coronawalrus

 

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It goes without saying that it is difficult for all of us to completely think straight right now in these times of escalating infection and lockdowns. I am also wondering about what to do on here: should I just be creating a ‘space of dreams’ to escape from the increasingly terrifying realities by melding perfume with memory and sensation as I usually do, or should I instead just be writing about what is happening around me in the world from my country of residence’s bizarrely head in the sand Japanese perspective ;  or alternatively, not writing at all? Advice welcome – is it even ‘appropriate’ at this particular time to be rambling on about perfume –  I know that all of us have much more important things on our plates than to even contemplate thinking about such ‘frivolities’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a morning ritual. We wake up, and D makes Earl Grey.  He brings up the Japan Times and The New York Times, which we read virtually from cover to cover through the morning as I go downstairs and make mugs of coffee, grinding the beans (which I sometimes find exhausting, so lazy am I). I have an insatiable desire to read as much as I possibly can, though, about the coronavirus, sick though we already all are with reading and hearing about it; the horror in the New York Hospitals, the epidemic in Spain, the malignant fuckwit that is ‘the president of Brazil’ calling the entire thing simply a left wing ‘fantasia’  – (can’t this dastardly virus be more selective in who it takes out?) ;  the Japanese weirdly muted response that is still entirely baffling to the mind and which is so very different to our neighbours South Korea and China who have taken swift action to deal with the pandemic (sometimes I honestly feel like I am living in a dream world. Examples: our lovely neighbours and a family we are very close to, and who I would never say a bad word about, well not usually, bumped into D as he was taking out the rubbish to the assigned place the other day – they are both around eighty years of age- and it was great, if perplexing, to hear that they apparently seemed so cheery and business as usual: ‘This is a high class place, so we are not worried. We will be ok’. Er…………..mmmmm …………..The same day, a little bit later as we were heading along on our bicycles heading for yet another rendezvous (so much for social distancing! We are failing miserably) – we saw our very overworked local doctor on the street who was making a house call looking flustered but cheerful as always and who assured us ‘ daijobu yo! Koko wa heiwa desu yo!’ “ It’s ok! It is fine! It is peaceful up here’! as though we were all nuns at the top of a cliff in the Himalayas, cut off from the rest of the world with no possible transference of any communicable diseases, when the reality is that yes, we do live at the top of a hill, in a residential area that was carved into a former zen temple mountain at the end of the 1960’s, but it is a commuter area: everyone either takes the bus down to Ofuna  (twenty minutes) where there have been confirmed cases – or walks down the hill along the scenic route past the temples to the station at Kitakamakura (fifteen minutes), home of Engakuji, world centre of Zen Buddhism, but as far as I know, still not a protector against the virus; the point being that people are coming and going all the time from Tokyo and Yokohama where they work, and then returning to the relative haven that is Imaizumidai, packed on trains and on buses back up here to their homes…….as far as I am concerned an awareness of this is just common sense (says he who was planning to go to a friend’s wedding on Sunday! ). AT ANY RATE the idea that we are somehow safe and living ‘peacefully’ ‘up here’ is pure and unadulterated nonsense. Bullshit. I feel like I am living in a surreal zone of oddness where people can say such things that are pleasantly self-deceiving to keep up the spirits – which I understand – you need need to be as cheerful as you possibly can – but at the same time, almost  – if I am honest with you –    quite i n s a n e. