I took the morning Zen Meditation class at 8 am instead of the afternoon once since I have a meeting in the afternoon. It’s interesting to take a morning class as it eventually will make our day fresh. Lately, I’ve been trying to be a morning person and sleep at the latest midnight (I know, sounds so not me :p). This practice has been going well since I am back from my winter break trip to Canada except I still find it hard to stay awake and still looking for the best activity to do after my very early wake up about Subuh prayer / sunrise time (suggestions are welcome!). Its easier if we have work/class in the morning, so that you have the responsibility to do that force you to not coming back to sleep.
Today in the class, our Zen Master Mark Houghton give us insight about how to treat mind (thinking) like we treat the other human senses such as nose (smell), ear (hear), eye (see), skin (touch), and tongue (taste). When we smell something good/bad, its the job of the nose to do it and we just let it do the job, without really think about it. When we see something, our eye just do the job.
But why, if something come to our mind, sometime we cannot control it and just see as if the mind do the job? Why we keep thinking about it too much? Do not invest too much on the things that always come up to our mind, treat it as the other human senses.
Packing pada malam itu juga, aku masukkan barang-barang yang bisa dibawa kesana dalam tas backpack andalanku, lebih banyak barang yang nantinya akan ditinggal daripada barangku sendiri yang akan dibawa pulang lagi. Kaos panjang, celana cargo atau bahan, botol air minum, dan sepatu sandal. Dimulailah perjalanan sepanjang malam, gelap dan jalanan yang tidak bagus dan rata. Biasanya aku selalu memilih kursi paling depan di dekat supir, merasa lebih aman dan nyaman, bisa berbincang juga dengan si bapak supir. Mereka pun biasanya semangat ngajak ngobrol, karena seringkali aku satu-satunya penumpang yang bukan berasal dari daerah ini, kebanyakan mereka sudah saling kenal dan hendak pulang ke rumahnya. Biasanya angkutan ini akan berhenti di tengah malam untuk istirahat, makan, atau sholat, atau jika kurang beruntung, karena mogok.
Begitu subuh tiba, sampailah aku di tempat yang jauh dari perkotaan ini. Tidak ada lampu jalanan di kala malam, nama jalan atau nomer rumah pun tidak ada, tapi aku tahu dimana harus berhenti. Terkadang bapak supir pun langsung bertanya, kemana tujuanku, tinggal menyebut nama, biasanya mereka sudah tahu dimana rumahnya. Belum juga aku turun dari kendaraan itu, sudah ada yang menyambut dengan wajah yang sumringah, berjalan sedikit berlari menghampiriku dan memeluk erat, terkadang sambil berteriak, membangunkan tetangga sebelah. Menyampaikan rasa rindu dan bahagia.
Malam ini sebuah pesan dari salah seorang di antah berantah itu menyapaku, menyampaikan kerinduan mereka dan seperti biasa menanyakan, kapan aku kesana lagi. Pesan ini membuatku rindu melakukan perjalanan-perjalanan yang sering aku lakukan ini semenjak 8 tahun yang lalu. Ke antah berantah yang telah menjadi rumah-rumah yang lain untukku, menemui orang-orang yang telah memiliki tempat di hatiku, yang mengajarkan akan ketulusan dan kesederhanaan hidup. Bahwa kebahagiaan itu tidak perlu dicari kemana-mana, dia ada dalam diri kita, di sekitar kita, sangat dekat dan sederhana. Mereka yang tidak pernah lelah menyapaku, pengingat terbaik yang menjadi salah satu alasan untuk pulang.
Satu hal yang ingin aku lakukan ketika suatu saat aku pulang nanti, mengunjungi mereka-mereka satu per satu dan melakukan perjalanan-perjalanan serupa ke antah berantah yang lain, mencari dan menemukan bentuk-bentuk kebahagiaan dan kesederhaan yang lain.
This semester, I decided to take Zen Meditation class again with Mark Houghton at Fitrec Boston University (BU). What I like about my University is that we can take the PDP (Department of Physical Education and Dance) courses for free and we will have credit in our transcript, normally it is only 1 credit. There is no grade for it, it just PASS / FAILED and to be able to pass, you just need to attend the classes and have no more than 3 absents. There are a lot of options at BU Fitrec from wall climbing, yoga, pilates, swimming, dance, badminton, volley, marathon training, basketball, and any other including Zen Meditation.
There is always an insight everytime I get out from the meditation class and from today, I would like to commit write that insight down right after the class so that I won’t forget.
