IATSS Forum, Japan and I

Day 9 in Japan and the city has grown in me. I feel like I have a new family who accepts me with an open arm. It’s the kind of feeling that makes you feel like a part of something great; something you belong to. Who would have thought Japan would be a new learning place for me?

A little over a year ago, Anggita ‘introduced’ me to the 48G and although I was reluctant at first, I slowly got hooked on the idol group and eventually decided to join a leadership training program in Japan.

Everything went uphill from there, I got an information about IATSS Forum from Mr SE (who was the Head of CoFTRA at that time), I asked for Mark Poole’s and Joana’s recommendation letters + my direct supervisor’s. I wrote down the essays they asked, I filled in the application form. I even asked April to help me dropped the application off at the IATSS Forum secretariat in Indonesia because it that day was the deadline of applying for the program.

I waited for the result for nearly two months. I almost thought that I didn’t make it because it seemed like forever! I wasn’t even sure that they received my application because both of the PIC were out of the office at that time. It was possible that they didn’t even receive my application or receive it after the deadline. Sometimes you can be unlucky like that!

When I finally received an e-mail to notify that I passed the first screening and was invited to join an interview, I was so happy.

The challenge was, I didn’t have any idea how the interview will be done. I didn’t know that there would be a role play with the other candidates where 9 people carefully observed your every words and actions. I didn’t know that I will have to be interviewed by the 9 of them. The Japanese are really serious when it comes to many things. They really planned it well!

I stayed the night in Tanah Abang because I had to wake up early for the interview. I still remember clearly the uneasy feeling of riding my scooter to Whiz Hotel @Kelapa Gading at 7 a.m.

My introvert side was forcing me to run away from it. I thought passing the first phase was already good enough, but the competitive side of me ‘forced’ me to do the best. I didn’t want to regret not being at my best version during the interview. The pressure was really high though.

I was just sitting awkwardly, trying to act as cool as possible. All the other interviewees came from different backgrounds and unlike me, they didn’t seem like having an issue to blend in.

I was nervous, but oddly I was also feeling at ease because I feel like my parents are sending me a prayer to support me. I think it was their well-wishes and prayers that helped me passed the selection process. I was lucky! Yes, I am a potential candidate, but there was an invincible hand that helped through it smoothly. Alhamdulillah…

Sometimes all you need is courage to step off your comfort zone. That’s the only way to grow.

I’ll share more stories later!


Jo, my friend 

I just talked to Jo for almost 1,5 hrs on whatsapp call, it felt like talking to an old friend. I don’t think I have ever talked to her on the phone, so it was amazing that the phone call lasted that long. The last time I met her was in 2014 when my family and I visited Singapore.

People are beautiful once you invested your time to get to know them better, to see things from their perspective and to let them know who you really are. 

I told Jo that during our study in Melbourne, our friendship was only on the surface. Yes we were classmates. We were in the same circle of friendship and that’s why sometimes we hung out together, but I never really open myself up to her. I didn’t really know her well at that time. 

When I look back, I remember the turning point of our friendship. It was when Jo and I spent an afternoon in the park near the campus. She was getting herself ready for a marathon while I was just trying to lose some weight. 

When we sat on the grass, I remember telling her random stuff and sharing my fear of returning back to Indonesia. We’re Asians so we pretty much share common ‘Asian’ values. She told me that she’s not keen on the idea of leaving Australia and going back to Singapore. She hated the idea of working in an office and doing same old routine. 

From that moment I know that we’d be good friends…

She’s an old soul. She’s weird. She uses sophisticated words on her blog and on her Facebook/Instagram (words I don’t understand because of my limited vocab lol). She’s hyper sensitive. She feels so deep about many things. She’s kind. She craves a deep connection and random conversation. I don’t think I have a friend like her and I love her for that. 

The other thing I love about her is that I can be honest about myself and she won’t pass any judgement to me. It feels good to be understood. 

