Things have been pretty quiet around the house, though at work and in Japan, it's been quite the opposite.
Right after my last post, Japan started taking various measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. That is the name being used here, by the way - coronavirus. Not COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, or anything like that. Anyway, very few cases had been popping up in Japan, and the government was essentially tracking the source and anyone who had come in contact with any confirmed cases, which was basically working. (I know there's a lot of skepticism, that Japan was only testing a few people, and there are stories of people getting turned away without being tested. And there's a lot of speculation that it was being done to keep official numbers low for several reasons. I'm not one to speculate, but I'm not going to deny it either as a possibility.)
At the end of February, Hokkaido declared a state of emergency, after a somewhat large outbreak that was seeing community spread. That is also when the central government requested that schools close until April (the last two weeks of March are usually spring break anyway). My school also canceled kids lessons for two weeks, and a few companies started allowing telecommuting. But that is also when I finished working at one school and moved to another.
The school I've been working at for the past several weeks has a lot of kids. And with makeup lessons (after two weeks off) and preparing for the next school year (April), we've been really busy. It didn't help that two of the four foreign teachers quit on the spot over fears of not being able to get back to the US (and I was replacing a third teacher who had left a month earlier for the same reason).
Tokyo has seen a big increase in coronavirus cases lately, so we canceled all of our regular lessons. And last week, the Tokyo and Osaka areas were also put under a state of emergency. So, last week, we only worked a couple days (no lessons - just office work, organizing, and cleaning) and starting this week we are trying online lessons. In fact, I have my first three tomorrow. We'll see how those go.
With this emergency declaration, there are no real additional laws. Japan's constitution has more personal freedoms, so a "lockdown" isn't really an option under current laws. However, most (all?) shopping malls are closed, as are many other shops, restaurants, pubs, and entertainment venues (karaoke, arcades, etc). Convenience stores, supermarkets, home centers, and some restaurants remain open; I've seen a few restaurants doing takeout only, while many of the open ones are fast-service diners that generally serve single people or have lots of takeout like fast food.
There has been a lack of importance for many people. Many non-essential shops had shortened hours since early March, but honestly, that doesn't do anything in my mind. People still went to bars, and the shopping mall was quite full. But as the number of cases in the area have grown, more and more people have been staying home, or at least reducing the frequency of visits to shops.
The real problem right now is all the people who are still working in offices for no good reason. There are essential jobs, and there are paper-pusher jobs. We are working from home; we all have iPads from the school to do our online lessons.
As far as supplies go, Japan led the way with the crazy toilet paper shortage. You can blame an idiot on Twitter for that. In fact, toilet paper is still in fairly short supply, but it can be found. There have been runs on certain foods, but it seems like Japan has at least been properly preparing for that, as most everything comes back in a day or two.
Since I returned to Tokyo at the end of January, I've mostly just stayed home or gone to work. I'm not worried about getting the virus, but I am being cautious to avoid getting it. And for the next month, I'll be home a lot more; the next two weeks I might need to go to the office once for some supplies, and I'll swing by the supermarket every few days to get fresh food. I have built up a good stock of emergency supplies, so technically I can stay inside my apartment for the next several weeks, but spaghetti, instant curry, and rice are only so good.
As far as card collecting goes, as I mentioned in February, I've been working on various projects. Some of those are card-related, and soon I'll be sharing the results of those with you all. I have picked up some new cards lately, too, mostly online. So I might get back to you on that.
My last two posts were about books I've read, and in the six weeks or so that have passed since then, I've finished four more. You can thank a long commute for that, and expect some reviews in upcoming posts. I'm currently working my way through another book about "ancient" baseball, which I hope to finish this month; without a commute, I will have to force myself to read at home.
And how about my goals? I've completed nine tasks so far. Some of these were on my post at the beginning of the year, but I've added a few more as time has passed.
Back in January, I finished four of those. I sorted a couple collections, picked up an autograph, and updated one of my lists. And in early February, I was able to finish the 1974 Topps set!
More recently, I finished a couple other sorting projects, including properly sorting and labeling all of my Japanese and Asian type collection cards. For the past five years, I've been neglecting this part of my collection, with all of the cards just being tossed into a box, so needless to say this was a big undertaking. I've also cleared out a bunch of extra cards I had, with my extras now down to one monster box of random cards, and one monster box of sets to find new homes for.
Nine of my remaining 21 goals are "shopping" goals, some of which can be done online. But that means there are twelve more "home" goals, and with two weeks of telecommute teaching (with only a few lessons per day) and an eight day vacation, I might be able to finish most or all of them.
For those of you who want to see cards...
Here's a 1975 Calbee card from when the Yomiuri Giants went to the US for Spring Training.
Until next time...