[Japanese Noodle] differences of ramen, soba, udon, and somen

Working in an office building where a lot of Japanese companies are stationed, I got to visit an authentic Japanese restaurant (located in the building) frequently. Thus, getting to know about the food is just natural. What’s interesting is the noodles.

5180394366_c34259c2c3_b

There are 4 common Japanese noodles that I become familiar with so far:

  • Ramen. Out of the 4 types, I think this is the most widely known type. Ramen is like Chinese-made wheat noodle, served with meat-based broth/soup (either chicken or pork) or miso/shoyu soup. As for the topping, the normally used ones are spring onion, seaweed (nori), and the meat itself.
151010_Sapporo_ramen_at_Susukino_Sapporo_Hokkaido_Japan01s

Ramen (picture from Wikipedia)

  • Udon. Udon is the second most popular noodle. Thicker than ramen, udon is also made from wheat flour, served with milder soup of soysauce base. It is usually topped with fried dishes (tempura).
Kitsune-Udon-II

Udon

  • Soba. Soba is Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour, with or without the mix of wheat flour. What’s unique about soba is that it can be served both hot and cold, normally depending on the season. Both hot and cold soba are served with mild soysauce (shoyu)-based soup and topped with spring onion and nori.
  • Somen. Somen is also made from wheat flour, but with very thin diameter (it’s very soft structured like vermicelli). It is more common to find somen served cold, but I tried the hot version and I like it. Like soba, it is normally served with mild shoyu-based soup.
Somen

Somen

Advertisements

to the broken-hearted 25s ladies (P.S: happy ending is for everyone)

Dear Beautiful Ladies,

I am writing this ‘letter’ to motivate all of you who are broken hearted, especially if you are 25 years old or older. Hopefully this will help you find yourself (a) happy ending(s).

First of all, let me tell you a story about me and my ex (for privacy purpose, let’s refer to him as A). We met when I was 23, very young and pure (I didn’t even drink beer back then), and he was 27. We worked at the same company, so you can say that we had cinlok (‘local’ love) at first. Then I went to Australia for Master’s, and we somehow managed to maintain the long distance relationship until I came back to Jakarta for good.

Long story short, we had always planned for a serious relationship, so it wasn’t very shocking when we finally discussed about marriage. Being a defensive kid to my parents, I still needed (and still do) their blessings for the big step of my life. When I brought up the topic to my mom, she only replied with a question: “Are you sure he’s the one?”, which I could not answer confidently. She’d then suggested me to rethink about it, and after a careful thought, I decided to break up with A. It wasn’t an easy decision; both A and I were badly heartbroken. I never really know what happened with A, but for all I know, he’s happily married now (which was another reason for my second broken heart with him).

It’s just natural that I spent several months despairing about our break up, and another 3 years looking for the best guy. I might be a strong girl that I didn’t think about committing suicide or depending myself on drugs that might kill me as well, but I did drink alcohol (which I never did before!) and thought about smoking (thank God I was surrounded by good friends who prevented me from doing so) during the desperate times. I became a different person to my family and friends, keeping a distance from them. Oh, and I cried a lot too. Time really heals any kind of wounds.

Soon after I made peace with myself (and family and friends), good things keep coming to me: I found myself happiness, made new friends, reached a career goal, achieved self actualization, and went to amazing places that I never thought I would visit. However, I was still single; I was happy being single at first, cleansing myself from all the downsides of being in a relationship until at one point, I felt that I needed a boyfriend, so I started looking. 🙂

The journey of finding the best guy was not an easy one, as I was looking for a life partner, not just a boyfriend for fun. Hence, 3 years were spent. I dated some guys and even tried online dating (which doesn’t work for me!), got my heart broken several times, and was involving myself in a drama (re: dating 2 guys at the same time) before I decided to settle with ‘the one’.

How to decide if someone’s ‘the one’:

  • Keep in mind that a perfect guy doesn’t exist (he only exists in fairy tales).
  • Keep yourself open for options before settling down.
  • Pay attention to yourself: if your heart beats faster every time you’re with the guy, then he’s not the one (and you should probably check yourself to the cardiologist :P). ‘The one’ will make you feel calm, comfortable, and at peace when you’re with him.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings: when you’re destined to be with someone (‘the one’), your surroundings will change too. This includes your family and friends support you, the universe seems to send you fortune and luck, and you just ‘click’ like you’ve known the person for your whole life, even though you just met him recently.

