Homeless Day Season 2 Day 1: Tour de Yonaguni

Okay, first of all, I would like to say sorry to my loyal reader because of the change of plan. I intended to start the homeless day season 2 from when I was roaming in Okinawa but something happened and it made me kinda unable to tell the story at this blog. But to be brief, I did 4 dive logs there and had my very first penetration dive through and L-shaped tunnel in Manza beach. Too bad I couldn’t record it with my GayPro because that piece of crap decided to freeze just when I am about to enter the cave. But anyway, the penetration dive was amazing although kinda scary and it did make me a little bit confident with my bouyancy control. That’s pretty much about it for the homeless session in Okinawa. As for why I couldn’t tell the detailed story about my adventure in Okinawa, read the previous Kesengsem Part 2 post, exclusive only for the Indonesians :D.

Okay, back to Yonaguni,

So, today (21 April 2016), I took the first flight in the morning from Okinawa to Yonaguni by using the Ryuukyuu Air Commuter. The flight took around 1.5 hours and at around 9AM, I arrived at Yonaguni airport and head straight to my hotel. Wait, what hotel? Yes, while in Yonaguni, I am going to stay in a hotel. Why? Did I finally realized that sleeping in Net Cafe is a bad idea? Or did I finally give up my own principle of life? Wow, wow, wow, relax and hold on to your horses, people. I am still the same old homeless Stepen that like Net Cafe (especially the one with free soft cream). It is just that here, in Yonaguni, there is not Net Cafe or such thing. Hell, it is even hard to find a vending machine here. So, with that as my excuse defense, I decided to just stay at the hotel that my dive shop recommended for me.

After I get to the hotel and put my stuff down, I went for the dive shop for some discussion. My plan was to do two dives today, three dives tomorrow, three dives the day after tomorrow, and have a swollen lips from biting the regulator for way too long. Unfortunately, the dive shop said that today’s wave (or wind? or both?) was not good so they couldn’t take me to a dive. A huge relief to my wallet, but a huge blow to my chance of mocking Eling with another awesome diving video. But anyway, as a responsible diver and future husband to my wife, I decided to follow the dive shop’s advice.

To fill my time, I decided to rent a bicycle and go around the island for some biking adventure. The island’s circumference is just 22 km (although the terrain is kinda treacherous) and there are several interesting point of interest along the way. So, after renting a bicycle from nearby shop, I went east from Yonaguni port town and circled the island in clockwise direction to avoid Coriolis effect.


My Rental Bike, Macha The Mama Charie

The scenery was awesome, the wind was awesome, the horses and cows were awesome, the people that I met on the road was awesome, but the sun was NOT. I started biking at 10AM and finished at 2PM with my arm burned like overcooked yakitori. However, overall it was a great and refreshing ride. There are several unique spot worth seeing like The Pillar of Standing God (Tategami Iwa), the lighthouse, and horse/cow ranch throughout the island. There is also a monument that marks the westernmost point of Japan but I didn’t get to go there because it on a detour from the island’s circling road. But I will go there for sure on 24th, when I am on a cooldown from my dives for the return flight.


The Pillar of Standing God – Side View


The Pillar of Standing God – Front View

I took a lot of spinning cam at several points throughout my ride and here is a compilation of them with inappropriate background music so that you guys know how awesome Yonaguni is (although horse poop are everywhere).

After the ride, I went back to my hotel and that is pretty much all that I did for today. Now, if you excuse me, I have to take my beauty sleep because I am going for the SDOALT (Scuba Dive of a Life Time) tomorrow morning. Ciao…

Stepen – Getting Lazier and LAzier in Video Editing

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Kesengsem Part 2 – Cewek Okinawa

Harusnya malem ini gw menulis postingan Homeless Day Season 2 dalam bahasa Inggris dalam rangka go-international kaya Agnes Monica. Sayangnya, pucuk di cinta, ulam pun tiba (lagi?). Seolah datang bulan, di hari pertama petualangan Okinawa ini gw kesengsem lagi setelah bulan lalu gw kesengsem sama seorang cewe bernama Ningsih. Kali ini dengan seorang wanita bernama Sari Diatasgunung, wanita berumur 23 tahun dengan dagu yang bisa digunakan untuk ngebor minyak bumi. So, instead of meneruskan usaha absurd gw untuk go-international, perbolehkan gw kembali menulis postingan bahasa Indonesia karena gw ga tau bahasa inggris dari kesengsem itu apa (Google translate bilang lovestruck, tapi kayanya kurang pas gitu).

Sebelum gw cerita lebih jauh tentang Sari Diatasgunung, gw perlu tekankan terlebih dahulu bahwa kesengsemnya gw ini tidak ada hubungannya dengan bentuk tubuh Sari Diatasgunung yang terbalut bikini yang bikin gw anemia saat doi make wetsuit doi. I am a man of honor and I like girl not because of their figure. I like girls for their personality.

Okay, jadi begini ceritanya.

Kemaren malem gw tiba di Okinawa dan sampai di penginapan gw jam 7 malem tanpa kolor bersih dan tanpa tujuan besok mau ngapain. So, long story short, gw memutuskan untuk iseng-iseng berhadiah, ngeimel diving center yang kantornya cukup deket dari penginapan gw buat nanya apakah mereka bisa ngeguide gw diving besok. Ternyata mereka bisa dan keesokan harinya gw pun dateng ke kantor mereka dan ketemu Sari DiatasGunung sedang ngegenjot sepeda ke arah kantor diving center. Stepen’s Love Meter: 0 -> 20.

