August 19, 2018

How I Met My Husband & Why I Chose To Marry Him

Let me begin with an apology πŸ˜žπŸ™, because it took me so long to properly introduce Anton - the man I now call husband, to you guys. Ever since I posted this following picture on Instagram, I have received a lot of kind comments and DMs (direct messages) from many of you who congratulated me (thanks again, guys! *hugs*). And some of you, especially those who have followed me since years ago also requested me to share the backstory of how I met this guy, and why I chose to marry him.
But since the proposal, which was on June 2017, time flew super fast and I was hulahooping between finishing my thesis and trying to graduate on time, doing the pre-wedding shoot, finding a place to live and going furniture shopping, preparing and designing a lot of details for the wedding (still trying to blog about it until nowww omg), planning and packing for the honeymoon which was done right after the wedding (ok I left most of the planning part to Anton cause honestly I couldn't handle any more stuffs at the moment T_T), setting some new operational systems for Dapurfit, and of course, juggling all that while doing my job creating contents for my social media channels and get distracted a lot by movies, TV series and bolmik.

So..., where were we? Right, how I met my husband, and why I chose this pokemon. I tried to keep it short, but still it ended up pretty long, so you might wanna grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea before we move on.
Areeeee we ready? Great, here we go!

April 2015. After getting out of a shitty relationship, I decided to go to India.
 ↑ Mom was there for me ↑
She's so sweet and caring, she just wanted me to move on ASAP so she tagged along despite India's SUPER HOT WEATHER (up to 40ΒΊ Celsius in April) 😱♨️πŸ˜­πŸ’•

There in India, amidst the serene unassuming atmosphere, it hit me that I've never been really single since I was like, thirteen? I was 27 years old by that time, so apparently, it took me more than half my life to realize that I was too insecure to feel content just being by myself.
For me, it was better to be in a bad relationship or a meaningless fling than to be single.

Let me explain to you why, as openly as possible.

First of all: The Need.
I guess it's because I'm a self-centered introvert, I prefer small social circle (never really have a lot of friends to begin with either), and yet I also need to socialize on daily basis; preferably with someone who sincerely adores me, always be there for me and willing to do anything for me. So, a boyfriend definitely fits the criteria better than a bff.

Next: The Excitement.
I enjoy the dating game. I know that it can be tiring and intimidating for some people, but I like it. Well, mostly I like the thrill of getting someone I barely know to fall in love with me head over heels, and then maintaining it that way. Being in 'the game' is like doing a side job that I love beside working on my real jobs - it inspires me and keeps me passionate.

Last but not least: The Exit Door.
Although I'm a logical person who rarely show my vulnerability (especially in a relationship, because I always feel like it can be used against me), secretly I'm a hopeless romantic. It would be a real jackpot for me if I finally found 'the one' while moving on from one relationship to another. I mean, it's better to keep trying than to stay hidden doing nothing, right? Besides, I never stayed long in a bad relationship anyway. Once I sense that a guy is not right for me (e.g. insincere, momma's boy, potential cheater, rude, or many other unfixable bad habits), I'd never hesitate to cut them out of my life because I wouldn't want to waste my time any longer with the wrong person. That is, until that last shitty relationship because even though it was shitty and I tried to break up with him all the time, he ended up being the one who broke up with me - first guy who did that to me actually, so it really hurt my pride FML. But it was a blessing in disguise, really, because if it didn't happen that way, I might not have this wake up call.

So as you can see, my reasoning up there are definitely not the healthiest causes for wanting to be in a relationship, because they're quite childish and selfish, am I right? And I realize that it wouldn't be possible for me to build a good relationship out of a bad foundation. Therefore, during that very moment in India, I decided to change my mindset, and first of all I'd need to try to be truly free and single for... God knows how long. Call it a relationship detox or whatever, but little did I know that along this journey, not only I found myself, I also found the love of my life.

...And it all started from:
Facebook. 2011.
Okay, first things first. As an introvert who rarely hang out with friends, go to exciting events or do anything that would possibly create an encounter with new people (read: prospective dates), I personally think Facebook was a great alternative because it really simplifies the stalking process. I'm not kidding you, it's all there, yo. You wanna check out someone's zodiac, their mutual friends with you, their favorite movies, how many siblings they have, you go to their Facebook and bam, skip all the question marks and move on to the next step -or not.
Of course, that would only work if this eligible crush of yours has thoughtfully (or maybe not, since they probably never even predicted that they'd get stalked unapologetically) fill out all those Facebook questions. But back then, Facebook was the hottest online platform just like Instagram today, so everyone - well, most people used it very eagerly to ‘exist’.

