A Day I Won’t Forget

Hello! I want to share a story about me with my bestest friend in Japan, Hinano.

My name is Dezka Riva and I got placed in Niigata City, Niigata. I chose this experience because it really means a lot to me, and I introduced a lot of Indonesian culture to her. It was December 25th, which is Christmas. We’re planning to do a sleepover on that day, which I’m looking forward to. I was really happy and I brought a lot of Indonesia’s spice. I want to cook for her and her mom.

So my bag got really fat, brought all of those spices, kind of ashamed but i don’t care anymore and I got the spirit to cook! Before we went to Hinano’s house, we went to Bandai, a famous place in Niigata City. A lot of young people went to Bandai, because the majority in Niigata are the elders. So it’s a pretty fun place. Our plan is to keep my belongings in a coin locker (yes there are these things in Japan) but it was too expensive for me (need to save the stipend anyway).

Finally I carried around those heavy bags, but Hinano helped me so I’m really thankful. We went through the shopping mall, ate in the supermarket’s food court (once again I need to save the stipend), and went to the big Christmas tree! It was really cold, I checked it was -1 Celsius and I only wore two layers of clothing, and no heattech, which is really bad. But hopefully I bought a Mafura (muffler) with a cheap price, cute and worth it! Everyone in the Christmas tree took a picture, and what made me shocked is they helped each other, even the people they don’t know, to take their pictures.

In front of the Christmas tree with Hinano chan!

I always thought Japanese seemed to be a really Individual person, they don’t talk with people they don’t know, but it was different that day. In spite of the cold weather, I’m really happy. After that we went to the bus stop, waiting for the bus to come! We had 1 hour so we went to Hyakkin (100 yen shop) and Bookoff, a really famous second hand store. I found my favorite manga there, and I was really happy because in Indonesia, I last saw it in the bookstore when I was in Junior High. So I bought it. After that we went to Hyakkin and bought a matching glass! It was very cute.

Anko Dango at the Supermarket Food Court! It was really tasty

We took the bus, and waited for Hinano’s mom to pick us up. At that time, the wind was working really hard to make us shiver, which they did. It was my second time experiencing this kind of crazy wind, really strong and soooo cold. Welp, it’s Niigata. Crazy weather is everywhere. But we finally made it. I greeted Hinano’s mom, and said “Ojamashimasu” and “Sitsureishimasu” to show good manners, and don’t forget that manners are really important in Japan! Honestly I’m still struggling to put the situation into formal and informal ones, but experience is the best teacher and I will do my best ;)

Hinano’s mom made us Tempura (vegetables covered with flour and then you fry it) . It was my favorite! I really love Tempura because the flour they use is different from what I’ve ever eaten in Indonesia, and it made me think.. this is JAPAN! I ate Rengkong (Lotus root), Satsumaimo (sweet potato) and Potato! We ate Tempura with Mentsuyu, a Japanese kind of sauce. It was really tasty.

After that, I prepared some ingredients for Soto! Yes, I cooked soto for dinner. Hinano really helped me out, she was looking forward to eating Indonesian food! After all this time I cooked for my Host Family, finally there’s my friend who’s really excited to eat Indonesian food. I fried Kerupuk Kulit too, and she was shocked that these little things can bloom in the oil, and it was her first time to eat such a taste in her life. I was really happy, Hinano’s and her mom seemed to enjoy the food. Best feeling ever. Hinano said, “When I grow up I want to visit Indonesia, let’s meet,” my eyes got shimmered, I said “of course! Let’s meet.”

It was messy but trust me it was good XD

And I hope, it will come true, our wishes to meet in the future. I said earlier to her that I can’t do a Christmas party, so I told her if she wants to do a party I might can’t join her, and that’s totally okay. And she understands. She didn’t do any party either, because on that day her family didn’t gather due to work, and she said “I’d rather spend a lot of time with you, and today it’s a white Christmas! Let’s go all out today,” at that time, I realized, this experience, being an exchange student, really connects us, not only for both of us, but for a two country, or even wider. This kind of small event bridges us to a higher cultural understanding, and I’m so glad I can experience this.

I want to cry at that moment, but I will be ashamed so I kept back my tears, telling jokes and told a lot more about Indonesia. At night time, we had a little party! We ate snacks, and… surprisingly they wanted to celebrate my birthday earlier. Hinano made the cake for me, and her Mom turned up the candles! I was really happy, even though my birthday is on December 30th, but never mind! Anything for them. She checked the ingredients to see if i could eat it or not, and gratefully I’m okay with that! We spent a day together, stayed up until late, told a lot of stories and took a lot of photos.

A really great day.

A day that I won’t forget, ever!

I will miss that day so much.

I hope everyone who reads this, will get a great experience in everything, even the smallest things in life. Have a great day! Thank you.




The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs

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Bina Antarbudaya

Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs

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