At the minute life is too full of “ifs”. If the state of emergency is lifted… if we can go back into rehearsal… if people are vaccinated… if it’s safe to travel… if, if, if, if, if. For over a year now it’s felt futile to make plans. Constant uncertainty.
In the beginning I reached out to more people in the same work situation as me but lately I have struggled to do even that. What can I say to people who can no longer afford their rehearsal studios and who are moving into smaller apartments as there is no work in their industry? I will miss my friends who are leaving Japan as they no longer see a future for themselves here.
The Japanese government has made no decision on the state of emergency that is due to be lifted on Sunday. They are going to wait until the last possible moment. Saying it in such a way as if it is a good thing. That they are taking as much time as possible to make the decision, and therefore it should be the right decision. But none of that is helpful to the closed businesses and the people out of work wondering if they have a job or not next week.
The number of cases here has declined significantly since the state of emergency started, it’s just a pity that the amount of testing declined with it, making it hard to know if anything has changed at all. I know far too many people who have been exposed to covid at work who have been told that there is no problem and that working alongside someone all day who has covid doesn’t quality you for a test or to self-quarantine.
The pandemic has shown light onto aspects of Japanese society that were hidden to me before. The use of fax machines to send information, the constant meetings to mull things over, and the slow pace of change. I didn’t know about the stigma surrounding having an infectious disease and that we would create new words for harassing people who were sick along with their families and the doctors and nurses who treat them. The distrust of vaccines means that our news is full of stories about how things are going in other countries to try to encourage our own deliberately slow roll-out.
I am aware that whilst the situation here is frustrating that we are still doing better than a lot of other countries. I also know that it’s not the rosy picture that has been presented in the world news and I have no idea how that view will change as the beleaguered Olympics approaches.