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Pre-Departure: Sheltered and Fasting on the Other Side of the World

Soondos Mulla-Ossman
June 6, 2017

Six years ago, I persistently asked my family to let me study abroad as an exchange student in a Japanese high school—even though I knew the answer would always be no. My family upheld tight-knit values: don’t move out until after at least undergrad, don’t leave the house without saying exactly where and how long I’ll be gone, and text or call every time I come to and am just about to leave campus. I understood these measures, and I also understood it was just out of love for me. Still, I had always felt that studying abroad, let alone in Tokyo, would forever remain a distant dream.

And yet, thanks to too many elements and people to name and thank, here before you is my Tokyo Summer 2017 Pre-Departure Blog.

The video already breaks down the essentials of what I wanted to share, so here’s a little rundown (plus some commentary and tidbits)!

I’ve never been away from my family before. I’ve been out of the country, so passport procrastination has fortunately not been a problem for me, but this will be my first time out of reach of family and on my own.

I’m kind of sleep deprived, because I spent more time than I thought I would on last-minute packing and had to begin recording even later than usual. Don’t do what I do here! Sleep early if you have a morning flight, and sleep well. Make sure you have enough energy to explore the area a little on the first day.

I will be fasting for majority of the program’s duration because of the fact that I am Muslim and that Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, falls on May-June. It’s kind of neat because I get to save money on food, but it will also be a brand new challenging experience for me because I’ve always fasted with the company of my family.

It’s a blessing to eat dates when it’s time to break fast, or Iftar, so I brought a nice little box with me. I’m actually planning on giving some as omiyage (a gift you should prepare if you’re planning to do the homestay) to my host family!

I really want to go to Tokyo Camii, or the Tokyo mosque, for Eid al-Fitr—the religious holiday I will be celebrating after my last day of fasting is over. I am also excited to meet the Muslim community in the area, and am curious to see how Islam and Japanese culture mix.

If I had to have a goal in documenting my journey on this blog, it is to show that it’s very possible to fast while studying abroad—all while performing my utmost best as a student and having fun!

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoy my posts to come!


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Soondos Mulla-Ossman

<p>Hey there! I&#39;m currently a Junior in college double-majoring in English and Film. My dream is to be a storyteller of both the real and the too good to be real. I take a little journal and camera with me wherever I go, because I never knew when I&#39;ll find a great idea or a beautiful scene. This will be my first time in Japan, and I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I will!</p>

2017 Summer 1, 2017 Summer 2
Home University:
Xavier University (OH)
Film Studies
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