Ladies, I know that you might be totally heartbroken at the moment, or even decided that you don’t deserve to be happy with a significant other ever. Please feel free to think and feel the way you want to think and feel. When the time comes, all those feelings and thoughts will be over. Fill your days with meaningful things, smile a lot, and accomplish any dreams you have. It is when you’re happiest with yourself that you will find love.

Everything I write here will sound too dreamy for you, but it’s the truth – I went through it all. You have to believe that if I can, then you can too.

Be happy and love yourself.

XOXO,

Inez

[game review] Cooking Craze

When someone asks me what my favorite game is, I will probably answer Diner Dash, The Sims, or Candy Crush. During my school years, I could sit in front of my computer for hours playing games from when I reached home until dinner time, or until the mosquitos bit my legs till the blood was almost dry *exaggeration*.

Since I started working, I don’t really have that much time to play games, so mobile games with limited ‘lives’ are preferable. Last weekend I found a new game with the same theme as Cooking Dash: Cooking Craze from Bigfish Game.

Image result for cooking craze

The mission of each level is to serve food to customers, either by time or number of customers. After we finish a stage (each stage contains approximately 10 levels), we will go on to another stage and restaurants. Each restaurant will serve different kinds of food, hence different upgrades will be required. In order to upgrade restaurant utensils, we will need to collect certain amount of coins (collected through serving customers and some daily bonus), and to advance some harder levels, we might need spoons for additional time or customers. Spoons are collected by passing a level and from daily bonus.

I have only played this game for 3 days, but I love it the way I will start playing after the lives are filled up (like Candy Crush, it takes 30 minutes to collect a life). This is a fun girl game which requires multitasking and might last for a couple of months (for me, until I get stucked in a certain level).

on sharing

Being an introvert when I was at school (I’m best described as an ambivert today), you can always be certain that I wasn’t one of those students who would proactively ask and answer the teachers in class. Of course, the bigger things like me presenting in front of class are more unlikely to happen.

I had always felt like I was the most inactive student in class until I got into college, where apparently students from other schools were even more inactive than me, and I became one of the most active students then. One thing that I’ve been facing in many organizations since my college time is sharing in events. The skill of sharing is one of the life survival skills in any organization. I’m not an expert myself, but there are certain things that you must master to be a good sharer/speaker:

  1. Be confident. You’re the one who understands the matter best out of all the people in the room.
  2. Be prepared. Prepare the meeting agenda, know what points are to be presented and to which depth.
  3. Know your audience and deliver the contents with their capabilities/expertise.
  4. Speak at the correct speed. That is, not too fast nor too slow.

Anyone want to add some points?

on honeymoon period

As I reached the end of my first month in the new company (yes, again), I came to my boss and asked if he can assign me with something. The problem is I had become idle while others were very busy. I’d even felt uncomfortable leaving the office at 5 PM when everyone else stayed until late.

I talked to a senior about my idleness and he only responded with: “Just enjoy your honeymoon period.”

Recalling my experience, it’s been more than 4 years since my last honeymoon period with a company. I didn’t have one in the previous company I worked for, since the nature of the business is totally different: the previous company’s business is a highly competitive business with high-paced development, while the current one is a more long-term business with slower-paced development. I like working for both, but I think the latter suits me more in the sense that I get to have more time for play (I felt like I had no life with the highly competitive business).

Honeymoon period is actually important, since it enables people to observe and adapt to the new environment. The ideal time for honeymoon period varies depending on the pace and complexity of work. The important things are to get to know people whom you’re going to work with, and the process to make you succeed in the work. Just remember that no company is dumb enough to let its employee idle forever, especially when it’s still paying his/her monthly salary.

honeymoon

Happy honeymoon to myself!

what did I want to be when I was younger?

Since I’ve now worked and tried to keep myself on track (I’m actually not someone who believes that you can’t change career once you get in, but fate brings me back to track), I can only share this: what did I want to be when I was younger?

