Japan’s Nuance : Tokyo vs Osaka Divide

Modern Japan is one of the most mono-ethnic countries in the world today. It is common misconception that the culture and people’s unision are also in sync. However, the land of the rising sun, has also been home to many unique deep-rooted culture, people and values.

The geographical spawn of Japan, is a unique one in the world somewhat similar to the British Isles. Isolated yet connected to the main continent. The Japanese home islands are an archipelago just off the Korean peninsular and the Asian mainland. Despite this, it has a massive impact on history and culture. This is examplified by the two main contrast of Kansai and Kanto region.

Tokyo vs Osaka Divide

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The Two Abrahams – Priority of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a world renowned framework for sociology and motivational theory in psychology. Its being taught in clasess, in business management and also training centres. It depicts what sort of motivation and effort and its direct relation with human behaviour.

It comprises of a three-tier category of human needs (can be classified into 5 rungs), most commonly shown within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are:

  1. Basic Needs : food and clothing, safety and security
  2. Psychological Needs : love and belonging needs (friendship, intimacy)
  3. Self Fulfilment Needs : esteem, and self-actualization.

The theory specifies that Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up. The goal is to achieve self-actualization.

Basis of Maslow’s theory

This 1943 theory is widely known to have first referred to the Blackfeet tribe, an American Indian tribe, the theory still being referred to in many way of to this day. However, in recent times, the theory has drawn a lot of criticism mainly on its being viewed as an Animalcentric theory.

All animals seek survival and safety, and many animals, especially mammals, also invest efforts to belong and gain esteem… The first four of Maslow’s classical five rungs feature nothing exceptionally human.

Abulof, Uriel (2017). “Be Yourself! How Am I Not Myself?”.

Different Approach

Whilst Abraham Maslow focuses more on establishing one bodily physical needs to achieve innate soul peace and elightenment, Prophet Abraham list of priorities focuses from inner soul satisfaction and a top down approach. The list of priorities is in a total opposite between the two Abrahams. One has moved away from his Jewish roots, whilst the other is the epicentre of the Abrahamic faith belief.

Prophet Ibrahim’s Holistic Dua (Abraham’s act of supplication)

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Olympics 2020 : The Japanese Way

It was quite an unusual atmosphere inside the stadium. There was no usual bustle and commotion of fans celebration within, but rather was met with protests outside of it. Such is in today’s world, the Olympics is a global event that reaches far and wide. When the global viewers tuned in to witness Tokyo’s opening ceremony, some were left quite confused or puzzled at the abstract performance but not least towards the order of the participating nations parade. Whilst the former, can be talked about separately on the unique way the Japanese view and communicate its humor, on the latter, should have been more straightforward one might think.

Fireworks illuminate over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

The past Olympics in memory, has always introduced the participating nations via the English Alphabetical order. One would normally expect to see the likes of Argentina one of the firsts, Ireland somewhere in the middle, Uruguay or Yemen towards the end. What transpired, caused some frets to the forehead and the mind to boggle.

#Tokyo2020 parade nation order Me: oh easy it’s alphabetical… Me: oh wait must be by number of athletes per country.. Me: oh wait what? Me: …

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The Precious Haya’

In these trying times of where everywhere we turn, everywhere we go, messages through ads, TVs, internet sites as well as magazines tells us that showing the beauty and freedom of rights is the new way of life. Whilst preserving to the ways of Islam is a backward step that we should avoid. This is a trap full of lies that we Muslims should thread with caution.

“Every religion has a distinct call. For Islam it is Haya’.” [Ibn Majah].

 

Haya’ (Shyness) is a quality that we today have lost. It is not only for women but also for men.

 

Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra): The Prophet said, “Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya is a part of faith.” (Bukhari)

We often find that shyness, humility and bashfulness is frowned upon by our society as a weakness or a lack of confidence when, In fact these are quality of a dignified upright human being, who is conscious of their actions and their responsibilities in life.

Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “Indeed haya (modesty) and Iman are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well.” (Baihaqi)

Long before human neither knew how to fly nor learnt how to communicate with others around the world. But as times goes by, humans learn to do all sorts of advance stuffs, but worryingly we have lost the essential part of being human. This narration is not just about the patience of Moses nor it is highlighting about the kindness of Moses and the weakness of women. It is also not merely about the preparation that Moses has to go through to become a future prophet then. What is it about then? Continue reading “The Precious Haya’”

Remember Ramadhan?

