Designing Dinner at De’ Tjolomadoe

I said goodbye to Mr. Bekti, a marketing staff of Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Hotel who had accompanied me to complete our survey to several important hotel rooms for the purposes of my company’s Marketing Conference.

But when we want to leave the lobby. Someone who named Treavy, vocalist of Artcoustic Band called Rahadian who was next to me.

A vocalist of Artcoustic Band want to held a meeting with us in this hotel, Sir“, Rahadian quietly said.

Yes, we can do a meeting with him in hotel lobby“, I decided.

Finally, I and Rahadian decided to wait for him in hotel lobby. We just wanted to lightly negotiate about the cost of renting an Artcoustic Band for a 2 hours show in Marketing Conference gala dinner later.

Fifteen minutes later, Treavy arrived. And we immediately negotiated and found an agreement in no less than 30 minutes. We discussed required sound system power, show cost, musical instruments which would be carried and show duration. Ourconversation seemed fast because we were pressed for time to do a lot of surveys that day.

After Treavy said goodbye, we immediately took an online taxi which had been waiting in parking area for 5 minutes.

De’ Tjolomadoe, Sir?”, the driver briefly said when I sat next to him.

How long, Sir?”

Thirty minutes, sir. The distance is far enough….Ten kilometers, Sir“, he replied while cheerfully smiling.

I understood that this historic sugar factory building was located outside Solo City, precisely in Karanganyar Regency. The black online taxi which I was riding was heading west. Sunlight reflecting onto asphalt roads made the city even hotter. The sun was perched overhead, 12:00 hours to be precise.

The road currents were slightly congested, and online taxi have choked up at some point. Slightly missed the estimated time, I arrived at the front gate of De’ Tjolomadoe.

De’ Tjolomadoe courtyard.
Front gate.

The exs-sugar factory building looked dashing from its court, its thick walls broadcast its sturdiness, its height was amazing and a chimney in the middle made it classic. More elegant with bright cream paint that still looked new. Understandably, after a long renovation, this building was inaugurated for use about six months before my arrival.

I started queueing at front gate. When it was my turn to entering the door, security guard handed me a pen.

It’s free promo Sir, just write your name in guest book, Okay!”, He politely ruled.

Yes, Sir“. I replied with a smile.

I entered the front hall which was called “Gilingan” Station. This “Gilingan” Station appeared to be the main area of this Sugar Factory Museum. Giant machines appeared in it. While the right side wall provided information about events which were held at De ‘Tjolomadoe such as David Foster & Friends concert, visitation of Mr. Jokowi Widodo (President of Republic of Indonesia), Habibie Festival and other events. De’ Tjolomadoe’s photos before and after its revitalization were also sequentially displayed.

“Gilingan”Station gate.
Giant machines in it.
Event informations.
“Karbonatasi” Station.
Handycraft Storefronts.

I started to go deeper. Entering the section which was titled as “Karbonatasi” Station with the appearance of smaller machines, combined with handicraft storefronts. Storefront display which amazed me was Batik display which were showed by Solomadoe and Omah Camera.

Turning at building corner, I found the third room which was the “Penguapan” Station. The giant tubes perfectly appeared and displayed on its steel legs. The existence of flower pots and art shops made this room more livelier.

I felt increasingly impatient to see the atmosphere in Food and Beverage section, because I have a unique event concept for Marketing Conference later. I planned to hold a dinner on the first day of conference at this Sugar Factory Museum if they could provide an available restaurant which could facilitate participant quota of 76 people.

I arrived at a place where I was headed, namely “Ketelan” Station. The restaurant was called Street Food Festival. I went straight to operation manager and gave him the details of why I meant to visit. With various schemes and strategies, he finally decided that he could accommodate my plan. He was willing to add stools and cutlery for the D-day. He also didn’t hesitate to give me attractive discounts.

“Penguapan” Station.
“Ketelan” Station gate.
“Ketelan” Station.
Tjolo Koffie.
Street Food Festival.
Bye De’ Tjolomadoe.

Even an hour and a half I explored De’ Tjolomadoe and made sure the setting of one of the important events at that place. It was time to go to Amaris Hotel Sriwedari to do  check-in process and putted some items so that my steps didn’t get heavier.

Makan Malam di Ameya Yokocho, Taitō

Platform Stasiun Shibuya.

Aku sudah berdiri lagi di platform kereta, tepatnya di Stasiun Shibuya, dalam ruas Yamanote Line, tepat pada pukul 15:48. Matahari telah undur diri di cakrawala kota dan membuat suhu terdegradasi ke titik 3o C. Lantas udara yang telah menjelang beku itu dengan mudah menembus tebalnya gloves hitam di kedua telapak tanganku. Tapi akan menjadi preseden memalukan apabila aku harus menyerah dan memilih meringkuk di peraduan Yadoya Guesthouse.

Aku sudah bersiap diri menjelajah Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō. Dua belas kilometer di timur laut Distrik Khusus Shibuya, berjarak tempuh tiga puluh menit.

Ameya Yokocho adalah alasan utamaku singgah menuju Stasiun Ueno. Adalah pasar serba ada, serba murah dan serba discount. Konon jika hendak makan malam murah, maka para traveler berbondong menuju ke exs-pasar gelap yang sudah ada sejak Perang Dunia II itu.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Ueno tepat pukul 17:35. Keluar di Hirokoji Exit, pintu keluar terbesar di selatan bangunan stasiun. Pintu keluar ini memiliki halaman luas dan tepat menghadap Chuo-dori Avenue, berseberangan dengan Ueno Marui Department Store (OIOI), pusat fashion kenamaan  di Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō yang menjulang tinggi dengan sembilan lantai.

