As I stared out the window of my small community gym earlier, I was struck with a strange sensation of things not quite being as they should. At 5pm, it was already dark, just as it should be in mid-November. But the crickets were chirping, people were walking about in shorts, and the temperature was still above 20 degrees. A fleeting moment – but I guess one that could be interpreted as a metaphor for 2020 in general; a year that’s been hallmarked by strangeness on many levels.
In many respects, my life in Tokyo has been pretty much unaffected by the pandemic. Travel and social activity hasn’t been restricted here. We can eat out, visit museums and go on domestic trips as normal. But it’s as if we are living inside a snow globe, encased in a bubble while we watch the world outside slowly unravelling. It’s a bit of a weird feeling, for sure.
My life is quiet, but it is full. October saw many nice meals, lots of wandering around little neighbourhoods, and sporadic trips out to Kanagawa to enjoy shinrin-yoku – or forest bathing – the art of simply being out in nature, and connecting with it. It was a month I will remember for its quiet simplicity.