Friday, April 29, 2016

Spring in Penang | A spring in my step


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to be home again - my Penang home. YaHuuu : D

As soon as I arrived in my neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to see some unexpected signs of the Spring season. For a moment I thought the all-pink-blooms in front of my house was Sakura LOL.

Sorry guys, my Japan Sakura-fever is not yet over. Heh...heh...

Thousands of local tourists are expected to flock to this island-in-the-sun during this long weekend. But obviously, driving up to Penang for a Penangite like me is extra special. I have got a spring in my step everytime I balik kampung [home-coming].

Was also pleasantly surprised to see my mom's plant blossoming. It sure is Spring time in Gelugor. LOL.

Sometimes I have second thoughts about sharing my personal travel photos but I am happy to know that many of you are happy to see them. Thank you for the positive feedback : )

Sunday, the 1st of May is Labor Day. As an employee of a super cool organization, I really feel blessed and contented that my team has delivered half a billion Ringgit worth of projects in the first quarter. 2016 is looking great indeed. Alhamdulillah.

As the chief of my own small company, I will keep forging ahead and sweat it out. We must be grateful that Allah keeps giving us ideas, keeps giving us the himmah (aspiration) to do something new each day.

OK I will act like a tourist tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and share more photos of Penang for you, cos I love you : D

Jumaah Mubarak!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

An Apple a day


Thought I should mark this special day with this extra special catch of the day.
Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi 
niámahu wa yukafi u mazidah

They say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
I say: I don't need to marry a doctor cos I can afford two Apples in one day. LOL.

But then again, if the doctor is not bald, and if he's got a medicinal sense of humor, I wouldn't mind marrying a doctor. LOL.

Oh well, not that I am an Apple fan. I have always preferred a Samsung Note to an iPhone. I love writing, therefore a pen [stylus] is everything. And say what you want, I have got evidences that Samsung Note 5 takes better picture than iPhone 6s Plus.

However, the Apple watch made me an Apple-turnover literally. LOL.

When I was drooling over the gorgeous Apple watches, a hijabi lady came by wearing one. She already has it, yet still ogling them cos she wanted to get the Milanese Loop model. Ah...the thing people crave for. Then I saw her "negotiating" with her male companion. LOL. 

Unusual pair

A note to my nieces/nephews:
I know you're all crazy about the Apple watch and the straps and their combination. gotta work your a_s before you can have it o.k!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beautiful morning | Rise and shine


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I love coming here to this space to drop a few lines of whatever that lingers on the mind.

Oh...I realized something - that like many of you out there - I love spending the morning at a new place. Mornings are no doubt refreshing. Mornings at a new place are twice cherished.

The above photo was taken on a Sunday morning on the compounds of a university on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Thank God for granting me the idea to organize the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC). It has taken me to new places, it has given me the opportunity to meet many interesting people and it has certainly taught me a lot and I am enjoying the journey. Alhamdulillah.

Let's not take things for granted. That each morning we wake up with a task to do, a challenge to embrace, a lesson [or lessons] to learn.

Be afraid of only standing still. Be not afraid of going slowly. Be not afraid of doing something that you have never done before. Be brave about being yourself. Be not afraid of speaking your mind. Be bold. Be not afraid of kicking those people who try to walk all over you.

[Bully them back, if you have to. LOL.]

Yes, rise and shine. Let not anything or anyone hold you back.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Abdul Karim Shimuyama speaking about Islam in Japan and his involvement with Tokyo Camii - Japan's largest mosque


Hi folks,

Hope you'll enjoy watching this video as much I had enjoyed meeting and talking to Brother Abdul Karim Shimuyama, a staff of Tokyo Camii.

When I arrived at the entrance of the mosque, I noticed brother Abdul Karim and his colleague greeting each of the passerby (Japanese non-Muslims) inviting them to enter the mosque.

It's a simple approach of dakwah, yet significant. If I were one of the disinterested busy Japanese who often pass by the mosque, I might one day decide to step in, and that move could be life-changing, by the will of Allah.

Tokyo Camii is the largest of a total of 80 mosques in Japan. Quietly nestled in a neighborhood in Shibuya, Tokyo Camii's presence is vital as it represents the faith of some 10,000 Japanese Muslims.