Gelap mulai mengakuisisi hari ketika aku memulai langkah menuju ke Ameya Yokocho. Lebih ringkas dipanggil Ameyoko atau Ameyoko Market. Belum tiba pun aku membayangkan bahwa pasar itu sudah mulai ramai dan bertebar aroma masakan. Menjadikan perut keroncongan sepanjang jalan.

Aku menyusuri jalanan di bawah jalur layang kereta, mengarah ke selatan. Jarak pasar itu berkisar dua ratus meter, hanya lima menit dari Hirokoji Exit.

Tibalah langkahku di sebuah pertigaan yang di salah satu jalannya berdiri gerbang Ameyoko Market. Aku menghadap ke dua buah percabangan jalan yang keduanya adalah bagian dari jalur pasar itu. Tapi aku salah mengira. Bukan aroma harum makanan yang kucium, tetapi justru bau amis ikan laut yang pertama kali menusuk hidung dalam-dalam. Sudah barang tentu aku menghiraukannya karena perhatianku tertuju ke keramaian di dalam sana.

Gerbang Ameya Yokocho.
Gerbang Ameya Yokocho.
Bagian dalam Ameya Yokocho.

Tak kusangka, akan keberadaan beberapa restoran khas Turki dan beberapa gerai kebab di sana. Kufikir tak kan susah menemukan makanan halal untuk para traveler muslim di sini. Sementara di sepanjang jalan berikutnya, beberapa gerai yang menjual ikan laut diselingi oleh gerai fashion, souvenir, minimarket, peralatan olahraga serta beranekaragam gerai –gerai lain.

Kufikir aku tak akan menganggarkan untuk membeli barang apapun yang diperjualbelikan di pasar ini, kecuali makan malam.  Aku terus menyisir setiap jengkal Ameyoko Market hingga akhirnya tertarik pada tampilan gambar semangkuk chicken ramen. Bukan isi di dalam mangkuknya, tetapi harga yang tercantum di bawahnya, 399 Yen, itu berkisar Rp. 50.000.

Tak faham akan namanya, aku tak kurang akal. Kuambil telepon pintar dan kutangkap gambarnya. Bergegaslah aku menuju ke dalam rumah makan itu. Aku mulai mengamati sekitar, desain meja memanjang dan melingkar oval di tengahnya dengan beberapa meja di setiap sisi dinding yang sudah dipenuhi warga lokal. Mereka begitu berisik menyeruput mie di mejanya. Aku menuju ke pelayan wanita dan menunjukkan gambar di telepon pintar. Berteriaklan pelayan itu ke bagian dapur sembari menyebut nama menu yang kutunjukkan lalu dia menunjuk pada sebuah bangku kosong. Aku faham, itulah meja makanku. Aku duduk di sebuah meja di sisi dinding dan menunggu menu dihidangkan.

Salah satu rumah makan di Ameya Yokocho.

Sementara teko berisi air putih dengan es batu di dalamnya mulai kutuang.  Aku terus memperhatikan perilaku pengunjung rumah makan itu. Begitu mereka memasuki ruangan, maka mereka akan melepaskan jaket pada hanger di pojok ruangan, lalu duduk di meja makan, memesan dan menyantap makanannya dengan cepat. Semua serba teratur.

Tak lama pelayan menyajikan menu yang kupesan dan aku mulai menyantapnya. Menurut referensi yang kubaca, orang jepang akan meyeruput mie yang dipesannya dengan bunyi yang cukup untuk di dengar demi menunjukkan bahwa mie itu enak dan sebagai isyarat untuk menghormati sang koki. Maka akupun beradegan sama walau sedikit kerepotan dan membuat kuah mie ku berlepotan ke meja makan. Itu belum cukup membuatku malu, karena air teko di meja benar-benar habis tak bersisa, entah berapa kali aku menuangnya di gelas kecilku. Pelayan perempuan yang sedari tadi memperhatikanku pun menutup senyum dengan tangannya sambil sebentar-sebentar berbisik dengan pelayan yang lain. Dia tentu tahu bahwa aku seorang pengelana yang berbeda kulit dengan bangsanya.

Walhasil, aku pun membayar makanan itu dengan senyum lebar kepadanya, karena dia tak kunjung menutup senyumnya ketika menatapku.

Hirokoji Exit Stasiun Ueno.
Bagian dalam Stasiun Ueno.
Platform Stasiun Ueno.

Aku selesai bersantap malam pada jam 17:45, dan bergegas meninggalkan Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō.

Food Testing at Swiss Belinn Saripetojo Hotel Solo

Hi Donny, make our Marketing Conference event very great and meaningful. I have booked a very good and strategic hotel for our event. You have to survey it and design our event according to hotel facilities which I ordered ”.

That was a brief greeting from my CEO a week before I conducted a survey to Solo. A sentence that holded hope and certainly becomes a burden for me as Chairman of Marketing Conference.

What I knew, this hotel was located in Laweyan area and right across from Purwosari Station which was the second oldest train station in Solo. And my first day survey, i putagenda of visiting this hotel in the itinerary.