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As is planning to go to a wedding with a room full of dressed up guests in a Yokohama hotel when the world is in self-isolation mode and even Japan, now the Olympics have officially been postponed, is beginning to murmur about lockdowns just like everybody else (some articles have put forward the idea that this country is just quietly dealing with ‘pneumonia’ cases and then just treating them as pneumonia cases without actually doing the test to find out if it is anything else ; thus keeping the official figures, and the panic levels down  – and the economy ticking obliviously along –  – – –  = = = ). I don’t know. I don’t want to let my friends down when they are ‘braving everything’ to go ahead with the wedding as intended, and wasting so much money, but I am also starting to realise that this is more than slightly foolish. I have had severe pneumonia twice, as you know (as has the bride! just two years ago, and she had it really badly, dear god what are we all thinking), and realistically none of us should be putting ourselves in a position of physical danger all for the sake of a punkish middle fingered hedonism, which as you all know, I am also severely prone to, and have been from the moment I plugged in to my own personality as a teen ; like most other people I love life, and enjoyment, and pleasure; parties, people, perfume, food, alcohol, dancing, photography, art, music, experience – anything that isn’t the daily grind – which I am significantly less partial to  – but let’s face it, despite this appalling libertarian Sagittarianness of freedom über alles there are limits. Yes, we bought new clothes the other day, after a mutually irritable day of bickering and taunting, but so what (all resolved by a delicious Thai meal at my favourite restaurant, I must say; the second the coconut based kaffir lime sublime balance of the Tom Yum Kun soup hit our taste buds and smell receptors, warming our throats with the extraordinary  deliciousness reserved for the finest cuisine from that most sensuous of culinary cultures, everything got immediately better; the moods back on an even keel, helped along immeasurably by cold Chang beers, and the neon of the street outside; as the reality parameters became more blurred; and the imminent threat of mortal illness subsided, and we re-entered the dream state that is our default modus operandi).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But. We are not stupid, I hope. At least not completely. On the way up on the train on Tuesday to Yokohama to hunt down some clothes at our usual haunts we had our masks on together: the first time we have ever been out wearing them as a pair –    reused ones,  as we can’t buy any more  here, and so probably quite pointless; D’s pitiful number hardly even covered up his face with big gaps at the side; for comfort, I had turned my also multiply-utilised mask upside down, which made me look something like the walrus from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky; even the right way up it looks ridiculous, supposedly a mask to stop your glasses from steaming up, but on me with the horns pointing towards the eyeballs it just made me look really ugly and very evil. So no properly working masks. And probably no wedding, either we are beginning to realise, as it is a little bit too reckless, even for us. I don’t want to worry our parents back home, who think we are mad as it is even at the best of times (because you know, you only live once – as far as we know – and we have always hated the mundane and that really is never going to change: : : but even so).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. Not attending the wedding is obviously the most sensible option, even if I know I will get pangs of regret when I see all the photos published in droves on social media with a D+ N shaped hole in them and feel like something of a coward (I love all the bonhomie – the clinking of glasses; the toasts and the hors d’oeuvres  :the possibly misguided ‘rising above’ the sense of global calamity that the Japanese government has attempted to hide from us “We can overcome the coronavirus!” shouts Abe, but which we all deep down know is obviously the reality, because you feel it in the deeper recesses of your corpuscles).  You know it in the back of your mind (and at night in your dreams). We should not  be going to this wedding  (     tell me honestly: I think all exchanges of conversation and communication are good at this time between us all, no matter the subject, as a way of lightning the psychic burden on the spirit). And on that note, how are you doing personally, right this moment,  in terms of health and happiness and sanity, as you read this, in this bizarre ‘new world’  that has suddenly been turned completely  upside down?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The sun was shining on the sea,

