Japan and Corona II
So since I last blogged 12 days ago, a little has changed out here in Japan. The Olympics have been postponed. The FCO has advised all exchange students abroad to return home. All the Americans in my dorm have been called home. A temporary lockdown was held over the weekend, with cases almost doubling in a week, whilst yesterday 173/206 Covid-19 tests taken in Tokyo were positive. All the whilst the Tokyo and Osaka governors are asking for clarity from the central government over a potential state of emergency that would allow them to implement lockdowns.
Yet as of right now, schools are due to reopen next week, whilst my university is still allegedly going ahead, with induction from the 13th and class from the 30th. However, my university here, Keio, has precisely no provision for online learning. Furthermore, with each day that passes Keio’s optimism makes it an outlier, with other universities here cancelling or further postponing their exchange programs.
Right now I’m trying to decide whether to stay or go, I’m leaning towards going and need to make a call on Friday, with a provisional leaving date of April 10th. The dormitory is slowly emptying, without new international students for obvious reasons, whilst UC has ordered its students home, and they make up about 1/3 of the international students here.
Whilst on the one hand I have had the most amazing seven months of my life here, living in the largest city on earth, attempting to understand a culture that is about as alien to Europeans as any on earth, traveling all over japan by plane, train and foot, alongside no real lockdown at present. The increasing pace of the global shutdown in response to Covid-19’s spread means that unless I leave soon I stand the risk of being indefinitely stuck in Japan, or in lockdown in a dorm in the Tokyo metropolis.
As much as I love my dorm, it is slowly emptying out and the total lack of any green space here, combined with the rather small nature of my room here means that the prospect of an elongated period stuck here is not particularly appealing. Especially considering I am lucky to live in house back home where I have a largish room, and a garden, alongside green space 15 minutes walk from my front door.
Even so the prospect of leaving does fill me with dread, as I would be leaving a country that has very few cases. officially, to go home to country on lockdown. Whilst at present here the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and there are merely suggestions that people avoid dining out, go clubbing or to bars, life is still carrying on as normal. The only things currently closed are some museums and karaoke. Yet my head says the logical decision is to head home imminently, as things surely cannot carry on like this considering the increase in cases over the last week and getting stuck here in lockdown is not a particularly appealing prospect.