Today, after the meditation practice, there is an interesting thought that Mark said in the class about prayer vs desire. I realize that most of the time when I pray, it is about asking something from God. It is about the desire that we want. Prayer is different. It is not supposed to be a selfish request from our self to God. Prayer is about hoping for the best to all the people who suffer in the world. God know what we want even before we think about it. We don’t have to ask or tell our God what we want because if you believe in God, you supposed to believe also in what the best your God will give to you.
Prayer is not a desire.
There is also one activity that we experiment as a group in the class in the end of the class about how our thoughts are always running around in our head. What we supposed to do with all those thoughts? We don’t need to invest in all the thoughts that running around in our head, we don’t need to feed all those thoughts, we should learn how to accept it and control that. That is what meditation practice will help us in accepting, meditation is not about discipline or concentration, it is about learning on acceptance.
I visited Tokyo – Japan last year in September and stayed at my sister‘s apartment. Tokyo is an interesting city, I feel like sometime you live in a different world, a very unique culture. A big city but still keep the local wisdom deep inside. Japan to me is the country of perfection and patience. One thing that I want to experience when I knew I’m going to visit Japan is exploring the coffee shop, especially the Japanese-style coffee house or tea house or they call it Kissaten.
A kissaten (喫茶店 ?), literally a “tea-drinking shop,” is a Japanese-style tearoom that is also a coffee shop. Kissaten are particularly popular among students and business people, particularly salarymen, for breakfast. (Wikipedia)
I did a little research about some places to go in Tokyo and found an interesting history also about coffee legend named Katsuji Daibo who own a his old kissaten for 38 years until December 31, 2013 when he closed his door for good. His Daibo Coffee used to serve customer at Omotesando area. There is a movie called “A Film About Coffee” that dedicated for him, you can watch it here. There is a beautiful article also that feature about his profile here: http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2013/daibo/.
Even though there is no more Daibo, the coffee culture in Japan is still there and it such a “religious experience” for every coffee lover to go into one coffee house to another in Japan. I feel like it’s kind of a “pilgrimage” for coffee. Here are some of the coffee houses that I visited when I was in Tokyo. I would love to come back again one day to Japan to explore more kissaten in other cities.
This is my sister’s favorite coffeehouse where she usually go for a coffee or to do some work. Its close to where she live and we can walk or take the metro. Slow Jet has 3 location in Kodai-Ji, In the Zoo, and Adachi. We visit the one in Adachi. You can get their daily blend brew coffee for a quick one or the hand drip brew coffee where they usually use Kalita Wave for the pour over coffee.
Yanaka is one of my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo. A traditional and old part of the city, there are also a lot of houses that safe from the Earthquake back then in this area. It’s a nice feeling to just walking around the area and then stop by at Kayaba Coffee for a hot of cold coffee. Kayaba coffee build in this old house that has been there for 70 years. Their green tea latte selection is also delicious!
I’ve visited Blue Bottle in San Fransisco and LA and yes its come from the U.S and one of the major player in third wave coffee. They open their first branch outside the U.S and pick Tokyo as their destination. Apparently, Blue Bottle’s Founder (James Freeman) really admire Daibo and love the culture of coffee in Japan. The modern look of Blue Bottle in Japan is not much different from where their cafe in the U.S.
Chatei Hatou is a very interesting Kissaten with an classic interior and ceramic cup that they use to serve the coffee. It take a long time to wait for your one small cup of coffee and it also cost a lot, like 800-1000 yean for a cup of coffee but it definitely worth to try. An ultimate Kissaten experience in Tokyo.
Bear Pond in Shimokitazawa is a cute little cafe and the owner, Katsuyuki “Katsu” Tanaka has been around the U.S previously to learn all about coffee. He got the training also from Counter Culture Coffee.
Tsuta is one of the old kissaten and has a beautiful garden inside. When me and Karin finally find this place, its dark in the night and they were close! Its a bad timing, but we took this photo of their mailbox and hope one day we’ll get here.
Knowing that Tsuta was close, then we move to the closest kissaten that we found from our little research on the internet; Lion Cafe. It’s a jazz kissaten and when we get in, it’s the whole different world from outside the street. It’s very quiet, we cannot even talk here, no photography allowed, and we sit in the front row where its only 2 other people in the room. There will be the waitress who change the music from the vinyl record in front of the chairs that look like we sat in a train. I feel like being in one of Haruki Murakami novel with his dark, silent, misterious character on the novel.
This coffee shop located near Tokyo University and I might say its my kind of coffeeshop (not the Kissaten one) that I will go everyday. A very fair price and a good quality of coffee! They have various cafe all over Tokyo.
Ammonite Coffee located near Tokyo University as well and they have a coffee tester in front of the order table where we can taste the speciality coffee we want to choose. As you can see below, they use V60 pour over method to brew their coffee.