 

Shining with all his might:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He did his very best to make

 

The billows smooth and bright ………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And this was odd, because it was

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The middle of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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46 Comments

Filed under Flowers

46 responses to “coronawalrus

  1. Maggie

    heres one selfish response – I like reading your posts (and your fabulous book), do not go to the wedding.
    One more altruistic – set a good example, do not go to the wedding.
    One straight down the line – I work in the NHS in the UK. I would love to be able to stay safe at home, but I can’t, I have to go in to work. Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?
    Stay safe Neil x

    • S O L D

      And the very best of luck to you in your work. I have the very highest respect for you, seriously. I hope your masks are better than ours are, and that Boris & co. will not take your situation lightly.

      xxx

  2. And PS: I realise that this post IS in fact completely stupid. I am just thinking aloud. Although you wouldn’t know from reading this, I do realise that the situation worldwide is quite dire, and here I am going on about wedding parties and Thai prawn soups. Quite embarrassing, really. My apologies! I promise the next post will be better.

    • thatdvorak

      It’s anything but stupid. You are, like the rest of us, fighting for normality in a world that does not feel any normal anymore: “It is such a nameless misfortune when one’s world breaks asunder” (Georg Trakl). But every moment that gives back some normality again is a precious thing.
      So, I do entirely understand if you don’t feel like writing about perfume and the wonderful, shiny and simple things of life anymore, but that would be a loss, especially in these times that continuously scintillate between quite abstract and very concrete global fears.

      Pray continue.

      • It was worth writing this post just to hear your and Maggie’s responses. Thank you. x

        So spiritually energising to read this.

        Plus we all know that I won’t be able to stop in reality unless I just press delete afterwards, and that would be kind of pointless.

        Suppression, oppression, repression, depression – I hate all of them. You may as well just go nuts and reveal yourself in the moment – and be 100% alive.

  3. Please don’t go, Neil – not just to protect yourself, but to protect others. It isn’t the right time for a party, no matter how much you long for a hedonistic day of pure escapism. (Believe me, I can relate to that – I feel trapped, anxious and angry, and I’m afraid I am responding by lashing out at the stupid people around me: the idiot who posted on a neighbourhood forum asking if any hairdressers were doing home visits during lockdown because she “needed” her highlights re-doing; the moron who blundered past me as I queued outside the greengrocer’s, oblivious to the sign on the door advising him that there was a limit of three customers at a time.) Your friends aren’t heroically braving everything by pressing ahead with their wedding plans; they’re putting lives at risk, and their memories of the day will always be tainted by the knowledge of their own selfishness. I know I sound like a boring, sanctimonious twat but too bad. Hope you and Duncan stay safe and well. x

    • No this makes absolute sense, and how nice to see you pop on here after all this time dear S x

      WHAT SHIT TIMES THESE ARE!!!!!!!!!

      PS. We have definitively decided to not go, now. I felt miserable thinking about the couple greeting the guests and us not being there, but I have seen the light. D’s mum couldn’t sleep all last night after reading the ‘what perfume to wear to a wedding? ‘ ridiculous post, so we have to put family first/ I have told the soon to be newlyweds that we will have a special party for them here at our house once all of this horror is over.

      I hope you come through all of this well and get your groceries in a decent manner – the way it should be. xx

      • I’m sure that’s the right decision. We have had to put our plans for a civil partnership on hold – thankfully it was at a much earlier stage of planning than your friends’ wedding. I am going to behave like such a decadent fool once this shitty period is over. xx

      • !!!!

        We always did enjoy the odd glass of red wine here and there on the lawn..

        xxxx

        (and congratulations!)

  4. David

    I will take whatever you give on this blog. But I enjoy your film and music recommendations very much. And I LOVE entries about your rituals and your observations about Japanese culture. You don’t fawn over Japan. You like what you like and don’t try to be one of those “pet gaijin” as I have heard the foreign sycophants called. You don’t sugar coat things or Instagram your life on this blog. I also like when you talk about your apartment. It sounds like a refuge! In terms of perfume, anything you want to write about. I am a learner as far as reading about perfume.

    I can only speak for myself, but no, I would not go to the wedding. But then again, I would probably resist going to a wedding in the best of times. I have been to 3 Japanese weddings. meh…. talk about feeling like the pet gaijin…. I am almost completely quarantining. I haven’t been out of my apartment since last Sunday when I went to the supermarket. I am mitigating all risks. I want to avoid entering a Brazilian hospital at all costs. And I have an iron immune system. I never get sick… I sit on my veranda to get sun. And I stretch in my apartment….making it work.

