T: Where are you guys originally from? What drove you into videos and eventually creating a Youtube channel?
HJ: We are a married couple from Indonesia. We love travelling so much, and at first, we wanted to only document our trips. We actually lived in Japan from April 2013 until March 2016, so our travel destinations were mainly in Japan. And then we realized as Muslims living in Muslim-minority country, there are many concern for us when traveling such as the praying time, praying place, and halal food. So we thought, since we are quite experienced in traveling, why don’t we share our stories, as well as to give people tips on how to travel comfortably as Muslims and we thought Youtube is the best place to share it.
T: Why Japan? Are there more countries you would like to visit? If there is, where and why?
HJ: As we mentioned earlier, since we lived in Japan, we learnt and saw that the number of Muslim tourists in Japan are increasing. And because we often meet other Muslim travellers there, we want other Muslims to be aware of (especially) non-halal food in Japan. Of course, we want to travel more in the future. Since one of our purpose in travelling is to promote “travelling in Muslim-style” (by “Muslim-style” here we mean to try our best to find halal meals and do prayer in any condition), we plan to visit more Muslim-minority countries. In the near future, we plan to visit South Korea, most of the European countries, and also England.
T: The funniest incident while filming a video which you can never forget?
HJ: Sometimes we can’t find any proper space to pray when we were traveling. Therefore, we just threw our praying mat anywhere as long as it didn’t disturb others. And for Japanese, it’s amusing for them to see how Muslims pray, so we often get a lot of attention. There were several times when the Japanese saw we were praying, and he/she maybe was still not familiar with Muslims, he/she reported us to the security guards.
T: What is it like for a Muslim to live in Japan?
HJ: Actually it’s not hard to find halal food in Japan You just have to be careful; check the ingredients before you buy anything. Some of the traditional Japanese meal such as sushi, ramen, or takoyaki are not halal as they often contain non-halal ingredients. If you really want to taste halal Japanese food make sure the restaurants are halal certified. That should not be a problem as now Japan has been more open to and aware of Muslims’ needs. There’s more Muslim-friendly facilities in Japan, such as praying space and halal restaurants in major airport, mall, and tourist destinations. We feel that it is easier to travel to and live in Japan now.
T: What is on the top of your travel bucket list?
HJ: We want to visit England! For Nadine, since she is a big fan of Harry Potter, she wishes to visit all Harry Potter filming locations such as Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, and Kings Cross Station, and as a fan of soccer and Sherlock Holmes, I wish to visit some football stadiums and also Baker Street. But if it’s related to natural phenomenon, we really wish to be able to see aurora or northern lights in Norway.
T: Where is your favourite local destination?
HJ: Nadine love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan and all around Mount Fuji and for me, Fushimi Inari Taisha (or Fushimi Inari Shrine) in Kyoto.
T:What can’t you travel without?
HJ: Since we love to take photos and videos, we always bring not only camera but also a spare battery (so we have two batteries) for our camera, two SD memory cards, a tripod, our phones to find information and read google maps, selfie stick and also a power bank. And a praying mat of course!
T: Your best travel incident/story that might inspire our readers to travel
HJ: We always seek for help in our trip. It made us realize that there are many good and kind people in this world, who see other people not by their race or religion. We often meet other travelers in our destinations. We shared stories and tips, and it made us feel like we have many friends from around the world. That’s why we love travelling so much.
T: A word for Muslim travellers?
HJ: When travelling, you will see different parts of the world you don’t usually see. It doesn’t only make you more open-minded, but also makes you realize that this world is so big and beautiful and our life is too short to not doing anything. Keep one or two mementoes on every trip, since each trip will bring different stories you won’t forget. In the future, when you see them once more, you will remember all the happy memories.