Author: Sandali N.
Editor: Tin D.
“The prime minister of Japan has declared a state of emergency again due to the increasing number of covid patients in recent weeks.”
As the news diverted my attention from my favorite game, my mind suddenly drifted back to a day I had with a friend during covid.
Finally, a break…
It was simply a regular day for me, a student leading her academic years by herseIf in Japan. Except, the situation was not regular at the very least. Losing one of my most effective ways to relieve stress, which is traveling, to the pandemic, I found myself mostly locked up in my own apartment, far away from the Tokyo that I was used to passing through. Combined with the fact that my classes were conducted online, that semester was surely stressful.
On the bright side, that day was the end of it so I was finally able to give myself some time to relax. Thus, without a moment of hesitation, I contacted my friends, looking for a companion and luckily one person did respond swiftly and accepted my invitation.
This time, the destination was Ueno park, as suggested by my friend. She said she would meet up at the station so I had to enjoy a short walk alone before meeting her.
The scenery was nothing out of the ordinary, given the situation. People were wearing masks and were keeping a precise distance away from each other. It was something that we all learned to adapt to whether we liked it or not. Although there were some who were not that concerned about following safety measures before the emergency declaration, it was a necessary change and the sooner the better. As I walked, thoughts like that just came and went.
I joined my friend at the station and we boarded the train. Safety measures were taken no matter places or time. For better ventilation, windows were opened, making the interior freezing as if I could feel someone piercing my bones.
After getting off the train, we went to a restaurant for a quick meal. Although I did not have an empty stomach, I wanted to warm myself with a cup of coffee. Most restaurants nearby were not crowded, so we effortlessly walked into one. However, before entry, we were required to measure our body temperature and sanitize our hands with alcohol. All for the fight against covid.
Sad but not Mad
Despite having our stomach filled and body warmed with excitement, we were met with disappointment. The park was lacking people’s presence. The stores alongside the road were mostly shut. Ueno Zoo front entrance was decorated with a “closed” sign. Feeling defeated, I hurried with my friend towards the other goal I set for myself for this trip, which was rowing, an activity I loved dearly. However, what I saw at the entrance to the boats was just a huge iron chain blocking the path.
Dejected and lost in sorrow, we both decided to go back home as there was nothing left for us in this small trip.
After parting with my good friend, I resumed my alone time at home, thinking of ways to entertain myself. There could be many to choose from. I could listen to music. I could do at-home solo karaoke. I could also enjoy movies or simply talk with my friends via video chatting. The day was definitely not the greatest and these methods of self-entertainment could not really replace real human interaction between friends and family for me. However, that does not mean I could not look forward, waiting for a better day. With that in mind, I slowly relaxed in bed, getting excited as I thought about my “new normal” that I would spend in my following days. Who knows when this pandemic will end, but I know one thing for sure. As long as everyone takes safety precautions, this battle will end with our glorious victory.