It was still morning….The time was 8:38 hours and I already had some sufficient information about Jaladara Tourist Train rental for Marketing Conference purposes later. Now I was in front of Solo City Transportation Board courtyard and waiting for an online taxi picked up me.

Soon the taxi arrived and I hurried up. Rahadian sat on back seat on right side and I chatted with the driver in front seat. Rahadian continued to try to contact marketing division of hotel which we were aiming for, Mr. Bekti was his name. It seemed like Rahadian was a little annoyed because he couldn’t reach him.

Never mind, we’ll just ask on the spot“, I lightly muttered.

Yes, Sir Donny” he briefly replied, then his gaze flew out the taxi window to enjoy the atmosphere of Solo City.

Lobby and reception desk.
Escalalator to Robinson Department Store.
Toilet near reception desk.

The online taxis were moving towards southwest, about three kilometers. And in 15 minutes arrived in front of hotel lobby. Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Solo, the name of the hotel. Located on south side of protocol road, namely Slamet Riyadi Street, directly opposite the Purwosari Tabanas Monument.

Our CEO was kind. He ordered a three-star hotel which was integrated with city’s shopping center, namely Robinson Department Store. But who would have thought that this hotel was a former ice factory building from Dutch colonial era in 1919.

As soon as we got off from online taxi, we went straight to reception desk and asked where was Mr. Bekti who was in charge in marketing division. It turned out that he was in a meeting and we had to wait up to fifteen minutes.

For some time waiting, Mr. Bekti came and a moment later we were invited to tour to all rooms which would be related to our Marketing Conference event. Starting from the meeting room then continuing to the barelo (bar, restaurant, lounge), swimming pool, fitness center and spa and massage room, all shown one by one.

Corridor towards ballroom.
Lounge in front of Keraton Balroom.
Keraton Ballroom.
Keraton Ballroom.

The main survey, we allocated it to see the Keraton Ballroom, because this location would be the main venue for our event. We have to pay attention to ballroom layout in detail to design the best form of event which could be done.

Meanwhile, the second facility which was be our goal is barelo. We would make a plan that this place would be the location for a gala dinner with local band, namely Artcoustic Band. We were also allowed to do food testing to determine the best menu which we will chose to serve at the event.

Lounge in front of barelo.
Barelo.
Outdoor Barelo.
Outdoor Barelo.

It was just a shame, I couldn’t see guest room because in that morning, rooms were still full of guests. Finally, our last survey was conducted to see swimming pool, fitness center and spa and massage room.

Swimming pool..
Fitness Centre.
Spa and massage.

We thought the survey this time was enough and it was time to go to next place.

Aura Patung Hachiko, Lima Kali Shibuya Crossing

Masih ingat?…..

Ketika mobil hitam milik D.K sedang mengejar Sean Boswell  yang melaju cepat dengan mobil balap warna merahnya dan rombongan balap itu dipimpin oleh Han Lue di depan yang dengan maskulin meliak-liuk dengan mobil balap ceper kuningnya. Dalam aksi kejar-kejaran itu, ada sebuah momen ketika ketiga mobil balap itu terpaksa melintas di sebuah simpang lima yang penuh dengan para penyeberang jalan. Adegan itu begitu mendebarkan tetapi terlihat sangat fantastis dari kamera atas. Tak salah lagi, itulah sepenggal scene dalam film “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. Dan simpang lima yang dimaksud terkenal dengan nama Shibuya Crossing.

Nah, kalau ini kisah yang berbeda lagi…..

Pernahkah kamu menonton sebuah film yang diangkat dari true story dan menceritakan seekor anjing bernama Hachi beserta tuannya Parker Wilson yang diperankan oleh aktor kawakan Richard Gere?.

Dalam film itu dikisahkan Hachi yang begitu setia dan setiap hari mengantar Wilson menuju stasiun untuk berangkat mengajar lalu menunggu kepulangannya di depan stasiun yang sama saat sore tiba. Begitulah kegiatan harian Hachi. Hingga pada suatu saat, Wilson meninggal di kampus karena serangan jantung dan tidak akan pernah bertemu Hachi kembali. Tetapi karena kesetiaannya, Hachi hingga akhir hayat tetap menunggu majikannya yang tak pernah lagi datang di depan stasiun. Anjing yang melegenda ini adalah kisah nyata yang menjadi asal usul Patung Hachiko yang lokasinya berada di dekat Stasiun Shibuya dan hanya berjarak seratus meter di sebelah selatan Shibuya Crossing.

Kedua film itulah yang sebetulnya menjadi dasar dan alasan bagiku untuk menempatkan Shibuya Crossing dan Patung Hachiko sebagai tujuan pertama di Toyo.

Siang itu udara semakin mendingin, perlahan turun dari 4o Celcius, waktu menunjukkan pukul 13:45 saat aku sudah berada di north entrance gate Stasiun Nakano. Tak lama, kereta Chuo-Sobu Line itu tiba. Siang menjelang sore, penumpang masih sepi, mungkin memang belum saatnya jam pulang kantor. Aku mengambil duduk di sisi gerbong sebelah kiri dan merasakan hangatnya udara dalam gerbong.  Aku baru sadar ketika merasakan hawa panas menyembur dari bawah bangku dan menerpa bagian bawah kaki ketika duduk. Rupanya kereta di Jepang menaruh mesin pemanas di bagian bawah bangku.

Sisi dalam Stasiun Shibuya.
Gerbang Stasiun Shibuya yang berhadapan langsung dengan Hachiko Square.