In our conversation, I told her that I can sense that something is changing in her. I miss a little part of her old self (I didn’t  mention that though). But I did share my perspective on what’s going on with her. I am not a psychic, but I am a sensitive person myself, so I can’t help but feel the vibe she gives off. 

She told me that it was spot on! Honestly, I wasn’t surprised.

This is one of those time when being sensitive to my surrounding considered a blessing. 

I am so glad to have this rare opportunity of meeting someone like Jo. I really wish she’s going to find someone who can show her that the world isn’t cruel. I wishsomeone  or something is going to restore her faith to the world. 

Good night, Jo…

I had fun talking to you…

Sexist Comment @work

Today was just like a regular morning at work, at least until one of my female colleagues (F) mentioned about three of her female friends who were divorced.

The morning was just getting interesting. 

I honestly don’t know the situation out there. Things that are happening in our surroundings are often used as a ‘tool’ to get a picture of what’s happening in a larger scope. I was never interested in knowing people’s personal life and I rarely hear any gossips about my college or high school friends, so I have no idea that divorce rate are increasing in Indonesia. 

Things were getting more interesting when one of my male colleagues (M) commented about the divorce. 

F: “You know what? My friend is becoming more successful now that she was divorced from her husband. She works even harder to feed her children without the support of the husband. She’s now an assistant to a VP in a prestigious commercial bank, she was just a marketing staff when we worked together.”

M: “Really? It’s possible that your friend is sleeping around with people with power and is using her beauty and body to get a more stable and better job position.

I was stunned!

That was such an inconsiderate assumption. I know my colleague isn’s an asshole, but his way of thinking is probably something he can’t help but unconsciously internalised during his growing process.

Woman is seen as an object, her success is questioned unlike her male counterpart’s success. It is as if woman can only be successful in her field when she’s using her body and beauty instead of her brain. It’s frustrating to encounter people with this way of thinking.

I objected right away.

I told him that he’s being sexist. There are plenty of times that pretty girls are assumed to be stupid. That when a woman get a promotion at work and get anything else that she worked hard for, people assume that whoever gave it to her found her attractive. Why isn’t it assumed that woman worked hard and earned it?

Looks and intelligence are not related, but for some reasons people try to link the two when it comes to women. It’s not fair and we don’t really see that happening to men.

What’s sad is a lot of people don’t realize that it’s an act of sexism when they assume these kind of things.



My baby motor

My very first Baby Motor! My baby motor is a Suzuki Tornado 1996, dad bought it in 2001. We got this for 15 years now! It’s HALF OF MY LIFE! I never use it anymore, but we didn’t want to sell it, so dad just let my aunt ride it for work.

This motorbike always looks like a lady bike. At least that’s what my friend said. I started using this bike in my senior year in HS. However, during the first year of Uni, dad didn’t allow me to ride a bike in Purwokerto, so I was used to just walk to Uni. At that time, I was not too busy after all. Life was just Uni and boarding house lol I remember my pocket money was Rp500k at that time (2003), it was enough though. 

The second year of Uni, baby motor was delivered to Purwokerto. I joined Student English Forum and worked as an instructor (yay extra money!). Life was fun and busy. I remember there were times when I got no money left in my pocket so I had to carry my bike when it ran out of gas. Yeah, we’ve been though the ups and downs together lol 

Baby motor was always there to take me reach my full potential; when I joined debate selection, debate training, meetings @ SEF, when I needed to be an adjudicator for a debate competition in Barlingmascakeb, or work as a radio announcer and instructor, and eventually graduated from Uni with flying colors. 

I am feeling nostalgic. My years in Uni was the time I invested in myself, I studied in campus, dealt with different characters, studied English, learned skills such as public speaking, leadership, negotiation, etc 

Everything that I went through in the past has shaped me to be a better Annisa. There’s no shortcut or instant way to be successful as an individual. Yes, luck plays a role, but hardwork and sufficient emotional support are more important. Thanks for being the most loyal friend during those critical times, baby motor ❤️

Goodbye, Clauss

I was so eager to find someone to settle down with, I tried to conform to what the society believe as the portrayal of a ‘good woman’. I was trying so hard to be accepted, to be liked, to be loved, to be considered a ‘wifey material’ that I lost myself in the process. 