Sampe di kantor, kita ngobrol2 ringan, gw fitting gaun penganten wetsuit gw dan ga lama kami pun meluncur ke tempat diving kita di Maeda Point. Ga ada yang menonjol di saat kita diving. Kalaupun ada, itu adalah perbedaan level bouyancy control antara gw dan Sari Diatasgunung. Setelah diving 1x, gw dan Sari balik ke pantai dan ngobrol ringan lagi. Berikut kira-kira percakapan gw dengan Sari yang telah diterjemahkan dari bahasa Jepang super ngawur ala gw.

Sari: “Sampai kapan di sini?”

Stepen: “Di Okinawa sih sampe tanggal 21, tapi di Onna-nya cuman sampe tanggal 20.”

Sari: “Oh gitu, emang tanggal 20 mau kemana?”

Stepen: “Belum tau sih, tapi paling maen2 aj di sekitar Naha.”

Sari: “Jadi tanggal 20 nginep di Naha?”

Stepen: “Iy, secara di Naha banyak net cafe.”

Sari: “Iy, gw juga suka nginep di net cafe waktu jalan2 sendirian, murah, bisa baca komik, ada minum gratis lagi.”

Stepen’s Love Meter: 20 -> 95

Dan setelah itu percakapan kita jadi muter-muter soal net cafe dan keuntungan2 nginep di net cafe dan ngejekin orang-orang lemah yang sangat menentang kehidupan nomaden di net cafe.

Seriously, doi seorang divemaster, yang brarti termasuk kategori cewe tough (baca: taff), ke kantor naek sepeda kaya gw, dan suka nginep di net cafe. Not to mention, she is hot as hell walaupun dagunya membentang dari Anyer sampai Panarukan. Ini kaya Tuhan menciptakan cewek ini sesuai pesanan gw. Ibaratnya kalo mesen burger di McD, McChicken yang plain dagingnya didobelin, perfect!

Beres diving, doi pun ngajak gw makan siang. Dalam keadaan normal, gw pasti akan menolak ajakan doi. Kenapa? Karena ngomong bahasa Jepang itu bikin otak gw panas dan gw yakin makanan normal ini bakalan cukup menguras kocek gw. Tapi secara gw berada dalam kondisi kesengsem, gw pun mengiyakan dan alhasil, jadilah kita makan soba bareng. Sembari makan, kitapun mulai ngobrol yang agak-agak berat and I cant help but keep thinking that Sari is the girl version of me. Sebenernya gw masih pengen ngobrol lebih jauh dengan doi tapi sayangnya soba gw tidak mengijinkan, soalnya ud abis. So, we drove back home and parted our ways at the dive shop. Walaupun demikian, besok gw masih akan diving lagi dan ada kemungkinan divemasternyqa doi lagi, so, sekarang harus tidur (dan ngecas GoPro), biar besok bisa tampil ciamik dan mempesona doi lewat buoyancy control yang menawan.

Stepen – ngarep

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Stepen’s Guide to be Bad-Ass Homeless in Japan

Since April, I have been embracing the chaos by taking the path of a sage, letting go all of my possession and started living as a homeless. Some doubted it, some were against it, but most of them questioned whether I took a shower or not during this time. Yeah, I always wonder why people always question other person’s personal hygiene while there are more things to be worried about like whether I should buy Blizzard’s new game: Overwatch or not. Well, through this post, I am gonna share the trick of doing the homeless lifestyle and answer the question: “Am I taking a bath during this time?” so that you stop doubting me and maybe follow my path to inner peace and zen and become a real homeless.

And here it is: Stepen’s Guide to be a Bad-Ass Homeless in Japan

  1. Travel Light

First of all and perhaps, it is the key to homeless lifestyle is: travel light and pack smart. As a homeless, you will be moving a lot and sometimes running (either to catch the train or to avoid the policeman sweeping the street for some homeless), so the key is to keep your luggage as light as possible. The lighter it is, the more you conserve your stamina, hence more mobility and more point of interest to achieved in one day. For this, you need to throw away your conventional logic about things to bring and start adopting Stepen’s The Art of Homeless way of thinking.

What is Stepen’s The Art of Homeless? Here is one example.

Usually, you would pack a set of clothing (and by a set of clothing I mean cloth+pant+underwear) according to the number of days that you are going to be homeless. If you are gonna be homeless for n number of days, you would pack 2xn or 3xn sets of clothing. YOU ARE WRONG. No matter how long you are going to go homeless, you only need 3 and no more than 3 sets of clothing. Yes, three sets. One set is your clean set, which you will be using only on a clean condition while resting in a net cafe. One set is your travelling set, which is your most decent clothing that you will be using while you are moving from places to places or when you are in a normal sightseeing point of interest like a museum or a park. And the last one is your dirty set, which you will be using when you going to get dirty or wet, for example, when you are hiking or snorkeling. With this three sets concept, you usually can last for 10 days (my personal record is two weeks) before you start feeling itches. When this happen, it is time to find some coin laundries, which are surprisingly easy to find in japan, and wash your clothes. Remember, when you adopt the 3 sets concept (patent pending), make sure you change to the appropriate set for each activity.

To adopt the 3 sets concept a carrier bag is a must. Why? Because it’s structure allows you access almost everything inside it without the need to take out anything and then rearrange stuff again, given if you can do the packing well. 40Litre sized carrier will do the job just fine and avoid using larger sized carrier since it will tempt you to put more stuff in it. It is also a good idea to wrap the inside of your carrier’s main pouch with aplastic or trash bag to prevent your stuff from getting wet when it rains and always roll your clothes so that you can pack it neatly.

