Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Warung Malaysia

For two days over the weekend a couple of weeks ago, the annual College Festival was held in my college.
Next year, I predict it will be "Moth".
The theme of the festival this year was "Butterfly", although I couldn't figure out the rational for picking that word as the theme of the festival. Sometimes, Japanese try to use English words in their masterpiece, but they couldn't get the right word that could get the message across. In the end, they just pick some random word and use it.
The events during the college festival were basically similar to last year; free market, exhibitions, mini games where they offer soft toys like those in fun fair, plays by the students from each course, classrooms which were turned coffee house and mini restaurants, band performances and a few others. I am not going to touch on that again this time. However, if you are interested to see them, you can refer to the last year's entry.
The HQ for all the events during the festival.
They were in-charged to keep the crowd entertained.
For a change this time, the Malaysian international students decided to open a stall during the college festival. We used to do it every single year. However, the representative for the international student failed to attend the initial meeting last year, and we didn't get the permission to open a stall. Yes, the Japanese are very strict on this matter and you cannot just simple open a stall on that day itself, without getting the permission to do so. In fact, it was not only about getting the permission, because there were numerous procedures and checks before we open the stall on that day. This year, we didn't want the same thing to happen again and I volunteered to take charge of the stall this time.
It was however, not that simple as I first thought.
The stalls set up during the college festival.
There were several times when the wind was too strong, that the blue plastic roof was blown away but they continued their business as usual.

The stall that sells takoyaki.
There were no less then five meetings, the first being held months before the real thing. Not only meetings, we were also made to undergo a stool test to make sure that our shit is clean enough so that there won't be any cases of food poisoning. Finally, after everything was put on place, came the day we all had been waiting for. Each of us fork out 1,000 yen (RM33) each as the starting capital to buy the stuff, in which we managed to make a healthy profit of almost five times that amount for each person. A day before that, we went out to get all the ingredients needed and on that night itself, we started working at the kitchen.
Just in case you are wondering what we sold this time, we sold not one, not two, but four different kinds of food. Satay, samosa, jelly and rose-flavoured selasih syrup. We were able to do it in such a big scale, because we had the numbers. Seventeen of us, to be exact.
Satay was selling like hot cakes, even without the kuah kacang.
Samosa was a hit among the Japanese as well.
However, one important thing when you do a business is how you promote your product.
Putting that into consideration, I used my limited Photoshop skills to come out with a poster for our stall with the help of a few others one night earlier. We went around the school and pasted the posters in strategic locations, but one of the best must be this one. I thought of the idea of pasting it inside the lift, and my senior made the idea better by suggesting that we paste it next to the buttons inside the lift. That would make sure that people will notice our poster when they enter the lift.
I'm not saying this just because I designed the poster but I think it looks not bad. What say you?

On the first day, it was drizzling early that morning and there were concerns that the crowd coming to the festival would be affected by that. Fortunately, it stopped soon afterward and a few of us went early to set up our stalls.
We were the last stall to get there and set up our stall, which is in the middle.
Not wanting to be left behind by the next stall, we began our work immediately.
P1040516 copy
But in between that, I didn't miss the opportunity to wash my eyes.
After everything were in place, we started our business and it slowly got better as the people began to increase when it approached noon.
Finally, our stall was up and running.

We even had the principal of our college to stop by our stall and he bought two sticks of satay from us. I think he went to every stall and bought something from each stall, so that he won't look like he is supporting just one particular stall. But I wonder if he managed to finished all the food that he bought.
If he did, he must have put up a couple of inches to his waistline.
Mr Principal wanted to pay with one of his many credit cards.

Our stall this year was a great success; in fact our stall was the second one to finish selling off our stuff out of almost ten stalls there. There was an early fear that the weather could play a big role and our food won't finish. Despite so, the business was way better than our earlier expectations because by one to two in the evening, our food almost sold out already. In fact, some of our seniors from Nagaoka University of Technology nearby came only to find out that we have closed our stall. Nevertheless, we offered them free syrup to our poor seniors who came all the way for our already-sold-out satay.
Satay and samosa were the fastest to be sold out, followed closely by the colourful jelly. Although the selasih syrup looked like it was not getting much sale, one of my junior did a great job in attracting customers who walked pass our stall and in the end, it finished as well.
My junior in a two-in-one mission - promoting our food while flirting around.
If kids come to our stall, we would hand them with satay and their parents indirectly will feel obliged to pay for the satay. Smart marketing strategies lol.

