Posted in Family, food, General

Sunday Morning Delivery

Spring equinox is approaching and each day sunrise is getting earlier and earlier. Japan doesn’t have Day Light Saving clock adjustment, so this will go on continuously until we reach summer solstice.

For those Muslims living in the tropical countries, prayer times do not vary much throughout the year. The most is probably 30 minutes difference.

However in the four-season countries, we have to keep track of the daily changes because our daily five prayer times are set according to the movement of the sun.

That is today’s prayer times. Shuruq means sunrise. Muslims Subuh or Fajr prayer must be performed before sunrise.  So we should set our alarm clock early enough to allow us ample time to wash up before the prayer.

There are two types of washing up, wudu (ablution) or ghusl (full body washing). 

Thus depending on the type of washing required, the alarm clock is set accordingly.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

This morning, I had to wait for the delivery of halal food that I’d ordered online from Baticrom. I had once missed the delivery guy because I went back to sleep after Fajr prayer. So, this morning,  I reset the alarm clock for 8:30, though I was anxious I might miss it that I didn’t go back to sleep at all.

The delivery ๐Ÿ“ฆ guy from Kuroneko arrived around 9 am, carrying 2 boxes with him.

That’s the genkan, the entrance of a Japanese house where we leave our outdoor shoes.

Those are the contents of the boxes. The dry box contains rice and the wet one contains frozen halal chicken, beef and paratha.

Posted in Family, General

My February in Japan

February is the shortest month of the year and the second coldest month in Japan. ย It is also the month that I’ve spent the most in Japan.

  1. 2004 I visited Japan for the first time under the “Friendship Programme for the 21st Century” organised by JICA. I was here for 3 weeks and stayed in a few places; Osaka JICA Centre, Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Fuji and a homestay in Aichi.
  2. 2006 My family lived in the Snow Country, Urasa, Niigata then where my husband was studying in IUJ. That year, we had the most snow ever.
  3. 2007 It was our second winter in Urasa but the snow was much lighter than the previous year. We then left Japan in June 2007.
  4. 2008 We stayed for about a month in ย Azabu area, Tokyo. It was a plan that didn’t turn out the way we expected. Let’s just say, Allah had a greater plan for us.
  5. 2016 We were back in Japan. My husband had been posted here.
  6. 2017 We were still in Tokyo. Insya-Allah we will still be here in February 2018 too.
Posted in Family

Final Goodbye to My Mum

I had mentioned about losing my mum in October 2015. It happened so sudden, after she had an operation which we thought would help to make her feel less pain. On Wednesday 7th. October, I took a flight home to see her for the last time. My husband didn’t go back with us because at that time, Ar was away on a school trip in Nagano and was supposed to return on Friday. My flight that night was at 11:40. Mel and I had already gone for boarding when I received a message from my sister saying that my mum had taken her last breath. Only then I told my sister that I was on my way home and was about to board the plane.

The original plan was for my cousins to pick me up from the KL International Airport and then for us to go back to my hometown in Taiping together. They ย came but I found out that they were planning to come back to KL the following day whereas I had plan to stay longer. So, I changed my mind. I asked them to drop Mel and me at home, and I would drive my own car. I sent a message to my father-in-law to tell him my plan. He said he would have to connect back the car battery because he had disconnected it previously for the car was to be idle ย for a long time.

I waited for him to to that and only at about 8:30 am started the 240 km drive. That was the first time ever I had driven for such a long distance. Usually, it would be my husband who drove the car when we went back to visit my parents. I was driving carefully, following the speed limit and when I arrived in Ipoh, my cousins texted to check my location. For a Muslim, I knew it was bad to delay the burial, so I told them to go ahead and not wait for me.

Finally, I arrived in Kamunting and had another trouble finding the cemetery. Apparently there were two cemetery sites around there and I went to the wrong one. I had to call my brother-in-law to give me the correct location.

I reached the cemetery just moments when people were about to lower the body into the burial ground. When they found out we had arrived, Mel and I were allowed to give our final kiss to my mum. It was really heart-breaking but I was relieved that we had the chance to do so. Then I found out that one of my sisters was still on her way back. She lives in Malaysia but away in Sabah, a state in Borneo Island. She couldn’t get a ticket for an immediate flight, that’s why she didn’t make it on time. My sister only arrived after we finished the Maghrib prayer.

It turned out that my relatives had distributed among them to recite the Quran as sadaqah for my mother. There are 30 juz (sections) in the Quran, so each person (siblings, ย cousins, nieces and nephews etc.) would recite one or two juz. They said nobody had taken up juz 28. So that night I recited juz 28.

