FASTING IN THE LAND OF RISING SUN
Writer: Sita Rizky | Illustrator: Carina Audrey Budiarto | Editor: Reinardus Darren | Photographer: Sita Rizky
It is the special time of the year: Ramadhan!
For the entire month of Ramadhan, muslims all around the world would fast from sunrise until sunset. We know the usual routine in Indonesia: the bedug suhoor, breaking fast gatherings, and going back to our hometowns at the end of Ramadhan. But how would it feel to fast in the land of the rising sun?
The Ramadhan experience in Beppu, Japan, is completely different. This year’s Ramadhan falls in spring season. While the day does not last as long as it would in the summer, it still lasts longer than the usual fasting period in Indonesia. In Beppu, the sun rises at around 4 in the morning and sets at around 7 in the evening. Due to this, fasting would last 15 hours a day. It is hard, but bearable nonetheless.
Fasting in a foreign country where muslims are the minority means that a lot of people might not understand that you are fasting. If you ever come across people who don’t understand why you don’t eat lunch, a little explanation about Ramadhan and the practice of fasting would be very helpful. Generally Japanese people are accepting and respectful towards other cultures, so there is no need to worry!
Fasting in Japan also means that there is no special Ramadhan discount at the stores, no Ramadhan themed advertisements on TV, and no holiday during Eid celebration. There is virtually nothing that reminds you that it is Ramadhan except your alarm that goes off at 3 am to wake you up for suhoor. You might miss the nostalgic Ramadhan vibe. But no need to worry, you don’t have to spend your Ramadhan alone. You can gather with your friends, cook and eat your iftar meals together. If you are looking for a recipe to cook with your friends, APUINA TV has a special Takjil episode you can look into!
Of course, you can also go to your local mosque and break your fast with fellow muslims there. On the side note, The Beppu Mosque is distributing free iftar bento during Ramadhan. The menu will change everyday, depending on the person who provides the food. The portion is quite big, but you are even allowed to take more than one portion. If you are a fan of Pakistani food, you should definitely get it! Ramadhan Mubarak!