mind this year and I already saw some pretty pieces on Zalora (and they currently on sale too!) xD

4) Forgive and be forgiven
Don't look back in anger, it's a good day indeed.

5) Goodbye traffic jam!
Uber friendly traffic in Jakarta (normally lasts for 3-4 days only), because almost half of its residents are celebrating Lebaran at their hometown.

6) Extra allowances
For children: get extra money from their parents, grandparents, aunties or uncles.
For adult: earn the 13th salary from your employer!

7) It's a holy-day
I'm a big fan of holiday, those happiest days of the year. 

(pictures are taken from pinterest and zalora)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

7 songs I love on my July playlist

What's up Summer? :) 
It's all about bright sunshine or heavy rain here, all year long. I probably never get a real summer since I live in tropical country... but I still love to boost the hype of every season.

(picture taken from pinterest)

Travel to South Korea : Doubler Guestroom Hongdae

I'm so excited when I knew that J eonni has finally opened a newest guestroom in Hongdae! They just released their new homepage, twitter, and facebook earlier this week. It's made me want to travel to Seoul again as soon as possible!

If you already read my blog posts about travel to Korea, you probably knew that 'I'm stuck in Myeongdong area' type of traveler. But, on my last trip on April, I spent my last 3 nights stayed in Hongdae and everything was so convenient and easy.

What will you get if you stay in Hongdae area?
1) Super easy access to Seoul airport (Incheon and Gimpo)
Do you want to go to the city by train? Take non-express or all-stop AREX train and alight at Hongik University (Hongdae) station. It's about 50 mins journey and you just need to pay 3,850 KRW. If you travel with heavy luggage and want to avoid the stairs nightmare, choose exit 2 and take escalator to reach the ground.
Do you want to go to the city by limousine bus? Take airport limousine bus no 6002 and alight at Hongik University (Hongdae) bus stop which is located right above the train station. You need to pay 10,000 KRW for this trip. The travel journey depends on the traffic, but normally you can reach Hongdae after 1 hour journey.
2) Countless cafes, restaurants, cafes, clubs within walking distance
3) There's always a convenience store near you
4) You can find the basic to pretty unique shopping counters/stores for the youngsters
5) Urgently need a direction to get around? Hongdae also has a tourist information center too
6) Entertaining street art performance everyday!

Back to the main topic, Doubler is a guestroom with 2 bunk beds and sofa bed with a mini kitchen and bathroom attached inside the room. They're not a hostel or guesthouse, yet :) They offer their only one room for individual or group travelers. It's a perfect choice if you travel solo or in group consists of 4-6 persons.

What will you get while staying in Doubler?
- comfy bed and blanket
- desk computer with Internet
- free wi-fi all over the room
- air conditioner and room heater
- other home appliances that will make you feel at home: refrigerator, iron with the ironing board, washing machine
- mini kitchen with basic supplies
- bathroom with toiletries, towels, and hair dryer

How much do you have to pay?
25,000 KRW/night for each bed. If you travel in group consists of 6 people and want to book the whole room, each person just have to pay 20,000 KRW/night.

How can you reach Doubler Guestroom?
Address : Unit 204, 347-23, SeoGyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul South Korea
Look for exit 8 of Hongik University (Hongdae) station, turn right then go straight. Turn right on the second intersection and you'll arrive at Doubler! You can follow the map below :)

For more information or reservation you can open their homepage, like them on facebook, and follow their twitter! You can also send them a direct e-mail to doubler.hongdae@gmail.com.

By the way, the owner is a nice and kind person that I've met during my last trip :) I'm pretty sure she will try her best to cater your need while you're staying and help you if you need any direction or suggestion for places to visit in Seoul.

To J eonnie, good luck! Can't wait to see you again on my next visit to Seoul! :)

(pictures are taken from visit korea website and doubler homepage)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Expecto Patronum

I got stumbled upon what people shared on their social media, especially during the presidential election campaign in my country since last month. I'm an apathy person for any political issues since the start of reformation era in my country (late 90's). But this year election was indeed different, because it's kinda look like the present vs the past.

It's the first time I got excited for this democratic party and I put so much interest for the candidates, until... it got worse. Short story, the supporters for both candidates started to share negative and black campaigns towards each other. I mean.. come on, nobody's perfect but can we just pointed out the good in them without playing dirty tactics? It's made me remember why I hate politics so much in the first place.

One thing that I didn't realize on that time was all those negative news, fierce competition, bad assumptions, provocative words have gradually tore myself down. It's so hard to keep your mind in positive state when you're surrounded by loud 'dementors'. As an introvert,  I dislike conflict and honor harmony. So yes, those dementors absorbed my precious (limited) energy and cast away my happy thoughts. Should I shout my patronus charm everytime I checked my social media (and even group chat)? The worst thing was there were also some people who stand in between, claimed not to vote, but always degrading both candidates. They-were-not-helping-at-all. WHY PEOPLE, WHY?

