Thursday, May 31, 2007

Black bean bun

Sometimes the entries here bring unexpected laughter to readers without me trying to make it into a humour slot. Truth is, its not my intention to make people laugh on purpose. On top of that I don't think I have a flair to write so effectively that could make people laugh.
I give this dash of humour to the life that is surrounding me. I mean, if I make an effort to peep around the other side, I can see the humour part but sometimes I can't see it and only after the entries are published do I see readers laughing.

The event of this entry happened yesterday at the public bath-house. I went alone yesterday without my usual hang-out friends. Normally when I am on my own, I would usually make light chats with those around me. So, after wrapping my body with a full-length bath-towel, I went in the sauna room.
The temperature as usual at 83c and I saw about 8 ladies sitting around.
Gingerly, I walked and found myself a spot in between two women. On my left a granny about 75 years old and on my right a mother roughly my age-group.
After a while sweating it out, the women around my age told me to better turban my head, that way it would keep my hair intact and to avoid hairs from dropping all over the floors.
Hearing her said this, I just do as advised, turbaned my head and continue thinking empty thoughts. But the granny next to me wasn't very happy with the remarks from the other women and gave a sharp reply to that.

The granny accused the other women of picking on people and making her own rules and to this the other women told the granny that what she said was written as the in-house rules of the bath-house. She continued saying that the rules has to be followed as the bath-house is a public property and everybody else is using the same facility.

They were still arguing over this rule thing and I quietly walked out of the room, trying very much to make myself invisible.

I went out to the open-air pouch, of course the porch is covered with high walls on all sides. I spread myself on the lazy, reclining deck-chair and must have slightly knocked off when I felt someone touched my shoulder.
With my face facing sideway, I opened my eyes only to see a big, belly-button in my face. The belly button moved slightly away and I saw the women who made the remarks earlier in the sauna standing there. There was not a string of clothes on her.

She pulled a picnic chair and sat absolutely naked, crossed leg and started to munch on her bean bun.
I let her munched on the bun and not attempting to make any conversation. She started to talk about the granny who opposed her earlier.
I was sleepy, I need to knock off a bit. If only I can tell her to leave me alone but no, she was chatting away while munching on the bean bun.
Imagine a totally naked women sitting cross-leg in front of you munching bun and chatting something about another women.

I didn't want to look at her nor listen to her chanting...please go away...
Then, halfway through the bun, she put it across my face and told me to finish the other half.
I looked at her, carefully examining the brown teeth that are not straight anymore and looked again at the bun.

She uncrossed her leg. She moved just because she was insisting that I should finish up the bun.
How do you tell a grossly-naked women the word NO.
I told her all the reasons for not accepting that bun but she still insisted that I should take it.

In the end, with finality and no-nonsense tone, I told her I hate black-bean bun especially the ones thats half-eaten by a brown, crooked teeth, stalked-naked women sitting open-legged across me.

Finally, she accepted my explanation and answered "ah, so desu ka"

Hopefully, she understood, I said it in english anyway!
I am, honestly, a true-blue coward.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tomato Jelly

Ni baru balik dari hantarkan DVD ke kedai video Bookbox. Sejak Tsutaya (rival Bookbox-kedai video juga) dibuka di Ryubo sebulan ini, Bookbox menjatuhkan harga pinjaman pada semua movie lama. Movie yang lebih dari 3 tahun. Jadi saya pun pinjamlah segala movie. Selalunya lepas makan malam dan lepas dengar berita harian, saya pasang DVD movie dan kami (otto dan saya) menonton bersama.
Entah kenapa anak-anak saya tak minat tengok movie, lalu-lalu depan TV, jeling pun tidak.

Balik pada kedai video tadi, saya pulangkan video dan saja-saja cuci mata tengok tajuk movie yang baru keluar.
Bila saya masuk, terdengar anak kecil lelaki agak dalam umur 4 tahun di belakang menjerit-jerit pada emaknya yang agak muda.

"Tomato jelly, tomato jelly, tomato jelly!" dia menjerit sambil direbahkan badannya, menguling-guling dengan kuat suara.
Emaknya pula sikit pun tak pedulikan dia. Saya pandang keliling, selain dari mereka berdua, hanya saya saja yang ada situ.

Kalau anak saya dah lama kena lempang kat butt-ock tapi anak orang. Pada saya kalau anak orang, macamana dia guling-guling dan berperangai buruk pun, comel saja. Saya suka perhatikan cara dia menangis dan meng"control" emaknya, bukan yang ini saja, anak sesiapa pun sama.