Created in 1948, De L’ambre is my favorite kissaten so far! A very unique and classic ambient and they have the coffee since ages ago, the owner started aging the coffe beans since 40 years ago. I sit in the old wooden counter seating near the barista and watch a very traditional way to make my single cup of coffee. Very patience and slow hand drip brew. The owner, Segikuchi Ichiro is over one hundred year old. He started as an engineer and then found his passion on coffee, started by making his friend at office coffee and they said its one of the best coffee they’ve ever drink. By starting L’ambre, he even create his own grinder, roasting machine, kettle, and other. He is very perfectionist to keep improving the quality of his coffee and instead of buying the machine, he decided to create one that he want. You can read the interview with Mr. Segikuchi Ichiro here: https://tokyocoffee.org/2016/05/29/cafe-de-lambre/
After visited all those coffee houses and kissaten, it really inspire me on how Japanese is very passionate and put a very high perfection in a cup of coffee. It is sad that my own land, Indonesia, despite having a lot of good speciality coffee beans, still the majority of Indonesians did not drink a good quality of coffee. Instead, we consume a lot of instant coffee. We need a lot more quality coffee houses in Indonesia so that it can bring the “coffee culture” in Indonesia. Wouldn’t it be nice when finally the majority of Indonesians aware and know where the coffee comes from, enjoy the process of making it from beans into an excellent cup of coffee, then drink it, in our own country.
My interest to learn more about coffee growing since I live in Boston and currently, the dream to create a coffee house in Indonesia is alive again. This trip is giving me an insight on how important to serve an excellent but humble cup of coffee and its need patience with the deep curiosity to keep learning from everywhere and everyone.
This winter break travel to Canada was interesting and different because I do not look for touristy destination when I visit a city but in discover a used bookstore and local coffee roaster. I got some old interesting books from my discovery and a Montreal based coffee roaster; Saint-Henri Micro-torrefacteur Kenya coffee to bring home. I would like to share some of my best finds on the road. If you are into coffee and book, you will love to try looking for coffee and book trail when you travel, instead of a common and mainstream destination.
They are famous with the turkish coffee, made by the Turkish owner, Kubo. Sue and Laurie, a friend of mine in Halifax who used to be the host family of Nithya & Kitty brought me here for brunch in my last day in Halifax before I leave to Charlottetown.
I went here twice during my stay in Montreal because it so close to my friend house. I ended up buy their Kenyan coffee before I left to Boston. They roast their coffee themselves and you can smell and hear the roasting just nearby the barista counter. Their chocolate croissant is also delicious!
Andy, a friend of mine who used to do Canada World Youth exchange program in Indonesia brought me here as we wander around Mile End. Located just in front of ‘Drawn and Quarterly’ bookstore and ‘Phonopolis’ record store, in Mile End area.. this cafe is one of the best you can have. Mile End is one of my favorite neighborhood in Montreal because of the hipster above hipster in Montreal. They always have indie musician play almost everyday as you can check the schedule in their website.
5. Encore Bookstore 5670 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H4A 1W7, Canada I have to admit that this is so far the best used bookstore and record store I’ve been into. Their collection is very high quality with not too expensive price. They display used books just like in a new bookstore, many categories. They also have a fine collection of rare and antique books from old time. I ask the bookseller where they got the book and they said that mostly people sell to them everyday (I witness two girl selling their fine used books, a lot of them and they pay $200 for them) and also sometime people die and donate/sell their books or their library collection. I got 3 books from here: “Footstep by Pramoedya Ananta Tour” that I gave to Emma as a gift, “The Culture of Simplicity” by Malcolm McLeod from the 1908, and “John Lennon, the story behind every song”.
One of the best little new bookstore, they have also published their own graphic novel or book or comic. Very rare collection, I found a lot of Haruki Murakami books here too. I got a little poem book by Pablo Neruda from here.
This is located nearby McGill University. A small used bookstore, a bit harder to find book you want as they don’t categorize or arrange the book easily. However, I got “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk for $5 here.
Me and Emma wander around Saint-Denis one evening and we went do the “store-hopping”, one of the two bookstores in Saint-Denis is this one. Very good collection in mostly french books. I got a friend “Tin-tin En Amerique”old version in French from here.
I got “The White Masaai” book for $5 here. They have rich collection on comic, Japanese manga, and non-fiction books. Located in the area of McGill University, being around with a lot of Asian restaurants and vibe.