Hanya lima menit menuju tenggara, aku menuruni gerbong Chuo-Sobu Line untuk berganti  ke gerbong Yamanote Line. Kini kereta bergerak ke selatan sejauh empat kilometer dan memerlukan waktu tempuh sepuluh menit serta dalam kondisi penumpang yang semakin padat. Maklum Yamanote Line merupakan jalur kereta tersibuk di pusat kota Tokyo.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Shibuya pada pukul 14:00 dan mengambil arah ke Hachiko Exit Gate di sebelah utara bangunan stasiun. Langkah kakiku saat keluar dari gerbang stasiun seketika disambut oleh penampakan Hachiko Square yang sudah penuh dengan pengunjung. Sebagian duduk di setiap sisi plaza dan sebagian besarnya mengelilingi patung binatang loyal itu untuk mengantri berfoto. Taka da yang spesial dari patungnya, mungkin kisah hidup Hachiko lah yang membuat patung itu serasa hidup dan menjadi pusat perhatian.

Aku tak lama menikmati keramaian di Hachiko Square. Karena tak sabaran ingin merasakan sensasi menyeberang di Shibuya Crossing. Aku melangkah seratus meter  ke utara dan mulai berdiri di simpang lima ternama itu. Aku hanya bisa tersenyum sendiri ketika melihat kelakuan para turis di saat menyeberang. Ada yang berfoto ria di tengah simpang lima itu, ada yang berlari dan memanjat tiang rambu-rambu untuk mengambil foto dari ketinggian dan ada juga yang memuat vlog selama lampu hijau masih menyala. Dan saat bunyi tut-tut-tut berseru nyaring bersusulan sebagai pertanda lampu rambu akan berganti menjadi merah, maka para turis dan pejalan kaki lokal berlarian menuju ke tepian dan sekejap menyisakan hening sesaat, kemudian disusul oleh bunyi klakson dan deru mesin kendaraan yang berebut melintas simpang lima itu menuju ke segala arah.

Chūken Hachikō, andai masih hidup, dia sudah berumur 97 tahun.
Yuhuuu….Shibuya Crossing.
Tsutaya adalah toko buku kenamaan di Jepang. I’m @ Shibuya Crossing.
Simpang Lima yang konon mampu menyeberangkan 50.000 pejalan kaki selama 30 menit.

Aku yang masih tak percaya bisa berada di situ pun tertular keanehan akut mereka. Karena ini simpang lima maka genap lima kali pula, aku menyeberang bolak-balik dari satu sisi ke sisi yang lain di Shibuya Crossing. Oh Tuhan, inikah sebuah siang yang membuatku menjadi gila karena terpapar aroma kehidupan Tokyo?.

Hunting for Jaladara Train and Balekambang Park

Riding a Dutch heritage train was an important agenda item in Marketing Conference in next October. Therefore, on the first day of my survey to Solo, Jaladara Tourist Train was the first priority. And a board which could be informed about this tourist train was Solo City Transportation Board.

So after enjoying the last spoon of Dawet Telasih Ice, I left Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional market to Menteri Supeno Street. My goal was to meet an officer who was in charge of Jaladara Tourist Train rental license and asked about its mechanism and costs.

Office of Solo City Transportation Board.

Not long waiting, an online taxi picked me up and drove me there. Not far, only four kilometers at west of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, in 15 minutes I arrived. When arriving at Solo City Transportation Board which its atmosphere was very busy, maybe since this morning, many vehicles have been queuing to do KIR test. That was the only magic certificate for a transport vehicle to hunting Rupiah in my country.

I was directed by a security guard on duty to a small building which was functioned as an office to meet Mr. Sandi who was a Jaladara officer. But Mr. Sandi was having a meeting and wasn’t there. Finally, I only got a little explanation about Jaladara Tourist Train from an officers on duty. The information included rental price of IDR 3,500,000 per 3 hours, if you wanted to add a tour guide, music and market culinary on the train, you needed to add around IDR 2,100,000. And the latest information was that Solo City Transportation Board also offered me a Werkudara double decker bus service which could be used to Solo City tours.

Storing that information and while waiting for Mr. Sandi, I decided to visit a city park near Solo City Transportation Board office, only 600 meters away, so it can be reached by walking. The city park was Balekambang Park, an integrated art park covering an area of 10 hectares and was located in Manahan area. Balekambang Park was one of art performing venues in Solo, besides that, this park also had functions as an educational park, botanical garden and recreation park. Every month, there are art performances in this area. Sendratari*1 and Ketoprak*2 are performances which are often held there.

Gate of Balekambang Park.
Main area of Balekambang Park.
Information of next performing art.
Lactation Room for visitors.

The art scent of this garden was felt when I entered its gate. A high gate with a carved exterior with a mountain concept was very cool. Meanwhile, several blackboards bearing schedule for performing arts at Bale Kambang were plastered around the park. Made visitors easy for get an information.

Meanwhile, a row of shipping containers were placed on one side of park and have functions for visitor facilities such as Lactation Room and Medical Room. Making this park so human to become a place for performing arts in its entirety.

If it was classified, the eastern part of park had functions as a place for outbound activities and plant nurseries, while in center of park was an art building and a main garden with an open stage for outdoor performances. Meanwhile, the western part was dominated by lake and swimming pool for visitors to enjoy.

