A Guest

A guest, Beloved,
Makes host happy yet confused.
Smile sweet and thank, too.

I’ve met hosts with different types of personality or characteristics. When the host is a person, it’s just about that particular person. When the host is a company, it shows me the company culture or local culture.

I’ve got a few “cute” treatment from some hosts.

One company in Koka was informed that I’m a Muslim. My colleague told them “Rike eats halal, please find the food source from now.” They didn’t clarify to me and just followed that pranking colleague blindly. And in my 3-day visit they fed me halal food they ordered online and had to be delivered long trip to that remote area.

“Is it good, Rike-san?” The host asked me on the last day.

“Do you expect honest or polite answer?” said I laughing.

“Be honest please ha ha…”

“I tried NN-san’s food from your canteen. I love your food much much better. This online food tasted good but didn’t taste fresh.” It was impolite like hell for most Japanese host I guess. 😂

“Our canteen food is not halal. I’m sorry about the online food.” He must have wanted to commit suicide after that. 😁

Then I started preaching what halal meant to me. And they said they would not order the halal food for me anymore and give me their canteen food the following years. 😂

delivered from Kanagawa 🙏🏼

The second was one company knowing I’m a Muslim as informed by the branch in Malaysia. So they knew I pray although they never knew I only pray when wanting to.

So they brought me to a small room to do afternoon prayer. I asked if they have Muslim employees so they had the room, they said it was prepared for me. They moved out table, chairs and other cultural ornaments. 🙇🏻‍♀️

The first day I prayed, the other days they asked if I would pray. I said no. Then again I preached what type of Muslim I was and they nodded heads looking confused— they might think how would a human being can be this obedient yet disobedient to her God.

prayed in the prayer room specially prepared for me one day then chanting the same prayer in this shrine another day; God isn’t discriminating 😍

The third is also about being a Muslim. I came with 6 other people for 2 days and the company gave me fruit salad while giving nice beef/chicken/pork, egg, vegetable, rice lunch to others. They said they only had salad as halal food and no restaurant near the industrial area cooks halal and non halal food separately.

My colleagues explained that I could eat this and that but “not pork only”. So the next day they provided my favourite Vietnam spring roll with “vegetable and pork” not “pork only”. I left the lunch box untouched and went back to the yummy salad. I’ll come back next year, please give me pho. 😁

special salad for me – thank yow!!! 😘😘😘

Some people are so naive not knowing what to do and deciding to do their bestest best to respect the guests. God bless them.

I enjoy being a (not so good) Muslim. Misunderstood but still well treated by those willing to respect others. God bless you! 💝

Salaam….

a cute torii in Minakuchichohinokigaoka (damn not easy to read and write)

Sweet Surprise

Unforeseen, unplanned—
Life’s rich: men, events, chances
Bring moments of truth.

This evening I met up with two Saigonese friends— not planned, not predicted. We sent each other messages and found that we three were in Hanoi and decided to have dinner together.

OP’s coffee with milk, LP’s coconut coffee, my black coffee 🥰

His message to me: “I’ll pick you up once you’re prepared”. Her message to me: “Let me know when you arrive at hotel, I’ll kidnap you”. And they both came in the same taxi with different intension. 😁

For years we have always wanted to meet in Ho Chi Minh City to eat south pho bo and life preferred pulling us together in Hanoi for north pho bo.

Hanoi pho – sweeter, no ngogai leaves (Javanese coriander) and slightly murky, good especially enjoyed with friends 😍

A happy rendezvous! All was good. The only minus was that I had much noodle as part of dinner. 🙃 See you in HCMC!

I hope to get other sweet surprises. Or at least I commit to feel good no matter what so any surprises will be sweet.

Salaam.

sweet surprise story shared to me: he was a medical doctor before a major accident that took away some of his physical ability and his job; now he is a part time historian bringing tourists to historical places in Hanoi in the evening and a full time employee in a pharmaceutical company in the day; recently he escorted a surgeon with his wife doing social work in Vietnam who happens to be in the same project with a Vietnamese surgeon who happens to be this historian’s roommate in medical school years ago; long story short what life brings is often unpredictable, hope for the best! 🙏🏼

Romance

Romance, Beloved,
Turns her into a dreamer
Of a slow dinner.