I also raised my eyebrows for some of my close friends who publicly support one of the candidates who (imho) has a 'questionable' track record in his career. I was wandering for about two or three weeks and thought "how come they don't see what I see", "it's an easy and clear choice, how come they choose the other side", "I don't get the reasons, all of their reasons are invalid", and so on. I also started to judge their logic and assumed they're not as good or smart as I thought.

Then... BAM! I realized that I didn't want to open my eyes and ears because I was pretty sure that I spoke up for the right side, but unknowingly the dementors has succeed dragging me to the real dark side. I've become the worst version of myself and I couldn't help but felt guilty about it.

So, on the last week of the campaign period, I chose to step back. The last few days before the election day, with the help of Mr. Google, I tracked back the 'black' history, read any news also gathered facts as many as I could, and put myself in neutral side (even though I wasn't a swing voter) in order to quench my curiosity and answered all of my questions. In the end, I found that there's no white or black side, it's all grey. We didn't know the truth if we don't directly involved in certain situations. People can interpret one thing into hundred different versions or views.

Suddenly, I remember the debate between Phoebe and Ross about evolution in one of Friends episode. Phoebe didn't believe in theory of evolution but Ross thought it's illogical and bothered him so much so he insisted to convince her with all the facts and knowledge that he had. Then Phoebe said something about years ago scientist believed that the world was flat and atom was the smallest thing on the planet until they found new facts. She asked Ross why he was so unbelievably arrogant that he couldn't admit  that there's a teeny tiny possibility that he could be wrong about the evolution theory. Phoebe was just being Phoebe, but she had a good point :)


To wrap up everything, I have promised myself to:
-be curious, not judgmental
-appreciate and respect other people's choice
-believe what I believe in without lowering the opposite's point of view
-keep my mind always open
(Dear God, help me~)

Anyway, the 'competition' is not over yet. Another issue has arisen after the election day ended two days ago. To save myself, I pull myself out from society for a while but still catching up with the recent news. I'm still open for fun discussion though.

Wish all of you have a great weekend while listening to this peaceful song :) Ciao!

(i found all the quotes and pictures from pinterest)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Airport Fashion: Code JSJ

Jung Soo Jung or known widely as Krystal from korean girl group, f(x), is my new addiction nowadays. I totally fell for her classy, casual, yet edgy look. She rarely wear bright color. Recently, she admitted that she didn't has any pink or yellow color in her closet.

eyes on: military jacket + rolling stones tee

eyes on: denim jacket
eyes on: black and white stripes tee and black shawl
eyes on: red and white stripes tee
eyes on: total monochrome look!

eyes on: oversized checkered shirt
eyes on: grey benie + black leather jacket
eyes on: military cap
She often walkes with her head down or hides her face behind shades, mask, or cap that will make her looks cold or arrogant. However, the truth is she's just really shy. All the people who ever worked with her said that she's a cheerful, carefree, kind, sweet, and adorable person :)

And as Krystal, she can be this bold.

Pink Tape, summer 2013
Red Light, summer 2014

(pictures credit: the klassic, jungsoojung.com, fx china fansite, sm entertainment)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Travel to Japan : Stay Connected with Mobile Wi-Fi

If you want to stay connected in Japan, there are 3 choices available for you. The first one is activate your data roaming using your own sim card; the second one is buy new prepaid sim card in Japan; and the last one is rent a mobile wifi. The last choice is the cheapest way if you're travelling on budget with group of friends. 

When I went to Japan last November, I travelled in group of 6 people and we decided to rent a mobile wifi. I booked the router through Japan Wireless. They offer 4 types of routers with different speeds and coverages. I chose to rent their cheapest choice, pocket wifi by EM Mobile with 21Mbps speed and it can be shared up to 5 devices.

The cost to rent this router for 9 days is 4,700 JPY (incl. tax) and 500 JPY shipping fees will be added. The package consist of one router (the mobile wifi itself), one extra battery, a charger, an instruction to use the router and a big envelope to return everything once the rent period is over.

They offer 2 choices of pick up method, you can collect the package by yourself at the airport or they can send the package to hostel/hotel where you'll stay in Japan. To minimize any errors during shipping process, I decided to pick up the package itself at the post office in Kansai Airport. 

Let me sum everything in step-by-step process :)

1) Open Japan Wireless website
2) Choose the type of router that you want to rent
3) Fill the order form 
4) Pay the rent fee with credit card
5) Once the payment made, they'll sent a confirmation letter to your e-mail (don't forget to print out the letter)
6) Pick up the router at the airport or reception desk at your hostel/hotel 
7) Stay connected anywhere in Japan! :)
8) At the end of your rental period, put the routers (along with the extra battery and its charger) in the envelope that Japan Wireless has provided and drop it into any postbox in Japan.

