The Jakarta Post
'Buku Latihan Soal - Mantappu Jiwa' by Jerome Polin Sijabat, published by PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama. (JP/Narabeto Korohama)
“For me, math is one of the necessary and fundamental subjects. If we can do math [problems], we can think critically and logically.”
Jerome Polin Sijabat, an Indonesian student majoring in applied mathematics at Waseda University in Japan, fell in love with the subject as a child.
On his YouTube channel Nihonggo Mantappu, Jerome discusses math problems and competes against other people in mathematics. His channel also features information about Japanese culture, including small but interesting topics such as opening onigiri (rice ball) wrappers, practicing basic Japanese language skills and booking Shinkansen tickets. Jerome frequently collaborates with his friends as well, namely Tomo, Yusuke and Otsuka, to show the daily life of students in Japan.
Having garnered more than 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube, Jerome started another chapter in his life by releasing his first book, Buku Latihan Soal – Mantappu Jiwa (Exercise Book – Mantappu Jiwa), on Aug. 16.
Jerome Polin Sijabat (middle) and his friend Tomo (right) speak during the 'Buku Latihan Soal - Mantappu Jiwa' event on Aug. 16 in Central Jakarta. (PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama/File)
In the book, Jerome tells of his experiences in a detailed way. It follows his preparation to study abroad, his struggles to obtain a full scholarship from Waseda University, learning Japanese, facing other scholarship candidates from other countries and living alone abroad for the first time.
As the title suggests, the book contains various math formulas and readers will find math exercises waiting to be solved in the final pages. “These exercises don’t need formulas,” Jerome told The Post recently.
Buku Latihan Soal – Mantappu Jiwa is a page-turner and Jerome can captivate readers through his casual writing and jokes that are relatable to the young generations. It's easy to get absorbed in his journey, even if we're not familiar with his videos. His personal quotes, consistently ended with hashtag #RumusJerome (Jerome’s formula), appear between chapters and without the slightest note of conceit.
The book’s editor, Ruth Priscilia Angelina, shared her experiences working with Jerome. “He’s smart – it’s like he never stops thinking. When he wrote one part, at the same time he’s thinking about other parts as well. My job was to organize them one by one,” Ruth said. “He’s a good storyteller.”
During the pre-order period in July, 1,000 copies of Buku Latihan Soal – Mantappu Jiwa sold out in five minutes. The publisher added 1,000 more copies, which were quickly sold out in just two minutes.
The book is available to purchase for Rp 95,000 ($6.69).
AKHIRNYA! setelah kurang lebih 6 bulan menyusun buku, hari ini aku bisa megang bukunya dengan tangan sendiri. YEY! Rasanya beneran kayak mimpi 😂😂 Gapernah nyangka bisa sampe buat buku sendiri, ngeliat nama “Jerome Polin Sijabat” di cover buku, itu gilaaa sihhh😂 wadidaw jiwa. Hari ini baru selesai tanda tangan 2000 buku buat yang ikut PO. Capek sih, tapi seneng dan puas banget! Buat yang gak kebagian PO, kalian bisa beli di Toko buku GRAMEDIA mulai dari tanggal 19 Agustus (daerah Jawa), dan 2 minggu setelahnya (di luar Jawa), atau di tokopedia Nihongo Mantappu Store mulai tanggal 14 Agustus! Semoga siapapun yang membaca buku ini bisa mendapatkan manfaat dan hal2 positif🤗 aamin! #ceritanyajerome #bukumantappujiwa
Jerome’s encouraging story could be among the reasons why he's built a loyal following. Junior high school student Reza, for instance, said that the 21-year-old YouTuber had inspired him to study harder. “I’ve got motivated to study and make my family proud,” said Reza. Though he doesn't plan to continue his studies in Japan, Jerome’s videos have helped him to keep going.
Despite his non-academic success, Jerome still wants to pursue his dream to be Indonesia’s education and culture minister. “I’d like to build a school where I can test my own curriculum. If the school succeeds, the curriculum can be applied to other schools,” said Jerome. (wng)