It’s 11 August, and I’ve just come back inside after reading for a while on the front porch. I think I lasted about 15 minutes: the temperature hovering around 37 degrees, with a brutal real-feel of 46. Now, as I sit down to reflect on July, the irony isn’t lost on me that the sun is currently hammering down outside; for July was a grey one – Tokyo racking up a record number of consecutive cloudy or rainy days. It was also the first typhoon-free July since the Meteorological Agency started taking records in 1951. The weather, it seems, just another thing that doesn’t want to play by the rules this year.
Sustained cloudy weather has never been good for my head, so I’m glad the sun is back, even with the oppressive heat. July – and in particular, this year’s rainy season – seemed to drag on a fair bit, a lot of my photos being noticeably greyer than usual. But all-in-all, it was a good month. We took it slow at the start, visiting some new neighbourhoods and rediscovering a few old ones, then kicked it up a notch towards the end, heading down to Kyoto and Osaka to work with a few hotels. (Sowaka, already published; Conrad Osaka, later this week.)
With COVID-19 still in its early stages, we will undoubtedly be travelling domestic for the rest of the year. Growing up in a seaside town, I often get the urge to be by the coast, and so we may head down to the Izu Peninsula for a few days next week. Like the rest of the world, I have no clue when international travel will resume to a point of it feeling ‘normal’ again. I have been reminiscing (perhaps too much?) lately about past trips to SE Asia: climbing up Sigiriya in Sri Lanka; eating pho by the side of the road in Vietnam; and just lazing the days away in Bali. As I watched the cartoon Moana on the TV yesterday, I was jealous of the turquoise blue waters that this imaginary character was getting to enjoy. First world problems, eh?
So it’s been, what, six months since COVID-19 began? What I find morbidly interesting is just how quickly the world has accepted and adapted to this catastrophic turn of events. On 08 April, I wrote on IKIMASHO that there were “over 1.4 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and 82,000 deaths.” I remember thinking how big a number that was. Now, today, it is over 20 million confirmed cases and 736,000 deaths. That’s in the space of four months.
As it was back in April, Japan continues to have a weird sense of normality about it. We were always used to wearing masks anyway, so the mask culture isn’t new here. It seems like the government approach here is just to let the mild cases happen, but keep a close eye on the hospital situation. As long as the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, I get the feeling Tokyo will not impose another State of Emergency again. But time will tell.
But I digress – and I’m hungry – so it’s time to put this blog post to bed. Here are some random photos from July.