Today’s dinner is the longest ever I have alone: sitting in the restaurant for almost one hour not only to eat but also to enjoy a sight of two old-aged lovers enjoying dinner at a table across mine. There was no obsession of showy loving, no romantically staring each other, no hand holding, only picking food from the shared menu on a plate and a bowl s-l-o-w-l-y almost meditatively — Hmmm I mean I still dream of doing the young romance but at their age all lovers will have become “private life historians” wanting to recount memories alone in the crowd. 😄

They spoke Vietnamese so I (almost) whispered to a waitress serving both of our tables to translate a chunk of the chat we both eavesdropped. A couple of hackers of very ordinary topics! 😊

When I left the table (they were having a shared plate of dessert s-l-o-w-l-y), I smiled and waved my hand to the lady. She smiled and waved to me, too. Silently I sent my prayer gift for their health and happiness.

I think my dinner was more romantic than theirs. What a beautiful evening!

Wakey, wakey!

Time to prepare tomorrow’s work! ☺️

Salaam.

romantically enjoying an experience of how a couple of senior lovers enjoying romance the way they are! fabulous! 💕

Breathing

Breathing, Beloved,
Dive with it slowly, knowing
It can blaze and burn.

So much swarmed in mind today. This brain was so busy processing unclear things that it could not process what truly happened within. All dots of thoughts felt like molecules bumping with and crashing each other in Brownian motion. The internal Brownian motion expanded externally and bad mood caused physical discomfort.

For around 12 hours the bad mood and physical discomfort was densely lingering. Reading, cooking, eating, drawing, writing, washing, watching YouTube, listening music, checking suitcase for next trip, taking shower, even sleeping didn’t help stabilise the emotion. Alamak I didn’t understand what was going on.

At dusk time I took a seat in one bedroom corner, closed eyes and paid attention to breathing. Very fast— it was not my normal breathing speed. Then trapped emotions were found: unexplainable insecurity and anger. After around 30 minutes normalising my breathing speed, the bad mood was totally gone.

I’m sorry for ignoring you, breathing. It can’t be denied that my physical has given me signs of what happened inside. This physical has always reminded me about what emotions are dominating. The dominating emotion indicates what energy is attracted — positive or negative. Don’t ignore signs given by body; not even once!

Lesson learnt: Some dominating stuffs don’t deserve priority. Severe weather, bitter messages, false news —even if affecting me— deserve to be smacked down! Don’t try me, bitch(es)! 😄

New week is gonna be nice! 🤓

Alfatihah.

another daruma sent as birthday gift with a script “fall down seven times, stand up eight”

Mood

Bad mood is hunger
Draining mind and tainting heart.
Can food heal the pain?

Certain type of bad mood doesn’t go away easily. It can sit silently consuming emotion for almost 12 hours. Some can be cured with food, some can’t. We still need food anyway.

Unfortunately no one is responsible as the cause, it popped out just like that with the falling rain; yet the self is responsible to get through it patiently.

😌

from this – kepok banana –
both birds and humans love it
to this for late lunch – failed to quiet the mind
from this – Ipoh pomelo, the best one on earth
to this for early dinner – at least cooling the heat in heart gradually

Blessed Day Reclaimed

Cold morning switched off the air conditioner.
Whistling wind wildly knocked on the glass door.
Windy rain greeted Sunday morning.
What dry hanging got re-soaked — a basket of potentially re-wash.

May kindness be absent for a while?
May a pinch of disappointment be sprinkled?
May a drop of despair be shared today?

A promise was wished
To smile,
To laugh,
Or to just close eyes in unbearable
And sleep away,
Or to make noise among fire, water and oil,
Or simply splash some ink on paper or wall—

Claimed—
That this noisy weather
Is less noisy than the kitchen.
And it turns back to a blessed day.

Sometimes it only takes some kitchen noise to save a Sunday.

when you feel bad, boil vegetables and other stuff 🥺
and make them the best gado-gado on earth for this morning’s breakfast! Ok, Sunday, I will stay home the whole day while you get soaked by rain 🙃

Leaving The Thrones


I dive
Every night
To where you are
And see no one
As
You are diving
To where I’ve left my throne.

When I’m back,
You’re back
To where you”ve left yours.

