State of Emergency declared in Japan and other changes

Hello all!

Happy Easter:

The sky today is brilliant.  It starts with this pale cerulean near the horizon where the dark sea lays in a flat line across it, and then rises up into this amazing blue that has depth to it.  I can feel that the sky isn't just a backdrop to the world, but it has a deepness to it.  It's a 3 dimensional entity and I can envision the way it rises up and becomes the depth of the universe and the home of stars.  Underneath this sky, I press my feet into the pedals of my bicycle and force Okayama behind me and Tamano closer to me.

Just the other day a state of emergency was declared for all of Japan.. Finally people are taking the situation seriously!

First, my company is moving our classes on to skype instead of in person.  So far it's an interesting challenge!  We wash everything with an alcohol based spray or with bleach every day.  Also, we are very short of teachers right now so if you are already in Japan and need a new job please consider working for Nova!  I can write in a letter of recommendation for you!!

Other measures I've seen. . . Well, a lot of restaurants have closed up for the month.  Local schools are cancelling their opening ceremony festivities.  Some places, including daycares and hotels, have stopped operations until mid-May when the Golden Week holiday ends.  At the local convenient stores they've put a plastic partition between the cash registers and the store, so no one can cough in the faces of the clerks.  Starbucks has taken away half of their chairs so that if you sit down, you're automatically over 6 feet away from anyone else.  The shopping mall closes 2 hours earlier.

For the first time in a while, my train had no one on it with a suitcase this morning.  The station guys are also checking tickets dilligently.  Someone's waiting at the ticket gates to wipe them down after a wave of people go through.  They've gotten rid of a lot of the places to sit down as well.

As for my own lifestyle changes. . .
Well I got a phonecall from the company saying that they desperately need instructors in a rather out-of-the way place called Matsue city in Shimane Prefecture.  And me, being adventurous and up for a challenge, decided to accept the position.  I'm going to be working as part-time staff, part-time teacher the same way I did in Hiroshima last year.  I'm looking forward to finding new mountains to climb, but it might be very difficult to make new friends or find fun places to eat..  Frankly, I don't want to be going out!!  However, apparently only one person has ever had the virus there.  It's one of the safest places to be in Japan!  Until they start letting people back in to the country, I'll be holding the fort in a new town.

Until then my new hobby is cycling.  I can get the pleasure of going outside, without having to run in to any people, touch anything someone else touched, and I can go out for as long or as little as I like.

In other news, I just wanted to share some pictures of my life recently.  The 10 years I've been in Kobe, I only had a handful of people visit me.  But now that I'm in Okayama, it seems like everyone wants to come to Japan and unfortunately I'm not conveniently located enough to offer free room and board to anyone anymore...  But I've had such a great time meeting old friends and new people.



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