Allah grants hidayah and success to whomever He chooses. I think I speak for many when I say Japanese is a nation with good akhlak (characters), let's just hope true faith will follow suit. I also think Japanese people have become patient and compassionate on account of the challenges they have had to endure - rebuilding Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rebuilding tsunami-stricken Sendai to name but two. And the fact that the country remains prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Despite all the pains from the past and the unsettling geographical risks, Japan is one nation who is always quick to offer assistance to other countries in times of need.

Bravo, Japan!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kyoto - Osaka


Good evening folks,

Just another short update because yours truly is kinda exhausted from traveling. From Hamamatsu we traveled farther down through Nagoya - a port city, passing by a gigantic theme park Fuji-Q. We reached Kyoto just before noon. Kyoto was Japan's capital city before Tokyo took over.

We went to take a look at a Shinto shrine. According to our tour guide, Shinto's praying movement has some similarities to the way Muslims pray. That they have to cleanse themselves, wash their hands and face before praying like wudhu (ablution) and they have similar movements with solat such as our rukuk and sujud

Washing oneself from a fresh water pond
outside a Shinto temple

Entrance to a Shinto shrine.
[Soon after stopping by this Shinto temple, yours truly
had her first experience of praying outdoor all by herself,
without a sejadah and proper telekung (prayer garment).
Thank God she found a clean spot at the nearby ROHM Theatre Kyoto]
And next, we visited a super crowded tourist spot near a Buddhist shrine up on a hill. In the old days, it's customary to craft a Senjafuda (have your name engraved on a piece of wood) and leave it at the temples as proof of attendance and for good luck. Nowadays, people have a Senjafuda made for fun or as a lucky charm.

As a curious tourist I too made a Senjafuda, had my name written in Kanji and engraved on an Ebony wood. I was pleased to learn that in Kanji (Japanese writing using Chinese characters to phonetically reprerent names), my name carries these meanings:
"heart, bloom, riches, great future, feather, peaceful"

I sure wish I could get lighter after this trip. I so wish to be like those in the "feather weight" category. LOL. One of the key attractions of this trip is that I get to eat fanta-licious Japanese food and snacks.

Today we had an interesting Shabu Shabu lunch that's served on a paper bowl on a burner with real fire. Who says you can't cook using a paper bowl?

See that fire below the paper bowl?
Lunch was awesome today : )

From Kyoto, we continued our journey to Osaka. Because we are mere mortals we need to have some more retail therapy. This time at the popular Shinsaibashi shopping hotspot where everyone just went mad. And no amount of Senjamairi (the act of visiting shrines) could prevent those with a weak faith from indulging in the "nice to have" stuffs. LOL.

OK folks, gotta get some sleep cos in a few hours time, we are going to the Universal Studios Japan.

"You may say I am a dreamer, but I'm not the only one" - I dream of meeting Hayao Miyazaki there. He is Japan's uber popular animator and film producer.

For many years I dreamed of doing Japan. Dreams do come true sooner or later. Bi-iznillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fujisan | Kakegawa - Hamamatsu | Spring in Japan


Assalamualaikum folks,
Ohayou Gozaimasu

Good morning from Hamamatsu [southwest of Tokyo, about 200km away]. It's located halfway between Tokyo and Osaka (the second biggest city after Tokyo).

Arrived here yesterday evening on Shinkansen - the famous super fast bullet train of Japan. Upon arrival at Hamamatsu station, we were greeted by a pianist playing a beautiful contemporary music on a chic grand piano. Didn't yet realize then that Hamamatsu is home to musical instruments giant Yamaha, Kawai and Roland hence it's known as a city of music. The hotel I'm staying in is shaped like a harmonica!

Just a quick greeting as I need to get ready for another fun-filled day Insha Allah.

Here are some photos from yesterday's outings. We went to the Fourth Station on Mount Fuji, checked out more Sakura garden by a lakeside, visited a traditional Japanese village, shopping at Gotemba Factory Outlet and then took a bullet train from Kakegawa Station to Hamamatsu.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Catching sunrise on the compound of Fujinobou Kaen hotel
Morning walk enjoying more Sakura
"You may say I am a dreamer. But I am not the only one."
Mount Fuji (Fujisan)
Gotta dream big. As big as Fujisan.
The closest we could get to Mount Fuji.
We were at the Fourth Station which is 2020 meter above sea level.
Mount Fuji is 3776 meter above sea level. 
Mount Fuji from Gotemba Factory Outlet
Catching Shinkansen (bullet train) Nagoya-bound.
Hamamatsu is just one stop away from Kakegawa Station

Enroute Fujisan
When the coach crossed over a designated spot,
a song attributed to Mount Fuji
was aired automatically from the road!

