This is the first post that I’ve written in 2020. The last one was in October 2019 and I honestly didn’t feel like writing anything since then. I know that the first half of this year has been crazy for everyone all over the world. The coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns, border shutdowns, states of emergency, the constant murders of black and brown people, protests and countless other things that often don’t make it in mainstreamed media.
COVID-19 & Everything That Came With It
When the virus first hit Japan, it didn’t seem like it was taken seriously probably because they wanted to protect the upcoming 2020 summer Olympics (they’ve decided to push them back to 2021). A state of emergency was then announced for some parts of Japan in early April.
During that time, stores and public places slowly started to shut down. Schools and companies transitioned to working online. Everyone stayed home during Golden Week, a holiday break where the entire country usually travels. Toilet tissue, and probably all paper products, were sold out for weeks and people fought over face masks.
I wanted to do something as simple as visiting my local park, to keep sane, but all the kids who weren’t in school were hanging there! I pretty much stayed home and kept busy the entire lockdown.
Black Lives Matter
Many BLM protests and marches have also been held around Japan against racism. I wasn’t able to attend, but heard great things about them.
Right before the march in Tokyo, the national broadcasting network aired a 30-minute children’s segment attempting to explain why black people are angry about what’s been happening in America. A short video with a disgusting depiction of us was included and completely missed the point. The characters were shown as intimidating and thieves. It shared that the virus and unemployment rate were the cause. I’ve only added a screen shot of it below because that alone speaks to the disconnection.
This is why I find it so important to teach my students about my culture as much as they teach me about theirs. I really hope that if any of my past or current ones have seen it, they can speak the truth even at a young age.
What have the first 6 months of 2020 looked like for you?