I want to tell stories of me meeting different people in pursuit of finding a partner to settle down with. The society makes me think that it’s a shame for a woman my age to be single. The pressure is so strong that it makes me want to change who I am and to lower the ‘standards’ of the kind of person I want to settle down with. 

I dread sitting in a car with my colleagues or bosses because that’d be a perfect time for people to start poking into each other’s personal business. Topics about spouse, children, marriage, family, and other private issues come up. It’s all just a lip service though. I can sense that they aren’t genuinely care or interested in the other people’s stories. They just want to kill time or avoid the awkward silence. That’s when people started asking questions. As for me, I hate small talks and I love the silence. 

Most time I got so defensive that I found myself preparing for answers for when they direct the personal questions to me. When I reflect of what happened, I realize that the answers that I prepared aren’t smart answers. They are just products of my frustration on my current situation; the frustration that comes from the widely accepted conception of what ‘a perfect life’ should be like; the perfect life that I have yet to discover. 


So I went out with Clauss two times already. The first meeting was okay. I know I didn’t feel like he’s the one for me, but I try my best not to judge a person from the first meeting, so we kept texting each other and then we finally met for the second time a couple of days ago. After the first date I was still confused whether we’ll work out as a couple or not. The chemistry wasn’t there but I was pretty comfortable opening myself up. That’s why I agreed on the second date. I feel like I need to confirm my first instinct about Clauss. Right after talking to him and observing his gesture, also his way of thinking, I suddenly found the courage to cut him off. 

When I reflect on what happened in our date, I realized that I lost myself in the process of getting to know him. I couldn’t speak up my mind because he didn’t give me enough space to speak comfortably about different issues. I also noticed that what he said wasn’t consistent with his action. And then when I got home I hate myself so much for putting up with him. And that’s when I realize that he’s not the person I want to be with.

Here’s a note I made for myself. When we really look deep inside of us and try to understand what’s the most important thing we need, we’ll see what’s good and bad for us. We have instincts and in my case, my instincts are often right. It’s like our subconscious reaction that will protect us from things that will harm us. When we got that kind of red flag on people, our heart might put us in a denial mode, but if we really look deeper, we’ll know what we want and what we need to decide for ourselves. Is it really important to sacrifice ourselves for something that might be a threat for our happiness and comfort?

I said goodbye to Clauss. 

About rejection 

I never thought that rejecting someone could be really painful and difficult. I have always been on the ‘rejected’ side, so I don’t know how difficult it can be to reject someone. Those people who rejected me treated me like shit. They just disappeared without any proper explanation, they just dismissed my existence. Like my feelings didn’t matter. Like it was a sin to fall for them. 

I am done being treated like that. That’s why I keep telling myself that when it’s time for me to reject someone, I want it to be as gentle as possible. I don’t want to give false hopes or drag them around with uncertainty. 

When I am sure about what I don’t want in a relationship, when I feel like the relationship won’t work out, I want to be honest about it. I want to be brave of my own decision. I just wish that it’s not something that I’d regret in the end. I pray that when I close one door, the other door will open for me. 

I am in a critical age where I should have settled down (at least that’s what I am thinking). I am 31yo and I’m single. It’s depressing sometimes. I try to keep my cool, pretending I’m okay, but some days, this issue just get the best of me. Oh well, most days I am just grateful for being single because some marriage couples aren’t happy. So what’s the point of getting married when it makes us less happy than what we feel right now?

Currently I have no one potential to settle down with. I keep on trying and praying. Problem is, for some people, getting a partner isn’t easy. I have been looking for that person for 31 years so I know how hard it has been. It might be easier for me to get a good career or pursue good education, but it’s so difficult when it comes to getting a life partner. This is my life story, so I can’t complain about it. 

