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Life Lesson From Nichijou Chapter 161

There are times when 2D art product like manga gives a wonderful lesson to us. And one of them comes from an absurd comedy made by Arawi Keiichi titled Nichijou, which roughly translates to “ordinary day”, especially chapter 161 that I will post in this occasion.

Long story short (the story is actually short, duh), Mio (the girl with twin short pigtails) found an interesting vending machine and…

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Well, she started with small investment or effort to acquire what she wanted, until she realized it did not pay off and she increased her ante…and still..nothing.

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She is not a gambler, she just got into it without realizing and she was broke afterward.

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After some banging (a lot, actually) at the machine out of her desperation, the machine paid out the prize…but it was not exactly the kind of prize she expected… Poor Mio!

This short story, however, in my opinion, sounds a lot like human life. We want something. We work to get it. We work hard and harder as time goes by since the effort needed to achieve our goal apparently outstripped our initial expectation, but we sacrificed so much already that backing down is not an option we would like to consider. We finally got what we want. Not exactly. We got what we thought we want and we realized afterward it is not as expected. A bummer.

Fortunately, life does not stop there (hopefully). In chapter 164, we found out that..

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Yeah, the Lord works in mysterious ways after all.

 

 

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Comic Frontier 2016

Another backlog post (☉౪ ⊙)

Comic Frontier (or Comifuro), a visual art market event where local artists and consumers meet (think Comiket). What makes it interesting? For me, it is the “market” atmosphere. Imagine a large mildly air-conditioned (which means quite hot) and mildly decorated room with a lot of artists and large mass of consumers. Each of those artists is given the same desk (as big as school desk) and chairs, which the artist has to decorate (or not), and that is it; not even a booth. Walking around a bit and you can find a lot of comical decorations, made creatively with dirt cheap materials (ex: elementary grade picture drawn with color pencil on an A4 paper). And the participating artists are there personally, with no corporate PR involved. What will you encounter? A lot of doujins, posters, key chain, pins, and home-made games. Oh, and cute artists too😛

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SMESCO UKM building complex. The venue was actually on the right side and not shown in this picture, but you can see the crowd haha
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Hideo Kojima made a surprise appearance at Comifuro 2016!!!
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Entry stamp. It is supposed to be a girl face. Oh well..

I personally think that Comic Frontier contains some interesting symbolism. First of all is the fact they are using SMESCO UKM building (maybe they will move to other venue next year, I do not know). At one side it symbolizes that doujin-making (and similar visual art making) is more than just a mere hobby, it can also become a source of income with significant demand in the market, and at the other side, by choosing a modest venue (and with UKM title), it also emphasizes that the popular visual art market is not dominated by big profit-hungry corporations, as the grassroots producers, the artists themselves, who create to express their aspiration, are still a considerable force in the market (*cough, not like AF#). Second, the rise of fujoshi and public showing of risqué visual arts. You can say that those are the signs of decadence, but I would like to look it in another light. They signify the progressive transformation of Indonesian people into an open-minded society where everybody may express their creativity without fear of persecution. Do you not remember the sign of Italian cultural renaissance? Naked statue (it is a joke).

To sum it all up, I recommend Comic Frontier for people who want to get in touch directly with local aspiring visual art creators with “market” atmosphere. There is very little amount of third-party meddling here, so you can be sure that your purchase goes straight to the creators (or their friends who tend the stall), which makes the whole experience less like “purchasing” and more like “appreciating”.

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My loot from Comifuro 2016
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I also won an SSR (Super Star Rare) Lancer pin (Fate series) from a gatcha event.
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Ennichisai 2016 Coverage

This is one of the backlog post piling up in my draft folder. (シ_ _)シ Gomen! Gomen!

Ennichisai, an event that aims to simulate festival in Japan for Indonesian crowd, was held again this year in Blok M, a place touted as Jakarta’s Little Tokyo. This festival displays a wide range of cultural products: culinary, traditional dance, portable shrine parade, taiko and shamisen performance, pop song concert, handicraft, etc. Beside those, you can expect to meet a lot of native Japanese not only as visitors but also as stall clerks. Oh, do not forget about festival games! They are so much fun. Always try for the games every time you go to Japanese festival.

Let me share my experience!

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I came early enough in the morning (around 10 AM, probably) and was able to witness the ramen eating competition. There were only a little crowd in front of the stage, the slot for competition was opened for five persons, no registration needed, no fee required to enter, and you only had to raise your hand to join. I did not expect that. Had I known about it beforehand, I would have prepared myself and join. I did not even have to win, it was a free breakfast.

