Ken’s Speed, earphones, and a cozy place named RAN

I’m so in love with Ken’s Speed single right now. Back then I didn’t give it a good listen because I was to busy listening to FAITH. I like every song there. I am most impressed with the guitar rendition of The Shadow of Your Smile *melts*. The man is awesomely talented XD I can only wonder how does he come up with melodies like that XD Anyway, I know most of you probably know this already but Ken has his own myspace and the cool thing about it is the comment feature is activated XD I hope everybody acts polite on it XD

So, my Philips earphone is not working >_< I have to buy a new one >_< honestly finding a good earphone is hard for me. I listen to my Walkman (the blackand durable NW-HD5) almost around the clock. When I take a shower I plug it to speakers (yes, I arranged having them in the bathroom XD), on my commute and at lunch time through my earphones until I go to sleep and I plug it to another set of speakers in my room. Now, not having a good pair of working earphones breaks that peaceful set of rituals. Before, when the original earphones that came with the NW-HD5 was crushed by a the wheels of a steel gate when I was trying to close it, I found the perfect replacement for that earphome. That was the Sony MDR-NE2, which is awesome because it fits my ear perfectly and, as you can see in the picture, it has a neck strap so I can carry around my Walkman without any hassle. Seeing how I used the thing, it’s pretty durable it lasted around two years. After it went dead on me, I tried to find the same type in all of the Sony Centers in Jakarta, but I couldn’t find it. So I changed it to the Philips SHE970, which has an almost perfect sound quality and really high detailed but it’s not really durable, after only 6 months of usage, only one of the earbuds is actually functioning. And from this product I learn that I can’t stand in-ear earphones. Since I wear them when I’m on the go, I can hear echoes of my footsteps and such, which kinda adds unwanted noise to the music. The Philips SHE970 is good for listening music when you are at a still position, but personally, it’s not great for me. So, I’m now looking to buy another earphone within the price range of $25. I’m thinking of getting another Sony, but I really can’t figure out what type to get. I really wish they have tester earphones at the Sony Center, since I wanna make sure that they have good sound quality as well as being ultra comfortable to wear for a long period of time.

What else? What else? There was this place in Jakarta that, when after starting my first day at this job; walking a terrible great distance with a pair of black high heels -one size to small-, my boss took me to this very home-y Japanese restaurant in the 4th floor of the Skyline building called RAN 蘭 (orchid). Unlike most Japanese restaurants that I’ve ever been to, the place has a sense of nostalgia to it. Although the decor is what would you expect from a Japanese restaurant that has tatami and Japanese decorations everywhere, this place is very subtle. It has wooded floor, rattan chairs, a bar, and a section for floor seating with several of Japanese kokeshi dolls and some Golgo 13 comics near the windows.

When I browsed through the menu, all I can see were regular list of food consisting of set menu. The place is in fact, a kare and coffee shop. Menu’s consist of Ebi Furai, Omuraisu, Hamburg Steak, different kare served with chicken katsu or hamburg steak, noodles, spaghetti. The first time around I tried the Hamburg Kare and it was sooo delicious. That’s when I came to respect that good food is not always about the flashy decor. Since then I’ve only eaten in that restaurant about 4-5 times. Even though it’s cheap for the Japanese expats, it’s really not a wise thing to do to spend US$7 on lunch alone.

When I was busy with the seminar a few weeks ago, I ordered Hamburg set which was very delicious. They serve the steak on a hot plate with spaghetti, fries and veggies along with a very delicious cup of carrot and onion consomme, a slice of rolled cabagge, a bowl of rice and 2 slices of melon and a choice of either ice coffee or hot coffe or vanilla ice cream for dessert. I think for a price of $7.5 it’s a deal seeing that the set menu is very fulfilling. I like the consomme in particular because it’s very simple and yet full of taste. It was like when I was a kid and tasted my first chicken soup that had a little pepper in it. When I said that the consomme was delicious, the owner said, “oishii deshou? deshou?” with pride. The steak sauce was delicious. Everything was perfect. So every time I went there I ordered steak all the time.

So, early August, my boss told me that the place was going to close, and I was shocked! I asked, “how did you know?”, apparently the news was on the front page of the Jakarta Shimbun, apparently the place was there since 31 years ago. They owner Ishiya-san (77 – which is a very sweet old guy) said that he and his wife decided to close the place seeing that it’s the right time, since this year is the commemoration of 50 years of Indo-Japan friendship.

And so, the restaurant closed last August on the 15th. Before it was closed my boss took me there for a “final lunch” at RAN, so to speak. We arrived there at 11.30 and found that the place was still empty, but on 12.00 it was crowded!!! When I looked around they still had all of their kokeshi dolls in place but the Golgo 13 books weren’t there anymore. I overheard the people around me talking saying that they will eat here until the last day and saying how they will miss this place and they had to find other place for good and cheap Japanese home cooking.

So, on that afternoon in that same day, I went there with Shaki, Niceey and Vero, Shaki and Niceey had only heard about the place from me and how the food there was simple yet excellent. While we were there waiting for our order we looked at some potraits of old Jakarta that were hanging on the wall. Then the owner asked us in perfect Indonesian, “sedang lihat apa?” (what are you looking at?). Then he started to give us a tour of the photos he has up on the wall. He even has photos of the first Indonesian president, and other photos. He was very friendly and came over to our table a few times to show photographs of Japanese people living in Indonesia before and after the war.

That day I was planning to bring my camera, but I was stupid enough to forget to bring the memory card. So we cannot take pictures with Ishiya-san T-T. We were only to take pictures with Shaki and Niceey’s camera phone but the results weren’t good. Ishiya-san said, come again before the store closes, we’ll take another good picture with your camera. So, I planned to go there again with Vero on the last day with my camera ready. But when we got there after work… IT WAS ALREADY CLOSED!!! I felt sad all of the sudden because I had promised Ishiya-san to go back there one more time >_< Now, it’s closed!I don’t think I will ever have another good Hamburg Steak >_<.

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