Yokoso JAPAN



Yokoso Japan!


It’s Japan time! For several time I drop on screen, appearing with adventure story. But this turn little bit complicated. Well, as I and 2 of friends from IPB (Bogor Agricultural University) invited for Good Practice Program by the Niigata University, I guess this rather than a chance. We are not the only one, together with 3 students from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and other 3 students from Chiang Mai University we stand on Japan with 7 Centigrade at the time upon arrival as the flight attendance announced. And also each one lecturer that of the invited universities comes together to accompany their students.
[March 6th] We, the IPB delegate come on board at 10.15 pm WIB (West Indonesia Time) with Japan Airline (JL 726) to Narita from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. However, before we (students) take off, there’s a big precious lesson I (especially) can learn. About hours before, we’re trapped inside Jagorawi Highway which connects Jakarta and Puncak through Bogor due to weekly traffic jam. Yeah, this is such a goddamn hustle of the road. We’ve been almost 1.5 hour on resentful crowd of cars and busses. Fortunately, we haven’t been too late at the airport. Meanwhile, our lecturer is ready waiting for these mischievous-time students.
Then, in hurry we check in at the JAL desk 2D Terminal 2. Subsequently ready for immigration process passing yellow line. The officers ask us to be faster as they might think the boarding gate will be closed at near moment. But, guys you have to open your ear as paying attention on your iPod, the gate has only just opened, not CLOSED. Lot of sweat spilled out after chasing-time night game for a seat. Well, at least I still have time for Isya pray. Additionally, we also have time enough for preparing any necessary documents or stuffs. No matter, ready for a flight.
At 10.50 pm right as figured on the waiting room wall, all passengers are pleased for boarding. Everyone is ready for their seat, while I’m ready for long journey. It’s been my first long time flight, Jakarta-Narita takes around 8 hours long. I used to be maximum 2 hours in flight for Mataram, Jogja or even Kuala Lumpur. So, I’d like to enjoy this flight. Indeed completely serviced with AVOD (Audio and Video on Demand) making passengers enable to be entertained along the trip. JAL as believed one of high cost airlines and symbol of the Japanese pride of sky carrier offers us warmly.

[March 7th] I see on the screen that it’s 06.44 am Japan time, we are ready for landing. The sky has become brightened when sun (symbol of Japan power) raises at east greeting Japan this morning. Narita looked misty but still crowd with some arrival schedules bridging the world sky. “It’s 7 Centigrade outside” the flight attendance announce. Ops, so cool, guys! Then we accomplish our immigration process inside this one of the best airport on the world. After all, we (IPB delegate) have to wait for our Malaysian friends who have just landed with Malaysia Airlines (MH88). Ok, everybody is here, next place should be Tokyo. We depart with NARITA Express for Tokyo taking one hour.
Tokyo, the capital of Japan for everything is here. At Tokyo Station, we don’t have much time for fooling around, because we have to be ready getting for Joetsu SHINKANSEN which brings us to Niigata. It takes around two hour accomplish its trip through passing some stations and prefectures. Before we depart, Tokyo is about snowy, white small smooth ice crystal is falling down around. So nice!
Niigata-Shi, which is capital city of Niigata-Ken, is one of the biggest rice producers all over Japan. And this city becomes our hosting place. The Niigata University committee has been ready there taking us for hotel which located near the station, it’s CHISUN (read: chee-sun )Hotel. All stuffs have been gathered and free time is going to play its turn. Before all, we are serviced with Soba Lunch at one of soba house near the hotel (yummy).

Next plan, having free-eyes trip around Niigata, Taka, my friend there lets us having real Niigata experience by walking to his hostel. We go by walk after 2 stopover stations. The temperature outside merely 4 Centigrade, I have to prepare my gloves. Well, around 10 minutes we arrive at his place. Then by his car we go around the city, eventually going to the Niigata University Ikarashi campus. There Sensei introduces the NU students with us as considering our next plan for killing time. Gotcha, by using 2 cars, we decide firstly to visit one of Niigata mosque which maintained by the muslim community there. We find there are 2 persons whom Indonesian, my first time pray at mosque in this city.

