Japan, Finally

Curriculum: The Sights, Sounds, Smells, and Tastes of Japan
Published: 2022-01-09
Japan, Finally

It's October, 2021.  After eighteen months in California, we were ready to return to Japan.  Because of the epidemic, we have had to stay away from Japan until it was relatively safe. We had both received three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and received a negative test result 3 days prior to boarding the flight.  

Another requirement I had to satisfy before taking off was to obtain a visa.  My three-year spouse visa had expired while we were away from Japan.  At this time, no tourists were allowed into Japan.

Arriving at Narita, we needed to be tested again for the coronavirus.  Of course the test results were negative, so we proceeded to our very expensive hired limo to take us home to Musashino in western Tokyo.

There we spent the next two weeks in quarantine, with daily contacts on our mobile phones by the Japanese authorities to confirm that we were indeed still in our quarantine location.  I am not normally a recalcitrant person, but after a week in quarantine I was feeling like going rogue.  Toyoko took a rather sanguine approach in stark contrast to my feelings of frustration and despair.  The two weeks finally passed, and we were free!

So what did we do after we were given our freedom?  Outside of family visits, we took two extended trips.  One was to Gunma-ken to visit Toyoko's friend Keiko-san, and the other was to visit another dear friend, Harumi-san, and her family in Mito.  I will describe those two trips in separate lessons.  Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, when we visit Tokyo one of my favorite things to do is to ride my bicycle around the neighborhoods within reasonable distance of where we live.  I rode as far east as Nogawa Park one day.  There I encountered a lone musician, a saxophone player, practicing near the riverbank.  He was clearly talented, and as I listened he looked up, and I gave him a thumbs up.  A couple of families with kids joined me in listening to him play.  It was a fortuitous delight to witness that; something I'll remember for a long time.