What does it like for non-Muslim Japanese tries fasting fully for a month during Ramadan?

Today we are talking with Kouji who challenges himself to fast during Ramadan! Did you know that we’ve been collaborating with him before in trying halal ramen for his very first time?

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Fasting in Malaysia

Kouji came to Malaysia at the beginning of 2022 to study at Universiti Malaya to learn more about the Malay language and the culture of Malaysia. Besides, he actively introduces Malaysian culture on his Youtube channel, Kouji Jepun.

Halal Media Japan team with Kouji tasting halal ramen

This year is his second challenge of Ramadan fasting. Two years ago on his first try, he only could make it for 5 days and this year, he is going to challenge fasting for fully a month. Since he is learning about Malaysia, where the population is mostly Muslims, he wants to get closer to the cultures and local customs that encourage him to challenge fasting.

“This is a cultural experience that is special for me. I hope I can get a deeper understanding of the society of Malaysia”, he says.

It might be comparatively easier for born-Muslim to fast a whole day for a month, as we are trained since we were children. However, it is not easy for non-Muslims or new reverts.

According to Kouji, “Honestly, it is very difficult for me (to do fasting). I feel tremendously hungry and thirsty during the day, especially when there is a smell of foods when I am outside that makes me so hard to refrain”.

In Malaysia, he does fast together with 3 Japanese roommates and is able to enjoy the vibes of Ramadan together with Muslims in Malaysia, which encourages his motivation higher, to do his best in fasting.

“In Japan, people around me do not fast, obviously, so they eat and drink just like usual, which makes it very challenging to fast. However, in Malaysia, all Muslims do fast and it motivates me to do like they do. Malaysian people are very welcome, they treat me like family. They are also glad to know that I am fasting. I think it is one of the values of Malaysian Hospitality, I feel happy to be around them”, he added.

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Suhoor and Iftar

Kouji has some pieces of dates and banana for suhoor. “When I introduce my suhoor meal in a short video on my Instagram, I got a lot of comments and messages from Malaysian friends that are surprised with the meal. I can’t eat much on suhoor as it makes me feel more hungry and thirsty,” he said.

Meanwhile for iftar, going to the Ramadan bazaar and enjoying iftar/dinner there with friends is what he is looking forward to since he can enjoy a variety of local foods! Moreover, he also spends iftar together with Malaysian families! Alhamdulillah.

Fasting for Health

According to Kouji, fasting makes him able to use the morning time way more effectively and improves his health. “I feel more energetic since I have to go to sleep and wake up early. Also, I have more effective time in the morning to do many things”, he says.

Besides, he feels his body is lighter in weight. “Seems fasting helps to detox the body. My friends said that I look slimmer, so maybe fasting is also good as a diet”, he added.

Kouji sends a vibe, “This year I will do fasting for a month! We have a few days to go! Let’s do our best, Joomm!!” 

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Fasting in Japan: Japanese Muslim’s A Day of Fasting in Ramadhan 2021