Those were some of the few words that Shouta learnt quickly when I told him that’s how he flirted with a girl in Jakarta, he directly tried it to a lot of women.
He said “hey, cantik!” to some girls passing by, to a street vendor and some other women.
I couldn’t help but laughing watching him doing it. The thing is, Shouta is a Japanese young man who doesn’t look Japanese. His face is quite Indonesian to me (and I bet to a lot of people). So, the ladies he said “hey, cantik” to were not really impressed.”Hey, cantik” means “hey, beautiful”, by the way.
Shouta is Tashya’s friend who was on a trip to Indonesia. He and his English friend, Tim, visited Bali for a few days and decided to stay in Jakarta for two days to see Tashya. Knowing that I’m a guide, Tashya and I directly planned a tour for Shouta and Tim.
It was Friday, May the 2nd, a day after the International Labour Day where all labors were on strike and did protest. We decided to go a little bit away from the center of Jakarta because we heard that a lot of labours would gather in front of the palace to do protest on that day, so we planned to have a tour in Indonesia Miniature Park (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah).
Having learnt that the protest would take place after Friday prayer (midday), we decided to make a quick stop to the National Monument after picking them up in their hotel.
Since we couldn’t go up the observation deck because of the long queue, we just went to the museum and this is where Shouta was curious about Japan occupation in Indonesia.
“Are you sure you want to know what the Japanese did when they were here?”, I asked teasing Shouta.
“Yeah, sure. Where is it?”, he answered.
I don’t think Japanese young people are aware of the history between Indonesia and Japan. What happened here and what they did to this country. Because Shouta was not the only one who was surprised seeing the terrible diorama of forced labour in Indonesia. Remember Naomi the girl who excited easily? She was pretty clueless about the history here too.
When we finished a quick tour in the National Monument, we went to Indonesia Miniature Park where we could see numerous Indonesian traditional houses from each province. We decided to stop at the traditional house of West Sumatera. When we entered the Rumah Gadang which is also a museum for traditional wedding dresses from West Sumatera we were greeted by a friendly old woman who allowed us to go around and take pictures. And when she found out that Tim was from UK, she proudly told Tim that the Prince and Princess of England went there in 1989 (she meant Charles and Diana). She didn’t forget to state that she was there when Charles and Diana took a picture in front of the house.
When we finished going around inside the house, we had a traditional West Sumatran lunch in a small restaurant (or we call it warung) nearby. By “traditional West Sumatran”, I meant food with a lot of spices. Yes, we challenged the boys to have some spicy food. All eyes were on us when we sat down. I didn’t think they had many foreigners sitting in the restaurant with the local dish. I hesitated at the beginning but Shouta and Tim didn’t. But instead of pouring the spices altogether in one plate, the owner of the restaurant was pretty nice to put it in several plates so Shouta and Tim could taste only a bit if they didn’t like it. Turned out that, Shouta loved it. He kept taking chilly, bit by bit (and would have to pay for the price later on during dinner).
The next stop was the Reptile Park. Clearly not Tashya’s fave spot because she was not a fan of wild animals, but I wanted to show Shouta and Tim an animal that is very popular in Indonesia, Komodo Dragon. An obese one, I must say.
Komodo was supposed to be very wild and dangerous. But this one was quite different. It was rather quiet and didn’t make any movement. The Komodo tamer told us that we could take pictures with the animal. We were surprised but Shouta wasn’t. He was excited.
“I’m sorry Shota but I love my life better than the Komodo”, Tim answered when Shouta asked Tim to join him to take pictures with the Komodo. And guess who had to go into the cage and take Shouta’s pictures? (unlucky) Me.
When we were done in the reptile park, we went to the take the skylift to see the Miniature Park from the top. It was pretty windy and drizzly but was fun because you could see the artificial Indonesian archipelago that was made in an artificial lake.
After a fun trip in the Miniature park, we decided it was time to relax for a bit. So, we headed to Segarra in Ancol to see sunset before having dinner in Bandar Jakarta.
Tim was a pretty quiet, but he opened up a bit when I asked him what made him come to Japan. It was interesting how he actually was following his brother path. His brother used to be a teacher in Japan, and now he wanted to do the same. His brother is now in Bangkok,Thailand, married to a Japanese woman. But being an English teacher is not something that Tim desired to do permanently. He’s willing to go back to England and do something else.
The best part of the tour came at the end when we were having dinner in Bandar Jakarta. Shouta was really being out of himself, in a good way. In this restaurant, everything was fresh, so you went to display area to choose your food. We decided to have squids, a crab and some fish. How Shouta behaved in this area didn’t show that he was Japanese. I mean, he must be used to catching fish, crabs and all. But guess what? He was NOT. When the waiter was trying to catch a fish in the aquarium, he wanted me to take a picture of him near the fish (though his facial expression showed hesitant) but then funny thing happened. The fish jumped OUT of the aquarium and Shouta jumped immediately. Too bad I didn’t catch his face but it was priceless! I told him that.
Not just that, he was also reluctant to choose and touch the crab even though it was tied.
“So, Komodo wasn’t scary but fish are?”, I teased him.
“Yeah! I prefer touching the komodo to the fish. In fact, I miss it. I miss the Komodo”, Shouta (weirdly) replied.
It was Friday Night, the restaurant was really full with live music and we suddenly saw a bunch of waiters wearing wigs, clapping their hands with a birthday cake singing “Happy Birthday” song to some tables. Seeing this, Shouta directly walked to the other table and sang Happy Birthday with the pack.
“They say, Japanese people become crazy when they’re traveling”, Tim explained to me when I wrinkled my forehead.
“Ah, that explains”.
“In Japan, a restaurant must be really quiet. So, there’s no live band like this”, Tashya added.
I’m glad that we could show Shouta how to have fun in Jakarta and unleash his wild side a little bit. I bet he’ll remember this trip. I hope he will.