If we know the hours of each others’ departures,
We’ll meet at the crossroads
Where what’s left behind
Is forgiven, not forgotten

Tonight.

daruma tea canister where I wrote my wish to happen, leaving an unnecessarily thrones behind; ego is the strongest block, leave it!

Gifts to You

These gifts, Beloved,
Peace and love hummed to loved ones
Living here and there

One of the Javanese and Islamic teachings that I will never leave for the rest of my life is sending gift of prayer containing peace and love to my loved ones wherever they are, whether they are physically wandering on earth or spiritually gathering around life.

I believe that my passing-away ancestors are living in different levels of consciousness (call it hell, heaven or somewhere in between up to your liking) and they are watching their offsprings without being able to directly communicating with us. They deserve my gift as they have been my line to get the chance to be here now. They deserve peace and love as they have done the best they could to draw a meaningful family tree. Yes, some might have made silly mistakes but hey that’s what Buddhism calls “karma”. Yes, some might have caused shameful stains on the family picture but hey that’s what Islam calls “alam syahadah”. Whoever and whatever they were, all of my ancestors deserve good wishes sung to them.

I also wish peace and love to those I love still breathing the air. Wishing all of them health and happiness. 💝

We Javanese Muslim will send gift by reciting some Javanese prayer closed with Alfatihah, a short chapter in the Quran containing peace, love, praise, forgiving, protection and guidance. A basket of beautiful wishes—

How light this heart is to be sure that all whom I love are well.

Alfatihah to all whom I love. You’re loved. You’re blessed. Don’t shop too much. 😁

Happy weekend!

born as part of a nation doesn’t make someone higher or lower – being born a Javanese, Aborigine, African, Arab, Chinese, English, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Sundanese, Vietnamese or whatever is a gifted tool to contribute the best quality of culture in sustaining and respecting humanity – respect yourself, respect other human beings 💕
if not respected (by you), your origin will be a boomerang (spun around hitting you) – be grateful for being born as you are, never wasted, fully loved, surrounded by beloved only if you accept who you are 💕

Pleasure

Pleasure, Beloved,
Sweet moment under the rain—
Sunshine is peeping.

Today’s biking started at 6:30am and ended at 7:15am as the rain began earlier – weather forecast reported rain would fall at around 8am. We decided to fold the bikes in my home then drive to “Kueh & Mee” for breakfast.

Conversation is never boring with this good friend. Any topics about her children are my favourite as those children give me inspiration to be always young in heart how old ever I am and optimistic about life how much low my mental is. Topic about her wanting to go back to work is never nice because that’s when she questions if she is capable of doing this or that; while she is one of intelligent friends I have —- she is an excellent chemist who lets her expertise hibernate and allows her husband to lead a brilliant professional success.

After today’s chatty laughing breakfast, she went home then picked up her husband in Changi Airport, arriving from a biz trip. A long list of tasks were still waiting for her, making me lose reasons to complain about life.

She is one of my favourite people inspiring me with their being ordinary the way they are.

Thank you, Mbak Eva! God bless you. 🥰

one of Indonesian guilty pleasure, lupis 🤓
kopi tarik kosong (Indonesian/Malay pulled coffee with no sugar) + an empty paper cup of (eaten) hard boiled eggs

Heart

Warm heart, Beloved,
Where flowers bloom in hot day,
Roots enjoy diving—

I cooked cow heart for lunch. The taste of the heart was more special than before. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t eaten cow heart for more than 2 years. Or the heart was owned by a kind cow. 😂

The dish reminded me of a joke among my circle.

A: Why don’t you eat beef?
B: How would you eat that whose eyes are so beautiful. They must have good heart!
A: But why do you pork?
B: &@$@?! Why don’t you eat pork?
A: How would you eat that whose look is so cute like Ms Piggy. Their heart must be romantic!

Weekend is almost here! Let’s enjoy it with warm heart!

💕

don’t “eat your own heart”, eat cow’s 😎 home cooking isn’t always healthful but it’s always clean 😍

Guessing

Guessing, Beloved,
The least inaccurate points
Of mangosteen seeds—

lovely sweet manggis (mangosteen in English) – no child at my time disliked this fruit, to eat and to play guessing game – we children liked to go to Nasikah’s house to enjoy free mangosteens in harvest time 😍
how many seeds are inside? 5? 6? 6 of 1 big, 4 medium and 1 small!
inaccurate! it’s 5 of 1 big, 3 medium, 1 small! 😆

That’s what we call “tebak buah manggis”, guessing game to decide whether the number of sections at the bottom of the fruit accurately matches the number of seeds inside. Mostly matching, yet this time it is not! 😆 Life is sometimes unpredictable even with good database; anomaly is a rule whose patterns are not yet formulatable oops formulated by human beings — please excuse my English, I’m not a native. 🙃

Like someone we love. We thought they are 6, in fact they are 5.