    • Love it!

      Japanese weddings……yes, don’t get me started (so PLANNED TO THE VERY LAST DETAIL; SO NOT MY THING). And perhaps this one, even though goth theoretically, with all the in-laws in attendance, might not actually be any different – except that the punctilious staff will all be wearing masks and gloves and being extra up tight as a cherry on top (because who can blame them…..and it’s interesting; all the racism aimed at China and any other ethnic groups who might resemble them worldwide is unsurprisingly being slightly reversed now; foreigners are ‘bringing it in’, even though it has clearly been here since the very beginning of Wuhan after all the tourists came into the country at the beginning of January (they were just not mentioning it until after the Olympics announcement ; what a surprise that the second the games have been postponed suddenly there is talk of there being a ‘rampant’ epidemic in the centre of Tokyo……ugh I don’t know, it is all madness).

      I am interested in what Brazilian hospitals are like……

      • David

        I’m lucky that I have private insurance. I am lucky enough to have access to a private hospital, with high standards like Japan. (But who knows during this crisis). I have only been in a public hospital in São Paulo once. I accompanied a sick friend. I give credit to the doctors and nurses who have to make do with a lack of resources. The public health system does offer free vaccinations (one of my proudest achievements of 2019 was getting all my vaccinations and booster shots….a nurse even complimented me on having a completely filled immunization booklet). I went to a public hospital once in the countryside. I had drunk too much (along with using some other “party favors”) and my friends took me to the hospital to get an IV, a “restorative drip bag.” It was free. I was horrified and ashamed…. but my friends laughed so hard and said, in their world, this was normal…(the biggest nightclub in São Paulo, The Week, actually keeps a nurse on staff on weekends to tend to those who overindulge….nightclubs— seem like a distant memory in these times…).

        Another reason I’m not going out is possible (but probably very unlikely) xenophobia. Foreigners who arrive in Brazil are supposed to quarantine for 2 weeks. Someone could assume I’m breaking quarantine…. Brazilians know I’m a foreigner from 500 paces away. They just know.

        Oh, yes, please blabber, muse, away. Don’t sashay away. We need your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Hahaha…. I had to explain to my husband about the c, the u, the n, the …..you watch Drag Race, right?

    • (And thank you so much for the vote of confidence. I will just continue to blabber away as usual !) xxx

  5. matty1649

    I’m well over 70 yrs of age and live alone.I was self isolating for 2 weeks before the UK went on lock down.My daughter and grown uo Grandaughter all live nearby. They have been shopping for me,but it’s a nightmare in the supermarkets.I really miss seeing them and my Greatgrandchildren.We txt and facetime. A very dear friend of mine died a month ago,and it’s the funeral tomorrow. Only close family are allowed to attend.I’m really upset that I can’t go .
    I’m used to being out and about in my daily life, so this situation is really getting me down. We must do all we can to help the slow down and hopefully eradicate the spread of this virus.

    • This sounds absolutely awful. I have heard about the empty supermarket shelves. And I hope this dreadful time passes soon for all us the world over. Reading this also makes me realise how ridiculous it is even considering taking part in a wedding ceremony.

      Be well!

      • matty1649

        My daughtrer and Grandaughter have just been shopping for me. They managed to get everything I needed. Because of having to stand away from each other, they had to leave my shopping on my path.It’s like living in Eyam in Derbyshire during the Black Death !!!! I visited Eyam a few years ago, it’s heartbreaking but at least they stopped the spread of the Black Death to the surrounding areas.
        I’m trying to be positive….Onwards and Upwards.
        Keep safe X

      • You too. Very glad you have this shopping support. Everything was fine here until recently – except loo roll ; as you may have read the other day when I was exhilarating and wondering over the day cycling among the peaches of Mt Fuji when everyone was outside and no one was worrying about the virus, the second that the governor of Tokyo even mentioned the POSSIBILITY of a lockdown (which a friend of mine wonderfully just mis-spelled in an email to me as the ROCKDOWN – MUCH MORE MY CUP O TEA ) apparently all the supermarkets in tokyo are being emptied like apeshit, just like in the UK. It is human instinct I suppose. If d and I do end up stuck in here, I just know we are going to get very sick to death of curried lentils (and god knows what the air inside will then smell like!)