As for the packing configuration itself, here is a top view of the carrier packing structure to give you a good idea of a good packing configuration that allows you to access anything in a snap. I call this the blunder-blunder configuration (also patent pending).

In the blunder-blunder configuration, most of the space are taken up by my sleeping bag. Some of you may argue that sleeping bag is not necessary, but YOU ARE WRONG. Sleeping bag is very important to keep the blunder-blunder structure aesthetically beautiful and elegant and sexy. In the event of emergency, you might also need the sleeping bag for some warmth and if you don’t need it for warmth, you still can use it as a pillow to help achieve a good comfortable goodnight sleep, which will make you recover more stamina at night. Besides, the sleeping bag will make your carrier bag look full and bloated, making people think that your carrier is heavy and think that you are strong for being able to carry those carrier for a long time. Who knows, some girls may get charmed seeing you carrying a seemingly-heavy carrier and you may end up with a girlfriend or at least a secret admirer. Killing two birds with one stone, baby!

2. Take Advantage of Net Cafe or Octopus Slider

If you think that homeless means you don’t any home and stay in a hotel/hostel/motel, YOU ARE WRONG. Remember, if you are staying in a hotel/hostel/motel, then you are not homeless, at least not a bad-ass one. A true homeless goes with the wind and sleep at the closest net cafe available. Why net cafe? Well, here is several merits point of staying in net cafe:

  • It is cheap as hell and they charged you per hour. The usual 6hours night pack costs around 1500yen while the 9hours night pack costs around 2000yen. It is a lot cheaper than even the cheapest capsule hotel, which is roughly gonna cost you around 4000yen. The downside is that, you’ll get charged more if you overslept and overextend your stay. Some net cafe even take advantage of this and charged more fee for the extra hours outside the night pack. So be sure to set your alarm or tell your mom to call you in the morning and keep calling until you pick up.
  • Most of net cafe (actually, all that I stayed at) offers free drink bar. Yes, soda and some other drinks for free, as much as you can drink. You can also refill your canteen with the drink bar although I must warn you to be careful and not get caught while doing so. The safest way to refill your canteen is to use the paper cup and refill your canteen at your cubicle and repeat until your canteen is full.
  • It comes with a electric outlet to charge your stuff (Duh!)
  • It comes with a computer connected to high-speed internet with online game and adult movies available just one click away from the desktop.
  • Some net cafe have low cubicle wall that you can see the cubicle next to you when you are standing up. Combine this with the fact that sometimes the cubicle next to you may be occupied by some cute japanese girl, you get a front seat row to watch an innocent girl sleep soundly in her cubicle. (Okay, this part is creepy, moving on…)

See? After seeing those merits, why would you still wanna stay at a hotel?

Nevertheless, keep in mind though that smaller city may not have net cafe in them. When this happen, don’t panic. Simply look for a park with an octopus slider, get up and inside the octopus, and lay your sleeping bag out then sleep like a boss. But if it is really bad, the last choice is to find the closest McD and apply the french fries trick as I’ve explained previously in the first homeless post.

3. Know Your Surrounding

Like G.I. Joe once said, “Knowing is half the battle,” same thing applies when you are homeless. It is always good to know several checkpoint like open food court or nice park to hang out or chill for as long as you like without the need to buy anything first, public toilet to charge your phone in case of emergency (thank god for those fancy toilet in Japan, they usually needs electricity, hence there are always electrical outlets inside the toilet stall at your disposal to charge your phone), and some other facilities that you will be using like coin laundry and the net cafe.

Well, that’s pretty much all the tips that I can share to be a bad-ass homeless in Japan. Now, let’s tackle the most interesting topic of this post: “Am I or how do I take shower during this period of time?”. A friend pointed out that I rarely took a shower even when I have my own bathroom when I was staying in my dorm, so he speculated that I must be not taking any shower during this homeless day. Well, HE IS WRONG.

As an adult with no girlfriend or anything close to that, I believe that your smell is the key to your soul. If someone does not like your smell, he/she is not going to like you. And as a man who is in constant look-out for the mother of my child, I strictly uphold my commitment to take like a really good long and clean bath at least once every three days. Yes, three days. So, the question is, where do I take my bath? Well, for starters, you can always take shower in the net cafe. Some net cafe, although not all, have shower that you can use either for free or for an additional price. But then, it is kinda hard to find a net cafe that have shower or let you use their shower for free. Yes, because if it is not free, then it is too expensive. Thankfully, there is another place that you can take shower for free: City Sport Center.

Yes, most cities in Japan has their own sport center and all sport centers have shower room that you can use for free. Some prohibited you to use soap or shampoo in their shower room, but from my personal experience, noone is gonna find out that you are using soap or shampoo in the shower as long as you are subtle. Wrap your shampoo and soap with your towel and you’ll be fine. If you are caught, just remember to use the special super effective gaijin power: “Sumimasen, nihongo wakarimasen” and you’ll be fine.

Well, I guess that is all that I have to share for today. I hope this clears up the speculation about me taking a shower or not. Let me remind you once again, if you still think that I didnt take a shower and write this post to lie and clear my image, YOU ARE WRONG. I am an honorable homeless and I took a great care of my personal hygiene.

