Thursday, 26 March 2015

Impian Sarawak Educamp 随笔

千萬不要 Please Don't

一些志工會不經意的以高姿態來到鄉區,張口閉口「我們城裡人kami orang bandar、你們鄉下人kamu orang kampung」「我們在城裡怎樣怎樣,你們這裡怎樣怎樣,所以我們是來幫你們、‘拯救’你們的」「其實這裡的小孩不笨bukan bodoh,錯不在他們」。

拜託,有誰說他們笨了?城裡就很了不起嗎?請放低姿態,分享、請教、學習、感恩。

千萬不要認為你是volunteer你就是救世主。



--


It was rather emotional leaving Kg. Sebujok after the educamp. We bonded with the children, bonded with the longhouse families, bonded among the volunteers.

then we left.

Have we planted the 'seed' deep enough in their heart to support the pursuit of their impian? What lies ahead for the children and the community? Which is more important? Preserving the culture and the pure hearts or moving out to the city for greater opportunities?



--


Some children express themselves much better in drawing, I was one of them. Moses (8yo) too. He could draw out everything that we did without any guidance, then slowly checked with me the spelling of the words to write in his diary.

Moses八歲,羅馬字母還不大會分n和m,c和t,言語表達也還不是很行(理解聽力完全沒問題)。很多時候需要問好幾個問題,才可以知道他心裡在想什麼。當老師說日記可以用畫的時候,你可以馬上看到他的眼睛一亮,腦力全開,不需要提示也畫得出今天camp裡做的一切。然後他再問我ejaan,把學過的東西一一寫下。(一些小孩會敷衍地寫一兩樣就交差,他會堅持寫全部)





我們那天上了昆蟲課,也玩了把水瓶填滿的競技比賽,還有交換報紙島嶼的遊戲。

Monday, 16 February 2015

WWOOF Round 2 @ Tanbo Cafe 13 Jan - 2 Feb 2015

This was my second time WWOOFing with the Yamano's and it was AWESOME. Thought i should write something down since it has been long since I last posted a proper blog entry. 

Yamano's house in Winter  やまのいえ@冬
My first time with Tanbo Cafe was in September 2014 for two weeks, and was in time for the annual harvesting period so did great amount of rice harvesting as well as some bamboo work. This round it was mainly bamboo construction work as it was winter. I was lucky enough to be there during a busy period with a lot of events!

In Yamano's family, there is Teru-san - the father, Katsura-san - the mother, Katsumori - 10yo son, Fuwa - 7yo daughter. Usually Teru-san decides the work schedule for WWOOFer, Katsura-san takes care of our meals and other household matters, Katsumori & Fuwa are your playmates/Japanese language & culture tutors.

Normally on your first day, Teru-san will be upfront and explain all the do's and don'ts in his house, brief overview of the tasks and ask for your dietary preferences (if any). Expect a 1-on-1 conversation with him on job performance and special request (both-ways) on your third day of work.

A typical WWOOFer day in Tanbo Cafe (Note: timing varies depending on season or work priorities but will be around 36 hours per week):-

0700 wake up and table-setting for breakfast
0730 breakfast + rest
0830 work
1000 tea-break
1030 work
1200 lunch + rest
1330 work
1500 tea-break
1530 work
1700 free time
1830 help to prepare dinner
1900 dinner

WWOOFers would help with the dishes after meals so a day ends roughly at 2000hrs. You can also choose to eat-out then your free time starts from 1700hrs but my advice is DON'T because Katsura-san's cooking is sooo good that I almost flew up to the Fuji, shooting fireworks in my mouth every day. Ha.

WWOOFers get one day off per work week and as of Feb 2015, it is usually Sunday. You can borrow their bicycle to roam around the town or cycle 30mins to Kisarazu, the nearest train station for buses to Tokyo (1hr) or Yokohama (1.5hr) or trains.

Tanbo Cafe Interior 田んぼカフェ
Tanbo Cafe is still under-construction but scheduled for soft-launch this year, opening once per week, brewing organic coffee and juices! Currently used as store room for tools, bikes, working materials and baseball batting training area.

Compost toilet - i made the moon-shaped window on the right トイレお月様窓
Toilet is probably the coldest place to be in winter ha. It is a compost toilet with no flush. and NO smell! Lit using solar-powered battery and always greeted by a crescent moon made by yours truly.

:: WORK ::

Bandana: Autmn 2014 and Winter 2015 手ぬぐい
Before field-work, Katsura-san would let WWOOFer to choose a design of bandana as souvenir. It is a multi-purpose bandana with traditional Japanese motifs. I got "rice stalk 稲" in Sept 2014 and "opium seed 芥子玉" for this round.