      • matty1649

        Ha Ha @ Rockdown. More my cup of tea as well.

  6. Tara C

    Well, the cat has finally come out of the bag! Glad to hear you will not be going to the wedding. It’s sad to miss an event but not worth the risk. I’m quarantined in my flat for 14 days as a returning traveler, yesterday Canada announced fines of $750,000 – $1,000,000 and 3 years in jail for violating the quarantine. No worries there, I have no desire to go out. I take the elevator at midnight to go downstairs and put out the trash and check the mailbox, to avoid running into anyone.

    Even after the 14 days are up I expect the general lockdown will continue through to May. I am so happy to be retired and not a young working mother with bills to pay. This is going to be devastating for families, small businesses and the marginalized. Thankfully we have a nationalized healthcare system. I read an article in Time the other day about a young American woman with no insurance who was billed $40,000 for her coronavirus treatment (regular hospital, no ICU or ventilator – I shudder to think what that bill would have been). At least here if I get sick I won’t be bankrupted. We are lucky. And our provincial leaders are handling things well.

    Regarding your blog, Persolaise asked the same thing and I will give the same answer: yes, please keep writing about perfume, art, films, anything that catches your fancy. We all need respite from the endless drone of Covid19 and a way to feel connected to joy and normality that will some day return.

    • $40,000?

      So very WRONG. Unconscionably so. Evil. And yes – hurrah for health systems like the one in Canada (and I am genuinely shocked by the one million dollar fine! CHRIST!)

      I really do things do get back normal as soon as possible. In the meantime I will just write whatever comes to mind in the moment. It might have to be about Covidarama, or it might not. I was very heartened after posting this – which I had thought was an embarrassing pile of horse do, to find that some people were reading it and encouraging me to do more. I know I get great solace from reading, and writing as well. It is all communication with other people, which we need to let out some of the lock down stress and otherwise.

      • Tara C

        I agree the fine is over the top. I guess they think they need an enormous sum to scare people into submission, but the sheer ridiculousness of it actually inspires the opposite reaction in me. Who are they kidding? I think $10,000 would have been more appropriate.

  7. Things have changed so quickly during this time that one day can look very different from the previous one. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the wedding gets cancelled between now and Sunday.
    Your post highlights the heightened immediacy of the moments we are living in right now – every detail is magnified. Also how near impossible it is not to behave according to the influence of how others around you are behaving despite intellectual “knowledge” advising the contrary. Especially when we are more “all together now” than ever.
    It’s true that perfume is the least of anyone’s priorities right now – but for those of us not on the front lines, there’s no end to the “distractions” being recommended to us – yet burying oneself in those brings no joy to others, while clearly, satisfying your own impulses to write also gives others validation (not sure that’s the right word) and a line of communication, echoing what you and others have said here.
    Be safe.

    • I am really glad we have started talking on this blog recently. I love your lucidity. It is also very heightened: I can feel it in my chest.

      Regarding the wedding; the thought crossed my mind as well. It could literally be cancelled any day now; as you say. Things change so RAPIDLY.

      • So am I!
        As for lucidity – I’m flattered. It feels more like armchair philosophy, sitting in my apartment isolating (literally) from it all while others are actively working to respond to the situation.

        My job is concerned with converting tactics that were intended to be delivered at live events into virtual tactics – a very first-world problem. The company holds “virtual happy hours” and I know of other companies doing “virtual breakfast clubs” – I wonder whether anyone would want to host a virtual wedding?!

