As of 8pm last night Melbourne entered its 6th lockdown. We only emerged from number 5 eight days prior. My lockdown fatigue is oppressive. It is being made infinitely more difficult by a number of factors.
Foremost, the Tokyo Olympics. We started seeing the preparations for the Olympics in Japan from 2018. The very cute English style, but very Japanese Tokyo 2020 taxis. The increase in English signage around Tokyo and other parts of Japan. The logo and cutsey excitement everywhere. The fact that the Olympics was postponed last year and has been fraught with COVID problems and travel bans this year is tragic. Tokyo 2020 should have been the most impressive spectacle. There should be millions of visitors enjoying the gracious hospitality of the Japanese. Instead, it has had a lot of bad press. There are too many people getting sick. The businesses that should have been booming are struggling or closed. The people of Japan feel cheated by the International Olympic Committee. They feel they have become acceptable collateral damage.
Super Sake Boy is a fan of the Olympics. I like watching some events, but find others incredibly uninteresting. We have watched the Olympics most nights. I am finding it is having a two-fold effect on me. Firstly, the constant vision of Tokyo Tower and the Rainbow Bridge and all other things Tokyo is making me long to be there with such yearning it is almost painful. The desire to sit in a small izakaya in Omoide Yokocho, in Shinjuku, eating yakitori and drinking sake is palpable. The vision of the city is almost too much to tolerate. Secondly, the lack of people able to enjoy the spectacle is making me sad.
We have missed one trip to Japan and would probably have been on another since the beginning of the pandemic. I would have enjoyed seeing the architecture, the attention to detail and the congenial Japanese reception of the rest of the World. Such a transformed country to the one that hosted the 1964 Olympics.
The other difficulty compounding my lockdown weariness is my current course of study. I am undertaking a short course in travel journalism. It is a great course which I am really enjoying. However, I am spending many hours reading travel articles. Stories of adventures taking place all over the planet. Wonderful tales of cities I desperately would like to visit. Destinations I had plans to make part of milestone celebrations. It is like a bizarre form of torture. A completely unattainable dream. Deciding to do this course so I might be ready to travel and write after the pandemic was a sound plan. It was, however, somewhat myopic, in hindsight.
So, I am locked up, with my Olympic loving partner. Watching the Olympics. Complete with so many daily visual reminders of a city to which I wish I was able to travel. Reading about other people’s expeditions with such gnawing wanderlust it is making me a little demented. I assume I am not the only one. I am sure there are many people feeling precisely as I do, or something closely related. Send me comment, if you are struggling. There may be a sense of camaraderie in the sharing of the trauma that is COVID and lockdown.