Hello Again, 2020

by | May 27, 2020

Yesterday, the state of emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was lifted in Tokyo and its surrounding area. The state of emergency lasted 49 days from April 7th. For most of the rest of Japan, it started a week later and ended a week earlier, but regardless of where you were, who you were, it almost felt as if time was standing still.

Except it wasn’t standing still. 13% of 2020 passed while we sheltered in place. Babies were born and people passed away. Interest accrued on bank accounts and credit card debt. Cherry blossoms bloomed and fell to an audience of few.

Normal as we knew it will not return for a very long time if it ever returns at all. But in spite of that, this small step of society cautiously opening its shutters and people taking a timid step out their front doors is somehow inspiring.

I realize I missed things I took for granted just 3 months ago. A big bowl of ramen slurped down at a local shop. Practicing tea ceremony with my teacher and other students in the community teahouse. Watching the crowds stream between then northern and southern sections of Shinjuku station.

Today feels like a new chance to live, like moving from surviving to thriving. All those things I stopped photographing because they were common to me are now new again. All the details of the city that I became numb to will be novel again. Yes, 13% of 2020 has evaporated for us, and yes, our hope could be short-lived. And yes, many of Japan’s sensational summer festivals, including the Sumida River Fireworks festival that draws millions of spectators have already been canceled. But even if the second wave of COVID-19 comes in the fall, would I want to regret wasted opportunity in between?

Hello again, 2020. I know we started our relationship on a sour note, but can we have a redo starting today? I still believe in you.

Like what you're seeing?

Let’s talk about how I can help your business in creating custom content promoting your products and services!

Why You May Never Go To Kochi (Even Though You Should)

Ask many city-dwelling Japanese if they have ever visited Kochi Prefecture in the southern part of Japan's Shikoku Island, and the reaction might include a bit of teeth-sucking. 行くにのちょっと不便だねー Iku ni no chotto fuben da ne? "It's a little...

On Becoming a Tokyo – Kyoto Commuter

As I have been in negotiations for a full-time position at a company I have been freelancing for, I have been "practicing" to be a full-time worker again after 8 years of freelance work. One of the perks already was joining the company...

The Vegetarian Food Culture of Kyoto

Kyoto is certainly rich in Japanese tradition and cultural history, but how well does it fare when it comes to vegetarian cuisine? I found out on a recent business trip to the old capital.

Learning to Fly (A Drone)

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. Against my better judgement, I am learning to pilot a drone. The fact that I am...

Blooming Alone In Tokyo

Why risk gathering in crowds to enjoy cherry blossoms in Japan? It seems every neighborhood has a hidden gem of a place waiting to be discovered where one can enjoy Spring sakura.

The Insanity of 21st Century Japanese Katana Sword making

Though the clients have changed, the masters behind the craft remain the same: madmen obsessed with the quality of their blades.

4 Personalities That Can Thrive in Tokyo

Many people in the world dream of living in Tokyo. Do you have the personality type that can thrive in Tokyo?

The Miracle of the Gorin Church

How the Japanese “Hidden Christians” of tiny and impoverished Gorin Village in the Goto Islands finally got the beautiful church building they prayed for.

The Green Mile – A Long Road of Practicing Tea Ceremony

What the world’s worst tea ceremony student has learned through practicing tea in Japan, and it isn’t about tea at all.

The Alien Among Us

You may find yourself at peace in natural surroundings whose love for you isn’t so unrequited… but the image of Kinsaku Baru will haunt you, in a wistful way not entirely unpleasant, and it will change you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This