  1. A writer. Thanks to my high school for getting every student to journalistic training, I fell in love with writing. I used to really hate any language lesson until I joined the training and realized that writing can be fun in the way that I’m free to express my thoughts. For those of you who know me in person, I tend to be straightforward and not so expressive. Writing enables me to think more logically and elaborate things without being interrupted (even if the readers refrain from reading, I wouldn’t know).
  2. A teacher/lecturer. When I was in school, my mom would ask me to teach some lessons to my sister. I didn’t like the job back then, being the emotional me and all. Only after I was assigned as my lecturer’s teaching assistant I’d then felt that teaching is also a fun activity. I like sharing what I know and experience, so being a teacher/lecturer might also be a career choice. (I’m not interested in taking any Ph.D though, so if the institute requires the lecturer to be a Ph.D, I won’t apply.)
  3. An entrepreneur. This is my latest want, given the reality that babysitters and schools/education institutions are not reliable in making children’s mentality strong – I want to be an entrepreneur who would be able to run the business from home while I raise my children. Hopefully I will be able to make this dream come true. 🙂

[in Bahasa Indonesia] Penerapan Sekolah 5 Hari

Setelah ditelusuri, ternyata opini untuk menerapkan sekolah 5 hari dengan durasi belajar 40 jam seminggu/8 jam sehari mulai tahun ajaran 2017-2018 sudah lumayan lama juga ya keluar, dan saya baru dengar beritanya tadi pagi di radio saat perjalanan ke kantor. Memang keterlaluan anak satu ini, mentang-mentang sudah lulus dari sekolah jadi tidak care lagi dengan perkembangan dunia pendidikan. *lebay*

Mau ga mau saya jadi bernostalgia soal jam sekolah saya jaman dulu. Kebetulan di Indonesia ini tiap ganti menteri pendidikan (tiap kabinet namanya ganti-ganti, mulai dari mendikbud, mendiknas, sampe balik lagi mendikbud), kurikulum sekolah juga pasti ganti. Otomatis, kebijakan soal cara penilaian siswa sampe buku pelajaran yang dipake pasti ganti (dan sayangnya lagi, jarak umur antara saya dan adik saya pas 5 tahun, jadi orangtua kami ga bisa berhemat secara buku yang saya pake ga bisa dipake lagi sama adik saya).

Masa sekolah paling bahagia itu tentunya TK. Sekolahnya sih memang Senin-Sabtu, tapi sistemnya pagi-siang (tiap bulan ganti), sekolah Senin-Jumat 2 jam 15 menit sehari dan Sabtu 1 jam 30 menit saja. Lanjut SD (yang menurut saya kelamaan, sampe-sampe pas kelas 5 saya udah mulai nanya ke nyokap: kapan lulus ya, lama amat sekolahnya?), kelas 1-2 masih sistem pagi-siang dengan durasi yang lebih lama, Senin-Sabtu 2 jam 30 menit sehari, dan kelas 3-6 sekolah seharian (awal-awal kelas 3 rasanya sekolah itu lamaaaaa banget), Senin-Jumat jam 7.00-12.10 dan Sabtu jam 7.00-11.00. Lulus SD, saya sebenernya pengen lanjut ke SMP di negeri sebelah (alias SMP lain, karena TK-SD saya di sekolah yang sama, jadi bosen ketemu lingkungan dan teman-teman yang itu-itu aja), tapi apa daya kepentok ijin. Waktu itu bokap merasa saya masih terlalu kecil untuk dilepas ke sekolah yang jauh, jadi terpaksa saya lanjut lagi di SMP yang sama. Jam sekolahnya Senin-Jumat jam 7.00-13.30 dan Sabtu jam 7.00-11.00, dengan tambahan ekskul dan bimbingan 1-2 kali seminggu jadi pulang jam 4 sore (saya ga pernah ikut ekskul yang ga wajib karena males pulang sore). Tidak ada kendala yang berarti selama SMP, selain masalah psikologis masa puber yang bikin saya dan teman-teman galau ganjen norak nakal (kalau dilihat dari kacamata saat ini).