Praise be to Allah for His generous bounties.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The kid in us | Mount Fuji



Hi folks,

I can't resist posting from the foot of Mount Fuji : )

Earlier today, we were at Disneyland Tokyo. The last time I visited Disneyland was in Los Angeles about 25 years ago. But the thrill at Disney Tokyo today felt just the same even though I have aged LOL. No, of course I was not the only adult who let "my hair down" and put on a Mickey/Minnie head gear.  

From the land of fun, we traveled to the foot of the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen - Mount Fuji. I think what makes it stands out is that it's a single peak mountain (volcano) capped with snow.

Tomorrow, we are going to climb (on a coach) to the nearest spot possible, Insha Allah, bi-iznillah.

Here are some photos. Oh, we all wore Yukata for dinner tonight. And what's for dinner? It's Hokkaido crab. I'm not really into crab but it was special to have had dinner wearing Yukata [felt special donning this traditional Japanese outfit for the first time], and of course it was special to have had dinner in the company of magnificent Mount Fuji.

Rabbana ma khalata haza batila 
subhanaka faqina aza bannar

Hope to share more photos of my trip to this Land of the Rising Sun soon insha Allah.

The Minnie in me 
The sun setting behind Mount Fuji.
Mount Fuji is about 1000 meter shorter than Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu
which is the tallest mountain in South East Asia

That's Yukata on me. It's simpler  (more casual) than
the elaborate and pricey Kimono.
The hotel where we were staying
provided Yukata for all their guests
and so everyone wore one for dinner : )

Good nite!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese people and everyone in Kyushu Island (South of Japan) who has been affected by a 6.5 Richter scale earthquake yesterday. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Greetings from Tokyo | Spring in Nippon | Land of the Rising Sun


Hi folks,

No way I'd miss this chance of greeting you from Tokyo : D

Arrived here yesterday morning and we went for sightseeing straightaway. Guess what was the first thing we did after arriving at Narita Airport? Yes, you might have guessed it. We just had to go see the lovely Sakura!

Next, we went to the Camii Tokyo Mosque for Zohor prayers. Fortunately, I was able to record a short interview with one of the Imam Committee, a Japanese who embraced Islam 25 years ago.

Then we went shopping of course, where else? Ginza and Shinjuku. Here are some photos for you.

I better get ready now, we are heading to Tokyo Disneyland and Spa Ryokan today : D

Alhamdulillah hi hamdan yuwafi 
niámahu wayukafi u mazidah

Can't get enough of gorgeous Sakura
Camii Mosque Tokyo
Camii Mosque Tokyo
First night in vibrant Tokyo
View from my balcony

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Inform ourselves and others on Sunnah Food | Understanding Sunnah Foods & Eating Etiquette with PU Azhar Hilmi


Alhamdulillah, today we were delighted to be at UniKL City Campus, be with the Creative Multimedia students at the Malaysian Institute of Information Technology (MIIT) to listen to PU Azhar Hilmi speak on Sunnah foods. The talk was held in conjunction with the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC) organized by Exa Publishing and Al Falah TV YouTube channel.

We will publish the video soonest possible insha Allah. It's been quite challenging, juggling time and multiple duties but as said PU Azhar Hilmi: "Allah looks not at the natijah (outcome). Allah looks at our efforts. Though we are not perfect and will never be perfect, we must keep striving for perfection."

PU Azhar Hilmi gave a refreshing insights into sunnah foods. He focused on khal (vinegar), bread, chicken, milk and pumpkin.

OK folks that lil I could share with you today.

Remember: Allah looks not at the result/outcome but He looks at our efforts. Allah looks not at the output. He looks at our input.

May Allah grant us the strength to strive for perfection. Ameen.


Monday, April 4, 2016

All that glitters is not gold | Anew


Thisssss looks like another rambling evening so excuse me folks.

Yes all that glitters is not gold.