That morning, there wasn’t much I could do in the park because there was really no art event at all. So after I was satisfied walking around, I decided to return immediately to Solo City Transportation Board to meet Mr. Sandi, who might have returned from his meeting.

Notes:

*1=Sendratari is art, drama and dance, drama or story presented in a dance form without dialogue, usually accompanied by music (gamelan).

*2=Ketoprak is a traditional drama art originating from Central Java.

Berkenalan dengan Janessa di Yadoya Guesthouse

Bangunan Stasiun Nakano memiliki dua tingkat di atas tanah dengan delapan platform. Bagian selasar depan stasiun dijulurkan dengan kanopi  berbahan Alumunium Composite Panel hingga tepat di gerbang depan Nakano Sun Mall.  Ketika tiba di sana, aku keluar di pintu utara dengan halaman beraspal yang sangat luas dan dihiasi oleh aktivitas makan siang para merpati.

Sementara hari sudah menuju sore, tetapi tetap saja dingin walau jarum jam sudah menunjuk pukul 13:40. Aku hanya berfikir untuk segera menuju hotel, menaruh backpack dan memulai petualangan perdanaku di Tokyo.

Aku memintas jalan sejajar sebelah kanan gerbang utara stasiun. Memelipir di kaki-kaki angkuh Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank. Hanya deretan mural art pada julangan pagar beton pembatas jalur kereta yang mampu memberikan mood booster siang itu..

Tak lama kemudian, aku mulai memasuki gang-gang sempit selebar tiga meter menuju ke utara. Pagi itu, setiap jalanan yang kulewati terlihat sepi, hiruk pikuk sangat tak kentara di sepanjang gang yang kulalui di Distrik Nakano. Mungkin saja karena penduduk Nakano yang hanya berjumlah tiga ratus ribuan penduduk. Ah, aku sok tau perihal populasi.

Pun restoran yang menjamur di sepanjang gang, masih tertutup rapat, nantinya aku akan menemui  kemeriahan restoran itu saat malam tiba. Malam dimana di setiap rumah makan itu akan berdiri seorang laki-laki yang mempersilahkan setiap orang untuk masuk ke dalamnya. Di memori kepala, aku masih mengingat beberapa nama retoran tersebut. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa aku sangat terkesan selama tinggal di Distrik Nakano. Izakaya, Tsuyamaru, Gyu No Simonya, Hakata Mangetsu dan Ikkenme Sakaba adalah beberapa nama restoran disana. Apakah aku mencicipi masakan mereka?. Tidak jawabnya, kuperjelas lagi “TIDAK”. Karena sehari-hari di Nakano, setiap menginjak waktu untuk memenuhi kebutuhan perut, aku hanya sanggup membeli dua potong onigiri di sebuah FamilyMart langganan di bilangan Fureai Road.

Olala….Tiba di Yadoya Guesthouse.
Pembatas dingin dengan udara luar ada pada tirai plastik itu.
Tempat bersama untuk menyimpan makanan.

Hi, Where are you come from?”, tanyaku pada resepsionis dormitory. Aku tak mau hanya menikmati kecantikannya dengan diam. Lebih baik aku memulai pembicaraan.

Hi Donny, I’m Janessa from Portugal”, tentu dia tahu namaku, karena dia sedang mengecek nomor pasporku sebelum memberikan bunk bed tempatku tidur di Yadoya Guesthouse.

Hi Janessa, I’m very surprised because the receptionist is not Japanese, but you”, aku mulai melempar senyum perkenalan.

Yeaaa, I’m working here. It’s nice country”, senyumnya tampak bahagia.

Donny, your bunk bed is at fourth level. So enjoy to burning your calorie by walking on stairs there”, Janessa menambahkan sambil sedikit bercanda.

Okay, Janessa. It’s no matter. I’m strong backpacker”, Aku menutup percakapan itu.

Yadoya Guesthouse begitu banyak meninggalkan kesan. Banyak kekonyolan di dalamnya yang membuatku kadang tertawa ketika mengingatnya. Beberapa diantaranya adalah saat suatu malam aku harus berbasuh dengan air sedingin es karena tak kunjung menemukan letak tombol pemanas, atau sebuah pagi di saat aku menemukan dua sejoli asal Eropa tertidur berdekapan mesra dalam sebuah kotak kecil bunk bed dengan selimut tebalnya atau saat dimana pada tengah malam aku susah setengah mati memejamkan mata karena kasurku serasa ikut membeku. Mungkin memang dormitory seharga 2,000 Yen per malam tak cocok untuk tinggal di Jepang saat musim dingin.

Anak tangga pertama.
Aku ke Jepang tak pernah membeli kuota dan SIM card lokal. WiFi penginapan selalu kuandalkan untuk berkirim kabar.
Menuju kamar di lantai empat.
Nanjak trooosss.

Dari enam belas bunk bed dalam kamar itu, aku bertemu tetangga dekat yaitu seorang solo backpacker asal Brunei Darussalam, berparas manis dalam balutan jilbabnya. Ya, aku tahu asalnya karena menemukan gambar bulan sabit dengan kedua tangan menengadah yang menjadi lambang negaranya tertempel jelas di bagian atas backpack.

Apapun yang kurasakan, Distrik Nakano tetap memberikan kesan yang mendalam dalam petualanganku mengenal Tokyo dan Yadoya Guesthouse menjadi rumah kesekian dalam bagian perjalananku.