Tapi yang budak ini jerit-jerit, dia nak tomato jelly, takkan ada tomato jelly dalam kedai video ini?
Emaknya masih tak pedulikan dia, saya rasa emaknya ada penutup telinga. Saja dia baca tajuk-tajuk video dengan anaknya sedang berguling-guling.
Budak tu pula, bila nampak emaknya tak endahkan dia, mungkin dia dah biasa buat "show" begini, bangun dan ambil setiap DVD kartoon lalu dicampak-campakkannya ke arah lorong orang lalu lintas.
Emaknya kata dengan selamba "yamenai to kaeru yo!"
(kalau tak berhenti, kita balik).
Apa lagi budak itu ambil lagi beberapa DVD dan campak kat emaknya pula.
Kali ini tali kesabaran emaknya putus, dia tarik anak itu terus keluar diiringi dengan jeritan anak itu.
Apabila mereka keluar, staf datang mengemaskan DVD yang berserak tercampak sana sini.
Saya baca setiap DVD, semuanya bertajuk...

"Tom to (and) Jerry"

Aha, tomato jelly!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Japanese people have many ways of expressing their gratitude and appreciations. They let known their feelings of thankfulness with ease without letting it sounds like they owe you the world.

Gokuro sama deshita. One version of thank you but the word thank you is not even mentioned. In what situations do you use this phrase.
The postman delivers you letter and it so happen you are near by, you don't keep quiet and just let him go.
You shout..."gokuro sama deshita...." at him and he would nod at you back.
When the meterman comes quietly to check on the meter at the back of the house, he would say something like "excuse me, I am checking the meter" of course in Japanese to nobody. He just say it to let know to anybody around the area.
So, when you hear this being said and see he has done his job, you shout all the way from the house..."gokuro sama deshita" but you don't need him to reply back. The most he might just shout back "hait".

O-tsukare sama deshita, another way of saying thank you.
Normally this version is said between friends.
Like when you've bathed together in a common public bath and you say to your friends who is about to leave..."o-tsukare sama deshita".
Or like when my sister-in-law helps to clean her father's house, I would show my face and just say..."o-tsukare sama deshita".
In this case, I wouldn't say "arigatou", it's not very right.

Then you have that all too familiar phrase "sumimasen deshita".
"sumimasen deshita" is an all-functionable word, use very loosely but actually have little meaning to it.
You want to have some space, you say it.
You want to start a conversation, you say it.
You want to ask for direction, you say it.
You want to tell somebody who steps on your foot shouting inside "you big, blind rejected samurai, let go my foot", you say this with a smiling face.
Last of all, maybe I missed something else, you tell your appreciation, you say it.
Some nice guy open the door for you to pass through, you say it.
You let a woman holding a shrieking baby go through the cash register first and you will get a happy "sumimasen deshita".

Anyway, why am I giving a Japanese lesson on a beautiful morning now?
Because I do not have much to write anymore. There are many things on my mind right now.
I have many people to thank and give appreciations...
like the huge steamer an ultra-active lady sent by post from Tokyo that she brought over from KL and I have yet to use it...
"o-sewa sama deshita".
Like the novel, Cinta Fansuri, a friend from KL sent via another friend that I still can't figure out the plot even after passing bab 6..."o-tsukare sama deshita".
Like the six-metre Beijing silk with soft rose-petal design, from a friend whose brother took the trouble to bring all over Hokaido in North Japan and sent it to me, while I am still trying hard to figure out the suitable style to pattern it..."sumimasen deshita".

To all these friends and from the bottom of my heart...
"honto ni arigatou gozaimashita".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kadena hand chain

The issue of US military base in Okinawa is extremely sensitive. The barometer of sensitivity is easy to detact in the age group.
Local islanders over the age of 45, feel such great comtempt and hatred for the bases to the extend that they avoid going to places that have similarities with the american cultures.
Yesterday, a beautiful and calm sunday, 15,000 islanders mostly, held a hand-chain protest surrounding one of the biggest bases in Okinawa, Kadena.
As long as it is done in a peaceful manner, not noisy and rough, the police allows it to go on. It is one of the ways the local people exercise their democratic rights to protest over the government.

Back to the Bahasa Melayu...
Semalam ada perkumpulan haiku dan makcik Higa yang berumur 74 tahun tidak hadir sebab dia pergi tunjuk perasaan, buat hand-chain kat Kadena Base.
Makcik Higa nie dah lah tua, pulak tu bongkok. Dia sebenarnya pernah merasakan impak terus, direct impact, bom atom. Sebagai seorang yang pernah berpengalam first-hand, dia dilantik sebagai penolong pengerusi The Atom Bomb Peace Group.

Dia mempelawa saya menolong bantu penuhkan hand-chain ini sebab katanya tahun ini tidak ramai yang datang. Seelok-eloknya seramai 25,000 pasang tangan yang perlu untuk mengelilingi Kadena Base tapi tahun ini hanya 15,000 manusia sahaja yang dianggarkan datang.
Sebenarnya saya lebih utamakan kumpulan haiku dan saya tolak pelawanya. Juga otto ada beri amaran jangan campur kegiatan politik di pulau ini. Saya orang asing di tanah ini, setiap tahun seorang pegawai polis datang ke rumah menginterviu saya dengan berbagai soalan darihal aktiviti yang dilakukan.
Selama ini rekod saya bersih dan belum ada pangkah lagi.
Saya perlu kekalkan kebersihan rekod ini.

