This is a series of interviews of fabulous people who live, breathe and thrive in Jakarta. We will feature expats and Indonesians who call the Big Durian home in hopes to give all of you a glimpse of what life is all about in Jakarta. I would love to have different perspectives on our Fabulous Jakartan Friday (FJF) so if you would like to be featured, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I would be so excited to hear all about YOUR Jakarta!
Fabulous Jakartan: Kaho, the Chic Japanese Blogger Mom
This week it’s my honor to introduce you to Kaho. Kaho isn’t only a very good friend of mine but a source of inspiration when it comes to parenting and style. Kaho has been living in Jakarta for almost three years and she was one of my first friends when I moved here. She has been a huge blessing and I’m thankful for her friendship. I was first inspired to start Stumble Abroad after Kaho shared with me all the fun she’s had writing her blog Chuzai Living. If you haven’t visited it yet you really have to. Kaho encourages her readers to find the hidden gems in their city and shows us how to style our homes and our wardrobe with what we have and make it look beautiful.
So, here’s Kaho’s Fabulous Jakartan Friday Interview.
Tell me more, tell me more
1.First, tell us a little bit about you. What’s your background? Where did you grow up? How long have you been living in Jakarta for? What does your family look like?
I’m originally from Tokyo, Japan and married to an American husband from Texas. In my childhood, I spent some time in LA for 2 years and in Singapore for 3 years with my family. With my husband’s job, he and I have lived in Dakar, Senegal (West Africa) and Okinawa, Japan. I’ve been in Jakarta for 2 and a half years now. My husband and I have 2 girls aged 8 and 5 and a baby boy who is 10 months old. I speak, Japanese, English, French and some Bahasa Indonesia. I love photography, interior design, fashion and traveling. My passion has been blogging which might be easy to guess.
2. Is Indonesia your first post abroad? What’s the hardest thing about being an expat in Indonesia? What did you struggle with the most?
With my husband’s current job, Jakarta is a third post overseas for us after Dakar, Senegal and Okinawa, Japan. (Technically Okinawa wasn’t really an overseas post to me as I am from Japan, but Okinawa has a very different culture from Tokyo). The hardest thing about being an expat in Indonesia would probably be the unreliable internet connection because I blog. I sometimes cannot access my own blog, Facebook page, Twitter and so forth for no reason and it can be very frustrating.
3. I love your blog Chuzai Living! It’s been a source of inspiration and a huge help when I first moved to Jakarta. Why did you decide to start a blog? What’s the best thing that has come from blogging?
Thanks! I started my blog back in March, 2010 because I wanted to do something for myself. At the time we lived in the U.S. and all my time was dedicated to raising my two girls. My husband had a very busy work schedule and was hardly home. I had witnessed my husband build his career while I felt that I had accumulated nothing tangible for myself. It made me feel insecure. I always knew that it would be a challenge for me to build a career since I had become a trailing spouse and we move every 2 to 3 years. I am grateful for my situation and I enjoy being a mom (most of the time, but sometimes I want to hide from my kids). At the same time, I could not help desiring to devote myself for my passions, enjoy, learn and improve myself and tell people who I really am. I realized that my inner voice was calling for an outlet for my creativity. That’s when I stumbled upon a blog, Nordljus, which inspired me and changed my world forever and ever. That’s also the time I picked up how to use an SLR camera. You can read about it on a post. Over time, I figured out the direction of my blog, Chuzai Living, and what I want to pursue from it.
Living in Jakarta
1. What three adjectives would describe Jakarta the best?
Exciting! vibrant, & creative
2. What’s your biggest Jakarta Love and Jakarta Hate?
Jakarta Love would be the life style which allows me to have a domestic help! Jakarta hate would be an inefficiency of how things work in this city.
3. How do you find the sweetness beneath the Prickly Surface of the Big Durian? What activities or things keep you happy and thriving in Jakarta?
It might be cliché to say this, but blogging provides me with energy to be a happy mom and trailing wife, and it motivates me to explore and discover the city and see the bright side of a sometimes tough expat life.
4. For a first time visitor coming to Jakarta, what would you recommend they try out that is uniquely Jakartan?
I would say the wonderful Indonesian spa experiences available in Jakarta.
5. If someone was to move to Jakarta shortly, what would be your biggest piece of advice for them?
Bring your open mind and laid-back self.
6. What’s the one thing you wish you had brought or brought more of?
I feel that you can get pretty much anything you want if you pay the price. I love pretty wrapping papers and gift bags from the U.S. and Japan and they are cheap back home, so I always bring them back when I visit our families.
1. What have been your biggest challenge raising kids in Jakarta?
The traffic. It limits the activities you can do with your kids after kids come home from school.
2. How do you feel raising a family is different here than in your home country?
I find it easier because you have a help at home. I have so much more freedom. I can work out in the morning and I don’t have to wake up my baby to pick up my older child from preschool. Life is easier to me in Jakarta as a mom of three young kids.
3. What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids while in Jakarta?
Going to a swimming pool.
4. What are your favorite places and things in Jakarta for Kids
Playground: Kemang Playparq, Lollipops
Classes: Music class at Farabi Music School
Clothing Stores: Zara, Gingersnapps
Toy Store: Toy Kingdom
Snacks: Magnum ice cream
5. What are your favorite places and things in Jakarta for You?
Clothing Stores: Zara, Mango, Etcetra, Colorbox, Body & Soul
Restaurant: KOI Kemang, Bochi Bochi, Kinara, Basara
Cultural Outing: spas! Can I call it a culture outing?
Traveling in Indonesia
1. If you could only visit one place in Indonesia while in Jakarta what would it be?
2. What is the best advise to anyone traveling with kids in Indonesia?
Bring activities you can do in a car in case you get stuck in traffic.
3. Bali or Lombok?
At the moment, Lombok.
4. Yogyakarta or Jungle Trekking in Sulawesi or Krakatau?
1. What’s your favorite restaurant in Jakarta?
2. What food do you miss the most from back home?
3. You are from Japan, what’s your favorite Japanese restaurant in Jakarta? Any special recommendations?
Bochi Bochi – It is a very authentic Japanese restaurant with variety of Japanese food with good quality and reasonable pricing.
4. What is the one Indonesian dish that everyone should try?
Ayam Betutu (Balinese dish).
5. Could you share a short and sweet recipe for an authentic Japanese dish that is easy to make with ingredients found in Jakarta.
Gyoza – Japanese potstickers. I have a recipe on my blog.
Thank you very much for joining us in Stumble Abroad today, just one more request:
Describe what life in Jakarta is like in one sentence.