Just then, we look for dinner place, completely where place is compatible for 9 person (3 NU, 3 IPB, 3 UPM). My NU friend, Mieko prepares our dinner since her talent in cooking is undeniable. But this order is kinda too much making us ready feeling full. Well, it’s almost 9 pm but we’re going to tire. Tomorrow will be presentation day. Lastly, going back to hotel is the best decision.
[March 8th] Niigata this morning is snowy, outside it falls however not in torrent. The NU bus has been there ready picking us depart to the Ikarashi campus. Upon arrival, all participants required to come in the building and a class room which has been prepared for the event. The lecturer’s turn is the opening of presentation from each participant university. Then, the students, I get the third turn in first session that of the student’s allocation. Once again, I know some useful knowledge opening my mind what AGRICULTURE itself is. Bearing ideas have crossed in my mind as other students share their experience in the field of agriculture. I strongly believe “Anyone who I ever met revealing Agriculture is NOT quite important for this globalization era is exactly misleading”. For me, even people attempt to leave this field for something they might believe more prestigious, I’d like to insist my choice in science of agriculture which has proven as fundamental of human culture before the evolution into “what they called modern life”. Even now, nobody can still alive without food which basically from agricultural production. Doing something different when other is going to ignore is such a challenging.

A whole day is for presentation, at night, we all go to one of famous Japanese restaurant in the city for welcome party. It’s so Japanese. Sushi is exactly the main course on the table. After all, we go back to hotel, but other additional agenda of the students themselves always there, shopping. Meanwhile, the temperature outside has reached -1 Centigrade.


[March 9th] It’s trip time! Some places are waiting for visiting. Rice management and its advance utilization company is our major focus. Considered Niigata Prefecture is major of rice production in Japan. Sincerely, I’m amazed how they can utilize rice to high added value product. Indonesian has to learn for this term. It varies from Rice Bread, Pasta, Ramen and many more.
At noon, we are served at Tainai Restaurant for lunch which surrounding is covered by snow. It looks beautiful, indeed for us who originally used to live in tropical country. Then, next place is a company which machinery produces rice based snack. There, we get some specimen of their products for free. After all, this night will be the last to meet each other, so farewell party is going to be held. It takes place at one of Japanese restaurant. All participants celebrate this with full Japanese style service. Well, then we go back and once say good bye (actually I don’t intend to use this word “say goodbye”, just say “see you at the next advance future”)
[March 10th] Last day in Niigata. We have to depart for Tokyo. By Shinkansen the trip takes around two hour to Tokyo Station. Outside is snowy, white is everywhere. As we arrive at the station, we decide to spend remaining time for looking around Tokyo. Asakusa is the first destination. Then continue to Tokyo Tower. Here we can see Tokyo clearly, and becoming more beautiful while it is twilight. The landmark of the city is beautiful and well-organized. Ok, it’s almost 8 pm, we have to depart for ANA Crown Plaza where we stay for a night before going back to Indonesia and Malaysia. We get the last train, NARITA Express departs at 8.05 pm and stop at Terminal 2 Narita Airport. From the airport we go by free shuttle bus to ANA Crown Plaza taking around 15 minutes. We’ve just arrived at hotel, and take a rest.

[March 11th] Going back, sounds sad to leave Japan. The Malaysian and Indonesian participants are leaving at the same time. But, as we arrive at the Airport, I forget that my camera is left in my room, at the hotel. I report this bad news to the driver, immediately he calls the receptionist of the hotel asking for help. Once, I learn from people here, they’re very responsible. I’m amazed. Then 15 minutes later, he comes back with my camera. Ow, I’m so thankful for your thoughtfulness.
Our flight departs at 11.20 am. Narita still looks as usual, busy. But guess, about 2.5 hours after our departure, a strong earthquake shakes the north east coastal Honshu island followed with Tsunami. The world eyes are in Japan. Miyagi and Sendai prefectures are two the most painful of the disaster impact. We are very sorry for the bad news. Hopefully, Japan will soon stand and return normal.
Pray and Support Japan !

My Big thanks to :
All Participants