  8. Diana Harvey-Williams

    Finally got my copy of THE BOOK and I’m frilled to bits. It was out of stock when I first ordered it so I had to wait a while but now it’s mine all mine. It’s a beautiful object and the format is perfect. If I was asked to describe what I want from a book about perfume, this is it but I really didn’t expect the actual book to be so gorgeous. It’s perfect for dipping into but I will be reading every word. It’s a much needed source of joy.

    • This is lovely to hear. Thank you very much. I can’t tell you how FRAUGHT the time was when I had to write it in, but it was very much a labour of love and I also was astounded when I physically received it in the post. The gold!

      • Diana Harvey-Williams

        I know! The gold! When I’d put the book down it kept catching my eye as though a light was shining from it. I’m so glad I bought the hardback rather than waiting for the paperback to come out. It’s a beautiful book in all senses.

  9. emmawoolf

    Just carry on doing what you normally do on here, Neil. A mixture of perfume, musings on Japan, anything you like: really. I am so glad you are not going to the wedding. But also, please don’t feel guilty about the fact that you wrote about it in previous posts. As others have said, what feels and seems OK one day (going to restaurants and eating Thai food, for example), may or indeed shall become completely out of bounds the next. Those restaurants may well have closed their doors before you know it. It’s hard here (you don’t need to be told that), and I am struggling, to be honest. But reading your posts always does cheer me up. Look after yourselves and if you wouldn’t mind: stay in as much as you possibly can. PS talk soon? xx

    • YES.

      Contact is essential at this time to alleviate the burden. And thanks for what you say here. Putting yourself ‘out there’ the way I do can make you feel very vulnerable sometimes, but I do find writing this blog extremely cathartic, and I also love the connection with other people. I feel blessed to be able to do it, actually; holding things in is my idea of personal hell.

  10. Ann

    It is bad here in Australia but the testing is so limited that we don’t really know how bad. Still letting people with the virus “self isolate” which some people take seriously but many don’t. Hopeless right wing government. Allowed infected people to disembark from a cruise ship onto the Quay which is an incredibly busy area. No warning to other commuters. We are staying home except for dog walks when it is quiet. A lot of businesses have had to close and there are queues outside the dole offices. Some people here don’t care as they think it will just be like a mild flu…it won’t be….34 wedding guests became ill after a recent wedding and one has died. We are both health workers but retired recently and really feel for those at the front line of this epidemic. Having said all this I am not going to mention it again and would love some light relief and gorgeous prose!!!

    • I will do my best. Even when I had just had my legs cut open and restructured three years ago I was writing regularly a few days afterwards – to me it is an essential part of being alive now, no matter the circumstances. To some extent we have to TRANSCEND. I really believe that.

      My feet have become ‘weakified’ though hearing about the wedding….UGH……….and the cruise ship (I have just read that the Diamond Princess is apparently ready to start its next cruise, in May…..(??!!!!) This is what I mean about things being crazy and incomprehensible.

      I think Japan is about to take off…….

  11. Robin

    Loved this. And could not agree more:

    “I think all exchanges of conversation and communication are good at this time between us all, no matter the subject, as a way of lightning the psychic burden on the spirit.”

    My sense is that for you to be exploring what’s going on for you and Duncan right now will help you down the road as things evolve there.

    Here, it’s been a roller coaster much like the stages of grief: shock, anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and back and forth between. I must be wimpier than I thought, because even living here in a tiny rural hamlet on the west coast of Canada, with serious measures taken to protect us and only a very small percentage of us sick (so far; I hate having to write that, hate that that’s the truth, that anything could go pear-shaped on us), I’ve felt uncomfortably close to the edge of sanity from time to time. Darling Ric is delivering medical prescriptions for the pharmacy he works for, and I had a mini-meltdown last night at the thought that he’d be dangerously close to people, dangerously close to the possibility of catching COVID-19. I think if I lived in Italy, Spain or the US — or London — I really would be a basket case. There’s a claustrophobia I feel even thinking about their situations.