Stepen – An Honorable Homeless

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Homeless Day 6 Round Up: Enter the Dragon (Season Finale)

In my short stay in the Neko Island, I spent roughly two hours at the manga island, laying in the green grass, chilling and waiting for the return ferry to come. During these waiting time, a lot of things crossed my mind; things like my future and how I envy cats in this island. Everyday cute girls come here to pet them. I wish I had someone who would pet me.

Oh, yeah, my future.

I just quit a stable good paying job that allows me to buy 2 Master-Grade gundam every weekend for a chance to study Aerospace again in France. Yup, I said chance, because up until this post is written, I still haven’t got any definitive answer whether my sponsor approved the university of my choice. I know I have a lot of things that I want to try to do, things like learning Android Programming, creating games with Unity, playing with Lego MindStorm, or learning how to knit. I know I have those things to fall back to, but still, compared to if I stay at my company, my future is now blurry. I felt like I am taking huge leap of faith.

Yeah, and since I am taking a huge leap of faith for my career, why not take a real leap too, literally.

So, after I got back from Tashirojima, I did some googling, made several phone calls and 24 hours later, here I am, at the edge of Ryuujin suspension bridge.

I’ve skydived before (check out The Jumper post), but bungee jumping is different. First of all, you are all alone instead of doing tandem with your instructor. Second of all, since you are all alone, you are the one who makes the jump, hence, consciously move your body towards the edge of the bridge and jump with all your fear. It is very different with the skydiving, where your instructor forcefully bring you down to jump, mercilessly. So, I felt enormously nervous that I kept thinking why did I travel 100km just to throw myself off a bridge? But then, as a man that started to get more and more feminine each day, I gotta bring back the masculine side of me into the surface and prove to the world that I am not a feminine boy, despite my girl-ish scream. I took one deep breath, posed for one picture, and then threw myself off the ‘dragon’ bridge.

Here is my awesome bungee jumping video for your entertainment, featuring Chocobo Racing’s soundtrack to mask the watery sound that comes out from my pant (if you know what I meant).

The jump and the 1g sensastion was a lot shorter than the skydiving, but, damn, it was so satisfying, especially the leaping of the bridge part. After jumping down and bouncing up and down several times, they reeled me back up and during this time, the philosopher in me kicked in and I started thinking about a lot of things again. Yeah, my resignation may be a huge gamble of my life, but I’d rather live my life to the fullest facing this uncertainty rather than continue living a certain life, but unsatisfying and restricting (and not to mention overworked). I know it is a leap of faith, but I am sure that God has his elastic cord tied tight at me ankle and I know that Alexandra Daddario will be awesome in the upcoming Baywatch movie.

After the jump and everything, I went back to Tokyo because I ran out of clean clothes  my parents came to Tokyo for some sightseeing the next day. I will be staying with my parent at some classy third-rated cheap hotel during my parent’s stay and this means the end of my homeless day, season 1. But, fellow fans, rest assured, I will be back on my homeless day after a week for the second second, and in a different location: Okinawa. Stay tune for more homeless idiocy!

Stepen – Taking a Break from Being Homeless

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Homeless Day 5 Round Up: Neko Island

After a series of bad decisions on day 4, I proceed with the previous plan and went to the feline islands, Tashirojima. The plan was to take the 9AM ferry, reach the island at 10AM, and then catch on the last ferry back to Ishinomaki at 2PM. So,  I woke up at 6AM and took the first train to Ishinomaki station, followed by a 20-minute walk to reach the ferry port. At roughly 8.30AM, I was sitting nicely at the ferry port waiting for the ferry to come.

At around 9AM, the blue liner ship came and I boarded it. And here is when I realized something about this island: This island is a feminine tourist attraction. Yes, most of the visitors (at least when I was going) were high school girls and small girls with their parents, coming to the island to pet the cat. Not just that, the island itself exerts a high dose of estrogen that I could stop my pinky finger from contracting. Ten minutes in that island and I started ovulating.

But then, the ship set sail already and there is no turning back, so, I might as well enjoy the trip and embrace my feminine side. After all, I am a woman trapped in man’s body.

After about an hour of voyage, I reached the island and get of at Nitoda port and started walking towards the manga island, where they have building in cat shape. Along the way, as expected, I encountered several feline along the way. Some were shy away when I approached them, probably because of my chronic halitosis. Some, however, were too comfortable with human that they came towards you and roll around, hoping you to rub their bellies. While the number of cat is way more that you normally see in cities, it is not that much that they’ll overwhelm you as what I expected before. But they are very tame, clean, and fat.

I reached the manga island in no time, took some picture, and then head on to the cat’s shrine, which is the main attraction of this island. Along the way, I met this cat, for the sake of the story, let’s call him/her Jess and assume that he/she is a she. Jess was a cat with acute attention deficit disorder and she loves belly rub, so much that she hold a belly rubbing contest daily at the cat shrine to find the legendary belly rubber that will rub her belly until the end of time. I met Jess 10 minutes before I reached the cat shrine and she followed me up until the cat shrine.

At the cat shrine, there was this happy little family with one little girl. So I sat at one of the chair in front of the shrine while that little girl sat at the other chair. Jess followed me and sat in the middle of me and the little girl and that’s when the 1402nd belly rubbing contest started. Jess started moving toward the little girl and received a soft passionate belly rub combined with some praise. After 5 minutes of belly rubbing (which is a standard time for belly rubbing contest as stated by the laws), Jess moved on to me and receive a gentleman’s belly rub with a pat at the back everyone and then. After 5 minutes, she moved on and left the cat shrine. And that’s the end pf 1402nd belly rubbing contest.

