I am feeling unsettled. I have been getting lax with precautions and it’s time to tighten back down.
On Christmas day, Tod & I drove north to suburbia and enjoyed lunch in a shopping mall. We wanted a change of scenery and to mark the holiday, but in the middle of a rising wave of Covid cases, I think that was rather foolish. I realise that our chance of getting Covid from eating at Ootoya is very small. But it is so easy to justify one’s desires. Before you know it, one outing without a bad outcome turns into many outings. Cumulative risk of becoming infected or of spreading infection increases a tiny bit with each exposure to crowds, locations, etc. I realise that the cumulative risk is still a small one in Japan compared to the US, UK, and EU. But it’s not small enough to make me feel okay about it.
Covid cases in Japan are on the rise – a fast and sharp rise with new records every day – and hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka, and Aichi are overcrowded. Chiba is currently 300 beds away from its maximum capacity (for current stats see https://www.stopcovid19.jp/ and https://covid19japan.com/). The government isn’t taking measures except to raise alert levels and politely make requests that have few consequences for not following them. It’s truly up to us to be responsible.
I have been disappointed by my own behaviour, but it’s not just me. Friends post photos of their travel and unmasked faces posed close to other people. Our personal choices are our own, but they can bring risk to people far beyond the small circles we think we engage with.
I am also disgruntled with local event organisers disregarding masks indoors and lamely excusing themselves as being too busy to police the rules. I want to shout at them, but I know it won’t help.
Of course, the only person whose behaviour I can change is myself. So I am recommitting to “temporarily close” to meeting friends in person, to indulging my desire to explore the world, and to eating in shopping mall restaurants.
It’s not a hardship for me. I have it great where I am: space to move around, cats and a husband to love, enough food, and endless supplies of projects, activities and things to occupy my time and mind. I don’t need to go out, I simply sometimes want to.
You might not have such good fortune. I realise that and I respect your need to feed your family, secure your physical well-being and mental health. But if you do have resources to stay home without massive consequence, please join me in restraint in the next couple of months. Vaccines are coming and in six months, things will be different, one way or another.
Until then, I’m going to try not to make things worse for anyone but me. Feel free to reach out if you want to talk, rant, or jumpstart some creative projects.