Back Home Again

No one will ever understand why a luxury ship has made a dent in our being, why we keep coming back to her, and how Nippon Maru and SSEAYP have changed our lives, literally and figuratively.

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Lessons Learned from Life

I have lived away from home since I entered university at 16, lived in at least three cities and stayed short-term in around 10, and travelled to 12 countries, mostly on my own. I have met a lot of people, experienced at least a dozen cultures, and stayed with a few foster and host families. …

SSEAYP28 Files: Excerpts from Loose Leaves of an Unfinished Journal

While cleaning my apartment and browsing through my stuff last weekend, I found a file of my SSEAYP (Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program) journal that I started writing during the program in 2001. It is still unfinished up to this day, as much as the journey was/is unfinished, literally and figuratively. Coincidentally,…

Six Bookstores Selling English Books in Jakarta

For someone who loves reading, a steady supply of reading materials must be secured. And for someone (a foreigner) who loves reading, and living in a non-English speaking country, a steady supply of books, magazines, and newspapers in the English language is almost always a concern. Finding a bookstore selling foreign language titles was a…

Kamochi by Hiro’s Kitchen

It was another lazy Sunday. I woke up quite early, around 8:30 a.m., the sun was up and the music from the apartment’s park was blaring. I rummaged into my fridge and found a week-old steamed purple sweet potato. I re-heated the sweet potato by steaming it again; mashed it in a bowl; added grated…

CREATIVE UPCYCLING

What to do with the stuffs that clutter your flat? Gather them that can be re-used or still useful, those you have difficulty parting away from for some sentimental or other reasons, and those that you are attached and attracted to. Squeeze out your creative juice and genius and turn those stuffs into something useful…

I AM (NOT) A FILIPINO

On a few occasions, in Mangga Besar district of Jakarta, I had been approached by people who asked for directions or tried to strike a conversation with me.  The only problem was that they talked to me in Mandarin!  I replied to them, in little Mandarin that I know (thanks to my seven-week stay in…

ONE FINE, LAZY SUNDAY

I woke up before the aerobics instructress started counting eights on repeat mode competing with the loud, annoying house music that accompanies her weekly aerobics session. It’s Sunday, 6:54 am. A few minutes before a few of the residents in my apartment complex gather in the playground for their weekly fitness activity. It’s Sunday, my…