How COVID-19 Has Changed Life in Japan, According to a Long-Term Foreign Resident
After living in Tokyo for 18 years, what does this foreigner feel the COVID-19 outbreak has changed about life in Japan? One for each year, here are 18 changes big and small.
- ② Closed Stores
- Even shops and restaurants so popular that their lines always stretched out the door are now temporarily closed. Restaurants and hotels have huge fixed costs that they're definitely not recuperating, it must hurt to be hemorrhaging so much cash. I can only hope that these places will be able to reopen when the coronavirus finally calms down enough.
- ③ Working from Home
- (To be clear, I just want to say that this picture is from lunchtime on a Saturday.)
There's been a huge boom in people working from home, and the companies behind video conferencing software like the ubiquitous Zoom have seen their value shoot up. There are some companies that will definitely be surviving the COVID outbreak!
- ④ Major Tourist Attractions Going Quiet
- It's true, there are 5 or 6 people in this recent snapshot of the famous Sensoji Temple, but most of the shops in the area are closed and the handful of people are nothing compared to the huge crowds that would normally be swarming the gate. On the other hand, maybe now is the time to go photograph famous facades and their surroundings. It's a rare chance. But it's not really the time to be leaving the house unnecessarily.
- ⑥ Zoom
- I already mentioned the way Zoom exploded onto the scene thanks to all the companies using it for online meetings while everyone works from home. But at this point in 2020 Zoom is being used in all sorts of ways - Zoom meetings, drinks over Zoom, Zoom blind dates, Zoom game nights, etc. etc.
- ⑧ Runners Wearing Masks
- As a person who goes for runs every week, I thought "there's no way running with a mask on will be a thing." But I've seen people running with handkerchiefs and bandanas, even special cooling masks, wrapped around their faces, as they do their solo marathons. We don't want to cause other people problems.
When everyone goes back to running without any kind of mask, that's when we'll know the COVID-19 outbreak is coming to a close.
- ⑭ Starbucks Closed
- It's just one case out of many, but seeing Starbucks closed really struck me far more than other closed shops. Just recently they announced that they'd finally be back open for business, with limited opening hours.
- ⑰ Delivery Everywhere
- I've heard that pizza and sushi shops, two of the most common delivery foods in Japan, are doing especially well right now. I've certainly seen a huge increase in Uber Eats deliveries being made, yet Uber Eats let go of thousands of workers the other day. I've still never used the service.
Plunging into COVID-19 Recovery
When we see these 18 things start to go away, I think we'll know that the COVID-19 way of life is coming to an end, but Japan's state of emergency has already ended in many parts of the country. Now I just want it to end ASAP in Tokyo too - I want to freely leave the house, to run without a mask, to travel around Japan and abroad, and especially to head home and visit Korea! Everyone, when this is finally all over, let's skip Shin-Okubo (Tokyo's Little Korea) and head straight to Korea itself~ ^^
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- Kin the Creative
Korean, living in Japan for 15+ yearsSHOW COLUMN
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