When I stayed in Japan for two months last year, I did not bump into any Malays or Muslims from Malaysia. So, I was quite thrilled to come across Melayu-Okinawa hanashi, a blog maintained by a Muslim, Malaysian-born mother of three grown kids who goes by the name Kak Lela today.
Kak Lela married a Japanese man he met when she was working in a Japanese factory in the early 1980s. I was quite delighted to know that Kak Lela wears tudung (head scarf) and, in a Hary Raya picture, her two daughters also wore tudung and baju kurung.
(Wearing tudung while living abroad) is probably not a big deal to some people but it is to me. What are the chances of one not being beriman (pious?) while living away from prying moral police eyes? The odds are a lot. If you are not the religious type, it can be hard to maintain your identity and beliefs.
But here is Kak Lela, a tudung clad and jubah (robe) wearing woman in Japan. Quite amazing!
If Kak Lela were to ever read this, she’d probably laugh out loud. Either that or she’d feel terribly offended. I hope her reaction is the former. I wouldn’t want to offend her in any way. I’m just expressing how I truly feel.
I’m the first person to admit that I am not very pious. But somehow, while in Japan, I managed to stay away from eating non-halal meat or taking a sip of sake or wine for that matter. Granted that my stay was only two months but what I did still require some discipline and willpower. I wished I had prayed more while I was there, the way my Indonesian friend Tika did. But I prayed as and when I could. It’s the niat (intention) that counts 🙂
I wish I had met Kak Lela while I was in Japan. It would’ve been very interesting to cross paths with her, to see her speak in Japanese with her children or her sister-in-laws while carrying a conversation in Malay with us Malaysians. That’d be so cool.
Maybe one day, if I ever visit Okinawa, I’d make a point to contact her way in advance. Hope at that time, Kak Lela would still be around to show me around 🙂