Yep… We are still here in Japan. After not blogging for almost a month, I thought it was time for an update. The plan was that my husband was supposed to be *now* finishing up his job here in Japan and that we would be shortly returning to our home in the US.
But… then the COVID-19 Pandemic hit.
With the advice of our US company, and our Japanese company, we are taking this situation a month at a time. We still plan (hope) to be returning to the US soon, but there is no firm date, no firm travel plans in place. We have also not given up the lease on our Tokyo apartment… which we are required to give two months notice for. We are… “in limbo” for the time being. Waiting to see how this pandemic progresses, and when might be the best time for us to transition back to our life in the US.
This has been a very weird turn of events for us. It has taken on an almost surreal feeling.
We have so loved our time here in Japan. And… it still feels very much like “home” for us. But now… that we are isolated… and essentially trapped inside our apartment most days… weeks… our life here has changed. We had so many plans for our last few months here, and now… all we can do is sit inside and worry.
My husband is still working… he manages quite well working remotely from home. We even set up a small “office” in our tiny spare bedroom, where he can have privacy and space for the many video calls and conferences he is having to do. His company works with offices across the world in many time zones, so these calls take place at all hours… mostly during the late afternoon and evenings here in Japan.
For me… the time is a bit more tedious. I was used to being able to go out and walk and take photos during the day… photography has become my new hobby while we have been living here. But now… with “social isolation” I feel less inclined to be out. It is not that I cannot go out… Japan has “recommended” that people “refrain from going outside” but has not made anything mandatory. I just feel like… I need to do my part, and stay in as much as possible. Social Responsibility.
We do get out… some evenings (usually late) we go out and walk along the canals near where we live. Sometimes we go for an early morning run/walk. (Difficult to do much of a serious run wearing a mask!) Instead of almost daily trips to the grocery store, we are shopping once a week at our neighborhood stores, and ordering as much as possible from Amazon.jp Fresh.
Here in Japan, the virus infection rate seems to be flattening out. We are crossing our fingers that it will continue this trend. We are just at the end of the spring holidays… the Golden Week holidays… and another two weeks will show whether people actually took heed of the severity of the situation and followed the government’s recommendations. From our window… and from our trips out and about, I see a huge difference in the numbers of people out. Even with no mandatory “stay at home” orders, there have been days when hardly anyone is out on the streets. When we went to the supermarket at 7 am this morning… we were the only ones out walking along our street. In a city with such a high population density (Japan has 10X the population density of the US), that is eerily weird. No.One.Was.Out.
As of today… Japan has had over 15,000 total confirmed cases of the virus for the whole country… and about 4000 of those are in Tokyo Prefecture. Granted… they, like the US, have not tested adequately for the virus, so there are probably many more undiagnosed/asymptomatic cases. But… the curve appears to be flattening. As of today… 566 people (total) have died of COVID-19 in Japan.
Prime Minister Abe has extended the state of emergency for the country until May 31st… but with weekly re-evaluations of the situation. I think that is smart and prudent… An INTELLIGENT approach to handling a potentially explosive pandemic situation.
The situation back in the US looks much bleaker… another reason for our hesitancy to return to the US right now. From here, the US looks like a slow-motion train wreck.
I want to be able to return to the US… I look forward to going back to our life there… back to our home, our family, and our pets…
We just don’t know *when* that will be possible.