So simple and easy right? 

I didn't face any trouble with the connection while using this router. It's quite steady and the speed was as fast as their promise. But, to outsmart the battery problem I had to turn on-turn off the router all day long because the total use of the router battery and its extra are just around 8 hours. Another obstacle that you'll face if you decided to rent mobile wifi is you have to stay in group with the person who carriers the routers. If you decide to go on your own separate way, you'll lose the connection. You won't face these 2 problems if you use your own sim-card or buy a new prepaid sim data card in Japan. The bottom line is you have to pay extra for more convenience service :)

Japan Wireless also sell prepaid sim data card for 4,250 JPY (plus 500 JPY shipping fee). You can use this card in Japan for 30 days with 1 GB data usage limit. But it's important to be noticed that this sim card is for internet data use only, you can't making or receiving any phone call. 

Oh, you have one last option too: rely on free-wifi service in Japan! Limited area though. Well, the choice is yours! :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Travel to Japan: Kyoto (Transportation, Accommodation, Attractions)

If I have to choose, which city that I want to explore more during my trip to Japan last year, I undoubtedly pick Kyoto. Tokyo has offered me so many things, but it's too bustling and everything moved too fast. I felt like I have to walk in lightning speed and made me feel guilty to spend a leisure time just to enjoy a cup of coffee. I love Osaka, but I was quite satisfied with my 1.5 days experience while I was there. For Kyoto, the city is so peaceful yet still lively. Fresh air, quiet street, green trees, street food galore on my way to shrines/temples, amazing views of Japanese heritage places have made me fell in love with this city. I only had 2 days to explore and already tried my best to see everything but.. yes I need another 2 or 3 days to satisfy my wanderlust soul.


You can explore Kyoto with city bus or subway. I used my ICOCA card to ride the train in Kyoto. Kyoto station is the biggest train/subway station. You can ride train/subway for going around or take the shinkansen to go to another city from this station.

Kyoto station is also the end/beginning point for most city buses that cover many tourist attractions. The flat rate for the city bus is 220 JPY per ride, so if you want to ride the bus all day long, I recommend you to buy Kyoto City Bus One Day Pass. You can buy this card at tourist information center inside Kyoto Station for 500 JPY. Two Day Pass is also available for 1,200 JPY. But it's important to note that you'll need to pay extra for long distance journey (non-flat routes). Buses with black numbers on white fields is long distance buses.

How to ride city bus in Kyoto?
1) Board from the rear door and exited from the front.
2) There's a display in front of the bus that will tell you the next stop, when you see your stop press the red button near you.
3) Pay when you get off, put your money (exact change) into the slot. If you use the city bus pass, the first time you use it, simply put the card into the card slot and you'll see that the date will be printed on the back of the card. For the second use and after you just have to show the card with the printed date to the bus driver.

For the journey from Tokyo to Kyoto I used the Willer Express night bus, super great value for budget travelers. But it's a bit sad if I missed the chance to experience the super fast bullet train, since I should go to Kansai (Osaka) for my flight back home, so I took the shortest route of Shinkansen (Nozomi): Kyoto-Osaka (14 mins journey - 1,420 JPY). Tricky way to check another thing on my bucket list :p


Since Kyoto Station is the center hub for everything, it's a wise move to find a place to stay around this station. Luckily, I found the newly opened place called Piece Hostel. It's a modern and simple hostel in white building with minimalist touch and color. Kyoto Station is just 5 mins distance walking from the hostel. Everything is clean and neat. Free wifi, towel, toiletries, and you can buy a cup of coffee from their mini cafe inside the hostel. They also served several kinds of bread for breakfast, plus potato salad, rice, and miso soup! If I have a chance to go back to Kyoto again, I surely will stay in Piece Hostel :)

I stayed in this room! All these pictures are courtesy of Piece Hostel :)


Day 1 in Kyoto : Ginkakuji Temple - Path of Philosophy - Heian Shrine Torii Gate - Kiyomizudera Temple - Gion 

Ginkakuji Temple or the Silver Pavilion is a Zen temple established in 1482. It's located near Higashiyama mountains on eastern Kyoto. This complex consists of the pavilion itself, several temple buildings, an unique dry sand garden called Ginsyadan, and one calming yet pretty moss garden. You can walk slowly along the circular route from the grounds to the hill. 

The Silver Pavilion was originally called Kannon-den. It's two storied with a traditional Japanese residential architecture style on the first floor and Chinese temple style on the second floor. There's a bronze phoenix on the roof that constantly facing east as a guard of Ginkakuji. 