Dawet Telasih Ice and Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market

North Gate of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

Even though Rahadian had just arrived in Solo very early in the morning and had a chance to take a shower and breakfast in hotel, according to schedule, I still checked out from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. The time was already 8:30 hours when we came out to hotel courtyard.

I immediately ordered an online taxi and headed for Sudiroprajan area to do the first culinary survey. The special culinary which I was aiming for was Dawet Telasih Ice*1, dawet which was consisting of black sticky rice, jenang sumsum*2, tape ketan*2, telasih seeds, liquid sugar, coconut milk and ice cubes.

I was dropped off at the north door of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, right next to Pasar Gede Clock Tower. This old market building of Dutch heritage was indeed amazing. The combination of Javanese-Colonial architecture could be clearly seen from the appearance of Colonial-style walls and Javanese-style roofs. Thick walls, high ceilings and windows extending upwards.

When I arrived, market courtyard area was already busy that morning. The flow of visitors who come in and out of the market to shop, traders who flocked to entering their trading goods into market, boisterous of pedicab drivers who looking for passengers and busyness of light culinary traders outside the market made atmosphere of the biggest market in Solo City very lively .

Its Courtyard.
That is Pasar Gede Clock Tower.
Market inside.
Market inside.
Market inside.

I rushed into market inside to find whereabouts of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop which was said to be very well known throughout Solo City. How couldn’t, it was said that Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice recipe concoction was 90 years old and hadn’t changed at all since it was first made. Even this Dawet Telasih Ice had become a subscription for Mr. Joko Widodo (Republic of Indonesia President) when he went home to Solo.

Walking through narrow alleys in the middle of market made me immerse in commercial sense of Solo residents. And finally, unfortunate circumstances befall me. When I arrived in front of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop, the shop was still closed and deserted. I tried to ask some traders in the market about when the shop would open.

Later on 10:00 hours, Sir“, they replied.Oalah, aku terlalu pagi melakukan survey dawet ini.

Until 14:00 hours, it usually ends, Sir“, they added information when I sat on one of empty shop benches.

No matter how, I have to find and taste Dawet Telasih Ice to test its taste, because Marketing Conference participants will be directed to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market to taste this culinary item.

I tried to walk on other alleys in the market, until I found Ibu Hj. Sipon’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop. Without thinking, I immediately ordered a portion for IDR. 8,000. I enjoyed it so slowly, this Dawet Telasih Ice had very special taste, combination of savory, sweet, soft and cold texture became an appetizing unit. Finally I decided, Dawet Telasih Ice would be the first culinary destination for Marketing Conference later.

One of Dawet Telasih Ice Shops.
Mrs. Hj. Sipon.
Dawet Telasih Ice.

After enjoying Dawet Telasih Ice, Rahadian and I rushed to Solo City Transportation Board to charter a Jaladara Tourist Train*4.

Notes:

*1 : Dawet Telasih Ice is a culinary specialty of Solo City.

*2: Jenang Sumsum is a kind of food in the form of white porridge made from rice flour and eaten with sweet sauce.

*3: Tape Ketan is is a traditional Indonesian food made from sticky rice which is processed by fermentation.

Berburu Tokunai Pass: Chou Line dari Tokyo ke Nakano

Tiba di Stasiun Tokyo.

Seperti biasa, mengabadikan diri di depan spot-spot penting di negara orang adalah kebiasaan wajar. Maka sebelum memasuki Stasiun Tokyo, aku menyempatkan diri berpose di depan gerbangnya. Tepatnya di depan “Yaeshu North Entrance”.

Jika kamu ke Tokyo. Kamu akan jarang bertemu orang diatas permukaan, Donny. Tapi begitu masuk ke stasiun bawah tanah maka penduduk Tokyo bak lebah didalamnya. Coba deh buktikan Donny kalau kamu ga percya!”, itulah perkataan teman sekantor yang pernah berangkat ke Tokyo. Tercengang aku waktu itu.

Kini aku sudah di Tokyo dan berharap bisa membuktikannya. Ternyata, perihal di permukaan yang akan jarang bertemu orang….Itu jelas salah. Tokyo tetap saja kota sibuk di dunia dengan tingginya mobilitas penduduk di atasnya. Lalu, “sarang lebah bawah tanah”….Ya, itu benar. Bahkan sebelum aku tiba di ruangan paling bawah pun, stasiun Tokyo sudah penuh manusia. Luar biasa.

Ketika memasuki bangunan stasiun, aku lebih memilih berdiri menempel di sebuah tiang besar dan merekam hilir mudik penumpang kereta yang sangat rapat sekali…..Super sibuk. Mungkin aku menjadi manusia tersantai pagi itu di seantero stasiun Tokyo karena masih saja sempat berdiri berlama-lama merekam aktivitas di dalamnya.

Kini saatnya berburu tiket kereta. Aku sudah meniatkan diri untuk mendapatkan one day pass supaya bisa berkeliling Tokyo sepuasnya hingga tengah malam. Mengantrilah diriku di sebuah ticketing vending machine. Dalam antrian, aku terus memperhatikan lekat bagaimana setiap orang megoperasikan mesin itu. Akan tetapi, ketika giliranku tiba pun, aku tetap tak paham. Semua layar penuh dengan tombol dan angka yang merepresentasikan harga tiket. Entahlah itu tujuan kemana. Kutengok ke belakang, para pengantri semakin sebal karena aku terlalu lama mencari tiket. Aku menyerah, aku mudur dan mempersilahkan penumpang lainnya yang terlihat sangat terburu waktu. Aku terus berdiri agak jauh dari ticketing vending machine dan memperhatikan mereka menggunakannya. Tetap saja bingung…. karena mereka memilih menggunakan aksara kanji.