Seeing that situation, no wonder rejecting someone has become much harder for me. It’s a rare opportunity to have someone liking/chasing me. There’s not THAT many people who come across my path. But at the end I keep telling myself that it’s worth waiting for the right person. That I shouldn’t settle for less. That my comfort and happiness is MORE important that what my family/colleagues/society think of a single old lady like me. 

Be realistic. It hurts to reject a person, especially a persistent one, just as it hurts to be rejected. The trouble is that a lot of advice emphasizes dealing with rejection, rather than coping with being the one doing the rejecting. It is an issue of creating boundaries and sometimes, there are people who are really poor at recognizing the importance of boundaries and feel that they’re entitled to mess yours up. It is important to recognize that while respecting the other person and letting them down gently is part of the equation, so is caring for your own feelings and be honest. (Anonym)

Unanswered Questions

My younger brother is getting married to the love of his life. Months ago when he mentioned about his plan to get married to D, I was nervous and worried. I cried so much in my room. I felt like I was being left behind. I felt like I have missed my train; I have wasted my golden age. Most of my friends are all married with kids or on their second marriage or planning a marriage with his/her partner. Point is, they move forward with life meanwhile I am stuck in the same place. At least that was what I felt.

I hate feeling miserable, I hate crying myself to sleep at night, I don’t want to feel like that anymore, so I took control of myself. The best way to ease whatever burden one feels is by sharing the burden. Communication is always the key to all issues. I decided to communicate my feelings to the family and close friends. I firmly asked them to stop asking if I was okay with Abang’s marriage plan because the truth is I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t fine, but I was learning to be fine with it. I don’t need their pity. Right after that, it felt like a weight of burden had been lifted off from my chest. I am starting to heal and I am walking to the right direction.

Now that Abang is married to D, I thought I’d feel sad or depressed, but I am not. I oddly enjoy all the process. If you know me by now, you’d know that I hate spending weekends (read: any days) interacting with people, I hate wedding parties or school reunion. Well, I pretty much hate all kinds of occasions that’ll force me to interact with people (especially people from my past or new people).

Surprisingly I didn’t suffer from any anxious attack, I wasn’t nervous or depressed. I was very calm and really love my time in Batusangkar. I don’t know if it’s a sign of maturity or simply because I am happy for my brother and my family. I am genuinely happy for him and his bride. They are wonderful together. They’re MFEO-meant for each other. Unlike any Tv series I religiously watch, this love story is a real one.

It was so easy to blend in in D’s family. They gave off a warm and friendly vibe, welcomed us with arms wide open. I could feel it in my bones. As a sensitive person, my body reacts naturally against my surroundings. So when nothing sets my ‘the alarm’ off, I’ll feel comfortable. I will not feel like running off. And that’s what I felt when I was there.

The family are gorgeous!! I don’t think the difference in the social status meant anything. I don’t feel intimidated by her wealth or huge house (the house looks like a CASTLE!!). I am not jealous. I don’t even hate my situation or my job. I am thankful for everything. I feel like I am a lucky person for having what I have right now; for experiencing all the ups and downs that have made me who I am now.

The only thing that makes me a little at loss is the change of priority in Abang’s life. He’s a husband now, he has obligations to his wife. I might not be his top priority anymore, but I guess that’s a thing I need to learn to accept. He’s leaving for KL as well, so he won’t even be around. That’s sad! The ‘letting go’ part is not easy. I am struggling with it, but I know I’ll be just fine.

Another thing that comes into mind after Abang’s wedding is the question whether or not I’ll ever be ready to commit myself to one person for the rest of my life. It was not my wedding, but since he’s a close person to me, I got to observe the whole process and witness it myself. I look at Abang & D and I feel this unexplainable fear.