One of the highlight of my trip! Another serendipity on the road meet me with Hans and Clyde, two passionate coffee roasters in Happy Goat! Their job is to make sure we drink a good quality of coffee through their roasting. Hans has been around the world looking for best coffee beans since 2010. He knew a lot about Indonesia coffee and he make us taste the Sumatra Lintong coffee with Chemex pour over filter. We plan to stay for a bit before heading to catch my train to Montreal and Adi & Arlene’s flight to Boston. But I ended up talking to Hans longer than I expected and we share contact since Hans has an interesting project about coffee roasting from origin country. I really want to come back again soon! “You can spend your whole life for coffee.” Hans quoted when he describe his journey working with coffee. That afternoon, I share my dream to create one in Indonesia.
This is total awesome! Thus I put 3 photos for them. I love this bookstore who has a coffee as well. Their curation on book selection is wonderful! They are all used, rare, unique, and categorized by writer and type of books. Don’t forget to go down to the downstairs, you will be amaze on how many collection they have. They are loved by the community in Ottawa and they bring them together in a seasonal music performance inside their place. Close to what I imagine of a bookstore I wanted to own. I would love to come back!
For my love of coffee and book, to infinity and beyond! 🙂
As what I wrote in my previous post that I have been deactivated my social media account for more than 1 month, I found it interesting on how different my travel experience this winter break without any social media account in my phone or laptop.
I left Boston at December 20th to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then heading to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI) with my host mom Cathy from Canada World Youth exchange program 5 years back, Meagan (the daughter), Scott (the boy), Angela (Scott’s girlfriend) and Zoe (their lovely dog). We were celebrating Christmas at PEI with their big family. I spent 10 days with them and continue the trip to Montreal to meet couple friends from Boston and we spent new year together. From there, we went to Ottawa and I myself came back to Montreal after that and spent a week at Emma’s house, my Canadian friend who did Canada World Youth as well in the same village in Indonesia like me at Depok village. She even stayed with the same host family as me in Cipicung.
Usually, when I travel, I never really disconnect to my Instagram. When I arrived in the destination, I will get some photos and eventually post the best of them in my Instagram. Sometime it will be very hard to choose in between tons of photos that I took when I travel. When I meet people, friend, in the end I will ask to take photo with them and eventually post it in my social media. I also wrote some posts about my travel in my blog with the photos of the journey. I used to be very active in sharing what I did, what I visit, what I see, what I meet, etc. It can be directly or the vice versa which we call #latepost.
This winter break visit to Canada is the first time I am not using any social media and there is no urge to post anything or share to the world what I encounter on the road. What I discover during the 3 weeks travel is really interesting. When you do not have social media, you will not have the burden or the willing to document everything. You have more time to enjoy the place, being in the moment / present, have a more quality time and conversation, as well as valuable and intimacy time with yourself and the places, people, nature, things, etc. The number of photos that I take definitely reduce and I only have the best quality photo in my camera, things that I only need to document. I might have less photos but I have more valuable time in travel.
The fact that I do not need to share those to public make it even better. I wrote a lot of my travel journey, ideas that suddenly pop up on the road, advice from strangers that I meet on the bus, my feeling, interesting conversation, thoughts, on my notes with my pen. The things that I wrote it for myself and not for the society in social media, is truly different. I can write everything I want in my mind, as naked as possible, without considering what people think or afraid of the misconception or judgement from sentences that we wrote. I only share my thoughts and photos to very few people, to my person. I feel content. I feel its more than enough. I do not need to worry about who likes my photos, who comment on it, who share my post, how popular my post, what caption to wrote that can consider as the attractive caption, oh and the tons of hashtag that will never enough.
When I look back on how I did my travel, I feel sorry on how I did not really let my eyes being in the moment to see what I encounter. Your eyes might not be able to see it again. I regret on how I take a lot of photos with less knowledge about it and in the end, what are those photos for? To impress people? Ended up in your storage? Thus, the motivation of taking photos is changing now. I want to have the best quality of photo so that one day I can maybe print it or show it to my lovely people. Not everything need to be photographed. You might afraid that you will not have the best photos when you travel because you only there once, but you should be afraid of not having the best time when you were there.
I feel like the need to take photos with the era of social media is a part of consumerism. Say every photo is $1, you took a lot of it so that you can share it to your social media, how many you spent? I still remember where we only use film camera and you really save your best moment to take photo because the amount you take is limited. I like that idea and I try to do that with the era of digital camera.
Coming back to the title of this post, this winter break is what I called “the zen in travel”. The ability to travel and enjoy the “being in the moment” in the destination, without your mind everywhere, and just focus on what in front of you, who you talking to, the activity you did, is what matter the most.
This is my first post in 2017 and I would like to continue the journey of life without social media, to be able to have the control of what I choose to read/consume, focusing on what matter the most in my life, to read more books and have more quality & real conversation with people, living the “less is more” philosophy in life, simplifying life, and so far.. this has been the happiest time in my life 🙂