This article is a part of the "Ramadan Around the World" series. This article is written by Have Halal, Will Travel editorial team based on information sent through this link by Kaiji Wada from Tokyo, Japan.
Ramadan is a month full of blessings. Hence why, Muslims around the world make use of Ramadan as a chance to enhance their ibadah, including Kaiji Wada, a Japanese Muslim living in Tokyo.Every Ramadan, Kaiji wakes up for suhoor at around 3.30 AM and enjoy something nutritious like fruit yogurt or natto (a traditional Japanese meal made from soybeans) ."During Ramadan, my daily routine is waking up early for Fajar, taking a short nap, going to work, and fasting until the maghrib. We also have Iftar for buka puasa, and do taraweeh in the masjid.” Like the rest of the world, the pandemic also affects Kaiji's daily life. This year, he spends most of his time at home. But in the spirit of Ramadan, he joins some online activities and gathering for young Muslims in Tokyo. This way, he can stay connected with the community even though they will be spending most of their time at home.However, this is not something new to Kaiji. Before Covid, he spent his Ramadan in Indonesia but he also did not have the chance to pray taraweeh in the mosque due to the restrictions. So, he prayed taraweeh with his wife at home.However, he remains hopeful this year as mosques in Japan held taraweeh prayer and he hopes to join in the prayer.Besides that, Iftar is something he looks forward to every year. In mosques in Japan, they serve international dishes like Bangladeshi cuisine, Pakistani food, Indonesian food, and other halal dishes.Ramadan also holds a special significance for Kaiji as he learned that there's more to Ramadan than just the act of fasting. "During my first year as a Muslim revert, I only focused on not eating and drinking during Ramadhan, which means I only focused on myself and not for Allah SWT," he said.After a few years, he realized that fasting is not only about not eating, but also concentrating our intention on Allah SWT by reading Quran, reciting zikir, doing good to people, and other good deeds.Even though he felt that he hasn’t overcome this, he remains committed to to improving himself for as long as he can. He is planning to do so by joining the Muslim community in Tokyo, so he can share knowledge with fellow Muslims.When asked about the Eid celebration in Japan, he spends this special day with the Muslim community at the mosques. Since Kaiji is the only Muslim in his family, he celebrates Eid by visiting his friends too. If there's one dish that left a mark in his heart, it’s the lamb he had when celebrating Eid in Indonesia, which is hard to come by in Japan. We definitely hope he can relive the delicious flavors of Indonesian food once the international borders reopen! If you’re excited to travel to Japan on your future getaways, Kaiji has some recommendations to share!Kaiji said there’s more to Tokyo than just the bustling cities like Shibuya and Harajuku. He recommends exploring the scenic nature and the beautiful four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter."Even though you live in the same place, you can feel different types of blessings every season. By admiring the beauty of nature, you can feel the greatness of the Creator, Allah SWT," he added.Another place he recommends is Tokyo SkyTree, situated in the neighborhood where he lives. Now that prayer spaces are available Tokyo SkyTree, it’s more convenient now for Muslim travelers to visit and pray there. For Kaiji, there are many blessings to being a Muslim and that includes having more friends from around the world!"Previously, I was quite introverted, but when I became Muslim, many brothers and sisters welcome me and supported my journey as a Muslim. Like now, I am speaking to brothers and sisters all over the world, including some from the far east country," he said.
Kaiji also has son tips to share with Muslim travellers visiting Japan during Ramadan! "When you come to Japan during Ramadan, you may not feel Ramadhan vibes like atmosphere in Muslim-majority countries because majority of population is not Muslim. But once you come in the mosque, you can meet brothers and sisters who are doing same experience of fasting during Ramadhan. This is how we can sustain strong bonds in the community."
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