They are so much younger than me, but where does all the confident and the faith come from? What if the wedding finally happen to me? Will I ever be ready? I fear that I am not cut out for a marriage. I saw D’s big sister being a super mom, super sister, super wife, super daughter for her family and super boss for her employees. I am impressed because we’re on the same age yet I haven’t gone through what she has gone through. She has two children, she takes care of her parents’ business. She takes loads of responsibilities, but she seems fine and got a handle of everything.

I look at myself and I feel incompetent and incomplete. Will I ever be ready and be able to step up to her position when the time comes for me?

There are so many questions left unanswered. I am sure the roots of this fear and doubt comes from within myself. I don’t know where life will take me. Getting married or having a child is a privilege not everyone will receive. I hope I’ll have the privilege.

In the meantime, I am gonna be a better person. I’m going to initiate convos; be in my best behaviors. I am preparing myself for what’s to come.

A One-Sided Feeling 

I’ve been thinking a lot about DMK lately. I really enjoy the time we spent together. We went out three times already, but I don’t think there would be the fourth time though. I love spending hours connecting to her. I feel like I’m running toward her, meanwhile she’s only taking baby steps in my direction.

When we’re together, most time I just become the best listener and observer. That’s what I do best. It’s not difficult because the stories were fascinating though. There’s always something new I learn about her. I love her passion and many things about her. My personal stories might not be as interesting as hers, but I’d appreciate someone who’d put an equal interest in me.

I even read an article about ’24 Ways to Hint To Someone You Like Them’. Whether I realize it or not, I have done almost all the things on the list. Problem is, I am still wondering if she realize it. I hate not knowing and trying to figure things out on my own.

Deep down I have always known she’s not interested, but yeah she should be lucky to have me lol So much confidence, eh? I am so worried that my feeling will scare her off, but then I found this article and I feel enlightened.

Here’s an article I found:

We are afraid that by expressing our feelings out loud, we are going to scare them away from loving us. Yet the truth is not everyone in this world will love you. Not everyone in this world will be looking for the things you offer. It doesn’t make you less valuable, less worthy of love. 

I should just repeat this mantra:

“The truth is not everyone in this world will love you. Not everyone in this world will be looking for the things you offer. It doesn’t make you less valuable, less worthy of love.”

I’m moving on. I guess knowing when to stop also means knowing my self worth. There’s no point expecting someone who cannot see my value. I am valuable and worthy of love.

It pains me to (always) have this one-sided feeling. Oh well, LIFE!

March 29th: AKB48 SHOW! ep 23 140329



AKB48 SHOW! ep 23 140329


Yui: Shimada, March 30th, what day was it again?

Shimada: We of all people can’t forget what day it is today.

Yui: Well tell me, what day is it, what day is it again?

Shinobu: National Olympic Stadium 2nd day.

Shimada: Yes! That is important.

Yui: It is the day of Yuko-san’s graduation ceremony, right?

Shimada: It is Shimazaki Haruka’s birthday!

Everyone: Ah!

Shimada: She turned 20!

Shinobu: (My) Han-chan is turning 20…!

Yui: Paruru is turning 20. When did you enter (AKB)?

Paruru: At 16 I think.

Yui: At 16 huh? So you were a high school student?

Shimada: Since she is turning 20, let’s have a countdown!

Everyone: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

someone: Happy birthday!

Mariko: Congratulations on your birthday!

Yui: She doesn’t cry, she just got something into her eyes.

Shinobu: I see.

Paruru: Awesome~

Yui: This is…

View original post 1,709 more words

A little more about me

I randomly found an article while browsing Facebook. The title was “I’m 33 and Have Never Been Kissed”. It was a provocative title and I read it right away.

