Hello, 2017!

Right before the new year came, I was talking to Jo Chau (I seem to have many good friends with that name lol) about life, relationship and stuff. She’s one of the Vietnamese participants of IATSS Forum from previous batch. I met her during the community work and cross-country learning and leadership program in Thailand. Gosh, it’s amazing how we can understand each other after only spending a short time together. The feeling is mutual, that is why it’s so much fun. Even Ishii-san said that our face look similar lol I feel like finding a long-lost sister. We did not spend too much time together, but I feel like I can trust her and that she’d be a really good friend.

A: “I often hate myself for caring too much. For feeling too much…

J: “Because you always take care of others. You know, sometimes when you are too caring, they took it for granted. They felt bounded by your emotions and love. I used to behave like that. And a friend told me “Your crush is looking for a partner, not another mother.” The silver line is – love yourself first, then your crush. Cancer is way too caring. Too caring that people know Cancer never leave anyone. Only the other side leave Cancer’s side. Don’t hate it. Love it. When you love it, you’ll learn to protect it.”

A: “Well, sometimes I love myself for having this deep feeling, but sometimes I hate it. I am still giving too much for others, but not to myself” 

J: “Because you have not love it enough to think for yourself first. You prioritize others and their needs, over your own needs. Think carefully what are your needs, what do they need from the other person. If they cannot fulfil it, they don’t deserve you. SB for example – that person likes you, but needs someone close and constantly by ’em side. They know it well and They live for themselves before you. Same for CB, they prioritised their needs before you and considered their emotion before your emotions. But do they know yours? A relationship needs contributions from both side -equally. Whichever giving more will end up unsatisfied -forever. You are giving in yearning for their attention. Love someone who don’t make you feel like you need to sacrifice yourself more than they do”.

Damn! She really slapped me hard with her words. I think deep and long about it, I know I have to change. That kind of mentality will not do me good in 2017.


Apart from her advice, I also found an article (Let 2017 Be Your Year Of Healing And Redemption) that resonates true to my situations. I have learned my lesson in 2016, I fell in love, got my heart broken and met amazing friends who have taught me the meaning of life. From these people, I also learn better about myself and my characters, I discover things I never knew was there, and what I can do to improve myself. Because life is about being a better person and being present for others.

Let 2017 be the year you will take it easy on people, on things. The year you will lose all kinds of expectation from people and just grant them the freedom to be who they are and who they want to be. Permit them the space to grow, to find themselves, to discover their passion, their people and their places here on Earth. Let this be the year you will have the heart to understand that people grow at different pace, people grow apart, and that you cannot keep them forever. Let this year give you the grace to comprehend completely that these things happen and it’s out of your control. The only control you have is over detaching yourself from people, even the closest to your soul. Let this be the year you will realize that we all need time on our own, away from certain people, certain places and certain things. The year of just taking your time to heal, no matter how slow, as long as you are healing. A year you will no longer fake strength; but just be honest with what’s going on inside you. Let this year be the year you will be whole, again.

So here I am, 20 days has passed in 2017 and I am starting to love myself more, to put myself in the first priority, to consider my own needs before others (when it comes to relationship!), and to give people I like more space to breathe. I also want to eat healthier food, cook my own meal and move to my own place. Today I am on the 11th day of Mayo Diet program and still committed to finish it, I have lost 10kgs since I returned from Japan and I love this tiny transformation.

So, Hello, 2017!




Since I returned from Japan, I have been feeling a senses of detachment and emptiness in life. It’s like I am losing the purpose of my life. It is definitely not the kind of post-#IATSSForum life that is expected from us. 

I feel like a failure. I have been trying so hard to navigate my feelings. I am overwhelmed with all these emotions. I shared some of my burdens to my close friends, they kept on saying that “this too shall pass”, “you’ll move on”, “you’ve survived and you’ll survive.” I feel like I am losing myself in the process of making myself better. 

I started seeing the vulnerable side of me and this side apparently only appears when I fall in love. Yes, it’s been a while since I felt this way, so I don’t know if I should celebrate or commiserate this feeling. 

I become so insecure and I cannot think straight. I want to be able to control my own feeling, but it seems like my brain has stopped functioning. All the good mantra I tell myself when I wake up has no effect in helping me getting a grasp of the situation. I wish I could just disappear. 