For the two days, we sold almost 500 sticks of satay, 650 pieces of samosa, six trays of jelly and two huge container of syrup water. Our gross income for the two days was more than 80,000 yen (RM2,666) and with that amount, I can actually get a return ticket back to Malaysia already. Well, our return was that much because our satay was RM3 per stick, RM2 for one samosa, 4 piece of jelly for RM3 and one cup of syrup was sold at RM3.
If we were to do a similar business in Malaysia, I know we can close shop straight away.
I wanted to name our stall as "Warung Pak Cik Ali" initially, but I find it difficult for the Japanese to pronunce it.
It was also through coordinating this thing, that made me realised of one very important thing - teamwork.
It so happened that I started to watch this drama 医龍 (Iryuu) - Team Medical Dragon recently that I have got addicted to it so much. It is not just another hospital drama. The storyline is really good that centers around a medical team that is considered the best team around to perform the Batista surgery, considered one of the toughest cardiac surgery which is very risky. When a person like me who hardly watches any anime or drama to find himself glued to the set every time, it must be something special, ain't it? Make sure you watch it if you have the chance.
One main thing that I am impressed with this drama is the teamwork among the members of the team every time they perform a surgery. And from there, I somehow find myself relate it to the teamwork we had when we were working on our stall. Everyone was ready to cooperate from the start until the end, that it made everything went smoothly.
Aki promoting our stall; his smile is already enough to attract customers.
Notice that deer soft toy hanging from atop; it's our lucky charm, according to my junior. Take it down and our business would not go smoothly.
Standing cutting eight packets of chicken into small pieces, staying up until almost one in the morning to stick the satay while crapping together, waking up as early as five in the morning to cook the fillings for the samosa; those were just part of the hard works they made to make sure that all go as planned.
On the day itself, each of us seemed like each person has known their job although we didn't really determined who will be frying the samosa, who will be burning the satay, who will take charge of the cashier, and who will be promoting our stall. Whenever someone needs another person to give a helping hand, the person who is free will help out without any second thoughts.
Ming Jing frying the samosa while Wei Shen and Aki burning the satay behind.
We had no choice but to use those paper fan, which people usually use during fireworks festival in the summer.
Quoting from one of the episodes in that drama, a team is like a maths formula. No matter how huge the number is, but if you add a zero to it, it will still end up being zero. Same thing applies here. If there happen to be one team member who are unwilling to help out, but only interested in giving instructions to the annoyance of other team members, the job will never get done and there will not be any end result.
Eventually, the team will be a failure.
Whenever there were no customers, we will use the time to camwhore.
Sometimes, it turned out to be some funny pose.
Nevertheless, being the coordinator doesn't mean I just sat there doing nothing and instructing the others. I tried my best to help out at every department and whenever there is a decision to be made, I made sure I asked the opinion from everybody first. I am not trying to boast here that I was the one who head this thing though. I am grateful to have a wonderful and helpful team members around, that it made it a smooth sailing for the job to be done.
I have to admit that after the two days, I was as dead like a sardine fish inside the can and couldn't even do my work properly because I was too exhausted. Fortunately, it was a public holiday the next day that I could get my well-deserved rest before class resumed the next morning. In a whole, it was a truly an enjoyable experience for getting the chance to organise something like that, and I am already looking forward to the same thing next year.
A few Malaysian seniors from NUT who came to our stall as well.
Both of them have the same name - Sato, and the one on the left owns a ski resort in Myoko.

Minasan, otsukaresamadeshita :)


Kae Vin said...



lol it takes me a few minutes to actually construct this sentense. Is it correct anyway?

Ben Foo said...

other foreign students not involved?
just malaysia?

Wee Kien said...

All together just10 stalls only??
but ur stall is damn big !!

syaza said... least my kosen nye theme this year much much more kakko ii than urs.."color of myself" prob, they cant pronounce it properly..paiseh~

Endoru said...

80000 yen. Not bad.
Samosa's Malaysian food meh ?
I know that it is like a simpler version of curry puffs. :D
Very nicely done and definitely a comprehensive report about your kosen-sai.

TZ said...

Dude, what is inside the samosa that your team have prepared... Guess what? Samosa is the favorite food in Uganda :-) The Ugandan take Samosa during breakfast, tea and anytime they feel like eating...

Anonymous said...

tra lala , di lala, lala

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
it only took me a a few hundred of a second to actually find faults with you impaired sentence.

go do more revision on your japanese =)

calvin said...

@ breachno:
the mongols and vietnamese were sleeping in their rooms. well, suffice to say that they don't blend well with we malaysian students =\

calvin said...

@ chwk87:
ten only? did they set up a lot more stalls over in your college? anyway, i thought the size of our stall is just average and it is the same for each stalls.

calvin said...

@ syaza:
is it very hard to pronounce that?
"ka-ra ofu mai-serufu"


calvin said...

@ endoru:
the embassy might decrease our monthly allowance if they know we earned that much lol. anyway, we had set our target to 10,000 yen for next year :)

samosa is not really the best food to represent malaysia, but it is way more simple to be prepared compared to curry puffs :)

calvin said...

@ tz:
just minced potatoes and onions. never know that africans eat spicy food too. perhaps their food is too spicy that their skin turned so black lol xD

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
twinkle twinkle little star...

Anonymous said...

i really didnt expect u to play along with my comment ! haha! u seem to have a sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

roof blown away ... ngek
last year the whole tent blew away and flipped around... beat that...ngek

Wee Kien said...

foto in my blog.

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
thanks ^.^

calvin said...

@ kh:
what happened to the food then?

maybe the butter was blown away. ahh, now i know how the word "butterfly" was created.

calvin said...

@ chwk87:
your college festival looks to be much bigger than mine. amazed by the number of stalls selling food in your college o.O

=chuan guan= said...

eh..seem like v nice..but i notice 1 thing funny..warung though they understand it..hahahaa..
btw, ur blog really those educational type..hahaha

calvin said...

@ =chuanguan=:
which one would you choose? the name of the stall, or the taste of the food? definitely you will always go for the latter, right? well, at least that is for me.

my blog is just a personal diary to record my daily life, but if you find it educational, then i would be more than happy :)