JOHOR BARU - Three Japanese university students here are challenging themselves to fast for a week in view of the holy month of Ramadan.
The hardest part is: they love the food in Malaysia and say it's just too delicious.
Hioki Ayana, 19, and her coursemates from Aichi University were curious about the practice, as it is their first visit to Malaysia for a three-month student exchange programme at Southern University College in Skudai.
"When we first heard about the fasting month, we became fascinated and decided to give it a try.
"It will not be easy. It is hard to resist all the delicious food, especially my favourite roti canai which is not available back in Japan," said the Chinese History and Culture major student.
Her coursemate Kurata Moemi, 19, said it was admirable that Muslims could refrain from eating and drinking for the whole day during the fasting month.
"Malaysia is such a hot country and I cannot imagine how they can stand not drinking water until dusk.
"I think it takes a lot of patience and perseverance," she said, adding that she regretted not being able to stay long enough to witness the Hari Raya celebrations.
Kawasumi Ayaka, also 19, said she enjoyed eating the variety of kuih available at Ramadan bazaars.
"In Japan, we love eating all things sweet and salty, so the savoury cakes and kuih sold at the bazaars are those that I choose to break fast with," she added.
The three of them were part of a group of 12 who are in Malaysia for a cultural and language exchange programme. The students will return to Japan next week.