I haven’t mentioned my father. He took it rather badly. He looked so depressed. He said he had been the one who was sick and he expected to go first. Now, without my mother, he seemed lost. As the eldest child, I felt bad because I live so far away and could not help in looking after him. After a long discussion, my youngest sister (the only one not yet married among my siblings) offered to quit her job to take care of my father. However, that might take some time, so in the meanwhile, my two sisters who live in the same town as my father would take turn to do it.

I stayed in Taiping until Saturday afternoon. When we reached USJ, I went immediately to Mydin to get things to bring back to Japan. I also bought a new luggage. That night, I spent a long time packing. Shifting and taking things in and out to make sure we do not exceed the 40 kg checked-in baggage allowance.

On Sunday morning, I went to the farmers’ market in Putra Heights. A dear friend who lives nearby came with her husband to see me. I’m grateful for that. My sister-in-law offered to drive us to the airport. She just dropped us off outside the departure hall. We checked in, prayed Zuhr and then met another close friend who came to see me off. I’m so grateful to those who have given me support, either in person or in prayers.

We reached Haneda Airport at around 10:30 pm that night. My husband and my son waited for us there and we took a cab home. The following day, 12th of October was a public holiday, so Mel had a day at least to rest before going back to school.

May Allah have mercy on my parents. Aameen.ย ุงูŽู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูู…ู‘ูŽ ุงุบู’ููุฑูŽู„ููŠู’ ูˆูŽู„ููˆูŽุงู„ูุฏูŽู‰ู‘ูŽ ูˆูŽูฐุฑู’ุญูŽู…ู’ู‡ูู…ูŽุง ูƒูŽู…ูŽุงุฑูŽุจู‘ูŽูŠูŽุงู†ููŠู’ ุตูŽุบููŠู’ุฑู‹ุง

Posted in Family, General, Pictures

First Day of 2017

Happy New Year of 2017. ใ‚ใ‘ใพใ—ใฆใŠใ‚ใงใจใ†ใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚

I’m revising my Japanese lesson now. So this is just a quick update (before midnight) of our photos from the walk to/from Jiyugaoka today.

The illumination was not as grand as in Shibuya or Odaiba, but pretty enough to be enjoyed.

Posted in Family, General, Pictures

The last day of 2016

It’s already the fourth month in Islamic calendar and counting by that, today marks the 21st anniversary of my wedding. Alhamdulillah, I’m grateful for all the blessings in our lives. May Allah bless us with many more happy years together.

Today has been rather warm. I took several photos around our little garden today.

Yes, the roses are still here. I’m so blessed.

The bare dogwood against the beautiful blue sky.

The berries are gone.

The backyard bordering an abandoned house.

Some pink wild flowers in the front yard.

Posted in Family, Kids, Pictures

Chigiri-e Art

When we were in Nemba Cultural Village two weeks ago, I bought some washi papers to make chigiri-e projects.

I have never learned how to do this properly, so Mel and I just did it our own way.

So, here’s our first attempt.

The first one with the purple flower is Mel’s. Mine is the persimmons.

Posted in Family, Pictures

Yoshiya at Shinjuku Station

Last Saturday, my family went out just to have meals. My son, Ar wanted to eat kebab, so we went to Roppongi and ate at Kader Kebab.

After eating, we thought of exploring Shinjuku Station. We rarely go to this station even though back in the summer 2006, when my husband was doing his internship at a company in Roppongi and staying at a studio apartment far away in Kumegawa, we had to pass through Shinjuku Station to come to the city centre.

I think, even if I go to Shinjuku every day for one month to explore the station, I could still get confused of the exits, entrances and the train lines at this station. Remember when I went for my driving tests at Fuchu Driver’s Licence Center? I had to take the connecting train from Shinjuku. I went there for four times, the first time with my husband but he passed the test on the first attempt, so the other three times, I went alone. I only passed the test on my fourth attempt but on the way back, I got confused at Shinjuku Station. I usually just walked from Shinjuku JR Station to Shinjuku San-chome Station. However, that time I was confused so I had to take the Marunochi Line train to Shinjuku San-chome.

Anyway, on Saturday, I just managed to walk inside Odakyu. When it was time for dinner, we were not sure where to eat, but then we saw a restaurant that had a halal sign there. The name of the restaurant is Yoshiya.

Here are some photos from the restaurant.

Posted in Family, General, Kids, Pictures

Heavy Snow in Urasa

      11 years ago, my husband won a Monbukagakusho scholarship to further his studies in Japan. He decided to study MBA in Urasa, Niigata. Niigata had been hit by earthquake of 6.6 Richter scale just a year before.

      Before the start of that daring adventure, we had to make many other brave decisions. He had to quit his job, I had to take unpaid leave from my job and finally we and our two kids had to move to Japan. We didn’t speak Japanese and we knew it wouldn’t be easy to get halal food here. We would have only the scholarship to support our family of four.