Once upon a time, when I was younger, I thought it would be cool to sign up at one of those slimming salon where, I imagined, people would pamper and look after your body cos you are just too lazy to do it yourself. But the fact is that it can be super tiring even if you got to nap through some of the routine.   

I thought having a phone with a big fat capacity was cool but not until I realized I've got some 8000 photos to deal with. Now that I "got rid" of them, it feels good. It's like the feeling I usually have every single time I hand-wash my clothes : ) 

Am not sure about you, but I thought messages/chats should be kept in the phone, creating a massive pileup. However, today I discovered deleting chat history gives me a similar liberating feeling like washing the clothes. LOL. Surely there's a psychological explanation to this. The sooner you clear your "plate" the better actually, so you could start fresh on a new plate or page.

What is past is so passe. So I pity some pathetic souls who go to great lengths tracing other people's messages. Yes such people exist. How silly it is to have hang-ups about other people's past when the targeted person himself/herself has moved on to some cool new avenues.

But you know they say:
Don't let anyone dull your sparkle ; )

Shall I be brave and pack nothing except these two sparkles for my next trip, so that I could buy lots of things abroad? Buy all things new? LOL.

Oh...wait a sec, suddenly I'm reminded of one short-lived blogger who invited me to his place in affluent neighborhood Maida Vale, London and told me not to bring any clothes cos he would buy all things new for me when I get there! LOL. Can you believe that? The kinda crap people could throw from the UK. LOL. So...not OK!

But to be fair, that person is actually not from the UK. He lives in a quite OK a neighborhood in Malaysia called Taman Batw. That is Bluff-All-The-Way residential area. LOL. And to be fair to my fellow Malaysians, he and his other half, are not from this beautiful country Malaysia. Hmm....

Nite all!


All that glitters is not gold

I hope people would just stop bluffing their way. And I wish to stress this point: I have the right to speak facts and speak up. May this be a lesson to whom it may concern, that you should not simply take people for a ride and expect people to keep quiet or suffer in silence!


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Shaykh Masood Yusuf on The Foundational Principles of Self-Purification (Part 2)


Alhamdulillah we are able to continue with the second part of the lesson on tasawuf (purification of the self) from Imam Nawawi's Kitab Al Maqasid.

Shaykh Masood Yusuf's speech style and explanation is crystal clear, so there's no need to do a transcript.

In this lesson (Part 2), Shaykh is supposed to elucidate the second and third principle of self purification i.e. waraq (inner piety) and istiqamah (persistence). However, he begins the lesson by revisiting the first principle on taqwa. Taqwa according to Shaykh Masood: "is not fear, but cautiousness that leads to hope."

And that we should, at the start of a new day, make a conscious intention to have taqwa.

This act of making a niyyat to have taqwa, to me is something that's unheard of before. Surely and unfortunately, it is a good and important thing that we often take for granted. It is like making a daily positive self-affirmation.  

Stay tune for the third lesson, which will get published in the following week, Insha Allah.

Shaykh Masood is presently travelling to Mecca for umrah. We pray so that Allah will grant him maqbul. Ameen.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Special April


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

It's April again. Judging from the trend from previous years, April is a month of hefty bounties. Even the sound of the word April carries a light, sweet aura. I remembered there was one senior in my high school whose name was April. Of course, everyone would remember her because of her unique name. I remembered her character as being pretty and bright yet unassuming about her own beauty.

Jummah Mubarrak folks. Pray for a peaceful Friday. Let those who wish to observe this day as a foolish 1st of April, do so. It's a free country. LOL. However, don't go around pouring water on people's shirt! Or fool your children by calling them to the kitchen to eat when there's nothing to eat and that you actually wanted them to help you cook. That to me is a nasty April-fool trick regardless of the time of the year.

Like many of you, I personally pray for a fruitful and fabulous day. Like many of you, I thank God for my lovely mother who loves me unconditionally, who sprinkles fragrant love throughout the seasons. I think I might buy her some cool stuff from Japan - pretty tablewares or bedsheets with Sakura motifs perhaps, insha Allah. 

Go on do something sweet for your mom this month.

Speaking of bountiful April, I have just placed an order for a new phone at a super discounted price. And get to pay 0% interest installment some more. Ten times better than Black Friday deals, Yellow Friday, Red Friday...whatever. Thanks to my ever so cool employer. Alhamdulillah  : )