Finally, it has happened. Japanese prime minister, Abe, declared state of emergency. Those days prior to the announcement the whole company was burned up. More teachers decided to stay home and the pressure to keep the classes running was unbearable. On top of that we had so much stress and anxiety about whether we could still get our paychecks if things have gone sideways. Parents pulled their kids out of the school and the company saw their income declining. We survived by cracking jokes about the whole pandemic and to keep us uplifted we even had bets on when the government would pull the plug. We lost hope; is the economy really more important than human lives? Abe said no. And yes.
So, the Japanese government has declared state of emergency, and now what? Nothing. Keep on going.
70% of Tokyo is still operating from offices, because the government only ADVISES everyone to stay home. They can’t force you to shut down the offices or stay home and they certainly can’t fine you. The supermarkets are the strictest, they allow a limited amount of people by “one in – one out” and marking lines for you to wait on. However, just as the rest of the society, they ADVISE you to only enter when the first person exits, but no one keeps an eye at the entrance. How is it possible that a country operates like this? By trusting people. This is the only way how the society functions. They trust the citizens to obey the rules of isolation and to keep themselves out of public. And I hate to break the news, but there are still hundred thousands of people flooding the streets. I don’t think we can flatten the curve by advising people to stay at home.
My frustration reached the peak when the cherry blossoms started to appear in our lives. Hundreds of families were admiring the trees in my street and thousands went to Naka-Meguro where the famous Meguro River is draped with sakura trees. It is quite ironic, because the blossoms stand for new beginnings, seasonal change. I wish we could reset this year and start again, but unfortunately, we have to sit through this show. Together. If the government is not honest with us with their illogical statistics, we have the duty to look out for one and other. And this is NOT the way to do it.
With all this is happening it wouldn’t surprise you that I’m longing for home, my family, my friends. More importantly, a healthcare that does prioritize people and a place where I can communicate with people.
Yet I know that there is nothing waiting for me at home other than isolation and unemployment.
Why does everything have two extreme sides?
The one person in this town who keeps me grounded and staying sane is him. He and I are both in a foreign country that we can call home, but our family is far away from us. He is my family, I’m his, we have been through so much, and we know that we can always rely on each other. At the lowest point when I think I’m all by myself and no one understands me, I turn to him. He never shows me the door, instead, he showers me with love and care. Regardless of our past, our present, and future, we have known each other for 10 years now, there is no way that we turn our backs on each other in these crucial times.
We are both worrying sick about our mums. What can we do if they fall sick? Can we still go home? How do we quarantine ourselves if mum is on the intensive care? Who should we call if… So many questions that we are afraid to answer. So, it’s the ones we love the most brings us together. I haven’t seen his mum in 6 years. I, sometimes, want to pick up the phone and call her, send her my love, and to scream that her son loves her, that he is too lame to call her; it is his habit to remain silent towards his loved ones. This is the one thing I will never forgive and forget, but has to accept.
This crisis, pandemic, has affected our lives tragically, but it does magnify the things that were buried in the past. I can see it clearly now, the light in our lives will not dim, neither the love for each other.
There is a thin line between life and death, so as love and hate.
I am curious how this country with its conservative character will survive this pandemic blast. I probably won’t.