Backtrack to when this guy messaged me on Facebook.

He didn’t say much, just a simple, “Hi. How’s your holiday?”. But what instantly caught my attention was his name, Anton Widjaja, because my dad’s first name was Anton, and my mom’s surname is Wijaya (same pronouncement with 'Widjaja', only slightly different spelling). So naturally, my first reaction was, “What the hell”. Unfortunately for me, he’s one of those people who doesn’t really take care of his online persona, so all I could figure out from his barely used Facebook page was... nothing, really.
Curious and a bit annoyed because I assumed someone must've been trying to troll me, I immediately replied him. It turned out that it is his real name, and no, he didn’t know my parents’ name. We didn’t even have that many mutual friends, only this one guy and neither of us are even close to him. So, was it all a weird coincidence? I guess so. But anyway, that Facebook message didn’t get anywhere. We did exchanged numbers, but that’s it, we didn’t meet, we didn’t chat any further, it just sort of ended there. For a while.

Fast forward to April 2015, to the beginning of this story, where I just got back from India.

Out of the blue, a WhatsApp message popped up, “Hi, remember me?”. It was him, the guy who has both my parents’ names. Apparently, he kept my number all these years and according to him, he was deleting some of his contacts when he stumbled upon mine. Curious, he stalked me on Instagram, AskFm, Twitter, basically everywhere online before he finally jumped to conclusion that I was not in a relationship at that time, and so he tried his luck.

Aaaaanyway, remember that I told you up there that I promised myself to be single for awhile? Well, I bent that promise just a teeny tiny bit by replying him, because... a little chat wouldn’t hurt, right?


I went out with him! So weak!!

Ummm and yeah, his sister’s name is also Elissa!!! What. are. the. odds.

Anyway. Sigh.

Once we met each other, and a few text messages and phone calls later, this guy turned out to be really sweet and he’s definitely THE MOST persistent guy I’ve ever met. Not to mention that he’s, uhm, pretty cute.

Uh oh.

“But what about that being-single-and-be-content pact??,” my inner voice would yell at me.
And by inner voice, I mean my one and only sister ELLE. Yep, she’s very supportive of this relationship detox idea from the beginning, and she would constantly remind me to stay focused for my own good. FML.

A week after my first meeting with him, Elle and I were in Singapore to film for Pantene.
To my surprise, HE FLEW THERE AS WELL and because he knew our schedule was pretty packed, he asked me to meet him WHENEVER I CAN. I was like, OMG he’s here! And what a considerate gentleman *points up*!!! But since I don’t want to ignore (annoy) my inner voice (Elle) too much, I planned to meet him at the hotel lobby, maybe just for a quick chat because it’s late at night already when we’re done shooting, and we’ve got to wake up early in the next morning.

But when I saw him sitting there waiting for me in a white shirt (yes, yes, tall guy in a white shirt is my weakness, among many others), I was like, “Uhm, sorry to keep you waiting. Let’s go out and I’ll buy you some ice cream*.” hashtag facepalm.
So we walked out of the hotel, talked about many things, and there was this one time where we had to cross the street, he put his hand on my lower back, and I got maybe like, 927 butterflies running wild in my stomach, thank you very much.
*Btw I didn’t manage to buy that ice cream because apparently, I only brought this 1000 SGD bill with me and of course the ice cream guy didn’t have enough change. I was so embarrassed but he just laughed and paid for the ice cream instead, and til today he likes to tease me about the ‘ice cream incident’. -_-

Back in Jakarta, I finally told him about the promise I made myself about being single and that means, not even a ‘casual fling’, ‘TTM’, or whatever it is. I explained how important it is to me. He said he understands, but it didn’t really stop him from hitting my phone anyway, even though I only replied him less and less. When I told him in serious manner that he should just forget about me and go for other girls, he just laughed it off and said, “It’s up to me to go after whoever I want, and I’ve told you that I only want you”.
Okay, did I mention that he's the most persistent guy I've ever-- um, yes I did.

June 2015, my father passed away.
Shocked and heartbroken, my family and I decided to go to India again to get peace of mind. If you’re wondering, “Why India, what’s there?” the best way I can explain to you is by referring to the famous book turned movie Eat, Pray, Love, where the main character went to an ashram - sort of a spiritual retreat to reconnect the mind, body and soul with meditation, mindful eating (mostly they only serve vegetarian / vegan food over there), spiritual teachings, and so on.