After that, it was still 12PM, so I headed back to the manga island to chill around and sleep in the back of the bright sunlight with the high school girl petting cats as my sleeping lullaby. Then, roughly 15minutes before 2PM, I headed back to the port to catch the ferry, walked back to Ishinomaki and took a long train journey to Mito, Ibaraki for the homeless day’s season finale. What the hell am I doing in Ibaraki? Well, stay tuned for the season finale of Homeless Day adventure.

Stepen – setting up the anticipation for the next post

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Homeless Day 4 Round Up: Okama Crater Failed Hike

At the start of day 3, after a good REM sleep in shinkansen, I reached ShiroishiZao station and saw this epic picture of Okama Crater (also known as Goshikidate) and I decided to postpone the cat island to day 5 and hike to that awesome place instead while I am still in this area.

So, instead of taking a refugee in an internet cafe in Ishinomaki (which is the port where you can find a ferry to get you to the cat island), I decided to crash in an internet cafe in Sendai to keep me near Yamagata. That way, I can take the first train to Yamagata, followed by bus from Yamagata to Zao Onsen, then followed by a ropeway to Zao Sancho, then hike to see the epic Okama Crater. Sadly, it turned into a big disaster simply because I forgot that Japan is a four season country and currently it is still considered winter in Sendai area. To be fair, my spider instinct had already tingled several time warning me of such danger, but I ignored it and it really almost cost me my life (No, seriously, I am not joking here. This post is a serious post). Thank god, I still survived and came out with only minor frostbite to my feet. My legendary Diadora shoes (Armor: 50; +25% Running Speed; +25 Dexterity; +10 elemental resistance), however, were rendered unusable because it got drenched so bad now it smell’s like Malboro‘s bad breath.

The story started at 7AM. Yes, I woke up late and it cost me an additional 130 yen and my pride as a professional homeless. I woke up and headed to the station without taking a bath first, which is like any normal days, and found out that it was raining. But I heard The Great Great Johnny English once said, “If you hike in a bad weather, then you are a bad-ass”, so I decided to push through with the plan, besides, my accuweather said it is going to be clear at noon. So, I pushed through with the plan, got to a train to Yamagata, followed by a bus and finally reached Zao Onsen.

One thing that comes to my mind when I arrived: This town smells like my fart and I’ve checked, I haven’t farted yet in this town. It turns out that Zao Onsen contains sulfur from the nearby active volcano, which makes this place popular for its sulfuric onsen.

So, I got out from the bus and I realized that it is still raining and somewhat the town was foggy. At first, I thought that was the smoke from the onsen, you know, since this is an onsen town. But it wasn’t the onsen smoke, it was a real fog. My spider instinct tingled for the first time and I suddenly have a thought of cancelling this hike because of the fog and the rain. But then I remembered The Great Great Captain Jack Sparrow once said, “If you hike in a bad weather and in a fog, you are a bad-ass”, and once again I pushed through. I even went and asked the information center whether the ropeway were running and they said they were, so once again I thought, “Meh, if the ropeway is running, then it is still fine then.”

The information center girl did warn me that it is going to be tough to hike now sincethere was some snow and it did make my spider instinct tingled again. But then, I remembered The Great Great Master Sakuragi Hanamichi once said, “If you hike in snow without a crampon, then you are a bad-ass”, and once again I pushed through with the plan.

I went on and rode the ropeway until Zao Sancho station, which is the highest ropeway station. I looked around while waiting for the fog to clear and it did cleared up a bit. So, I rushed my way up until I finally reached the first peak, Mt Zoji. And this was where things gone south.

The fog got really thick again and the snow got stronger. Once again the thought of turning back crossed my mind, but then I remembered The Great Great Naruto Uzumaki once said, “If you keep on the hike while the weather gets worse, then you are a bad-ass,” so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing while holding my husband hand so tight until I finally heard a cry and saw the doctor carrying my beautiful little baby. It was a healthy baby boy. He brought it into my arms and I couldn’t help but tearing away. That moment was so beautiful.

Uh? Sorry, I got mixed up with this pregnancy novel that I am currently co-authoring with Daniel.

Where was I? Oh, the Zoji peak.

Yeah, so I kept on hiking despite the flog and the snow until I finally reached Mt. Kumano’s intersection. At this time, my shoes was already fully drenched and it felt like I was touching the snow with my barefoot directly. The fog also got a lot worse that I can see only see two guide poles ahead of me. But that wasn’t the one that made me turn back. It is the ropeway schedule. I started the hike around 12PM and it was 2.15PM when I reached the Kumano intersection while the last running ropeway that can take me back is at 4.30PM. So, considering the time and even if I can reach it, I most likely couldn’t see anything or take any picture for showing-off (Yes, because that’s the point of this entire trip: showing-off) because of the fog and the snow, I decided to swallow my pride, head back, and leave myself open for mockery forever from Eling for not being able to finish the hike. It was really a shame since almost every website that I looked up said it only took 45minutes of hike to see the crater.


At the TOP (Turn-Over Point)

So, I went back and barely reached the ropeway station on time for the last ride and rode down. Then, I went on to the bus station and rode all the way back to Sendai to crash early at a net cafe in Sendai and took the 9 hour night pack instead of the usual 6 hour pack to replenish my lost stamina and dignity.

Overall, this day was a huge failure but then I remember The Great Great Master Oogway once said, “If you fail but get back up, then you are a bad-ass”, so there was I, sleeping soundly at my 2×1 private cubicle, hoping for the best for tomorrow’s adventure to the cat island.

