SYAFIQAH – Travel in Japan – from Malaysia

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Meet Syafiqah, a Malaysian traveler enchanted by Japan’s diverse culture and stunning landscapes. From exploring rural areas to embracing the warmth of Japanese hospitality, she finds joy in every moment. Syafiqah dreams of visiting all of Japan’s prefectures and sharing her Malaysian culture with others.

Interview – Story in Japan

Q&A

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Malaysia

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

I am a frequent traveler in Japan, sometimes becoming a tour leader for a small group from Malaysia and exploring different prefectures in Japan as a solo traveler.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

During high school, I loved Nihongo and learned about the culture through dorama and anime. However, upon arrival, I was fascinated by the culture, the philosophy of Japanese hospitality called Omotenashi, the natural beauty, and the seasons in Japan.

I started to learn a lot of things about Japan more than what I thought. Japan is not only a city about anime, fashion, modernity, and cleanliness but I called Japan a never-ending wonderful story country. Each area has so much to offer and has different vibes that make me not feel bored visiting every new place and sometimes I visit the same place twice or more. Some places make me didn’t believe that I’m in Japan right now. It’s totally different from my imagination about Japan earlier.

My Nihongo is not so good but I love to have a conservation with the locals, especially the elderly citizens. we talked about a lot of topics and we laughed together. they’re so kind and make me enjoy my holiday. I heard that Japanese people didn’t care about others but as a tourist, I have a lot of enjoyable moments most of the time. Although we just met coincidentally, maybe in just or few minutes they offered me a tour together, gave me some birthday presents, showed me the places that were hard to find, gave me a space to perform a prayer, and other kindness actions.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

I have been to more than 25 prefectures and visited some rural areas. It’s hard for me to choose but some areas leave me the beautiful moments when I stay there. Which is Kinosaki Onsen, Kushimoto, Onomichi, Tomonoura, Sapporo, Hida Takayama, Magome, Iya Valley, Miyazu, Higashiyama, Kawaguchi, Atami and Asakusa. I love the different vibes and experiences that I got while staying there especially walking around at night and after waking up in the morning, meeting some locals, having a small conservation, looking at the great scenery and watching the beautiful sunrise and sunset. It is a blessing from God.

Latest, I stayed at Atami in March. It’s such an underrated city and I suggest that you need to go to Atami, stay near the beach. When I arrived at Atami station, there was a shopping street, and the vibes were so cool. Then I walked to the homestay around 1.5km from the station and kinda felt like a new neighborhood because of the vibes of Gamcheon culture village in Korea. the most enjoyable is the road, the tree, the bay, the boat, and the beach resemble small Hawaii for me. It does. There’s Kawazu Sakura, Atami Castle, Atami ropeway, and a lot of activities there. Then you can go to Mt Omuro, Shimoda, Kawazu and Jogasaki Coast. Please visit Izu Peninsula.

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

I love Japanese food and I’m a Muslim. 8 years ago, there was just a little bit of halal and Muslim-friendly food provided in Japan. But now, I can get it easily, and lot of Japanese food that I can try. So, if you come to Japan, don’t miss this opportunity, especially for Muslims. There are a lot of applications and influencers that promote halal in Japan.

I would like to suggest various types of trains. The most enjoyable is the Joyful train. There are a lot of types in Japan and the most I love is the resort Shirakami. The route connecting Akita and Aomori prefectures via a five-hour ride, the Resort Shirakami train is a breathtaking line that runs alongside both the Sea of Japan and the Shirakami Sanchi highlands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I couldn’t even sleep all the way because the scenery, the performance inside the train, the small cafe, and the concept of the train amazed me.

I wanna recommend that you should look for Japan hidden places that are sometimes underrated and far from attraction places but you should go. So you will know Japan from another perspective and enjoy all the way in Japan. Actually, there are a lot of places I want to recommend but I believe that I do have not enough space to write here.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

I enjoyed traveling and exploring each part of Japan and I’m in love with the scenery, the four seasons, the foods, and the Japanese people. Actually, there are vibes and unexpected experiences that I get every time I come here.

I still remember every moment I got when I explored some places like the route from Taisho Pond to Kamikochi, the Onomichi, and Tomonoura for me one of the best places that I can go to heal myself in Japan, the Yufuin village that has vibes of Europe, the scenery when I cycled at Shimanami Kaido route for 70km, the untouched Shikoku Island and Iya Valley, the beautiful of Korankei during autumn that too stunning, the calmness that I got when I spend time at Todoroki Valley near Shibuya, Tove Jansson Akebono Park, Enoshima, which is I didn’t expect that I can run away for a while from the busiest city in Japan by enjoy the little amazon near Shibuya, the imagination park that exists in real life, the famous place for anime and dorama.

DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS AFTER YOU START YOUR JOURNEY?

Yes, I am. The first time I came to Japan which is on August 2015, there are lots of lessons that I learned and changed my life every time I came here, I learned how to handle a solution for climax issues, the emotional, the up and downs inside myself but at the same time, there’s the enjoyable moment that created as my memories together with the persons that I love which is my parents, family, my friends, and my new group members. so the trip to Japan is not just a holiday but it’s part of the journey in my life that is very important.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

I wanna explore more areas and visit all of Japan’s prefectures, wanna stay with locals, and become a volunteer for one week. I wanna share Malaysian culture and food with everyone. One of my biggest dreams is I really want to go to Okinawa and learn some Okinawan dialect, and culture and enjoy the island activities there.

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

If you come to Japan for a second time or more, why you don’t go to rural areas or maybe underrated places? Just search it on Google map, follow any person that shares the interesting part of Japan and you will get to know more places that are so amazing starting from Kagoshima to Hokkaido, and don’t forget Okinawa too.

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

I learned randomly such as from my friends, influencers, drama, television shows and songs that i listen to so i didn’t know any study methods that I can recommend.


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