NJM@work バンブードア
I worked on repairing the fence bamboo strips, bamboo toilet door(pic) and Tanbo cafe bamboo wall this time. Also did house-chores and helped out for events (e.g. coffee grinding ガリガリ, cup washing etc).
Completed bamboo toilet door 完成!
Magical tools for bamboo work
There are many specific tools for specific work in Japan. We have different tools to cut bamboo, to split bamboo and for other field work. Be sure you dont get them mixed up! During my stay there was another WWOOFer, Tom from England as well. Worked together splitting bamboo and filling blanks in Tanbo Cafe. Had great chats sharing experience on travels and teaching/learning too!

Splitting bamboo using magical tool 竹割り
Fill in the blanks in Tanbo Cafe 田んぼカフェの壁
Collecting dried bamboos for stove ストーブ用竹
We also collected bamboos from a bamboo forest nearby for stove. One full car of bamboos could last for around 10days in winter. Bamboo is only cut from Sept-Nov in a year.

We went to Shindo's place to help out every Friday, in exchange for Yamano's land and machine for rice planting. Did drain clearing as it was the main rice field task in winter preparing for spring.

Points to note: Teru-san can be very strict and upfront sometimes. This is his way of working. Just make sure you clarify whenever it is unclear and follow the instructions at work then there should not have any problem!

:: EVENTS :: 

Tagayasu Farm New Year Festival
Tagayasu Farm 耕す木更津農場
Tagayasu farm is a 30-ha organic farm in Kisarazu, ran by enthusiastic and relatively young farmers who want to make Kisarazu a better place to live in. More info on Tagayasu (in Japanese): http://www.tagayasu.co.jp/about.html

Tagayasu farm New Year Festival 耕す木更津農場新年会
Mochi pounding 餅つき
Was fortunate enough to get involved in their New Year Festival 2015! Free food and drinks and new year experience! Helped out selling coffee and juices with the Yamano's and I had free time going around tasting great food (belgian waffles, sweet potato, miso soup, eggs, bananas, mochi!) and trying mochi-pounding and bamboo horse. Around 180 adults and children attended this year's festival.

Katsura-san's birthday party
Homemade birthday cake + Homebrewed 二三味 Nizami coffee
It was Katsura-san's birthday so Teru-san and Fuwa made a cake for her when she went out for errands. Katsumori helped to write the words on the cake while I contributed by taking photos and video .. and eat. Happy birthday!

Takoyaki Party
Takoyaki party たこ焼パーティ
Homemade takoyaki. 'nuff said.

Rice-yeast making
Rice-yeast making 麹作り
Group photo with all who helped out チーズ!
Went to Matsuzaki-san place to learn how to make rice-yeast. Rice-yeast can be used to make miso, shoyu etc and the process will gives you SK-II hands. Had great fun and great snacks making rice-yeast on the rainy cold day.

Rope skipping Contest
Rope skipping contest 縄跳び大会
Kamatari Elementary School (where Katsumori and Fuwa go to) had school-level rope skipping contest during my stay as well. My first visit to japanese elemetary school and it looks just like what we seen in anime. haha. Rope skipping is serious business for elementary school kids. Fuwa won the second place for her level.

Asian friends アジアの仲間

:: WEATHER and FREE TIME ::

It was my very first winter but luckily Kisarazu was quite warm as it is near Tokyo Bay. Only snowed a little bit on one day for few seconds. It helped having a room right on top of the bamboo stove as well. You can even go 'hansode' (short-sleeved) when it is sunny, no problem.

Window frost 雪の晶
Stay warm 暖める
Washing school shoes 靴洗いなさい!
As it gets dark very early (5plus) in winter, I spent my free time with the children before dinner and stayed indoor after dinner. They have picked up a new interest in poker card games and that was our number one most played games. Sometimes they have homework and I enjoy reading their elementary school books ha.

Went to supermarkets nearby for snacks shopping and game centre (arcade) with Katsumori sometimes. Apita (5min ride) with game centre, mister donut or AEON (15min ride) with bike shop, daiso, haircut place.
Mario kart マリーカート
Winter ice cream 冬ソフト
Ken's portrait ケンの顔
Went to Nokogiri Mountain (big buddha and panoramic tokyo bay), Tokyo (monja street and tokyo tower - dropped my wallet on my way back and found it back two days after ha) and around Kisarazu (Mt. fuji sunset and curry buffet) during my three off-days.

:: BASEBALL ::

Baseball is still the number one favourite sports in Japan (although soccer/football is gaining popularity since 2002 World Cup). Katsumori is in his school's baseball team "Kamatari Little Heroes" and Teru-san joined as their coach some time in late-2014.
Kisarazu Sogo Highschool baseball team 木更津総合高校矢野球部
A baseball team will cycle pass Tanbo Cafe every afternoon (on weekdays) or morning (on saturdays) and they are from the Kisarazu Sogo High school. They made it to the Spring Koshien 甲子園 this year after a 44-year hiatus! Big banner was hanged at train station to congratulate the team.

