United in Emotion – with members of my Olympic volunteer group

Even though there was almost nobody there to help, our volunteer group seemed to enjoy today. We all get along together very well. I helped some people get around, and was asked to take a few pictures for some visitors.

Here is our group at the end of the day. While it’s not the exact same people every day, there is a large overlap, so a core of us have gotten to know each other.

Here another volunteer and I are discussing what to do about some stadium seats that nobody is using.

This volunteer is really into collecting pins for her ribbon and bag.

Going for the gold!

So far I only have two badges, a bronze volunteer badge and a silver one. All the volunteers get a bronze one. People who are here for three days get a silver one. And people who are here for five days get a gold one.

Because they eliminated spectators, my volunteer schedule was radically cut down to just four days which would have made me ineligible for a gold badge, but they allowed us to add extra days if we wanted to today. So I added one more day and I will get a gold badge when it’s done!

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – some scenes from volunteer days

Just some scenes from volunteering at the Oi hockey Stadium for the Olympics.

Trying on my uniform.
One of the tables in the Olympic Family lounge.
Outside the Olympic Family lounge above the north pitch.
This volunteer was telling us how to say welcome in Chinese to potential visitors of the Olympic family
Here I am minding the entrance to the Olympic family lounge, main floor in front of the elevator.
Do your credentials have a code 6 on them?

Taking a spin on a Segway in front of the stadium. Nobody knew what the Segways were there for, so we volunteers were taking turns taking spins on them.

Some of us practiced driving the electric car between the north pitch and the south pitch. There wasn’t anybody really to take back-and-forth though. So we just took turns driving for the fun of it.
In the parking lot in front of the stadium entrance. My job was to tell people being dropped off where to go to check in. One car came while I was there.
Up in the hockey stadium stands, just in case somebody came by and needed to know where to sit.
Playing the national anthems before the Great Britain versus Canada match began.

There hasn’t been a lot to do so far, but occasionally we help somebody find their way. We rotate between different positions during the day. We also applaud the athletes after a match is over and they return to get checked at the doping station. Even though it has all been eerily quiet, it will make for an interesting memory.

Olympics, and Facebook restored (sort of)

Other volunteers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics I’ve spoken with have not yet heard what is to become of us since spectators in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures have been banned. I just finished my venue training at the Oi Hockey Stadium and was scheduled to attend July 24-28 and August 3-4. But rumors have it that we should expect some sort of cancelation notice, or suggestion of reassignment of some kind.

I wrote the Olympic Committee and suggested this:

With the new announcement of no spectators, I don’t know what will happen with volunteers. I suppose we will receive an email soon.

I have a suggestion though. How about letting the volunteers who are fully vaccinated be spectators? We can look after ourselves at the venues.

That will add some Olympic spirit and require the minimum of management.

I did get a reply:

Mr./Ms. Douglas Lerner This is Tokyo 2020 Field Cast Office. Thank you for your valuable suggestion. We will share it with our office. Thank you for your understanding. Best regards.

I doubt anything will come of it. So just standing by with my credentials, uniform and other Olympic goods, and a dog sitter scheduled to come and watch Pao those days.

Meanwhile in Facebook land, my disabled account has been restored. Sort of. Like back in February, I can now get in, post in my feed, use Messenger and so on. There was no explanation from Facebook about what happened, and no rule violations listed anywhere. But, like last time, there are some groups I can no longer post in, and some I can. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I can post in the Tokyo Expats group. I can’t post in the Whole Food Plant Based health group. Last time it took months to sort out. I’m using Reddit for groups in the meanwhile, and continuing work on my own social network. But it’s difficult to get people to join a new social network these days. Facebook pretty much has a lock on things. I have told my Messenger friends how to reach me outside the Facebook ecosystem though.

Pao is doing ok – but our afternoon walks have gotten shorter because of the heat. We’ve been taking an extra evening walk instead, weather permitting. I think rainy season in Tokyo will be lifting by the end of the week.

Olympic Venue Training at the Oki Hockey Stadium

On Saturday I went to the Oi Hockey Stadium for venue training.

As far as I could tell most of what we do consists of standing in different places saying, “this way,” or in the case of earthquake or other disaster waving our hands and saying, “this way.”

We’re also supposed to report if we see banned things like knives, selfie sticks, or drones.

They love using acronyms like EVS for “event services.” I have no idea why they use English acronyms for stuff like that. Being acronym-challenged, I kept on asking other Japanese volunteers what they meant.

We took a tour and saw all the “pitches” (I was not the only volunteer to have never seen a hockey game before), and where all the restrooms, baby care stations, rest areas, the volunteers meal area (we get daily meal vouchers) and even the prayer tent were.

I didn’t realize the Tokyo Monorail had local and express trains and first ended up at Haneda Airport Terminal 3 before backtracking to Oi Keibajo Mae, where the race track and hockey stadium are. I now know that door to door from my house to Haneda Airport is 1 hour 15 minutes. One woman remembered me from Haneda Airport (I remember her too because it was just the two of us crossing over to the other platform to change trains and go back.) She also has a rambunctious dog who chases after motorcycles, so we had a nice chat.

There will be tight security going in (looks like airport security with screening gates and all.)

There were lots of nice, small open air vans for handicapped people and another one of our tasks is to guide people away from them if they come rolling by.

By popular demand, apparently, they shortened the daily schedule from 6:15 am to 3:15 pm to a bit more reasonable 7:00 am – 3 pm. We get a one hour lunch break and a few scattered 15 minute breaks as well.

According to the iPhone Health app, I walked over 15,000 steps.

Here’s a short video overview of the afternoon:

Below are a few photos from the day. If you want to see them all, including a nice panorama of a hockey pitch, please check out the complete album here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/oXX8yE44Vpai3BqHA

Arrival at Oi Keibajo station
Following the directions to the Oi Hockey Stadium
On the way to the stadium – United by Emotion
Going through the checkpoint to check credentials and go inside
Stadium view from outside, on the way to the presentation room
In the presentation room – all with lots of disinfectant and shielding
Our daily checklist (English version). We also got personal bottles of hand disinfectant.
Taking a tour of the grounds. It was a nice, reasonably-sized group
First view of one of the hockey pitches
View of one of the hockey pitches