Akihirnya kuputuskan mencari sisi lain stasiun yang lebih sepi. Aku menemukanya di selasar kiri. Ticketing vending machine itu kosong melompong. Kudekati pelan, tenang dan kuperhatikan dengan seksama setiap tombolnya. Akhirnya kutemukan tombol “ENG” yang akan menuntunku menggunakan bahasa internasional. Tapi tak langsung kutemukan kata “One Day Pass”.

Aku terus mencari di direktori “Discount Card” lalu muncullah kata “Tokunai Pass”. Beruntung, aku pernah membaca sebuah artikel tentang perkeretaapian Jepang sebelum berangkat berpetualang. Dalam artikel itu disebutkan bahawa One Day Passnya Jepang bernama Tokunai Pass. Begitu girangnya aku memecahkan permasalahan itu. Oh, ternyata gampang minta ampun, aku saja yang ndeso. Aku menekannya dan setelah membayar senilai 750 Yen (Rp. 97.500).

Wujud Tokunai Pass.
Ini mungkin receiptnya.

Yang kutahu, Tokunai Pass bisa  didapatkan di seluruh stasiun JR Line. Dan bisa digunakan untuk menaiki seluruh kereta JR Line lokal (dalam kota Tokyo) yang relnya terletak di atas permukaan tanah. Jadi tidak bisa digunakan untuk Tokyo Subway bawah tanah.

Begitu mendapatkan tiket, aku langsung menuju platform ke arah Nakano.

Nakano berada di timur Tokyo dengan jarak 15 Km dan waktu tempuh menggunakan kereta berkisar 20 menit. Aku sengaja mencari tempat menginap yang sedikit jauh dari pusat kota karena harganya yang murah.

Platform menuju Nakano.
Tiba di Stasiun Nakano.

Aku menaiku Chuo Line menuju Nakano. Pukul 13:30, aku tiba di Stasiun Nakano. Dan bersiap berjalan kaki menuju Yadoya Guesthouse.

Solo Survey Started from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana

Almost midnight….

The conversation spiced with an additional cup of latte with Mr. Arman in the lobby of Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences was still warm. Meanwhile, Rihsan, his second eight-year-old son, fell asleep on one side of sofa. I was sure that if it wasn’t ended, this conversation would end at dawn. Then I was the one who was responsible for closing this conversation.

Alright Mr. Arman, it’s time for me to excuse myself and rest at hotel“, I said as polite as possible after sipping the rest of my latte.

Oh, it’s almost midnight huh ?. Oh yes, where is Mr. Donny staying?”.

At Grand Amira Hotel, Sir Arman”.

Oh okay. Be careful on your way. See you again next time”.

The streets are deserted. To reduce safety risks, I decided to order a taxi online instead. Soon, I picked up by him. Then, the taxi drove through Honggowongso Street to Pasar Kliwon area. On my way, I tried to track down Rahadian on his way from Bandung to Solo. But my calls weren’t answered, my messages were unrequited, maybe he was sleeping on train.

Is Solo safe or not, sir if i ride a motorbike taxi at night?” I asked to driver to open the conversation.

Safe, Sir. In Solo, online motorcycle taxi runs for 24 hours. Don’t worry”.

Wow that means, tomorrow night I can stay up late in the city, Sir….Hahahaha“.

Culinary night, Sir Donny. Solo is a culinary centre. Culinary here has its own time. There are morning culinary delights, some are open at noon, now at night some are starting to open, Sir“, he briefly explained.

Wow, it’s unique. Culinary traders seem to have their respective sales time slots. Just like a deal….hahaha”, I began to admire the uniqueness of this city.

The taxi driver never knew that my goal to Solo was to do a culinary survey and found several culinary spots which would become a destination at my company’s Marketing Conference event. Tomorrow morning I would start in tasting every famous culinary dish of Batik City with Rahadian.

In 15 minutes, I arrived at the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. Modern minimalist hotel which was booked by my office. For me, Hotel with its cost about Rp. 335,000 per night had become a luxury hotel because I often used dormitories when doing backpacking. My steps in the lobby was greeted by a sweet smile from receptionist who seemed to hurry to standing when he saw my arrival.

Reception desk.
Hotel’s lobby.
My room.
My room.
My room.

“You come very night, Mr. Donny”, he briefly said.

Oh yes, Miss. I had to meet my old friend in Mangkubumen area. It had been fun conversation with him, Miss”, while I handed to her the booking confirmation letter and my ID card.

I see, but you don’t need to worry, our receptionist serves 24 hours, Sir“. Her smile looked sweety while giving a room key and payment receipt to me.

After that I rushed up to room with a lift to right behind of reception desk.

—-****—-

Knock….Knock….Knock“, the sound seemed to have been going on from a few minutes ago.

Oh my God……

I was fast asleep and late to woke up.

Knock….Knock….Knock. Mr. Donny open, Sir!. This is Rahadian”, the voice softly sounded from outside.

It must have been since dark morning, Rahadian had arrived at hotel. I guess that he have waited for a long time in lobby. I saw on my smartphone a lot of missed calls from him. Some Whatsapp messages were unread.