What if a lot of it comes down to luck? If there’s no real reason behind my lack of relationships, maybe it’s just a coincidence, an accident of chance. And that means they found their partners due to chance as well, and their lives might have been like mine if a few things had gone differently. And so they rationalize and explain my story; if it’s due to something I’m not doing, then they are safe in their relationships. They didn’t make my mistakes.-Joi Weaver

Somehow I feel like I can relate to some of the writer’s stories. There are times I am wondering what’s wrong with me, why no one finds me attractive or try to get close to me. I just wanna know for once how it feels like being chased.

My past relationships were stories of me ‘chasing’ people. Yup, I have always been the one starting the relationship, the one confessing that I like them. I remember all kinds of rejection I had to suffer during my high school, university and early years of working. I was resilient back then. I didn’t care how many people rejected my feelings, I kept moving forward and fell for different people. I even chased people from the other side of the world because I thought what we had was real. I know for sure my feeling was real.

But now it’s all different, I am too afraid to take a risk, to chase someone I like, to fall in love again. Now I feel like I have to calculate every move I’ll make. I suppress myself from falling for certain people (no matter how attractive I found ’em to be) because I know I won’t get the family’s approval, I am not sure where will it goes. I wish I could be more carefree and just do whatever my heart tells me to do. I miss falling in love and being in love.

Most time I just blame myself, I think I am not letting it easy for people to know me either. There’s always many excuses to self-sabotage every potential relationships. But then guys don’t even make it easier for me to trust them. I just can’t trust them because most of them don’t even have the decency to get to know me as a person before expecting me to hookup with them (WTF?!).

How could one expect a kiss on a first date?! Some of them even tried to have sex with me just because we were talking on the phone several time. I am conservative that way! Not that I don’t want any physical intimacy, I am longing for it. Problem is, I won’t feel truly satisfied if it’s all fake. That’s one of many reasons why I don’t do a one-night stand. I don’t think it’s real. I do have sexual need, but my will is stronger than my lust. Deep down I am a wonderful person, I just have too many layers to peel and I haven’t found someone who’s willing to do it.

I still find myself a bit uncomfortable when people share their sex life. I always regard sex as a personal and sacred thing. When people talk about it as if it’s just a daily conversation stuff, I don’t think it’s sacred and personal anymore.

In the back of my innocent mind, I even believe that many people are still keeping their virginity, I just woke up to the world realising that the world works differently now. Some people are proud of sleeping around, some people are still virgins (just like the writer of the article above). I have accepted that reality. I respect the different point of views. What I do mind is when my colleagues joke around about it, telling me to laid back a little because I work too hard and eventually forget to make love. Next time they comment about it, I won’t just shy away from it. I’ll express my feeling.

When did the world change into thinking that hooking up is normal? I must have fallen asleep for a while. I do watch many US TV series (which are mostly blamed for promoting ‘Western’ values). I know that God doesn’t create me only to procreate but also to mark my life in the world, to be valuable. I want the same opportunities just like my male counterparts. I don’t want people to look down on me just because I am a woman. However, I still uphold some ‘conservative’ values though.

Oh well, I digress, I know I cannot totally relate to Joi, but some of her words spoke true to my heart.

To the best of my knowledge, no one who has seen me in person has ever been attracted to me.


I often feel like the only woman on the face of the planet who no one is attracted to. And I am ashamed — in part because this is something no one ever talks about.


I’ve sat through countless conversations with groups of women, praying that the conversation wouldn’t turn to sex, cringing inwardly when it inevitably did, and trying to laugh with the others until the topic changed and I could relax again, my secret safe. For now.


It’s not my preferred choice, but I’m not going to fling myself at someone out of desperation. This sense of acceptance comes and goes. There are days when I’m tempted to run outside and proposition the first man I can find. But most days, I just accept that this is my reality right now, and change will not happen quickly or easily. Regardless, the frustration lingers: I would have liked it to be a real choice, not a matter of mere acceptance.


I thought that, perhaps, things would get better in college. Surely, the smart guys would at least be attracted to my intellect. Instead, while I made friends with lots of great guys who I’m still close with, I was never once asked on a date. No one ever tried to cop a feel at an event or in the movie theater.