Stepen – Not a Bad-Ass

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Homeless Day 3 Round Up: Fox Village

Okay, the second day was not so much fun, but I am getting back on the right path, the path of awesomeness, on the third day. Like the previous day, I woke up at 6AM to avoid extra charge to my night pack (yeah, what an effective alarm clock for me) and jumped on the closest train to Tokyo to board Shinkansen to ShiroishiZao. The rough plan was to go to Shiroishi to see the infamous fox village and then head to Sendai to crash before continuing my journey further north to find the cat island and possibly the mother of my future child. However, I had to change the plan after I reached ShiroishiZao and saw the awesome picture of Okama Crater.

So, I stayed for a bit at ShiroishiZao station and asked around for information and decided to postpone the cat island thing for the Okama Crater, however, the plan of going to the fox village still stand.

After the plan was settled, I was looking around for some other company to share a taxi to the fox village. The normal cheap me would have prefer walking since it only take 3hours to get there. But as a professional homeless, you gotta conserve both your money and stamina and find and optimum point between them. Why? Cause when you overexert yourself, you will find yourself more likely to comfort yourself at the end and spending more. Yes, this is what I called the ‘Epic Homeless Permutation Theory’. Imagine if I were to walk, I can save 4000yen at the cost of 800kcal ofmy stamina, but then afterwards, I will be more tired and spend more money on food and hotel which is more likely to cost me additional 3000yen (assuming a flat inflation rate of 5%). While if I share a cab, I can at least save 2000yen while still preserving 800kcal of my stamina. To put it simple to the reader with no academic background, I am too lazy to walk at that time.

After like 15 minutes, 2 girls showed up with a camera dangling from her neck. I straightfully assume that they are going to fox village too since there is no other attraction in the area. So I was thinking, maybe I should ask them to share a cab with. But then what if they aren’t planning to go there? It will be quite embarrass, not to mention the possibility being them thinking of me as pervert or the like, which I really am. So, I decided to lay back for a bit, watch them from a far while imagining myself having conversation with them about the taxi sharing. And before I know it, they were gone.

So I waited for another 15 minutes but I don’t see any sign of other fox village visitor, so I just decided to take the taxi on my own, which deliver a huge blow to my wallet and my pride as an efficient homeless. Thankfully I was be able to share a cab with a couple of westerner for the way back.

After about 20 minutes of taxi ride, I finally reached the fox village which, for some strange reason that I don’t know, has a big gorilla statue in their entrance instead of fox. So, I walked in, pay the 1000yen entrance fee, left my carrier bag at the receptionist (cause they didn’t allow visitor to bring any big bag in), and enter the so-called fox village.

To tell you the truth, when I googled about the fox village, I thought it was a real village with people living in it and have their own jobs, but somehow naturally has a lot of foxes in it.  I imagined in those village, the villager and the foxes co-exist happily and because of that the foxes population nourished. However, it turned out that it was more of a small zoo that specialized in foxes and have a big free space inside where foxes can wander freely and the visitor can enter to interact freely with the foxes. A little bit disappointment but it was no big deal since the free space was quite awesome. Some foxes were afraid and alerted when I approached them, but a few was quite brave enough to ambush me and bite my dangling waist bag when I was crouching and trying to take picture of another fox.

You can also buy some fox food here to feed them for 100yen, but you are only allowed to feed them by throwing it from an elevated platform. I read somewhere that this was done so that the foxes don’t learn to snatch things from people’s hand.

Actually, I am not really fond of feeding animal. I am having a hard time properly feeding myself, let alone feeding animal. But, since I was here already and the taxi fare is damn cruel, I might as well go all out on this one. So I went to the feeding platform and bought a bag of fox food. One bag consist of roughly ten of short and thick bacon-colored stick. However, I can assure you that they didn’t taste like bacon at all. Yes, I took a little bit just to make sure they are not real bacon cause it would be a waste to give bacon to the foxes.

So, me being cheap, I split those sticks into as many pieces as possible so that I have more to feed. I also went as far as rubbing them into my shoes in hopes of making them attracted to me when I wander around. That way I will have an easier time getting good picture. Too bad that didn’t worked out cause the food smell couldn’t overcome the smell of my feet.

After finished feeding the foxes, I went out again to the free space area to stalk some fox in hopes of getting a good picture for awhile. That went on for like two hours and after I realized that my talent is not in photography, I decided to end this self-torture and head back to ShiroishiZao station because there is some place to see around the station. So, I went back and shared a taxi with a lovely western couple, took a little sight seeing walk around ShiroishiZao station, and then finally crashed at another internet cafe to prepare myself for the hike to Okama Crater on the next day that almost cost me my life (Spoiler alert: I survived).

Stepen – Professional Fox Food Tester

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Homeless Day 2 Round Up: Going Down in the Crowd

The first day of my homeless life was awesome, but not so much with my second day. Because on the second day I came down with a cold + possible pollen fever + emotional depression. Yes, and to begin the story, let’s start from the end of second story, right after I ran away from the glorious nijikai (the after-party party).

So, yesterday, it was 9PM when the rain was pouring and the guys decided to do nijikai. Since I dont enjoy drinking alcohol so much (Yes, I prefer cola over alcohol, cause cola tastes better and by default I am already in a drunk state consistently, so I really dont need alcohol), I decided to ditched the nijikai, opened my phone, looked for the closest internet cafe to crash on, and headed there right away. Unfortunately, there is one thing that I overlook when I was looking for the internet cafe: free flow soft ice cream.