    The physical distancing has been a bonus for a person like me. I drive through the pretty nearby oceanside town and luxuriate in the quiet, in the emptiness of the sidewalks and seafront paths. It doesn’t feel ominous to me, for some reason — which is surprising, because with some things my imagination loves to go straight to the most morbid, fear-driven interpretation. It feels peaceful, like something from an earlier time, when Vancouver hadn’t discovered this piece of paradise a ferry ride across the water. I just love the sense of spaciousness, of being on my own, of having all this to myself. I think I am a very selfish person sometimes.

    After experiencing my share of shock, anger, helplessness, denial over the past couple of weeks, I think I’m at the “bargaining” stage. I say to myself, if we all behave ourselves, if we follow all the rules, then please, please, please let it work, let it flatten the curve, let our hospitals and staff and equipment not be overwhelmed and overloaded, let us stay safe and alive and not suffer, and I promise I’ll never take what we had before all this for granted ever again.

    • Brilliantly put. I can picture you there, and I empathise completely. Claustrophobia is one of my driving forces – strange and very contradictory then, that I love Tokyo so much – but like you, I enjoy certain aspects of the ’emptiness’, even if it hasn’t quite got to that stage yet. What is fascinating for me is the different responses from different governments/ cultures. Those with especially capitalistic hearts like the US, the UK and China, initially try to pretend it isn’t happening, are loathe to adopt social distancing and whatnot until it is impossible not to; I even read some comment from some ass governor from Texas saying that ‘some older people will be willing to die for the economy’ – which made me hoot out loud in sardonic death cries. South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and some other countries like Italy just went for trying to deal with the issue immediately : life first. Japan is the oddball : that piece I wrote the other day about cycling past Mount Fuji was in reality as hallucinogenic as it probably read. There was JOY. UTTER OBLIVION. Japan is fascinating, there can be no doubt.

      Just off to get my hair cut at a new barber’s down the hill.

      And then we are having two weeks of pure isolation.

      Sounds heavenly. .xx

      • Robin

        I love cities and towns, actually. I love the feeling of all that life, that energy. I may not be a huge consumer, but I appreciate everything about well-made products and love window shopping: everything from leather goods to housewares to furniture. Perfume, of course. I love restaurants of all kinds, especially the funky hole-in-the-wall ones with tons of atmosphere, or ethnic ones with pure authenticity. I love parks and squares. I love museums and galleries, old churches and cathedrals. I love architecture and urban geography, visible history. I don’t feel claustrophobia at all, just a sense of tons of commerce and creativity and community. Just wandering feels like a kind of freedom. A good buzz. I’m somehow still in a bit of a Robin bubble, yet connected. I like that dichotomy. I think I dislike crowded trains and subways, buses and planes, long line-ups, that kind of density, nothing redeeming or attractive about it.

        And then I like to escape to my home, or the forest, or the ocean here. I was out in my kayak in front of my place earlier in the week, when the only life around me, besides the Salish Sea and all the fish and ocean creatures hidden under the surface and Vancouver Island in the distance, were seals, seagulls, loons and eagles. Quiet except for the seagulls and the sounds of my paddle through the water. If that’s social isolation, I will take it.

        I would think the temples close to you would be restorative. I hope they aren’t closed yet.

      • (sighs reading this – sensing the water……)

        I don’t think they are.

        Beautiful.

  12. Japan, the country, has me utterly vexed with their response to this whole thing. The whole, everything is fine, we are all fine, attitude has me just fuming. It is truly so irresponsible and foolhardy of the government.
    I know I am a few days late in posting a comment, but I hope you did not go to the wedding. That would not have been the best decision. You and D need to take care of yourselves, seriously.
    I haven’t been out of the house in over two weeks, and that was just for a Doctor appointment. I am planning on staying in until God only knows when. I refuse to take chances.
    Please stay safe

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