I opened the door and Rahadian’s face was joking as if he was grumbling. “How is it, Sir. If I don’t go up to this room, you will definitely wake up in the middle of day. It’s bad, Mr. Donny”.

“Sorry, Rahadian. Last night, I met an old friend at Solo Paragon. So I was late to go to this hotel….Hahaha. You can shower first, we’ll have breakfast and do a survey”, I joked while rubbing my eyes and jumping back into bed.

Hotel’s restaurant.
Time to breakfast.
He is Rahadian.

This morning I would check out and move to Amaris Hotel in Sriwedari area. Rahadian and I deliberately brought a small and light backpack, so that after checking out, we could freely move without having to put anything at Amaris Hotel first.

Did you want to follow my culinary survey?.

Came on!….

Tokyo Shuttle dari Narita International Airport ke Tokyo

Aku melompat dari pintu depan dan tak lama kemudian wajah-wajah putih bermata sipit  memperhatikan dengan seksama kehadiranku. Senang rasanya aku bisa berbaur dengan kaum menengah di dalam bus itu. Aku bersama seluruh penumpang akan bergerak menuju pusat kota Tokyo. Lalu aku sudah saja mendudukkan diri di baris ketiga dari belakang, sebelah kanan dekat dengan kaca jendela. Aku terbantu dengan keberadaan soket elektrik untuk menambah daya gawai pintarku, tetapi sayang Wi-Fi itu tak bisa kumanfaatkan.

Kotak transportasi dengan warna kombinasi sepadan hijau putih itu konsisten menyemburkan campuran emisi dan uap air dari knalpotnya di limit beku udara Narita. Warna nama kombinasi merah-hijau sangat mencolok untuk mengingat brand moda transportasi yang satu kepemilikan dengan perusahaan kereta api swasta raksasa di dua prefektur yaitu Chiba dan Tokyo. Keisei nama perusahaan transportasi itu.

Tokyo Shuttle” begitu nama bus itu, akan merayap selama satu jam menuju Distrik Chiyoda dimana Stasiun Tokyo berada. Menyusuri jalanan kota sejauh 65 Km, bus melewati  Keisei Narita Avenue.

Keisei Narita Avenue.
JR Bus Kanto melintas.
Willer Express Bus mengejar.

Antar ruas jalan tol itu berbataskan guard rail dan setiap ruasnya hanya bersusun dua jalur. Jalan tol antar distrik yang biasa saja. Sebagian pepohonan yang tampak gersang akibat dormancy  menjadi pemandangan yang sering dalam perjalanan ini, menyisakah jari jemari dahan yang menunjuki langit.

Sementara sutet-sutet raksasa berjarak konsisten mengangkangi tol, mengalirkan listrik antar kota dengan gagahnya. Masuk lebih jauh, perjalanan mulai mempertontonkan kanal-kanal lebar dan bersih terawat dengan beberapa apartemen rendah, sedang dan tinggi pada jarak yang tak bisa dibilang rapat.

Ketika sebagian besar penumpang terlelap dan tertelan laju bus itu, fikiranku semakin runyam. Aku tak bisa menikmati injakan halus pedal gas sang sopir yang berhasil menyirap semua penumpangnya itu.

Apakah nanti akan semudah membalikkan telapak tangan saat mencari kereta ke Nakano?”.

“Bagaimana mencari tombol untuk membeli one day pass di stasiun nanti?”.

Bisakah aku menahan hawa dingin mencekat ini di luar sana?”

Aku tenggelam dalam kegelisahanku sendiri sepanjang perjalanan. Tak mampu menikmati dengan sepenuh hati pemandangan indah di luar sana. Padahal, bukannya selama ini aku merindukan Jepang. Duh….

Semakin pendek jarak dengan pusat kota, pemandangan berganti. Kanal-kanal yang masih saja bersih di jejali dengan bangunan-bangunan apartemen dan perkantoran yang berbaris rapat menongkrongi sepanjang kanal. Tapi tetap saja, semua tampak rapi, bersih dan teratur. Sungguh beradab bangsa itu.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Tokyo dan diturunkan di halte bus berbentuk persegi panjang dengan 5 kaki yang diletakkan pada dua sisinya saja, di pinggir Sotobori-dori Avenue tepat di depan Tekko Building. Aku tak pernah menemukan petunjuk pasti menuju gerbang stasiun itu.

Bahkan belum juga mencari petunjuk pun, aku sudah bersusah payah melawan udara musim dingin Jepang. Menjadi semakin heran kenapa penduduk setempat berlalu lalang begitu saja dengan selapis baju kantoran, tanpa sarung tangan, tanpa penutu kepala dan telinga. Berbeda denganku yang sudah berjaket lapis dua dengan tambahan t-shirt di lapisan pertama bajuku, winter gloves dan earmuffs. Masih saja aku bergetar melawan suhu beku itu.

Aku terus menyusuri jalan tanpa petunjuk latin itu. Hingga kutemukan tulisan latin pertama semenjak aku turun dari JR Bus Kanto. “Tokyo Station”, pelan kubaca signboard besar di atas bangunan stasiun. “TOKYO STATION Yaesu North Entrance”.

Mari menuju Nakano.

Kufikir lebih baik aku segera memasuki stasiun dan mencari kehangatan daripada  membeku di luaran sana.

Saatnya berfikir untuk menuju Nakano.