What’s wrong with free flow soft ice cream? Well, it is actually related with my medical condition. I was born with lactose intolerant. It is a medical condition where I cannot tolerate any soft ice creams within my proximity and always ended up eating them away until they are gone. On normal occasions, my lactose intolerance is usually counteracted with my stingy-ness. Unfortunately, since those soft ice creams were free, my stingy-ness couldn’t counteract my lactose intolerance. As the result, that night, I ended up eating soft cream continuously through out the entire episode of The Walking Dead and then woke up the next day with a runny nose.

So, the second day of my homeless life, I came down with a cold but still decided to have another glass of those soft ice cream for my breakfast, cause I like to live dangerously;D.

To add more complication to my cold, I started the day with a badminton session that ended up with me not winning any game at all, which is surprising since I was ranked the best ten among all the nine participating oji-san. So there it is, cold + emotional scar of losing, and it didn’t stop there.

At the afternoon, I was invited to a hanami session that turned out to be a cramping nightmare. Short story, we were going to nakameguro to watch the sakura bloom with the other thousands of people coming too. Bad idea. It is more like hitomi than hanami. I also felt that my runny nose and my sneezing get worse when I was in nakameguro. It might be the allergy from the pollen, I dont know. But one thing for sure, I am not coming to nakameguro for hanami again, ever. It left an emotional scar so deep that I started to act feminime very time someone said ‘nakameguro’.

Well then, I guess that’s it for day 2 post, which is mostly a hate rant. I don’t wanna write too much about this day cause I can’t really wait to write about the once-again-turned-awesome homeless life day 3. Oh, and to brighten a mood, here is another picture of Terra asking for food (cause no matter how bad is your day, it is always brightens up your day when you see your kid growing up well). #proudmom

Stepen – Lactose Intolerant

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Cerita Mudik Ep.3: Cerita Tabungan

Sejak kecil, gw selalu diajarkan oleh nyokap gw untuk menabung. Ketika gw dan adek gw sama2 dikasih serebu rupiah buat uang jajan bulanan, adalah kebiasaan gw untuk menghabiskan seluruh uang jajan gw, lalu memaling uang jajan adek gw untuk dimasukkin ke celengan gw. Kenapa celengan? Karena menabung di celengan tidak dikenai biaya administratif sama sekali dan aman dari resiko bank dilikuidasi. So, ketika gw ke Jepang, adalah kebiasaan gw juga untuk menabung kecil2an.

Yes, setiap harinya selama 3taon di Jepang, gw selalu menyisihkan koinan 1yen gw untuk ditabung di celengan. Adapun karena tingginya biaya hidup dan harga celengan di Jepang, gw pun memutuskan untuk menggunakan karton tempat shuttlecock badminton sebagai celengan gw. Ga lucu juga kan kalo harga celengan gw lebih tinggi dari isi celengannya. Ibaratnya kaya lo ngebeli laptop Alienware, tapi cuman dipake buat maen minesweeper, miris ngeliatnya.

Anyway, puji Tuhan dengan doktrin kedisiplinan yang diterapkan oleh nyokap gw dengan bantuan kemoceng dan gesper bokap gw, gw pun selalu disiplin mengisi celengan ini setiap harinya. Setiap harinya, gw selalu menyisihkan recehan 1 yen gw dan soalnya rempong juga klo dikantongin terus secara susah juga dipakenya juga. Dan setelah tiga tahun, gw pun dengan sukses menuhin 2 karton box shuttlecock dengan duid recehan 1yen. Yes, dan supaya kalian semua percaya akan konsistensi gw dalam menabung, berikut adalah video gw yang sedang menuang recehan gw ke laci meja buat dipamerin ke kalian.

Dan supaya lebih afdol, berikut adalah video gw yang sedang menuangkan recehan gw ke laci meja in ssssssllllllooooooowwwww mmmmmmooooootttttiiiioooooonnnn……

Satu hal yg gw lupa saat gw nuang recehan ini adalah duid2 receh ini harus disetor ke bank dan ga lucu juga kalo gw bawa2 laci meja gw. Alhasil, setelah terbawa nafsu pengen pamer, gw pun jadi harus beresin koin-koinan ini balik ke karton shuttlecock. Rempong ya, ses. Emang bener kata emak gw, kalo pamer itu ga ada gunanya (but it felt good anyway).

So, demi kesejahteraan bersama, here it is, a video of me beberes koin recehan gw. Indeed what a good use of my GoPro.

Eniwei, setelah rempong pamer dan beberes recehan ini, gw pun keesokan paginya pergi ke bank buat nyetor recehan ini. Terus terang, melihat betapa absurdnya recehan yang gw kumpulin, ada dua hal yang gw expect pas gw nyetor recehan ini. Yang pertama adalah, si mbak2 tellernya shock saat gw menyerahkan tabungan recehan tersebut terus joged Macarena. Yang kedua, saldo tabungan gw bertambah sangat banyak (dalam prediksi gw, kurang lebih 3M) sampe gw memutuskan untuk pensiun dini dan hedon sampe akhir hayat. It turned out that I was wrong.

Ternyata ngumpulin recehan kaya gini ud biasa. Saking biasanya sampe bank tersebut ud punya semacam wadah buat menampung recehan yang akan disetor. Yeah, bahkan si mbak teller yang melayani gw ga ada berubah2 sama sekali raut wajahnya. Doi dengan tenangnya bilang oke dan ngambil wadah koin recehan tersebut dan nyuruh gw nuangin recehan gw dari karton shuttlecock ke wadah tersebut. Japan, you never cease to amaze me.

