Things are definitely beginning to feel weird. On the one hand, I wonder if social media and non-stop TV coverage is causing exaggerated alarm. On the other hand, I wonder if something “more than they’re telling us” is going on.
In my daily life, things have already changed though.
I usually visit Dave twice a week when I can, though because of my own quarterly checkup, and tax filings, I was only able to visit him once a week the last two weeks. This morning I got a call from his place saying they are putting his whole senior facility (Tsukui in Shimoigusa) on lockdown through March 31st. No visitors from family or friends.
Fortunately I was able to connect with Dave via FaceTime, and he did say he understood. But still, he was down about it because both Sato-san and I visit him all the time, and he gets quite bored there.
Some friends were planning on visiting Dave in March, from the U.S. and Australia, and they have now canceled their trips.
Then there are my weekly Hibikinokai volunteer teaching classes in Hachioji. The Hachioji city government requested all such group events be canceled until at least March 15th. So for now, the Sunday classes are on hold.
In Japan, all the public schools have been closed by order of the Prime Minister, which caught people off guard, because parents who work need to figure out what to do with their young kids.
Tokyo Disneyland is also closed. And you see signs posted on community bulletin boards all over the place about canceled meetings.
April 1 is when new employees attend big events at their new places of work for orientation, and to welcome them. Those are all being canceled or held remotely.
More and more companies are asking people to work from home.
The March Sumo tournament in Osaka will go forward, but will have no live spectators. That may be the first time ever. It’s just going to be broadcast, with a silent arena.
People naturally wonder how this will affect the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, though planning is staying on schedule. Some IOC members have called for them to be canceled though.
Then there are the weird shortages, which started because of supply rumors. The rumors turned into a self-fulling prophecy and now you can’t find things like tissue, toilet paper, hand sanitizers, flu masks and some people said even rice on sale anywhere.
Trains are also noticeably less crowded as people hunker down.
It’s just a very weird feeling.
I hear there are also growing supply shortages in the U.S., and places are closing all over the world, including the Louvre in Paris.
The atmosphere just has a vague “pre apocalyptic” feel to it.
I also wonder if this is going to affect my planned trip to Boston to see my mother and sister in mid-April.