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Written by : Swastika Kusumawati

Ramadhan is just in the corner and Muslims around the world are waiting for it excitingly.

For most of us who welcoming Ramadhan in the home country, the country might be full of excitement, such as preparing iftar with family, doing Tarawih prayer together in the mosque, reading Al-Qur’an together, and many more.


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Meanwhile, for those living in Japan, we have another story of how we are doing Ramadhan in the country while managing our faith and niyyah to be stronger.

What preparation we do for Ramadhan, especially this year, in the middle of the pandemic? What bittersweet experiences as a minority in celebrating Ramadhan in Japan?

Today we introduce you to how Muslims in Japan prepare for Ramadhan.

Special Preparation for Welcoming Ramadhan This Year

Muslims in Japan have some of the special preparation in welcoming Ramadhan.

  • Prepare body and mind, because the weather and temperature are different from the home country. Ramadhan in Japan usually falls at the beginning of summer with a temperature range from 20 to 28 degrees, high exposure to sunlight, and humid! The high humidity in Japan makes people get dehydrated quickly.
  • Find halal stores online or offline to get some groceries stocked at home. Some are looking for halal shops selling their home country’s foods.
  • Stock more instant halal foods, especially when it comes the time when you don’t have time to prepare for suhoor and iftar.
  • Check the schedule of tarawih, suhoor and iftar time, Eid prayer, etc from the nearest mosques or embassies, especially because each area has a slightly different time. Regarding Eid prayer, since mosques don’t available everywhere, so if there is no mosque nearby to do Eid prayer together, Muslims usually get together with the community that lives close and do Eid pray together.

  • During the pandemic, Muslims are raising awareness to the action of wearing a mask, keep the social distance, and do not touch each other, including during Ramadhan.

    Shalat during the pandemic

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The Feeling When Ramadhan Comes…

There might be a complicated feeling when Ramadhan comes for us who live in Japan. Of course, happiness and feeling blessed are the biggest feelings because Ramadhan is a long-waited event every year, but on the other hand, we also feel a bit lonely because we can’t share it in the way we used to do in our home country.

The atmosphere, the vibes.

However, above all the feelings, being abroad helps us to strengthen our faith and niyyah to concentrate and get closer to Allah SWT.

Iftar meals in a masjid

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Bittersweet Experience doing Ramadhan in Japan

The coin has two sides, front and back.

Same with the experience doing Ramadhan in Japan, there are two sides; sweet and bitter. Both of them give us a lesson that makes Ramadhan in Japan more colorful.

Even though there are almost no Ramadhan vibes (except if you are going to the mosque) which somehow makes us feel lonely, celebrating Ramadhan in a place where Muslim is a minority challenges us to focus more on the holy month, be more careful to our daily actions as it could be one of dakwah to other people.

Iftar together held in a mosque before the pandemic

Interesting thing is, since people surrounding us just like usual even in Ramadhan, so we spend our days as productive as usual while fasting at the same time.

Preparation When Going Back to Home Country During the Pandemic

This pandemic is an unexpected thing that makes our plan does not go smoothly. Most of us choose to stay in Japan, but for those who have a condition to back to the home country, there are some preparations that Muslims in Japan are preparing beforehand.

  • Prepare physically and mentally. Make sure to maintain health, keep on the positive minds, always ask the guidance from Allah SWT to avoid stress during the pandemic.
  • Check the latest requirement to leave and enter the country.
  • Get ready for the financial expenses, because going back to your home country in this pandemic cost increases 2-3 times more than usual (price increase in the airplane ticket, PCR tests, a room in the hotel for self-quarantine, etc).
  • Prepare the second and third plans to reduce panic when the main plan doesn’t go smoothly.

Working in Japan During Ramadhan

Doing Ramadhan while working in Japan, especially in a Japanese company where you are probably the only one who’s doing Ramadhan is a usual sight. By do the fasting while working, our colleagues and supervisors usually get knowledge about Ramadhan from us, in addition, that we are able to concentrate more on working.

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On the other hand, sometimes we can’t make the iftar on time due to some businesses at work and our colleagues might worry us because Ramadhan in Japan is longer than the countries in the equator (approximately 16 hours) and super humid!

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FAQ ; Working in Japan

When Ramadhan comes and we start fasting, you will find your colleagues frequently asking about your condition. You can just explain to them in a simple and easy-to-understand way so that they can create a supportive environment for us. Furthermore, it is important to know our limit because weather, temperature, and working load in Japan are quite different.