      I had to wait till the end of school year for my eldest daughter Fa before we joined my husband Li in Urasa. He moved to Japan in September because his classes had already started and the three of us only came in late October. 

      It was Ramadan then and just five days before Eid. Most people were travelling back to their hometowns to celebrate Eid with their parents and families. My daughter Fa was 8 and Ar was 4. Each of us had a baggage allowance of 30 kg, however I couldn’t utilise it to the max since my biggest concern would be to look after the children, not carrying a lot of baggage. My brother-in-law who was then a pilot with the airline (and thus had a special pass) helped us to carry our hand-carries (Fa insisted on bringing her Serafina in her backpack) up to the plane. The cabin crew just thought we were the family of a pilot going away  a few days before Eid because the pilot had to be on duty.

      I was fasting that day but Fa decided not to because she said she wanted to eat KFC chicken before the flight (the KFC in Japan is not halal). Unfortunately KFC was still serving the breakfast menu, so Fa didn’t get to eat her favourite chicken. Pity her, but life is like that. We don’t always get what we wish for. 

      The flight took 7 hours. It was time yo break my fast just begore we landed, so I ate the delayed meal served by the airline for those who were fasting. It took us a while to get through the immigration and claimed our baggage. Li was already waiting with a friend. The friend had a Toyota Estima and had previously lived in Tokyo before moving to Urasa, so he was somehow familiar with the road. The journey from Narita Airport took about 4 hours. We only made a stop once to buy some food supplies.

      Li had already rented a 2K apartment which came with a large fridge. It was past midnight when we reached the apartment so I didn’t get to see the outside yet. The house has 2 rooms, both with tatami mats. It was cosy enough.
      When we celebrated Eid five days later, we still didn’t have much in the house, but we were just grateful to be together. There were two other Malaysian families there, so we celebrated it with them and the Muslim Students Association at the university.

      Urasa had a very heavy snow the first winter we were there. The first snow arrived on the 1st of December and the last one was in late March. Fa had to walk one mile in the heavy snow to get to her school. I was worried at first but eventually got used to it.

      Last December we went to Urasa and took the photo of our old apartment. Snowfall came late last year. That was how it looked on the first day of snow.

      Posted in Family, General, Kids


      Back in October, my husband’s family made a plan to visit us. They consisted of my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law with her husband and two kids and my brother-in-law with his eife and baby. Altogether there would be nine of them.

      I was not worried about the rooms allocation so much but rather on the beddings requirements. I didn’t have enough for the guests.

      I searched online on where to buy futons. I even went to the newly opened Nitori store in Nakameguro. I decided to buy them online but Li suggested that we waited till it’s closer to the date before buying anything.

      By mid-November, we thought we should make the order for the futons and so confirmed with the guests about their date of arrival. My brother-in-law said he’d changed his mind. He was not coming after all because travelling with a baby during winter would be too troublesome. So we were down to six people.

      One day, I mentioned to my Nihongo classmates about planning to buy futons. One of them suggested that I check the stock at Don Quixote. He told me there is one store in Nakameguro. I went there to have a survey but what caught my eyes were the Coleman sleeping bags instead. They were meant for going camping but I thought sleeping bags are much smaller and easier to store. I could let the two boys sleep in them. 

      I Googled again to find out if anybody ever let their houseguests sleep in sleeping bags rather than on futons. I couldn’t find any satisfactory answer other than about kids using sleeping bags when having sleepover. However, my husband agreed with me that getting sleeping bags would be a much better solution. Futons are harder to get rid off when it is time to go back to our country for good. The rest of the furniture in this house (everything from sofa, beds, tables, chairs, curtains and even beddings) are on lease. At the end of the contract, we will just have to return them to the leasing company.

      Then we heard another news. My mother-in-law was not well and she didn’t feel like travelling. If she wasn’t coming, of course my father-in-law wouldn’t be coming either.

      In the end, we were down to only four houseguests. Three of them already arrived late last night. One is coming later during the weekend. We didn’t need to buy any extra futon or sleeping bag after all my worrying. ๐Ÿ˜„

      I didn’t even have to think where to bring them around Tokyo. They already had their own plan. At 9 this morning, the three of them were all ready to go out and explore Ginza on their own. They didn’t even have breakfast at home. Now, all that I have to do is plan what to cook for dinner. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Posted in Family

      Fuji-san and Lake Kawaguchi

      We’re in Kawaguchiko today. We rented a car with snow tyres just in case. I woke up early to make nasi lemak. We left Tokyo around 8:30 and arrived by the lakeside in  Kawaguchiko before 11.
      It was a beautiful cold and sunny day. Alhamdulillah. The view was breathtaking. Subhanallah. We’re also staying in a hotel room with a nice view of Fuji-san.

      It was lovely to eat nasi lemak with the beautiful view of the lake and the mountain.