Lulus SMP, akhirnya saya diijinkan masuk ke SMA yang saya mau, dengan pertimbangan SMA yang bagus menentukan universitas yang bisa ditembus. Jam sekolah masih sama seperti waktu SMP, juga dengan komposisi ekskul dan bimbingan yang sama. Yang paling berkesan dari masa SMA adalah ternyata SMA saya termasuk SMA unggulan, ga cuma di Jakarta tapi di Indonesia, sampe-sampe kepilih jadi SMA percontohan si kurikulum baru (saat itu, tahun 2002), Kurikulum Berbasis Kompetensi (KBK). Yang paling berubah dari KBK ini adalah sistem penilaian (dan libur) yang tadinya per caturwulan (cawu)/4 bulanan, jadi kaya anak-anak kuliahan, per semester/6 bulanan, dan nilai di raport tidak boleh dibawah 7,5 (saat kelas 1-2) dan 8 (kelas 12). Ya, sistem kelas pun berubah saat naik dari kelas 2 ke kelas 3, karena saat saya kelas 3, KBK mulai diterapkan di semua sekolah lain di Indonesia (atau baru Jakarta ya?), dan sistem penomoran kelas yang tadinya 1-6 SD – 1-3 SMP – 1-3 SMA, diubah jadi kelas 1-12.

Saya inget banget, saat saya SMA itu, saya tiap hari Senin-Jumat pulang jam 13.30 (KBK ini emang sekolahnya cuma 5 hari seminggu) dan hari Sabtu diisi ekskul, sementara temen-temen di sekolah lain rata-rata pulangnya jam 15.30 dan sebagian hari Sabtu masih belajar juga, dan sebagian besar mereka bilang saya enak banget bisa pulang cepet. Saya sih cuma ketawa aja waktu itu, sambil dalam hati setengah menggerutu: apa enaknya?! Loe enak pulang sekolah sore masih sempet main-main, sementara gue begitu sampe rumah harus buru-buru buka PR dan belajar untuk ulangan. Yes, sekolah saya se-nggak santai itu. Disiplinnya amit-amit, pelajarannya intens banget sampe-sampe mau ijin sakit aja mikir 1000 kali (ga masuk 1 hari = ketinggalan pelajaran jauh banget), jadwal ulangan umumnya selalu lebih cepet seminggu dari sekolah lain dan saat anak sekolah lain sibuk ulangan umum, kami pun sibuk dengan pelatihan-pelatihan yang dirancang sama sekolah buat siswinya (mulai dari pelatihan jurnalistik sampe narkoba udah pernah dijabanin deh), dan pelit banget buat ngasih libur (trust me, even jaman-jaman force majeure macam banjir ato demo gede-gedean pun teteeeepp guru-guru rajin kasih tugas buat dikerjain di rumah.. baru saat itu saya ngerasain ‘belajar di rumah’ as in bener-bener belajar dan ga libur).

Jadi menurut saya, diterapkan atau tidaknya aturan sekolah 5 hari seminggu ini betul-betul tergantung dari sekolah masing-masing. Tujuan utamanya kan katanya biar baik guru maupun murid bisa benar-benar memanfaatkan waktu libur akhir pekan untuk keluarga, tapi ya semua tergantung kebijakan sekolah juga. Kalau sudah ditetapkan 5 hari seminggu 8 jam sehari sekolah, harus dipikirkan juga gimana biar anak-anak ga tertekan, apalagi kalau guru-guru masih membebani dengan PR dan ulangan. Yang ada nanti kualitas pendidikan ga membaik, waktu kualitas dengan orangtua juga ga tercapai, ditambah lagi muridnya stress.

*Semoga kualitas pendidikan Indonesia bisa semakin ditingkatkan lagi, terutama dalam era globalisasi ini, agar para pendidik juga bisa memberikan pandangan yang luas kepada para murid sambil mendorong agar murid mau ikut berpartisipasi aktif dalam mengemukakan pendapat di depan umum.

*Bersyukurlah anak-anak jaman sekarang karena populasi guru killer sudah menurun drastis dibanding jaman saya sekolah dulu.

*Setelah hampir 3 tahun ga nge-blog pake bahasa Indonesia, ternyata kangen juga dan lumayan bisa mengalir lancar tulisannya.