Coming to Japan as an undergraduate student was not easy. The very idea of living all on your own abroad for a person like me was pretty overwhelming, because all my life I had been always living with my family.
I never even went out of my city alone. I rarely cooked anything besides an omelet. And did I ever manage my belongings? When I could not find them, my mother was the one to find them for me. After I moved to Japan, it took a while to settle down. But I still call my mom and younger sister every day to feel a bit closer to home. Regarding my home country friends, I sometimes play some online games with them to keep in touch. So, everything has been still manageable. But hey, one thing that was really out of the ordinary was celebrating Eid in Japan!
Eid is a Muslim religious festival that comes twice a lunar year. Have you ever had a Muslim friend whom you knew was fasting or not eating during the daytime? The first Eid comes after one month of fasting and praying. Usually, Eid is one of the happiest days of the whole year for a Muslim to enjoy with friends and family. But for me, this Eid was not the same as before. I realized I had to make adaptations to enjoy this occasion in newer ways.
This year, Eid-Al-Fitr was on the 1st of May of 2022. In my country, some days around the day of Eid and the day itself are holidays. However, in Japan it was a Monday with my classes from 8:50 am to 4 pm. To say the Eid prayer, I went to the nearest prayer space (Mushalla) at Ichigao at 7 am. Beyond my expectations, I found that there are numerous Muslim prayer spaces in Tokyo. In the Ichigao prayer space, I met a lot of people from my country as well as from other countries. Some of them were also Tokyo Tech Alumni or current students. Just for your information, if you are a Muslim, you may be also glad to know that all the campuses of Tokyo Tech have a place where you can pray. The weekly Friday Jumah Prayer is also held there.
Anyway, since I had classes on the day of Eid, it was a busy day. I think the undergraduate coursework at Tokyo Tech keeps a student occupied on the weekdays. But luckily, the next days were holidays due to the Golden Week. One Bangladeshi senpai from Tokyo Tech invited me to his place along with some other senpais during one of the holidays and treated me to ‘Biriyani’ at his house. The Biriyani was so tasty and reminded me of the food I had back in my country. It was also a good time to enjoy conversation with the senpais about their studies in Japan and to get some useful advice. I have many friends from different countries in my class who live in the same dormitory as me. What I have seen is that at Tokyo Tech, no matter which country you are from you are always going to find a senpai from your country. Furthermore, senpais of other countries also treat me so kindly and are so supportive. This helps the whole adaptation to be much easier and more relaxing for any new students.
On another off day, I went to Meguro River which is not far from Ookayama Campus. It is one of the famous spots to experience cherry blossoms (sakura). It is a calm and beautiful place to visit and relax your mind. I walked around the place and took random photos. After that, I had some Halal ramen near Ebisu Station. The taste was so much better than what I expected. So, I went there again after some days, ha-ha! If you are a Muslim, you might wonder about Halal restaurant availability in Japan. I can tell you that there are enough to make the food experience in Japan appealing.
In this way, I often travel to beautiful places around Tokyo by myself and try out Halal restaurants nearby when I am free. Overall, I think my Eid was not as bad as I thought at first. I feel that it will remain ever fresh in my memory. To me, it has been a thrilling experience to take myself out of my comfort zone and learn to adapt. Amidst the sacrifices, my student life at Tokyo Tech has been something big for me. I thank the Almighty that I am studying here, and I am trying to do my best now. I hope my knowledge gained at Tokyo Tech becomes useful to my country one day and I can act as a bridge between my country and Japan. I am concluding my blog by welcoming all the prospective students no matter where they are from to try out the marvelous opportunity to study at Tokyo Tech. I wish you all the best.