This afternoon during lunch, I saw a body was being taken to an ambulance. The body was found in the morning and was suspected as a suicide case. That was a sad reality, but it’s not a movie scene. It’s real! I keep on telling myself that I will never do that stupid thing. That life goes on no matter how difficult it might seem. Whatever miserable feelings I have right now shall pass. 

I doubt myself though. I don’t think I am strong enough. I have protected and guarded myself from falling for people because I know things will never work out; that it’ll just bring more pain than happiness. But I cannot control it. Now I just want to numb my feelings because I don’t want to feel anything too deep. I want to wake up and forget everything. A little part of me misses my old self. 

I can only seek protection from God. He’s the one who gives me this loving feeling, I just need to figure out His intention. He might prepare me for something bigger. I need to have stronger faith. I am struggling, Dear God. This my learning journey, but I am weak…


I was about to have lunch with my colleagues when I saw many people standing in front of a house next to the RM Padang I went to. Abang RM Padang told us that there was an incident happened; someone committed suicide in the house and they have just found the body. He said that the victim was a loner and was not married yet, he lived with his dad and his mother passed away already. That’s all the info I could hear.

I felt so sad when I found out what happened. What happened today was a reminder to cherish life no matter how difficult and hard it might seem. There were times when I got so depressed and I could not contain my sadness. I always overthink everything and it’s killing me.  I know it’s not healthy, but I keep on doing it. There are things I cannot control and when I am ready to let it go, I will feel happier. I just need to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this deep feeling; that it’s part of who I am. I need to love this part of me. This huge heart feels so deeply of everything and right now I am overwhelmed with all the emotions.

I do not want to do anything stupid anymore, I promised myself and closed people of mine not to do anything stupid. That I will not give up with life.

Songs of the week (still having too strong feeling for しるく right now):
Namie Amuro – Baby Don’t Cry
Yura Yunita – Intuisi
Maera – Benak
Sara Bareilles – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

I am in love…

I am feeling miserably in love lately. I cannot concentrate and all I think about is her. Pfffttt. I miss falling in love and now I am falling in love, but all I feel is this miserable feeling :P The feeling is not reciprocate, but I realise that love is love.

Thanks for the encouragement, M!

Thinking of how hard it is just to be yourself in your own country really hurts me. I don’t know what your religion teaches you, but it doesn’t change the fact you are a great person just who you are. I love you just the way you are. (MKD)

I finally spilled everything to MKD. She’s been a good source of support. I could tell that she noticed something was going on with me. Thanks for the help and support <3

Why I miss Japan…

Leaving Japan was difficult for me. Adjusting to life in Jakarta is not as smooth as I want it to be. There are some reasons why it’s not easy.

  1. I fall in love with someone and although it’s a one-sided love, still it hurts to leave the place and the person.
  2. The people in Japan are my new family. I get so close to some of them. I wish I could be more open about who I am though. I am tired of hiding who I really am.
  3. The amazing staffs of IF. Always so inspiring, smart and hardworking.
  4. I love all the routine and the busy schedule.
  5. I love the food. I didn’t even have to think about what to eat. They have prepared everything.
  6. Free alcohols whenever we had a field trip outside Suzuka lol
  7. No crazy traffic jam.
  8. I stayed in a hotel and they clean up the room everyday, except Sunday!
  9. Sora Tabeyo; A buffet breakfast. I miss ice coffee, salmon, seaweed and ice cream.
  10. Meiji Milk (the one Silk always bought for me lol)
  11. Cool and fresh weather.
  12. Japanese class with Mie-san :D
  13. Singing while Tickgate is playing guitar
  14. ASEAN Cultural Day dance practice
  15. Setting up Indonesian booth for the ASEAN Cultural Day
  16. Playing congklak with Silk
  17. Singing and dancing + Zumba with Tomoe
  18. Field trip to Kobe, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nara
  19. Take the staffs back to their cars
  20. Cycling with friends to AEON Mall

“Upon my return home” Report

Dear Silk and Midori,
This is Annisa, the 56th Batch IF participant from Jakarta, Indonesia. Thank you so much for your replies. 

Life in Jakarta has been surreal. When I left Suzuka that Monday morning, I kept on denying the fact that I’m leaving Japan for good. 