On our way to this temple there are many food stores that offered a lot of matcha (green tea) snacks and dessert :9

Admission: 500 JPY
Directions: Take bus no 100 from Kyoto Station and get off at Ginkakuji-mae or bus no 5/17 and alight at Ginkakuji-michi (40 mins journey)

From Ginkakuji temple, I took a walk along Path of Philosophy for about 30-40 minutes. There are also more small temples and shrines along the way. Beside that, I also found some restaurants and pretty cafes. The path is ended at Nanzenji Temple, but I skipped this part and continued my journey to Heian Shrine Torii Gate. 

I filled my tummy with some snacks at 711 nearby the gate. I couldn't resist to buy one bottle of bubble milk tea just because the packaging was too cute! I'm a fan of Marie the cat from Disney and I didn't think twice once I saw her faces on the label ^^

Just before the sun went down, I took a bus from the shelter near the torii gate and rushed to Kiyomizudera Temple. It's a long way road from the bus stop to reach the temple gate, but don't worry, your eyes and taste buds will be spoiled by snack stores that offer many samples of their products! :)

Kiyomizudera or Pure Water Temple is the most popular temple in Kyoto during cherry blossom and autumn season. The temple is famous for its wooden stage, 13 meters above the hillside. There's also a waterfall called Otowa Waterfull inside the complex. Visitors can take a cup and drink from one of 3 streams. Each stream is believed will give a benefit that different from others : longevity, success at education, and good love life. But it's not a wise decision to drink from all streams because is considered as a greedy act. When I was there, several parts of this complex was being renovated but I still can enjoyed most parts of this temple.

Admission: 300 JPY
Directions: I took a bus no 100 from a bus shelter near Heian Shrine Torii Gate, you can also catch the same bus or take bus no 206 from Kyoto Station (15 minutes journey)

The first word that popped on my head when I heard "Gion" is geisha. Yes, Gion is an area or district in Kyoto that famous for its geisha. This area is filled with restaurants and tea houses (ochaya) where guests are entertained by geisha and maiko. Almost all constructions within this area are build with Japanese wooden style. Nowadays, you need lots of luck and persistance to see geisha walked around in Gion district. You're lucky enough if you're able to see maiko. I didn't see both :(

My battery was drained out once I arrived in Gion so I didn't take any picture while I was there. I took another city bus (no 100/206) from Gion to go back to Kyoto Station.  

Day 2 in Kyoto: Fushimi Inari-Arashiyama-Ginkakuji Temple

Shrine with countless torii gates: Fushimi Inari! This shrine is located on southern Kyoto and consists of thousands bright red torii gates that will lead you to Mount Inari. You need around 2-3 hours for the round trip from the shrine on the ground to the mountain. I skipped the hiking part ^^v  

There are many foxes statues inside because it's believed that they are the messenger of Inari. 

Admission: Free
Directions: Take JR Nara line from Kyoto Station to Inari Station (5 mins journey, 140 JPY using ICOCA card)

Next stop is Arashiyama area. This area famous for the bamboo grooves/forest and the scenic train. The first option was kinda creepy for me, so I chose to experience the second one :) Arashimaya is soooooo pretty and quiet! It's just a small city, you need a half day tour to see almost everything. The most important thing is never ever ever skip the scenic train! The view will be more amazing during cherry blossom and the peak of autumn season when the leaves turn to red/yellow. 

The old looking train will take you from Torokko Saga to Torokko Kameoka Station for around 25 minutes journey. Then you can walk to Umahori Station to take the JR train back to Saga Arashiyama or straight to Kyoto Station (25 mins journey, 320 JPY). Don't forget to choose the fully open cars to enjoy the view! 

Admission: 620 JPY one way
Directions: Take JR Sagano line from Kyoto Station and alight at Saga Arashiyama Station (16 mins journey, 240 JPY). The Sagano Scenic train station is located behind the JR station. There's a tourist information center outside Saga Arashiyama station if you need any info about Arashiyama. 

The last touristy place that I visited in Kyoto was Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion). Along with Ginkakuji Temple, it's also registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site. The best time to visit this temple is in late afternoon when the sun gradually went down and the shine that touch the temple makes the golden color more shimmery. There's a pond beside the pavilion and you can see its beautiful reflection above the water.

Unlike the Silver one, Golden Pavilion is 3 storied but the golden phoenix also stands on the top as a guard of the temple. The gold foil just covers the second and third level. Each level have its own architecture style. 

Admission: 400 JPY
Directions: Take bus no 101 or 205 and get off at Kinkakuji-michi (40 minutes journey)

A friend of mine also write a story about her journey to Kyoto. She covered more stories about Arashiyama. I also followed her advice to taste a delicious japanese curry near Kinkakuji Temple. It's located exactly behind the bus stop. The owner is an old married couple with the warmest hearts :) 

Take a look here to read her stories!