A new year in the land of Hitachi

The following post was published in The Express Tribune.


The beginning of a new year in the land of the rising sun was a very memorable experience for me. I learned a lot about Japanese culture when I spent my first new year away from my homeland hereLike the fact that Hitachi is defined by many Japanese people as the ‘rising sun’, where hi means ‘sun’ andtachi means ‘to rise’.

December 31 and January 1 saw hordes of people on the streets, making their way to shrines, temples, and matsuris (festivals).

On December 31, I made my way to Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. It is a small city full of shrines More


Eid Mubarak from Japan

The following post was published in The Express Tribune.


Nothing is better than Eid falling on a Sunday when you are in a country where the day is not an official holiday. For me this was my first Bakra Eid away from home. I was dreading it. I knew I would feel homesick and the six other Muslims in my dorm shared the sentiment.

We decided to stick together and keep busy. First things first, we had to decide where to go to offer Eid prayers. Our three options were: the Islamic Centre, Tokyo Camii and Otsuka Mosque.

Over the past two months, we (the Muslims in my dormitory) visited More

Colonized minds: Are we English Pakistanis?

The following post was published in The Express Tribune.


In front of me was the land I was dreaming of – my new home for five months. The aerial view of Tokyo gave me butterflies in my stomach.

I was there to study at the very prestigious Waseda University, but studies were the last thing on my mind. I thought there was much more to the trip than academics and I was proven correct as soon as I landed and was received by a group of university students.

We tried to communicate. I didn’t know Japanese More

False eyelashes, an authentic Eid, but we’re not in Karachi anymore

As soon as I told any of my friends in Pakistan I was going to study for a semester in Tokyo, it was as if my facial features suddenly started turning Japanese.

News photo
Henna gaijin: Traditional Pakistani mehendi temporary tattoos are applied using henna in preparation for Eid. KANZA AZEEMI

“Oh yes, you even look like them. You have their eyes,” they said, stretching their eyelids horizontally in opposite directions to emphasize the point.

How I started to look Japanese as soon as I got accepted for an exchange program is beyond me. Psychology works in mysterious ways.

Most Pakistani students tend to head for the United States or Europe for studies rather than “the Orient” — hence the extreme (and yes, admittedly racist) reaction.

Right up until the last-minute goodbyes at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, my hometown, I was constantly bombarded with suggestions, advice and an infinite list of “to-dos in Japan” by family and friends.

I hurried to the queue to check in with my 40 kg-worth of More

Waiting for a son to return. Worth it?

The wait was killing her. The news didn’t seem to inform enough. They killed 15 people and abducted another dozen. Was he one of them?
Why is his phone switched off? What is keeping him out for so long? Is his breath still running? Is he alive? Will he ever return?

But then there was another side to it. He could be with his friends while his phone ran out of battery and must be returning home any moment.

The situation was aggravating. It was not a good time to be with friends while devoid of any communication.

If he is alive, why isn’t he More

If there are no opportunities, you aren’t looking around enough.

I really want to hear a believable official inflation rate figure from authorities. It’s a highly unreasonable wish.
I don’t know what the worth of five hundred rupees will be a few months from now. But I know that it would have lost value, considerably.
This is one of the reasons why we all want some easy quick cash.
If you are a resident of the Paki-Land, you have some easy (totally legal) ways to earn a fortune.

1. Steal. Rob. At night.
If you are nyctophobic, this awesome business idea More

Pakistanis falsify Muslim stereotypes?

I don’t know if shocked is the word. It was disbelief with a tinge of happiness.
I read about the Australian Police being given the powers of God. I read about their authorities superseding those of human beings. I read about the conspiracy against the muslim world.
How can anyone be given the power to invade the property of muslim men? How can they demand women to unveil their faces? Will it not be the Australian police who will be responsible for increased frequency of sexual harassment and rapes of muslim women in Australia? More

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