I thought it was only for a field trip (in Kansai area or Tokyo). In a week, I’d be returning to Suzuka and see you all again :-(

The first time I landed in Soekarno-Hatta airport and went into the toilet, I was slapped by reality; I have returned to a familiar smell of this city. 

I have adjusted myself well to life in Japan, that’s why many things shocked me upon my return.

When we queued to claim our luggage, I was overwhelmed by the aggressiveness of Jakartans and their impatience to queue. I decided to just sit and wait until most of them leave before I look for mine.

When my dad drove me back to our home, I was so stressed out because everyone was in a hurry, they’d speed up and drive carelessly. No one seemed to have the ‘safety first’ attitude and I kept on complaining about it. We were also greeted by traffic jam! It’s so stressful. 

Rainy season is coming. In the afternoon and at night, it’s been raining constantly. It reminded me so much of our first weeks in Suzuka. The difference is that, none of my friends and IF staffs are here with me. It’s been a little lonely. 

I have always missed Indonesian food when I was in Japan, but when I tasted the food here, everything tastes too salty, too spicy, too much MSG, too not healthy. Even my tastebuds is overwhelmed! 

I miss Sora Tabeyo and cafeteria food, I miss having dinner and lunch with y’all. I miss all the random talks we had during and after the meal. 

My colleagues complained because I kept on sitting in my desk and looked at my laptop instead of interacting with them. 

I have to put on an ‘auto-mode’ here. I am still not ready to return back to life before IF. They don’t know I struggle so much to have a sense of normalcy in this place. 

Right now nothing is normal, everything is new to me. I forgot my official working hour, I forgot which days should I wear the office uniform, I even forgot where I put my ID Card. I had to ask my colleagues and they were laughing. They thought I was joking!

You are always in our mind and heart. I keep on replying all the videos and seeing all the pictures I have on my phone. There’s just too many memories. The good thing is that, the participants keep on talking and sharing their daily life through Whatsapp and Facebook group. I feel a little less lonely. 

We are glad to hear that you are missing us as well. I guess the Goodbye video really got to you. All the quietness eventually make you miss us even more. 

Have a good day at work. 

I love and miss you with every fiber of my being <3



I didn’t know that I could be so affected by what Raj did to me. What we did was exchanging emails for a couple of days but I didn’t realize how emotionally exhausting that was. I learn a lesson from this experience and I believe God put me through this to make me stronger. It took me weeks to really come into terms with the whole situation. Humans are such complex and dynamic creatures.

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 that day was the deadline for applying for the program.

I waited for the result for nearly two months. I thought that I didn’t make it because it seemed like forever! I wasn’t even sure that IF secretariate in Indonesia received my application because both of the person-in-charge (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 felt like my parents were 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 was 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!


2,5 hrs in Nagoya

My best friend introduced me to the 48G and now I become one of their wota :) They were also one of the reasons I got so interested in learning and getting to know about Japan, but being a wota is not always bad though. I was motivated to go to Japan and now here I am :) I also learn some 48G songs (japanese version) and able to sing some of them now. Oh well, there was a time when I only listen to their songs, so no wonder I can hum and sing their songs :P

It’s the second self-development day. In the morning I went to Yokaicchi Pollution and Environmental Museum for Future Awareness and eventually left for Nagoya in the afternoon. It was only a short 35min train ride to get there (¥620 from Yokaicchi station to Nagoya). Nagoya is quite big and they have different train ride; kintetsu , meitetsu, subway, etc. They key is to ask the right person when you’re confused lol I usually ask a younger people because some of them speak English well. I got so many help today. So grateful, my solo trip to Nagoya was all fine.

My only destination in Nagoya is Sunshine Sakae where SKE48 theater is located. Unfortunately no show in the afternoon. It’s still good to see it though.
I wish I could explore more though. I still wanna go to Nagoya Castle. But the time isn’t enough and the bus schedule back to Suzuka Circuit is limited, so it’s gonna be more costly to take taxi from Shiroko Station back to the hotel (¥2,500). Even the bus (single) fare from Shiroko station to Suzuka Circuit is rather expensive for me (¥400 or IDR52,000). Won’t complain about it though, living in Japan is obviously more expensive if I compare it to Indonesia, so just enjoy it :) Overall, I AM HAPPY!