Since Ant (yes, I called him Ant to avoid confusion with my dad’s name) and I were still in contact every once in a while, he knew about our upcoming trip to India and he impulsively wanted to go as well. I told him that he shouldn’t because I’m getting real serious about this being-single pact. I didn’t even let him come to my dad’s funeral, so how could I possibly bring him along with my family? And I mean, it’s India, and the ashram is certainly not a touristy place, so it's not that easily accessible, especially for first timers.

But this guy, this particular guy, being as persistent and stubborn as he is, said that he’ll find me there.

And true to his words, a few days after we reached the ashram, which is located in the middle of a remote small town called Puttaparthi, there he was - all alone, wearing a black t-shirt among a sea of Indian devotees in white clothes. He spotted me, smiled and walked towards my way. I was BEYOND shocked. This guy’s effort really exceeded my expectations and his actions always match his words, which is a quality I truly adore and rarely find in most guys I’ve met. UH OH.
Needless to say, I was flattered and impressed. But *sigh*, yep, with my dad’s passing and all that’s happening within a span of those last few months, I decided to stick to my personal resolution of trying to be content just being by myself, because it just felt like the right thing to do.

And so right there and then in India, I completely let Ant go.

About one year has passed since then.
During that period, I spent most of my time with my family.

We travelled a lot, helped each other out and had some really fun and memorable quality time which I wouldn't have, or at least would be quite different if I had a boyfriend by my side.

In addition, I also had a great portion of enjoyable 'me time' where I get to reconnect my mind with my heart, read some good books, letting myself find out what I truly want in life - in my own pace. And within that time, I recalled that one of things I've always wanted is to have a higher education and a proper background in business, so I enrolled in business school:

And I'm really glad I made that decision. πŸ€“πŸŽ“πŸ™

Meanwhile (if you're wondering about Ant), after India, I have never replied to ANY of his messages, comments, phone calls, emails... Boy he did send me lots of emails. Wait, I'll just screenshot some and put them here hahaha. You can click on each email to enlarge it:
↑ June 2015's email ↑
↑ October 2015's email ↑
↑ December 2015's email ↑
↑ January 2016's email ↑
↑ April 2016's email ↑

I would always smile reading his emails, but since I couldn’t wouldn’t do anything about it, I just kept forwarding his emails to... my MOM! Lol. I knew I can’t share it with Elle, because I tried once or twice but she’d lecture me endlessly to get back on my path of being a nun a strong woman who need no validation from men to feel secure and confident.
Just kidding. To be honest, even though I was pretty much pissed off because I felt like my sister was being overprotective and super strict on me, deep down I know she did that simply because she has my best interests at heart. πŸ‘­πŸ’–

My mom, tho, as cheeky as she has always been, would act as a balancing inner voice for me. She’d say something like:
“Oh come on, how much longer do you need to ‘punish’ yourself, and him??”
“Look how much he’s into you!”
“Dammit Jess, if I were you, I would immediately pick up that phone!!! Can I pick up that phone?” Of course not, mum!! πŸ˜‚

So yeah, it went on like that for about a year. And I can’t help to feel that each and every form of contact he made were constant reminders to make sure that I’m aware that he’s always there, waiting for me, until I'm finally ready for a relationship again.

Long story short,
One fine day I finally decided to text him, and from then on out, things just rolled up nice and sweet.

Click to enlarge πŸ‘†
Well, kind of, because as you can see up here, I was still a bit scared to start again at first (so sorry, babe πŸ˜‚), but we managed to work it out anyway yayyy!!!
Photos taken on September 2016, a month after we're officially in a relationship πŸ˜πŸ‘†
Honestly, now that I think about it after being married to him and all, if it weren't for him patiently waiting for me throughout that periodif I decided to just be with him after India, maybe I would still have my doubts about myself, and about him. After all, it wasn't only me who just broke up with someone - he, too, just got out of a relationship in 2014. So naturally, I was skeptical that he'd just wanted to use me as a rebound. But that thought was cleared out thanks to his 'waiting time', because if all he wanted was a rebound, he should've just gone for another girl right away, not waiting for THIS girl, "without definitive time limit" (as he said in that June 2015 email), right? πŸ˜› I guess everything really happened for a reason, then, and for this particular reason, I'm just very, very grateful.

Now, the last remaining question is of course, "But what made you choose to marry him, sister??".
One of my best friends, Hanna, also asked the same question when she first met me and Ant on a dinner (by that time, we were already engaged). When she got to our table, the first thing she did before sitting down was shaking Ant's hand and shot him right away, "Amazing. What exactly did you do that made her want to marry you? Because I've known Jess for so long, and as far as I'm concerned, she just doesn't want to get married."

