This article is a part of our "Ramadan Around the World" series. Based on the information sent by Zhafira Aqyla from Osaka, Japan through this link, this interview has been edited for length and clarity by Have Halal, Will Travel's editorial team.
Born in Japan, Zhafira Aqyla whose nationality is Indonesian is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree at a university in Osaka, Japan. For the 21 year-old, gatherings with friends and family is the first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of Ramadan.
A typical day in Ramadan for Zhafira would start with eating sahur, going to university for classes before heading back to her home for iftar and perform Terawih prayers. In between, she focuses on prayers and her university work.
It has been 4 years since she lived in Japan and she now gets to spend Ramadan with her new family; her husband. Her prior days during the blessed month would usually involve her spending iftar and Terawih with her Muslim friends before going their separate ways. As her and her husband are both students in the same university, she feels less lonely overseas having family with her during Ramadan.
She admits her favourite is 'anything easy to make' with some rice, while she loves pasta or anything her community makes to break fast for iftar. What she looks forward to, though, is her mother's Ramadan cookies that get sent to her every year.
Like many of us, the beautiful month of starving our stomachs while feeding our souls can come with some changes, like being physically tired. For Zhafira, her long hours at school combined with university work can take a toll on her sleep schedule during Ramadan as well.
This Eid, she looks forward to celebrating the occasion with her husband and having meals with their fellow brothers and sisters in Japan. One local eatery she recommends any Muslim traveller to try is the Matsuri Halal Restaurant that serves affordable Japanese dishes.
Zhafira also values her interactions with her non-Muslim friends, making videos with them and posting them on her YouTube channel. Her positive interactions with her own Japanese friends truly embody the beauty and peace in Islam.
While we can't travel to Japan just yet, it doesn't hurt to keep our wanderlust going and continue being inspired travellers! For Zhafira, the must-see spot in Osaka is Universal Studios Japan and to immerse in local culture, she would take any traveller to Kyoto as it's not too far away from the city of Osaka.
The beautiful Sakura blossom and Momiji in Japan is also definitely not to be missed in the spring and fall time respectively. Perfect to snap some pictures with your loved ones!
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The diversity of the ummah truly exemplifies the beauty of Islam, and it's great to read stories from the community! If you want to share how Ramadan is celebrated in your country, fill in the form below and stand a chance to be featured!
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