extended state of emergency… again

The state of emergency here in Japan has been extended again. This time, to May 31st. It will most likely be extended again but for now, this is the date that we have been given.

That being said… things opened up a little…? I know, I’m confused, too. However, after I got off of work yesterday, two friends and I were walking to the station together when we saw a little kid in a stroller holding a Mister Donut box. I pointed it out to my two friends (Addy and…. let’s call him Samurai – inside thing). Addy was excited and even Samurai quickened his pace to the station. It was noticeable because his pace is quick enough as it is.

We arrived and sure enough, quite a few stores around the station were open. The Mister Donut, Krispy Kreme, KFC, book store, and even the mall had been opened back up. I mean, there were a lot of restrictions, of course. Take-out only, no sitting in, shortened hours, etc. A lot of stores weren’t even opened. The mall may have been open but a lot of stores inside were not. I’m hoping it’s still open today because I need a few things from the stationary store. From what I could see, the bubble tea place and even Starbucks were not open. I’m sure more inside the mall were not open as well.

When I say the hours were shortened, I mean quite drastically. They used to be something along the lines of ten AM to nine PM, but they opened at eleven and were preparing to close when we jumped in for doughnuts at six. That is to be expected, though. I’m surprised they were open at all.

Speaking of shortened hours, rotation for my job is continuing on throughout the month of May. This goes hand in hand with the extended state of emergency. I have four more days off than usual this month.

We are supposed to hold a giant event in July – the summer festival. Last year, everyone worked hard to make an awesome craft to display, we all learned a traditional Japanese dance and a dance to an English song, prepared the classrooms to look like booths at a regular festival and held games as we all wore yukata.

It’s a huge deal here at the school and this year, I am one of the coordinators for it. However, with the circumstances… are we even going to be doing it? The month of May is already set at “please keep your kids home”, but we have no idea what is going to happen for June. That would be our time to prepare for the event – not just decorations, but making the craft and learning the dances as well. If the state of emergency gets extended to June (and let’s be realistic, it probably will be), what will happen to the festival?

Well, my Japanese partner coordinator talked to the principal and she is sickeningly optimistic. She said there is still an 80% chance that we will do it! There will be drastic changes though. For one, all the classroom games will be gone. As will the food that is usually sold (kakigori [shaved ice] and yakisoba). We will still decorate the hallway, the gym, and the small performance hall we have. The hallway will be for the parents to walk through and see the decorations, the gym is where the crafts will be displayed and of course decorated for the occasion. Parents can take photos in there with the kids for a half hour before they make their way to the performance hall to watch the kids perform their dances. Then it’s just bye bye from there. No games of actual festival. It will actually turn into a sad little event, but considering the circumstances, しょうがないね (shouganaine – it can’t be helped).

I’m a generally optimistic person but even I think that with the rate things are moving at, the event will likely be cancelled.

In other news not related to work, I did apply for my visa extension. I used one of my days off to go to city hall and get all the documents I needed and then used another day to travel the 2.5 hours ti get there. I had enough time to grab a ticket, sit down, and reach for the file in my bag before they called my number. I brought up my documents and the guy rudely shoved a few back at me telling me her didn’t need them. I was annoyed because first of all, it’s better to come over-prepared than under-prepared, right? Second, I was almost certain I needed one of them. I took it and showed it to him one more time, confirming in Japanese, “Are you sure you don’t need this one?”

He rolled his eyes at me and said no, he didn’t need it. He thrust another ticket at me and said he would call me back up in a minute. I sat down for five more minutes and was called back up to get my passport with a special receipt-esque document stapled inside saying that I have applied for a new visa and that it should be ready in a few weeks.

A few days later, I get an envelope in the mail with another pre-addressed envelope inside and a document stating that they needed a certain document…. the EXACT SAME ONE he shoved back at me and rolled his eyes when I double checked that he didn’t need it. I was livid. I was actually seeing red around my vision when I was reading it. Even my husband was shocked and angry. He wanted to call and basically argue with them about why he sent me home with that document just to mail me a letter demanding it. I talked him out of it, though, because I didn’t want to give them any reason to deny my visa or give me a shorter one.

I mailed it in, though, and am now waiting for the little post card saying I can go pick it up.

That’s pretty much everything new for now. Golden Week was uneventful from my apartment. We did have some friends over for pizza while we binge watched Grace and Frankie, and I got quite a bit of gardening done. We are just sitting tight and trying to ride this thing out for the most part.

How are things on your end?

Stay safe.

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