After two-and-a-half years Japan opened its borders to foreign tourists this month. We are in a new phase of “With Corona.” Already I see a massive uptick of travellers to Kyoto. Japan’s latest subsidized domestic tourism campaign has also added much wood to the low embers of the industry here in Kyoto.
Luckily before the major Tokyo airports were crowded, I was able to take off to Lisbon for a work trip (see the blog post linked below). I got back to Japan the day before the border opened, and it only took me 20 minutes from deplaning to getting my luggage and out the door. I doubt that will ever happen again!
Besides the borders being unbolted, the gates to internal travel too were thrown open. We took the opportunity for a family trip to the edge of Japan: to Tsushima and our old home on Ikijima! I will be blogging about that trip next month, but you can catch a preview by checking out the Twitter threads posted below.
In other “With Corona” news, I met two strangers from the internet this month. One was a popular guy in the Japan Twitter community, and the other was a German Roboticist here for a conference. More and more people are getting okay with meeting up, sharing a meal or a coffee. I have been invited to a few other networking meetings, and am planning a trip up to Tokyo next month to meet friends, old and new. In fact, I have travel planned for every month until next spring.
MA couple of weeks ago my wife and I travelled 90 minutes to the Takarazuka Theatre to take in a musical by the eponymous all-female group (here is a promo vid of a recent show to give you an idea). It was absolutely fabulous – 120% opulence . I was totally blown away. The theatre was packed. Of course, everyone was wearing a mask, but this was the most people I had been in the same room with for 2 hours in a while.
In another country this might not happen. During my trip to Portugal I had a 6 hour layover in a crowded Heathrow airport, filled with travellers from who-knows-where, all shoulder to shoulder eating and laughing without a care. I barely saw a mask. Lisbon was also mask-free. I hear Canada is like that… and well, America made that choice long ago. It will take longer in countries that are more used to wearing masks like Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, etc. Here you will still see people driving in their own car, alone, wearing a mask. (A friend told me they think the real reason people do this is so they can sing in the car and not be embarrassed!)
I am getting more confident, and am booked for my fourth vaccine soon. However, I still plan on wearing a mask in planes and trains for a good while yet. And in the car! 😉🎶
Stay healthy, and happy Halloween! 🎃
Impressions of Lisbon
My first trip to Europe gave me insight into the difference between tourism and travel.
📸 Photo Album: Lisbon Part 1 →
🏰 Photo Album: Pena at Sintra →
Live tweets of travelling to Tsushima Link →
Live tweets from Iki Link →
Every trick from this Parisian football artist gets more and more amazing! Video →
You’re probably using the wrong dictionary Link →
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott
A classic on top-down organization, and the “dehumanization” of homogenizing systems like standards and markets. Earlier this year I also read Imagined Communities, which is another one of those classic texts that you always hear about and really should read.