Went to watch Katsumori's baseball training during one of my off-days. A really windy day. They have a girl in their team!
Baseball training 野球練習
Catchball practice キャッチボール

:: FOOD ::

and of course, FOOD! Your stomach will be very pampered with the Yamano's and Shindo's. Only showing some pictures that i have taken.
Mikan in winter 冬のミカン
Homemade Yuzu roll-cake 柚子ロールケーキ
Tempura feast 天婦羅盛り合わせ
Red bean soup - oshiruko - お汁粉
Last Dinner: temakizushi - 手巻き寿司

:: SOLAR POWER ::

Had a private lesson with Teru-san on solar power charger. Long time no see, Kemahiran Hidup and Fizik! Ha. Making it into a mobile charger that I can carry with me wherever I go! In Yamano's house, lights in bathroom and toilet are solar powered, the car batteries are also solar-powered. 
NJM working on solar panel

Farewell group photo with Tom トーマス,Katsura桂-san, Fuwa布和 and Katsumori活護
NJM leaving with backpack solar charger
Bid farewell to them on a Monday morning and pretty sure I will be back again! またね!

Tokyo Bay sunset 夕焼き

WWOOF JAPAN HOST CODE: H22045
Area: Chiba (Kanto)
Type of Host: Rice Farm, Farm Cafe, Eco-centre (Recycled oil fueled car; Solar powered car)
Keywords: happy family, awesome meals, tough work, bamboo & rice, tempura oil car, solar panel, coffee & baseball
Language: Japanese and some English

More about WWOOF
http://www.wwoof.net/
http://www.wwoofjapan.com/

Thursday, 12 February 2015

話說「旅人」


星野Hoshino 100 Trip Stories的官網上可以看到我的職業是「旅人」。「旅人」,日文念「たびびと」tabi'bito,聽起來很酷,有一點點流浪的意味。但是嚴格來講,我本來不是醬寫的⋯一開始填Form的時候我寫了「Unemployed」,被選上後發現他們會標簽在我的臉上,就發email說可不可以改成「Traveller」這個比較好聽的「職業」XD 最後星野的team就幫我翻譯成旅人了。 

然後入住 界•川治 時,大家好像手上都有我的資料。接待我晚餐的國分桑問「聽說您是旅人?」櫃檯的俄羅斯高橋桑問「是不是到過很多地方?」後來界•日光的服務生(忘記問名字)也搭話說他有聽馬來西亞的音樂,有一位翻唱日文歌曲的大馬歌手⋯ 搞得我很受寵若驚ing。

我是「無職」です。

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

一生忘れない旅

Tokyo Bay & Mt. Fuji from Kisarazu Port
「我永遠都無法忘記這趟旅程」 - 冒險王

第一次呼吸冬天的冷空氣
第二次到山野家打工換宿
第三次到日本亂走亂拍照

這趟《NJM神奇霓虹星野之旅》小弟我吃了很多好料、做了很多好玩的事、拍了自己很滿意的照片、遇到了新朋友老朋友、掉錢包卻也找回來,也按照約定在WWOOF期間作了太陽板充電器、玩樂器、拍更多的照片/影片。最後還意外被升級到新航直飛提早抵達新加坡。我上輩子到底做了多少善事?XD

以下舉出這次最令我震撼的幾個畫面,排名有分先後:

1. 對面月臺經過不靠站碰碰兩聲就不見掉的新幹綫子彈火車
2. 忍者在佈滿機關的屋子裏飛檐走壁最後還煙霧彈變身逃走
3. 第一次滿滿感動看到完全對稱圓錐型像一碗白飯的富士山

當然還有因爲住在高級日式旅館所體驗到的頂級貼心服務,服務員一直用敬語我感覺很彆扭啊。然後因爲聼得懂菜名,服務員竟然說:“さすが...(不愧是... /As one would expect...)” 我差點噴飯。

照片全集請看《WWOOF Japan Part II 》& 《NJM's Hoshino 100 Trip Story 星野リゾート》。

感謝星野集團的4D3N住宿,JR提供的JR East Pass,TelecomSquare提供整個月的LTE網絡。 http://hoshinoresort.com/100stories/#reporters
http://www.wwoofjapan.com/

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

NJM's Magical Winter in the Land of Rising Sun

Q1. Has your image of Japan changed since travelling in Japan?

Though sometimes it gets really cold (especially when the wind blows!), I think my first winter experience in Japan has been a heart-warming one, despite the freezing cold weather that I had imagined. I did not even have to use the heat-pads that i brought to Japan.

