oh, corona

Goodness, gracious. Things have gone absolutely bonkers here in Japan.

Keep in mind, I live out in the ‘countryside’. I put that in marks because I actually grew up in the American countryside. Small town of what has boomed into now 6,000 ish people. Nearest supermarket a 20 minute drive away going 80 mph down a road through nothing but cornfields. I have witnessed young men driving their tractors to school where I had a graduating class of 130 (with 3 towns attending that school). THIS is not really countryside to me, but I tell my coworkers where I live and they literally laugh at me and ask why I live in the ‘boondocks’….

Anyway, my town has about 65,000 people and is a 30 minute train ride from Tokyo. Hubby actually works in Tokyo – he commutes there every day, as do many other people. My town is what the Japanese call a “Bed Town”. People live and work here, but they mostly commute to Tokyo for work. It’s nice to live outside the chaos of the city in this “countryside” town.

The corona virus has made everyone go absolutely insane though. I mean, yeah, I’m concerned too, but this is getting silly.

I work in an international kindergarten as a homeroom teacher. We have strict cleaning rules there. You may already have heard that in Japan, the kids clean the schools. That doesn’t start until elementary school, though. In kindergarten, the teachers clean up after the kids have left. We are all assigned a schedule. Mine is as follows:

Monday, clean 3rd floor bathrooms. Tuesday, Take out all garbage on 3rd floor. Wednesday, clean 3rd floor hallway. Thursday, clean 3rd floor bathrooms again. Friday, take out garbage again.

Can you guess which floor I’m on?

Anyway, cleaning involves a lot of bleach and alcohol. The kids, too, are regularly told to wash their hands and have to use hand sanitizer before they eat any snacks or meals. However, with this corona virus outbreak, we can’t buy any more alcohol! The staff has tried but anywhere they try to order from, it’s sold out. Luckily, we have plenty of bleach to continue cleaning with, at least.

And masks. You may know already that people in Asia tend to wear masks when they go outside. I use them, too. It’s nice to know there is that extra layer of protection.

You may be one of the skeptics that think, “Those don’t actually work, you know.” But I beg to differ. Even if they don’t help with catching the yuckies and keeping me healthy, they definitely help with my hay fever. And having them on keeps me from touching my face so that is another layer of protection. I know that I don’t get sick when I use them.

But that doesn’t really matter right now because they are sold out everywhere. There are signs on stores basically saying, “Sorry, we don’t have masks.”

And when they do, there is a line to grab them as soon as they are stocked so it’s pretty much impossible to get them either way. At least every store that stocks them is kind enough to demand only one back per family.

Back in the 70s there was an oil shock in Japan and masks again were sold out. Someone started a rumor that toilet paper and tissues were made of the same materials and that they were going to be out of stock next… and they were… because everyone panicked and bought them all.

And it’s happened again.

Toilet paper, tissues, and lady products are all sold out. We are lucky that we bought some right before all of this happened, but even we will run out eventually. The same “One pack per family” rule has been applied to these things as well.

This has already gotten pretty long so I will end it here. I will write another post with the rest of my ramblings to be posted automatically at another date.

Stay safe!

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