Yang bikin lebih kecewa lagi, ternyata jumlah tabungan gw ini ga seberapa. Yes, 3taon hasil menabung gw yang walaupun berat en rempong, gw tetep bawa ke bank ternyata semuanya cuman bernilai 3562yen atau sekitar 350rebu rupiah. Yes, tiga ratus rebu, buat beli tiket pesawat balik Indonesia aj ga cukup.

Yes, ini pelajaran yang sangat berharga buat gw. Menabung receh itu ga ada gunanya. Lebih baik menabung amal kebaikan daripada menabung receh. Atau menabung kasih sayang dan perhatian ke pacar biar ga diputusin (#curcol). So, please, kepada teman2 gw sekalian yang ud jadi orang tua atau sebentar lagi jadi orang tua, please gw mohon dengan sangat, jangan ajarin anak elo untuk menabung recehan karena menabung receh itu geli-geli doang dampaknya.

Stepen – Kapok Menabung Receh

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Homeless Day 1 Round Up: It Is Indeed a Good Day to be Homeless

Okay, this post is the continuation of the previous post. So, for those of you who haven’t see the previous post, click here to see the previous post and feast yourself on my awesomeness. Yes, click here not there. That is the wrong link, this one is the right one. Yes, this one. Got it? Okay moving on…

Okay, the first day of my homeless adventure is done and I have to say, it was a blast. Continuing from the last post, I went to my old dorm first thing in the morning to pick up my homeless survival bag and a parcel box of my stuff that I am going to send to my country beforehand by Japan post. A special thanks to Alvi for letting me throw my garbage and other unused stuff to his room. I guess what they say is true: It is always the nice guy who doesn’t get the girl.

Anyway, so after getting my stuff and disturbing Alvi’s gold deposit session (read: pooping session), I went to the post office by taxi to send my stuff back home. Yes, three years in Japan and finally the cheap little me succumb to the capitalism and used taxi at my own will. Nothing interesting happened in the post office, however I must point out that the postman praised me for being able to write the kanji for ‘tokyo’ perfectly. As a man with lack of self esteem and self hygiene, I cant help myself but doing gangnam style horse riding move after I got the praise and it did make my mood for the entire day. For those of you who is curious, here is my bad-ass kanji writing for tokyo that I wrote.

But that was not the highlight of today. The highlight was I managed to score a lunch date with a girl. Yes, a girl, a real girl with long hair and skirt and white skin, not some feminime boy or Daniel wearing skirt. Too bad I didn’t take any picture to prove that, but trust me, I did have a lunch date. Yes, no scam, hyptonize, black mail, or black magic involved, just me and my pheromone level peaking when I am homeless .

The date was lovely. At least for me, because she dressed lovely, but for her, maybe it is mostly embarrassing cause I dressed like, you know, a homeless. She ate chicken rice, I ate carbonara, and we had a little chat. The romantic mood was building up and we ended up staring deep into each other’s eye. Me with my creepy stare and her with her troubled ‘kimochiwarui’ stare. Suddenly this crowded food court became silence and I heard Bee Gee’s How Deep Is Your Love played in background. We are in this closed space where there is only the two of us inside. Everything else went white. It was romantic until this little brat that sit next to her shove her arm when he was moving out of his chair.

Recent published article in IAJCE (International Academic Journal of Emotional Engineering) stated that a male and a female requires a minimum 30seconds of continuous staring at each other before mutual feelings can develop. Depending on the compatibility of the couple based on the position of  North Star relative to South Star and its Relatives and the Euclidean distance between the two, it might be longer than 30seconds, varying from 30 seconds itself to like forever. Thanks to that little brat, I can only managed 29.543 seconds of continuous stare before he broke it by shoving her arm. After that she excused herself to the bathroom to puke. I think it is because of the chicken rice that she ate. Bad chicken rice.

After that, we went to Starbucks to grab some drink and chat a little bit before I finally sent her off back to her office and that’s where the date ended. Indeed what a great date to start my homeless life. For my level of hygiene, it is quite an achievement for being able to keep a lady around me for more than 15 minutes.

After the lunch date, nothing interesting happen so I just gonna make a quick recap of what’s happening after the lunch date in bullet list. Please memorize this list as they may come out in your exam.

  1. Go to a bookstore,
  2. Looked for a good book to read in between my free time,
  3. Bought the book,
  4. Went to Yodobashi Camera,
  5. Stared at the bad-ass Master-Grade Gundam Unicorn Banshee,
  6. Wept my drool and moved on cause you cant afford it,
  7. Went to my soubetsukai (farewell drinking party),
  8. Ran away from the nijikai (second drinking party),
  9. Looked for a good internet cafe to sleep in,
  10. Went to the internet cafe and found out that the internet cafe offers free soft ice cream at no charge at all (Yes, free soft ice cream at no charge at all),
  11. Ate a massive amount of those ice cream until my mom called and tell me to go to bed and to wash my teeth,
  12. Slept sound like a baby to end the epic first day of homeless life.

Well, that’s all about my first day as a homeless. Overall, it was an awesome day and let’s hope that the next day is going to be better.

Oh, and for those of you who is wondering how Terra is doing, well, I got a good news for you guys. He has evolved into WarGreymon and now we are ready to save the Digital World from the upcoming apocalypse. To satisfy your curiosity, (yes, I know you want to see my baby kid, don’t be shy, just admit it) here is a snapshot of him when he just freshly evolved.

Stepen – Homeless Digimon Tamer

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