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As the day went by, the crowd got multiplied. To get the mood “Japan Festival”-ish, we rented a pair of Yukata (a casual version of kimono) from a local Yukata enthusiast community (I cannot remember the name of their booth >.<). It was around IDR 50,000 for two hours, but the clerks were so nice they did not keep tab on the time and we practically could wear them as long as we wanted.

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Yosakoi performance by Indonesian students. Yosakoi is a choreographed dances from Japan performed by large group of people. When I say large, I really mean it. They occupied almost the whole road all the way from the entrance area to the stage. In case you wonder, the orange instrument held by these students are called naruko, or bird rattle, and it…rattles (how else should I describe it).

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That is a Danjiri, are large wooden carts in the shape of a shrine or temple with taiko (traditional Japanese war drum) and other instruments on board. It was followed by Mikoshi (a portable shrine) and there were multitudes of them, marching in rhyme with the drums.

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A glimpse of a Mikoshi. It was quite hard to take photos in the crowd.

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The pop culture stage! A small stage with various performers each day. Too bad each one of them only performed one or two songs. I was only able to watch Faint Star (in the photo) and only some minute before they finished .·´¯`(>_<)´¯`·. Why? The main reason was because the distance between the main cultural stage (and pretty much all the stalls and attractions) was quite far from the pop culture stage, plus the population density ensured traffic congestion even for pedestrians. So whenever I enjoyed something around the main stage, I would not be able to relocate quick enough to attend the performance at the pop stage (have not finished my teleportation training). Thus, my planned itinerary for that day was thrown into chaos.

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The performers in this picture showcased a kind of martial dance. My guess is they are Kajimaai, an Eisa (traditional Okinawan dance) group who also combines Kobudo (traditional Okinawan martial art using various weapon, including staff) in their performance.

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After some hours, I was really tired with all the walking and standing. I am not a strong traveler as far as I know. So I went over to my friend’s restaurant called Sate (a Yakitori stall, actually) at Blok M, not in the Ennichisai venue, but close by. It was my first experience visiting his stall and I love his food. His Yakitori is made with love and passion; he wastes no expense to serve the best he can. Don’t believe me? Drop by at his stall at Food Fighters and take a bite!

Now, loot exhibition!

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Top: Furoshiki and Sushi fridge magnet I bought from a Japanese. Middle left: water ballon or water yo yo I won from a traditional festival game called Yo Yo Tsuri, where player has to get the yo-yo balloons set floating in a tub of water using a hook which has tissue or paper handle. All key-chains: bought from multiple stalls. Lawson Ponta card and Biskies were given free by Ponta stall.

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Ponta fan, Ennichisai fan, UHA candy: freebies from stalls. Ennichisai shirt: bought from information booth for IDR 80,000. MametchiHello Kitty festival mask: I won it at a shooting game. Sanada Yukimura festival mask (red mask with antler): a festival mask I bought from a group of Japanese who touted that this is a Japan product made with great quality material, but after I purchased it, I knew it is an overpriced (IDR 200K) cheap plastic (PVC) masks made in China by looking at the backside.

I guess that is all my story.

By the way, my Japanese friend told me that it is odd that they named it Ennichisai, not Matsuri or Bunkasai. Ennichisai has a more religious tone, an event where people go to the shrine or temple to ask for fortune from the deity because that day is important for the deity, while Matsuri and Bunkasai are a lot closer in meaning to Japanese cultural festival.

What am I Doing with My Life?

I wonder how my peers already set their life goal and putting strategy to achieve it. Some of them even lectured me on how to be a successful person. Am I the only one left behind here? Ask me what I want to be. The answer is I know not.

Some of them are traveling the world. Some earned their master degree. Some are climbing the career ladder. Some are starting up their own business. And I am just…

Trying to make home made natto with Youtube instruction video...and failed.
trying to make home-made natto with Youtube instruction video…and failed

 

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visiting JKT48 Theatre, spending 100K to watch young girls performs

 

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drinking my bitter Chinese medicine to ease my stomach ache. Recently the frequency of my stomach ache is increasing and I have to take more of this medicine. Now I know how Dumbledore must have felt to get that locket.

Where will my life take me to? Das weiß ich nicht.

Afternoon Browsing Story: From Mr.Thiel to BioShock’s Andrew Ryan

It was a hectic afternoon at work and I was quite burnt out. So I took a voluntary activity which might not impact my productivity in a positive way directly or benefiting the company in the short-term but I believe would preserve my sanity for that day; I took a break. I filled my break time with clandestine internet browsing operation; browsing activity with high level of effort in ensuring that everyone around are unaware of the activity.