A cool breeze swept across the face. Bright lights illuminate the beautiful dome. Starry dots scattered across the dark sky. It was squashed by a loud voice that beckoned in the distance ringing around the dome. A voice urging us to pray. I sat there, in the middle of the UKM Mosque. Looking sideways and backwards. As if searching for someone. I waited and waited. He didn’t come. A dear friend of mine was supposed to be meeting me here tonight. And suddenly I remembered that he couldn’t be here. Not now. I smirked and laughed by myself. Half-cursing him. He’ll only be back tomorrow I remembered.

A thought gathered pace inside me. This was the same spot that I sat to meet up with friends at the mosque. It’s been 11 years I think. I don’t know why but we usually tend to meet up at this very same spot without even discussing about it beforehand. Memories were carved here.

I pondered, Ramadhans had always been dear to me. Trials and tribulations followed by success and happiness. And it always had a major impact on me as person and how I see life. But the early memories always stick the most.

Year after year pass by and we seldom notice nor care about how it had pass us by. We treat is as routine time and again. There are many things associated with Ramadan. Grown-ups treat it differently with that of a kid. As a kid, fasting was something that is considered an achievement that would make you be in the league of grown-ups. Did we know why were fasting then? No. Did we understand the significance of the month? The Tarawih prayers? No. But fasting was something you want to do as a child. It was thrilling to say the least. Childhood memories. We all had them. Yours might be the same as mine or may be totally different, but here are some to share. Continue reading “Remember Ramadhan?”

Ghurabaa’

The companions of Rasulullah (saw), the Tabiin and the Tabi Tabiin. Those men and women who were around the Prophet, who surrounded, who supported, who followed, who listened, who obeyed, who loved, who sacrificed for the messenger of Allah saw. They were the strangers then.

Abu Hurairah RA, he said: Rasulullah SAW said: “Islam was strange when it began and will one day be strange again; Blessed are the ghuraba’ (those strange people)”. [H.R.Muslim]

Who are the strangers in our time? We are the strangers insyaAllah.

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The Elusive Answer

Spring is in the Air! Beamed the promotion posters. It falls on the Golden Week holidays. Golden Week in Japan usually consists of a week of holidays. Fast approaching my final year here, I prepared to make the journey again. The last journey perhaps. Questions often asked to me, why do I make those long journeys again and again to learn about my religion? It is worth it?

No matter where we come from, what languages we speak or what color our skin is, we are all unique in special ways. We all share the same desire and hunger to succeed and most importantly to love and to be loved. Many have argued that love is only a feeling and cannot bring wealth or success but deep inside, we all know that love is the greatest motivation that a person can have. But where or what is the true meaning of love? Continue reading “The Elusive Answer”

Winter Life Lesson

Hokkaido and the northern part of Japan woke up to bitterly cold temperatures and heavy snow showers. As the “BIG FREEZE” continued to keep an icy grip on the northern part of this world, we generally struggle to cope with the changes in climate. As the winter tightens its grip, the smiles turn into frowns. Frozen lakes, burst pipes, blocked roads and head high snow makes life far more difficult than it already is. At first, it was welcomed with joy, but it quickly turns in problems. But if you think it’s been cold, count your blessings that we can still afford to keep ourselves warm at night.

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Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves dancing,

Float softly on the quickening breeze,

Tiny ribbons of scarlet and gold drift slowly down,

Rustling plaintive song of farewell.

As the stubborn limbs of the trees,

Reach for the last precious moments of warmth,

From summers fading light,

Cool tendrils and woodsmoke and mist enfold the woods…

In autumn heart we rest.

red

In Japan, each of the 4 seasons is distinct from one another. From the fresh green buds of spring that gives way to the lush heat of the summer. And in autumn, the forest turns red and yellow. Soon the white snow will blanket these vibrant colours as if preserving the forest for the seasons to come. Continue reading “Autumn Leaves”

Value of Love

Generations unfold, father to son, mother to daughter. Where one leaves off, the other follows, destined to repeat each other mistakes, each others triumphs. But, how do we see the world if not through their lens? The same fears, the same desires. Do we see them as an example to follow or as a warning of what to avoid? Choosing to live as they have simply because it is all what we know or driven to create our own identity?And what happens if we find them to be a disappointment? Can we replace them? Our beloved mothers and fathers. Will destiny drive us to find our way back? Back to familiar comforts of home?

family

I sat there, for how long it doesn’t seem to matter. There I was, staring at the blank pages before me. An old laptop where I usually find to be more than a companion. Wondering how to speak these unspoken words, how to express these unwritten thoughts? Continue reading “Value of Love”