It's true, though, and I guess it's quite typical for kids whose parents got divorced to be more skeptical about marriage. So, even though I'm secretly a hopeless romantic, I was leaning more to the 'hopeless' side, because after so many failed relationships as well, I never even dared to think I would really, finally met THE ONE.

Okay, going back to THE question. Well, I didn't know how to begin, so I just showed Hanna this list that I made on my phone. It's basically a note that consists the sweetest things he did for me (and my family) that made me fell for him, effective immediately. I initially made it so I remember the whole story, the details etc. when I'm telling my mom about it. But later on, it just became a habit because there are so many of them and I just want to remember them all. And it's not even all of them:

So there you go. Some of the things that convinced me that he's the one.
His extraordinary efforts even made my grandma said to me twice, "If there is a reincarnation and if I'm going to be reborn as a girl again, I wish there would be a guy who would do the same things for me. Chasing me around the world, how nice!" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­πŸ˜‚ But I know that some people might find things that he did for me a bit too much? Like, I know some girls prefer their guys to be a bit mysterious and not clingy, but for me personally, I hate guys who play games and I love those who wear their heart on their sleeve, just like Ant. And yes, I love it when he's clingy, I think it's really cute. πŸ™ˆπŸ’•

Alright, PHEW.
I guess that FINALLY concludes the complete backstory, huh? Hope you guys enjoy it because I really DO enjoy writing this super personal post, unexpectedly. πŸ˜‚

Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you guys again on my next post, hopefully soon! Take care πŸ’–

Jessica Yamada

July 11, 2018

HOSHINOYA Tokyo | A Luxurious Ryokan in the Heart of Tokyo

Welcome to HOSHINOYA Tokyo, the city's first luxury five-star ryokan that combines contemporary and traditional designs with high-tech features.
This stay marked the third time I've had the privilege of staying at Hoshino Resorts properties (the first time was Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei, and the second time was HOSHINOYA Kyoto). And for the third time, I was, once again completely impressed by the design aesthetic, the quality of service, the various activities you can do, the FOOD, and the attention to detail put into everything. For example, the building looks like a tall black monolith from afar, but as you get closer, you'll see that its dark exterior is actually an elegant lattice of leaf-like patterns that veils the building. ↓
HOSHINOYA Tokyo is surrounded by office towers as it is situated in the Central Business District of Tokyo, only 300m from Otemachi Station (very easy walking distance), making it convenient to reach from anywhere in the city and for you to go wherever you wish in the city.


As soon as I walked in, the buzzing atmosphere of Tokyo begins to fade away and I felt the elegant silence that spread throughout the ryokan.
I was greeted by a seasonal ikebana arrangement and a bright and friendly staff in a kimono who asked me to take off my shoes for her to store in one of these bamboo shoeboxes that line the hallway ↓
What a unique idea for shoeboxes, right? 😍
"If you had to take off your shoes, how did you walk around the ryokan then?"
The answer is, by barefoot or in socks.

"Was it dirty? Or uncomfortable?"
Not at all, all the areas are very clean and the floors are covered entirely with tatami mats (even in the elevators)!


There are two types of lounge in HOSHINOYA Tokyo. The first one is located on each guest floor where we do the check-in process while being served welcome snack and drink, and explained about the ryokan by the staff who speaks very fluent English.
Delicious mochi to welcome your stay πŸ’–
This lounge is also called Ochanoma where guests can enjoy seasonal sake and confectionary 24/7 for free. What's more exciting is that the confectionery changes throughout the day! For example, you'll have onigiris in the morning, various sweets in the afternoon, and ramen noodles in the evening! πŸ˜‹
There are also a work station, sofa, and books to complete your relax time here.
Enjoying my favorite, the Dorayaki! It was seriously the most delicious dorayaki I've ever had! I even asked the staff where to buy it! πŸ˜‚
The second lounge is located on the lobby floor where you do the check-out process.
If you are staying here and you want to invite your friend, s/he can only visit this area.
Hotel merchandises are also available to purchase here ↓


