My Semi-Quarantined Life in Japan

So when the first coronavirus case reared it’s ugly head in Japan, my initial thoughts was something like this:

“Damn it. I’m stuck on an island nation with a potentially emerging epidemic.”

I honestly don’t remember when that was.
When was our first case confirmed in Japan, February? It feels like yesterday when I was hoping it was just a Chinese anomaly. And here we are, late March with snow and sakura blossoms in Japan. What’s going on?

Apparently this was the first time in over fifty years when it’s snowed while cherry blossoms were in bloom. The trees outside my home bloomed this weekend and will likely shed its pedals by the end of the week.

All this beauty and wonder in the community, and we’re all stuck at home scared. Fearing an enemy we can’t see or identify.

I went to work this weekend. While the Governor of Tokyo implored folks stay indoors this weekend, I did what working class people do, I took my ass to work.

At the office, folks whisper of rumor about a cover-up. Is the Japanese government concealing cases from the public? The Navy base in Yokosuka has been on lock down since cases started to pop up in the community, what’s going on?

At work, I was asked if this was the most pressing crisis I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I should point out that the person asking me was a Japanese woman in her 60s, my lifetime is only a fraction of her own.

It was a difficult question to answer.

I was in high school when the World Trade Center was attacked. I went from being able to see the Twin Towers from Malcom X Boulevard to never again. I endured a financial crisis where the only work I could find saw me working a graveyard shift for a well-known logistics company. I’ve also served my country overseas in the Arabian Gulf, not knowing when I’d be going home while living day to day with short term personal goals to maintain my own sanity.

And here we are fighting a new war. A war against ourselves.

Have you saw the 2011 Steven Soderbergh film Contagion? I originally caught it during my time floating around the Middle East. At the time, I thought the film was an interesting take on a fantasy scenario… Today, I hate this film.

The film depicts a plague similar to corona-virus, aggressively contagious and deadly; they even reference Hong Kong, China and SARS. It’s an eerie example of life imitating art. I’ve always thought it was a brilliant film, but it’s more relevant today than ever.

Contagion ends with a vaccine being created and administered to the world.
We (the real world) are not there yet.

We have no vaccine or treatment protocol to fight the virus. Our only option is to treat the symptoms while the body naturally fights off the disease. Even worse, our medical system isn’t equipped to treat the high volume of cases. It feels like movie was a prophecy.

So where do we go from here? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated. I am.

Many of my initial fears about the crisis are starting to come to fruition. A quick scroll through social media, and I can see how this has been impacting my friends and family. The worst situation are those who’re in quarantine with no prospect of an income. Being furloughed from work with bills to pay. America doesn’t have a social safety net to support this kind of crisis.

The economy has slowed down, but it’s still spinning. Debtors and bill collectors are still knocking for their due…

…And the breadcrumbs the U.S. federal government plans to throw to the people will do little to ease their financial burden. So what are we supposed to do? How long are we expected to hide it out? Is the virus seasonal? Will we have “corona season” where we can expect surges in cases? Remember, we don’t have a cure. All we can do and wait and see what else happens.

I’m worried that this will be our lives for the foreseeable future.

I’m blessed. I have still have a job outside of Tokyo. The commute is short. Rarely crowed. And there’s always fewer than ten people in the office. I go to work, and I go home. I play with my kids and do my best to keep them sane while being cooped up in the house.

For now, the Japanese Government hasn’t implemented a mandatory isolation/quarantine order. We can move about freely as usual; however, strong recommendations has been made by leadership to practice proper social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

Like I said in my previous YouTube video, we have to take care of each other.

Yes… Every step I take outside is a potential risk of personal infection that could be spread to my family and friends. But I’m not frivolous when I’m outside my home. My movements are calculated, and practice proper hygiene etiquette.

Mother nature might be re-assuming her dominance over us, but the world isn’t ending. Not yet. Humanity thrives on Earth because of our ability to adapt and overcome adversity. When I think if whether or not we’ll make it out of this health crisis, I remember… We used to send people to the moon. And I used to fix planes that killed people.

We have to continue to adapt. We can’t stop living.

Trevor Noah is probably the best person on television covering this crisis. I don’t want to get into the habit of propping up mainstream media personalities, but this is an important subject. Here’s an interview with an U.S. Infectious Disease specialist. Information is power. The more we know. The better.

P.S. I didn’t bother proofreading this post. Please excuse the errors.
I’m tired and I’m drunk. Good night.

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