Isu base ini sungguh komplex. Tidak ada cara mudah untuk menghalau mereka dari pulau ini. Perang dah habis 50 tahun lebih, kenapa mereka masih ada?
Anak-anak muda bawah umur 30 tahun tidak pedulikan sangat isu politik.
Jika ada, adalah.
Kalau tak ada, pun tak apalah.

Orang tua-tua kata anak-anak muda sekarang tidak ada perasaan patriotik, tak sayangkan negara sebab belum pernah berperang mempertahankan tanah air sendiri dari diambil oleh negara lain.

Walaupun saya bukan orang asal tanah ini tapi saya juga ingin bersihkan pulau ini dari pertaburan base. Kalau niat untuk mempertahankan dan menyelamatkan, buatlah di tanah mereka sendiri yang ada Hawaii atau Guam.
Pulangkanlah semula tanah-tanah rakyat pulau ini jika ingin menetapkan keamanan.
Haruskan orang pulau ini dibebankan dengan rampasan tanah masing-masing hanya untuk menapong kegiatan mereka?
Penduduk Okinawa memang orang-orang yang cintakan kedamaian. Walaupun hati mereka sakit tapi mereka masih bersabar dan menunggu tanah mereka dipulangkan semula.
Entah bila tapi mereka tidak putus asa menunggu dan menunggu...

Untuk rujukan, sila ke

Friday, May 11, 2007


Orang Malaysia kata bunga raya itu lambang bunga negara mereka. Di Okinawa, bunga raya sudah menjadi lambang kebanggaan mereka. Boleh dikatakan di setiap laman rumah ditanam berbagai jenis bunga ini.

Mereka telah menghasilkan lebih kurang 50 jenis kacukan hibrid bunga ini. Hibrid yang sebesar muka manusia, hibrid berlapis-lapis, hibrid berkelopak mawar dan hibrid berwarna hitam.
Proses penggrafan dilakukan secara saintifik dimakmal oleh pakar hortikultur dan dengan ini telah terhasil beberapa hibrid baru.

Penduduk Okinawa juga salah satu hibrid baru, seperti bunga raya ini, proses cantuman telah bermula sejak pemerintahan raja Ryukyu di era 1400.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Akak, mandi apa tu sampai 1 jam lebih?

Cara mereka mandi ada tertibnya, kita kenalah ikut cara mereka.
Gosok-gosok, masuk sauna, masuk kolam jakuzi.
Lepas tu, gosok-gosok, masuk sauna lagi, masuk kolam jakuzi lagi.
Lepas tu, gosok-gosok lagi baru habiskan dengan sauna dan kolam jakuzi.
Kalau tak mau 3 round, buat 2 round pun boleh, suka ati lah.
Saya terangkan pada gadis ayu dari KL itu.

Boleh tak pakai tuala dalam kolam?
Sehelai pun tak boleh, itu undang-undang yang sudah tertulis. Kita ikut ajelah.

Tapi kak saya tak biasalah...
Biasalah tu, banyak orang melayu tak biasa. Kalau dah selalu buat, jadi biasalah.

Sikit amaran nak cakap nie...bila sampai sana, jangan tenung mereka.

Suhu bilik sauna 70c dan suhu air jakuzi 45c.

Macam udang masak....

Selepas 2 rounds, gadis ayu itu kata yang dia sangat penat. Ya, itulah penangan bila lemak dalam badan kena masak dan cair. Juga walaupun tidak bersenam, rasa penat semacam. Kepalanya mula ringan dan mabuk, jadi saya suruh dia duduk sebentar untuk menstabilkan pejalanan darah dalam badan.

Saya juga begini waktu pertama kali masuk bilik sauna. Kali ketiga saya pergi sendiri dan waktu mengundurkan kereta masa balik, saya terlanggar dinding bangunan sebab kepala rasa ringan dan berpusing tapi bukan pening.
Berat badannya turun 300gm selepas mandi sauna dan peliknya dia hanya duduk dan merendamkan badan dalam kolam panas itu.

Gadis ayu itu menanyakan kepada saya adakah sauna seperti itu di KL dan saya kata sepatutnya dia yang lebih tahu darihal itu.

Akhirnya saya tanyakan apa rasanya selepas sessi mandi bersama itu.
Katanya pada mula SHOCK dan masih shock lagi...

Memang betul, pada mulanya shock tapi selepas beberapa sessi shock itu hilang sendiri.
Sekarang saya lebih memerhatikan kecantikan asli dan perbezaan pada setiap manusia walaupun pandangan itu dibuat secara lari-lari.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lily on Ie

Lily, warnamu putih
ketelusan, keikhlasan
tidak bercorak, tidak bercampur
memberi harum pada yang menikmati

Kebaikanmu tidak dihargai
tidak terlihat seri berputih
Masih kamu melambai hati
memberi harum merata segi

Jangan hentikan sinar serimu
Contohkan putih biar mengerti
Sentiasa dikenang dalam abadi
harumkan lagi telus kemesraan.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Okinawa Flora