How I’m Dealing with the Current Situation in Japan

  • michael 
dracula style sneezing

The past few months have been full of ups and downs for me.

When the schools starting closing down, other places followed suit. Shopping centres and malls have been closing earlier than usual, and don’t forget the initial hoarding problem (mostly fueled by lies).

The Japanese government has been recommending that people work from home whenever possible. Even the train companies have started putting announcements on loop requesting people “avoid the rush hour” and to “refrain from going to places with busy crowds”. Unfortunately, working from home isn’t an option for many people, especially with traditional companies that value employees who work long hours as a sign of dedication to their job.

Some companies, especially English conversation schools (英会話 eikaiwa) have demanded that employees not come into work, while stopping their pay. This is highly illegal but many are oblivious to the laws that protect them. When an employee is requested to stay at home without good reason (a good reason being something like a natural disaster occurring that would make it dangerous to go to work) a minimum of 60% of their salary must be paid according to Japanese law.

The Situation at the Shops

A bunch of toilet paper from Marutome Seishi has arrived at AEON Shinonome. Up to 10 per person! No need to buy from scalpers anymore!

Tweet by @shinonomewangan

Recently, the hoarding problem has subsidised for the time being. I was especially impressed by large supermarket chain “AEON”, when they put out toilet rolls with a sign reading, “Limited to 10 packages per customer”. They certainly let everyone know that there is no shortage at all, and no need to hoard!

Daily necessities are generally back to normal, all except for surgical masks. Something that we should all think about are the people that are caught up in this mess, namely the drug store employees and such.

I am a drug store worker.
We are people too.
Just a “thank you”, or “keep going” would be nice to hear for once.
I’m tired of having to constantly apologise for everything.

Twitter user “tama”

It hurt me a lot seeing a thread on Twitter how mistreated they have been in this crisis, with many of them wondering when it will all end and when they won’t be constantly asked about hand sanitiser and masks! And then people demanding to know when stock will come in. Shop workers are human too. I was really disappointed to hear that people are walking all over them over something so trivial.

Moving Forward

Dracula Style Sneeze
“Dracula” style sneeze.

Sometimes when I ride the train back home from work, I notice the death stares directed at people that might cough a little or sneeze. Might I remind them that now is the height of hayfever season so there isn’t much they can do. As long as they do it into their arm (Dracula style) or into a tissue, it isn’t so much a problem.

Recently, the only changes I have noticed are large events such as concerts and sporting events being cancelled. Talks of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being delayed and/or cancelled are happening, but the people at the committee aren’t backing down. They have pushed their presence on social media even further in an attempt to keep spirits high.

I’m just hoping that this all just blows over in the next few months, with the general population becoming more hygiene-aware as a result of the scare.

What I’m Doing

For now, I’m trying to reduce my exposure (pun intended) to it on social media and news outlets. I muted keywords related to the virus on Twitter to stop myself being bombarded with what’s happening about it. The more I read about it, the more irrationally fearful I became, and who needs all that extra stress?

At least with the added time at home, I’ve been able to explore my hobbies a lot more than I usually would, so it’s not all bad I guess.

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