Fair enough to say: seldom expect accuracy in estimation; better be sufficiently into the least inaccuracy so it won’t drop one down to abyss when finding inaccurate things. I’m trying to be wise as myself for myself about myself. 🥰

Oh dear, mangosteens!

Not About Others

It is about me
Myself, not about others.
Jump. Spread these wings. Fly.

one of the girls was (like) me in my high school choir 😝 it’s hilarious to remember how our teacher shouted “articulate well! articulate clearly! mouth wide open! breathe correctly! don’t laugh! sing!”😂😘😂

Moses and The Shepherd

In you, Beloved,
There’s Moses and The Shepherd.
Transfiguration—

Like it or not, both are within.

Salaam.

are you Moses or The Shepherd?

🤔

where are you Moses? where The Shepherd?

🤩

もしもし、this’s Moses and The Shepherd shape-shifting….

😁

Payday

Payday, Beloved,
Crossroads to 4 directions—
6 o’clock, good bye!

Ah yes! I’ve been paid with how a group of people feel proud of achieving what they thought would never happen for my persistence and never-ending-annoying questions and reminders. I’ve been paid with sweet smiles for greeting the cleaning ladies and security guards and colleagues and neighbours. I’ve been paid with my family and friends’ laughter for the jokes that were not even funny. I’ve been paid with my colleagues’ flooding emoji for my “drunken” fingers sending auto-correct silliness. I’ve been paid by many many of those I’ve never thought of making me so light hearted more than dollars and cents.

Hey! Don’t get me wrong! I’ve also been paid with bitter rejections and secret smirks for what I did wrongLY and/or I did inappropriateLY.

And hey! I’ve also been actually paid with wages and benefits for working in a company.

Everything is worth paying and everyday is a payday.

Never look back to what was wrongly spent, that’s my payday commitment!

Ah how I love my payday!

Of course! Who’s not?

May all beings be happy.

the best day is always today when life is at its best — believe me I’m not always right 😂

Good Words

Good words, Beloved,
Postcard sent in holiday
Showing what one’s seen.

My mother’s question after saying hello at lunch time is always “What did you cook today?” And she’ll say “Delicious!” when I send the food picture although she might say differently when tasting it. Both are happy, and that’s the most important thing.

May all beings be happy.

today’s work in rainy day

What Are You

Behind what’s seen,
What are you, Beloved?

Root of a tree
Who grows in in the dark,
Breathes with the creepy crawly,
Sleeps in none of seasons.
Silently grateful for
What’s not understood.

Cartilage of a human body
Who is not hard enough to be bone,
Not soft enough to be muscle,
Comfortably sits in between,
Catches messages delivered
By whisper, breeze and wind.

Jasmine sambac of the garden
Who is humbly tiny, clustering;
Blooms the whole year,
Leaves much fragrance to the day,
Deep meaning to celebration
Before she dries brown.

Helium of the sun
Light, low, odourless, tasteless, insipid—
It’s peaceful to be low profile,
It’s more joyful and freer,
It’s easier to be me,
Closer to Gaia.

Yet no secret bandit among
The rascals in the block!

What?!

What what?!
Don’t ask. I can be anything
But
You.

Rainy weekend is good especially when just have to shortly reply “Ok!” to a message saying “Heavy rain. Impossible to bike. Rain check ya.”

💝

🥰 can watch this forever! lovable rascals!

Weekend

Weekend? Relaxing, cooking, laundry, house-cleaning. Rain makes it cool! Sweet!

buy the Nutella, grill the banana
buy the bread, cook the chicken
drizzle some honey to the sour mango
ready to iron
surviving aglaonema 🥰 the leaves are getting smaller, needs more soil
some just love to leaf – patiently waiting for her flowering
surviving kencur! 😘
surviving Javanese coriander 😘
dollar leaves (zamia) 😁