Aside from the hearty meals, superb scenery and soothing hotspring bath, what really made this trip exceptionally warm is the hospitality of the people I have met throughout the journey. They are always there to help you, sometimes even before you approached them for help.

There was once a passenger sat next to me on a flight asked, "What makes someone goes to a country again, and again?" I think it is the kizuna(bond) between people that makes us want to re-visit a place.

I wish Japan is nearer to Malaysia.

雪人
中禪寺湖
界·川治 早餐
戶外露天溫泉
界·川治 烤地瓜撒豆粉

界·日光 葡萄甘酒

裏磐梯酒店 冰屋

Q2. What was your image of Japan before your trip?

This is not my first trip to Japan but my very first winter experience. I spoke to a few Japanese friends and almost all of them told me: Winter in Japan can be very cold! I ended up being quite worried about the weather. Another image that I had for Japan is Japanese people always try to make it convenient for others, sometimes even at his or her own expense, be it service line staff or just someone who stands in the same line waiting for train with you. We, as the travellers in the country, should not take this for granted.

Q3. Please share with us some memorable incidents or experiences.

I went to Nikko Edomura Wonderland where i had a great time strolling in an Edo period town, having conversation with ninja, samurai and other chonins from the Edo period. I also had the chance to attend crash-course on samurai sword wielding and Japanese archery, which were both fun and eye-opening. Ninja action show was really amazing as well but too bad no photography was allowed. The day ended with the mesmerising Oiran procession before i got onto my journey towards Kai Kawaji.

江戶街景
侍 武士道
鼠小僧
花魁道中

Q4. What experience from your trip will stick with you the most?

The experience of doing a constantly moving solo trip is new to me and there is limited amount of time to spend before I had to move to the next location. I have realised the best plan for this type of journey is to plan nothing, and let the weather to help on the decision. Sometimes, we might get outcome that exceeds our initial expectation. I think this applies to many other things in life as well and will stick with me the most.
山龜

Q5. Please tell us a little about one of the local Japanese people that you met on your trip.

I took the liberty to kick-start my Japan trip three weeks earlier before the adventure with Hoshino Resort by doing WWOOF with Yamano family in Kisarazu. WWOOF is a system to help in organic farms in exchange for meals and lodging.

In Yamano's place, I helped out in bamboo work for stove and the construction of Tanbo Cafe (田んぼカフェ). I was also involved in the community's New Year Festival which I experienced Japanese mochi-making and bamboo horse. In that three weeks, we had birthday celebration, DIY takoyaki, miso-yeast making gathering, played music, watched Elementary School Rope Skipping Contest and baseball practice. I also learnt how to make a backpack solar-charging device which I am now taking with me on-the-go, transforming my backpack to be a mobile charger!

It was great experience to meet and to live with them in Japan.
山野家
讓米發酵做麹中
竹子
分竹子的魔法工具
敲麻糬
流動充電背包

Q6. Please tell us some of the things that you liked about the trip.

[Left Chopsticks]
In Kai Kawaji, I was touched to see that chopsticks were placed such that it is easy for me (a lefthanded person) to use during breakfast. I guess the staff noticed it during dinner and went the extra mile to make it convenient for me.

[Private Nikko-Geta Lesson]
I was the only one who turned up for Kai Nikko's Geta Lesson. But the staffs-on-duty still did their best to explain to me, speaking slowly in Japanese so that I could understand. They also taught me simple steps of tap-dancing wearing Nikko-Geta.

[Buffet Briefing]
Though having a really busy dining hall, the staff in Urabandai Hotel gave me a short briefing, checking on my dietary preference and let me know specifically which dish contains beef, the only thing that I cannot eat ... besides Natto.


Last but not least, sunshine over my stay in Japan, albeit short, has made the days here warm and comfortable.


Q7. Please tell us some of the things that you disliked about the trip.

Solo trip has its advantage as we have more flexibility in planning and I have had enjoyed many solo trips so far. However, during my trip this time, sometimes it was quite painful to enjoy the great meals alone, taking selfie by myself and moreover having no one to talk to while other resort guests are mostly families or couples. Perhaps it would be great if report writers could meet on certain days to share our experience with one another!

I was glad that the resort staff chatted with me while on-duty, giving me opportunities to share stories about my country and my Japan trip. It also helped a lot having internet connection to share my joy and travelling experience via social media.



Q8. Please share with us a photo from your travels.

Did most of my travelling with JR trains including Nikko No.1 and Tohoku Shinkansen. JR Pass is really convenient for travellers. The trains are always on time!

Having wifi router on-the-go is AWESOME for travellers who use smartphone to find the best route and to do 'live' updates on SNS. TelecomSquare provided very fast 4G LTE connection!

#HoshinoResort100TripStories

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