Is a cheese cake halal in Japan? That is the question I asked myself earlier today while getting few cheese cakes at the end of an auto auction where I went to buy a car for myself. However, unfortunately, not many of my Muslim friends bothered to think about this while getting the same cheese cake at the auction house near Tokyo.
When I posed the same question to one of my friend, he told me that nothing Haram was included in the cakes. In fact, he does not know how to read ingredients in Japanese language. But even then he remarked that this cake was OK to eat as it did not have any thing considered Haram. That is the attitude most of the Muslims show here in the country while buying or getting items to eat. outside their homes.
Due to whatever reasons, most of the Muslims in Japan, including myself, have only a basic understanding of the written Japanese. Most of us came here to earn money. We did not have any other purpose in our minds when coming to the country. We picked up few words, sentences here and there while doing our jobs and started living our lives in the country. As we mostly picked up the ‘spoken Japanese’ only, most of us do not know how to read ingredients on various food packages we buy or get on every day basis.
Another problem we face is a casual attitude we show in our daily lives about the food we consume. Many of us do not ‘investigate’ fully about the ingredients from the manufacturers of the food related products we use on daily basis. The few of us who bother to call the food makers to confirm the halalness of the ingredients of their products do not get any satisfactory answer as the makers themselves are dependent on some other suppliers who might be from a different part of the country or from a foreign country.
Still another issue we face as the consumers of Japanese foods is that many food manufacturers in the country change the ingredients every now and then due to marketing or whatever reasons.