I stumbled upon an interesting article by Economist headlined “The Evolution of Mr Thiel“. I never heard of him before, but the subtitle of that article -“the tech billionaire has morphed from a libertarian into a corporate Nietzschean”- piqued my interest. Mr.Thiel was one of the earliest investor of Facebook and he is currently a tech tycoon of Silicon Valley. The article discussed an interesting method of private war which are legal and frighteningly effective, if you can afford the price tag.

Done is the day when you can duel or send your mercenary to hurt someone, but do not think the possibility of achieving similar goal is nonexistent. At least in modern USA, another means has emerged at the court of law in the form of legal battle proxy. The concept is quite simple; anonymously (or openly) finance your soldiers, people who are having or potentially will have litigation against your target, to increase your soldiers prospect in winning the battle and ensuring that your target will have to pay an impoverishing amount of fund in settlement. So far, no law is broken in the utilization of this method. That is exactly what Mr.Thiel has been doing. Mr.Thiel “philanthropically”funded Hulk Hogan (a famous wrestling celebrity) and many other parties in their litigation against Gawker, an infotainment website focused on Silicon Valley and technopreneur gossips. In the case of Mr.Hogan, the court has ordered Gawker to pay $140M, and that is just one of many battles Mr.Thiel expect. Judging from the current development, it appears that Gawker, which thoughtlessly publicized Mr.Thiel’s sexual orientation in the past without his consent and sparking this war, will have to admit defeat before eventually dragged to a complete annihilation. Mr.Thiel is patient and ready for a long war to drain Gawker until its last drip of blood.

The article then further discussed the evolution of Mr.Thiel (hence the title); from a sharp minded libertarian businessman into a delegate for Donald Trump. And evolution that went in an odd direction. It also mentioned a book written by Ayn Rand titled “Atlas Shrugged” in relation to Mr.Thiel’s current perspective. The title suggests that Atlas, who holds the world in his shoulder, may “shrug” and let the world, which keeps weighing him down, fall helplessly, and it serves as a metaphor to the story of a world where all the bright people voluntarily left the society to its collapse since the society keeps pressing them.

Stop there! Ayn Rand? Sound familiar? Yes, it sounds similar to Andrew Ryan, a central character in the first Bioshock game. Moreover, the new society pined by the bright minds in the novel sounds similar to Rapture. Atlas is present in the game, though I am not sure he resembles anyone in the novel. I found out that the game took a lot of reference from the novel. What a precious knowledge!

And that, my friend, is my afternoon browsing story before I went back to serve my capitalist master.

Easy Task?

front side of my bike showing the brake
front side of my bike showing the brake

The brake of the front wheel of my bicycle had lost its usual ability to grip and since I considered it unsafe, I decided to find a place to repair it. There is a nearby shack that looks like a bicycle workshop which I frequently passed by on my travel to work. Never visited it, but I guessed why not. I prepared some fund in expectation that I might have to replace some parts. I went there, talked to the shopkeeper, he looked at my bicycle, unscrewed a bolt, pulled a metal string, screwed it back, and it was done.

I think it was an interesting occasion. I paid a minuscule amount in comparison to the fund I have prepared, but looking at how easy he fixed the brake, I wondered why I had to pay at all. It did not even take five minutes. Had I known how to fix it, I could have done it myself. But I suppose this is what we call skilled work. I paid him for his expertise and knowledge, more than his sweat or time. Similar like graphic design, it might look easy, but the designer spent years and investment to master it, and we pay for such expertise. I hope I can have that kind of expertise too which make my work more valuable.

It might look easy, but it takes an effort to master the skill and knowledge!

A Career Counseling for a Bird in a Cage

It is another rambling post. “Career Counseling for a Bird in a Cage” is an episode title of “Search for a Lost Future” anime and it induced me to imagine such event with me as the counselor.

I am walking into the room to find a yellowish small bird waiting for me in front of my desk. I greet it.

The bird chirps.

I know I do not have to look for the bird’s file since I know very well it has no file; at least not in my possession. “It will be a great singer”, I think. It is the only career I can think of for the bird. But I can not force my thought about its future. A counseling is supposed to involve a two-way conversation. So I start the conversation. I start asking about its outlook for its own future, what kind of job it loves, what school subject it is good at, and what its family prefers it to have as profession.

The bird chirps.

I comprehend not what its chirp means but I am sure it responds enthusiastically. I put forward my idea about singer career for it and some alternative options;pilot, fruit farmer, and insect exterminator. I elaborate those jobs’ responsibilities and prospects.

The bird chirps.

I comprehend not what its chirp means but I am sure it responds enthusiastically. I thank it for coming to see me and I express my utmost confidence for its bright future. I show it the way out.

The bird chirps.

I comprehend not what its chirp means but I guess it asks my help to exit my room. So I take its cage and put it outside my room. I get back and I sit down with a big smile. Another satisfying day helping people.