HOSHINOYA Tokyo has 84 guestrooms that are split into six groups on 14 floors. There are three categories of rooms: Yuri, Sakura and Kikunamed after flowers (lily, cherry blossoms, and chrysanthemum).
My room's entrance. I stayed at the Kiku room which is double the size of Yuri and Sakura rooms with a spacious living area and a walking closet.
The room's key is presented in a form of a wooden case.
The stars of the room are these low futon beds that are sooo fluffy with soft sheets and plush pillows, you'll feel like you're laying on clouds! 😭😍
A lovely welcome letter and drink from HOSHINOYA Tokyo team. Thank you :)
Hoshino Resorts properties were designed to offer their guests a place to relax completely, so they usually do not provide a TV inside guestrooms. However, since HOSHINOYA Tokyo is located in one of the busiest cities in the world, you can expect to find a flat-screen TVs here.
 The interesting part is, the TV is cleverly hidden away behind a mirror. So, after you press the remote control, the screen will magically appear! ↑
Walk-in (bamboo) closet with automatic lighting which allows motion sensor.
There are two sets (depends on how many persons staying) of kimono provided inside the cupboard for you to wear around the ryokan, or even outside for a stroll around the city. There is also a set of pajamas available, just like the one in HOSHINOYA Kyoto.
A spacious bathroom with a separate bathtub and shower on one side, and a separate toilet on the other. The bathroom is equipped with a hair dryer and high-quality skincare products too.
Love the aesthetic shadows that form on the sheets in the morning. πŸ’˜


🎌  D I N N E R  🎌
The dinner is served at the ryokan's restaurant that is located on the basement floor and only open to guests. As you stepped off the elevator, you'll see this big rock formations and earthy clay walls - combine it with the tranquil atmosphere, it will surely make you feel like you are inside a beautiful cave.
There are two types of dining areas. The first area consists of 10 tables, each separated by a wooden partition ↑ and the second area is a private room with minimalistic designs. ↓
Fun fact: this tray was made out of the same wood as the entryway doors! It was Executive Chef Noriyuki Hamada's idea to create the continuity between the hotel and the restaurant. And could you please look at that cute piece of paper! 😻

Anyway, just like in HOSHINOYA Kyoto, the dinner comes in Kaiseki type. I've explained about it on my previous post, but I'll repeat it here, in case you haven't read it :)

Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course haute cuisine where the chef uses only fresh seasonal ingredients (which means each season has its own special menu), and balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food, making it not only a feast for the palate, but also for the eyes.
Even though the dishes come in small portions, I can assure you that you will leave with a satisfied and very full belly!

Executive Chef Noriyuki Hamada uses his French culinary techniques and fresh Japanese ingredients to create dishes that represent a ryokan experience with a twist. Every single dish was undoubtedly delicious and presented beautifully!

Let the feast begin!
"Kaseki" Tuile and Deep-Fried Shrimp Mousse Covered with Edamame
Clam Soup
Amuse-bouche: Five Flavors of Delight
(sour, sweet, bitter, salty, and umami)
Bamboo Shoot
Mushroom Soup and Turban Shell
"Lidako" Octopus
Sea Bream
Roughscale Sole
"Hassaku" Citrus and Green Tea
Petit Fours
A (literally) sweet birthday surprise for me! Thank you so much 😘

🎌  B R E A K F A S T  🎌
The breakfast is served at your room or the Ochanoma lounge. You can choose between Japanese style and Western Style breakfast. I chose the Japanese style, obviously. πŸ˜‹


1. Kagura Performance and Sake
You can enjoy seasonal sake, wines, and snacks while watching an interesting Kagura performance on the lobby lounge area along with other guests.
All the guests were very entertained by this talented and hilarious performer! xD

2. Japanese Tea Ceremony
This activity offers guests an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese hospitality (it starts at 10AM to 11AM).
I've always been fascinated by Asian culture, and I'm so glad and grateful that I could learn about Japanese tea culture from this lady, Tomoko-san — all while enjoying a hot cup of matcha, some sweets, and each other's company at HOSHINOYA Tokyo. 🍡
Tomoko-san graciously explained to me about the history, the etiquette, and how, sadly, this old Japanese ritual is slowly disappearing with time. Thank you for sharing your tradition with me, Tomoko-san, I had a delightful time. πŸ™‡πŸ»‍♀️πŸ’ž

3. Deep Breath Exercise (for a good sleep)
A program that calms the heart with deep breath to spend a peaceful night (starts at 10PM).

4. Hot Spring / Onsen
The onsen at HOSHINOYA Tokyo is amazing! It is located on the top floor (17th floor) and the hot spring waters flow from 1,500m beneath Tokyothey said it's good for your skin and body. Aside from it, it has an open roof, so you can enjoy a beautiful view of the night sky at night or cloud-gazing in the morning or afternoon while soaking in a steaming hot bath.
pic cr:
My experience at HOSHINOYA Tokyo was incredible and is one I'll never forget. Thank you once again to HOSHINOYA Tokyo team for having me and taking care of me during my stay. πŸ’–

Address: 1 Chome-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
Nearest station: Otemachi Station
Languages: Japanese, English and Chinese
WiFi: Available
Price: US $1,110 (per room/per night) and up
Telephone number: +81-503-786-1144