The Corona edition
Updated: Jun 15
Well here we are. We made it to June and have so far survived the pandemic, although I feel the prolonged time couped up at home with my lovely wife is possibly more dangerous health-wise. A woman who's natural habitat is Shoe shops and Fashion outlets can become extremely dangerous when cornered. Fortunately an abundance of online shopping options are available from the laptop, however I fear the urge to do some serious retail can only be suppressed for so long by virtual means.
We are in a strange situation here in Tokyo. We could have shot back to NZ when things were shutting down, but then we would have been stuck and unable to return to Japan, and Japan is what pays the bills. There have been lots of video calls to friends and family, staying in touch and offering encouragement and support where we can. The modern age of communication has certainly made things easier than perhaps what it might have been as little as five years ago.
One of the consequences of spending a lot of time at home, and having the Gyms closed, is that my waistline has expanded most unflatteringly. Pania and I have taken drastic action and started dieting, and also began a home based training plan, along with regular lunchtime walks. There has been some improvement in both of our fitness' however I will not post any before and after shots until after I am satisfied that I'm not completely horrific to look at.
Life in Tokyo hasn't really changed much. It's certainly getting warmer with temps approaching 30deg. The trains have been quiet, although it's been months since we've taken one. The streets and highways have also been quiet. People have been staying close to home due to the National State of Emergency, which incidentally has just been lifted. We noticed today that kids were back at school so normality is returning. Even at the height of lockdown though, things never really seemed to panicked here. Go for a walk and you will see parents playing with kids, friends socializing in the parks, and life going in general. There is no public panic and the hospitals haven't been over run.
We have managed to get out on the bike and explore some of the local sights, staying within Greater Tokyo. There are some pretty good options with river and lake walks inside of an hour of where we live. We couldn't get over how quiet these locations were, which really shows the general population responded well to the government request to reduce travel as much as necessary. Fortunately for us, unlike most of Tokyo, we own a vehicle making the more remote areas you can't reach easily by train or bus easily accessible. And even those areas that can be reached are quiet with people avoiding unnecessary public transport.
Last week with the lifting of the State of emergency we booked a B&B down in Izu for a few nights. It's about 3 hours journey on the bike. Many areas are still requesting visitors (especially from Tokyo) stay away. We packed up and headed off early Friday afternoon. The warmer temps making for pleasant highway touring. The scenery never fails to disappoint once out of the city, and the meandering rural roads that wind through the Mountain villages and along the rivers are pure joy. The speed limits are quite slow but the scenery is so spectacular you aren't really thinking about pressing, but just soaking up the experience. Sometimes it feels like you could be 50-100 years in the past.
We stayed at Shirahama in a B&B about 2 minutes stroll to the beach. It was definitely quiet there with many shops staying closed and very few tourists. Dining options were limited however we found a Papas Cafe run by an old surfer who served up amazing Japanese style seafood salads and self smoked bacon. We ate there both Friday and Saturday evening, but earlier on Saturday we did have a lovely picnic on an almost deserted beach. Most of Saturday we spent exploring the local countryside. There is no end to the sights and some spectacular hiking along the rugged coastline can bring unexpected sightseeing treasures for those willing to put in a little effort. I think the photos can explain better than me.
The bike as always was a dream. I had a local fabricator adjust the top luggage box back a smidge to make things a little more comfortable for Pania, and now everything is pretty much perfect. I am awaiting on a new slightly more raised screen to arrive from Europe which should reduce some of the wind noise we get. It doesn't really bother me but for a pillion it can get a bit much after extended periods. Will post pics when it arrives.
That's all for now. More soon, Ja matta!