Visiting Hong Kong was one of my favorites since I made the first trip there in 2004. I did it eight times until now. I loved to stroll on Sai Yeung Choi Street South where people were very cheerful and energetic, to enjoy wonton noodles, steamed duck, and gwilinggao at restaurants, to get Nokia’s brand new and second-hand smartphones and accessories at mobile phone shops of the Sincere Podium building in Mong Kok, and to open and use a bank account of HSBC Hong Kong. I saw the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping, visited a prison museum at Stanley, stayed at a hotel of Chungking Mansions, worshipped at Che Kung Temple, had a fortune-telling session at Wong Tai Sin Temple, and extended my journey as far as Macau and Shenzhen. All the memories of those places were impeccable.
The second year of the Reiwa period began with a nightmare. More precisely, at the beginning of the year, nobody could predict what would be going on just two months later. I am talking about what the entire world is fighting against—COVID-19.
The coronavirus outbreak has been an urgent global issue. It was just the case of people in a limited area of a particular country, or poor, rich travelers within a trapped gorgeous cruise ship in February. Only a few weeks later, however, it became the case relevant in most parts of the world. Now the situation is changing day by day. For days, thousands of people around the world have been newly hospitalized due to this disease. More than 10,000 patients have died from it in China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the United States, and more.
The World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Lockdown is underway in many cities and even nationwide in some countries. Going out for non-essential reasons is banned or discouraged. People are forced to stay home and keep six feet away from others so as not to be six feet under.
The lockdown has had a massive impact on the world economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 1,000 points this month with circuit breakers taking effect many times. The share price of Boeing has become less than a third for weeks. This financial crisis is even worse than those in the great depression in 1929.
That is true with Japan. Here in Tokyo, the governor stated that lockdown in Tokyo is likely because patients tested positive are increasing every day by more than the number of cases a day before. She requested Tokyoites for being home this weekend except for essential business.
People in Japan look afraid of a state of emergency being declared and lockdown being issued. I hate to say that, but I’m sure that these will be near. I think lockdown orders will be released in weeks or even in days because we see other civilized countries being already like this.
Lockdown being inevitable, how should we do? Most people will be forced to stay away from their workplaces, such as offices, farms, fishing grounds, milk plants, and factories. Then it is likely to run short of various things needed for daily life. As a result, the production of foods and groceries will be severely restricted.
Once supply cease, panic buying is likely to take place. This action must be blamed as antisocial behavior since not all households have enough money or means to get what they need. It will be difficult to supply daily necessities if panic buying occurs, because the distribution system will be burdened more than usual, and the distribution of domestic inventory will be unfair. Participating in such panic buying is nothing but not only exposing your low awareness of social solidarity, that is, lack of knowledge that society will not be established if we do our own things, but also proving that you have neglected to be prepared and save in case of an emergency.
We have no choice but to secure the needed supplies for the time being before lockdown takes effect. It would help us a lot to find out what people in countries where lockdown is already in place are doing.
This experience gives us the following important suggestions and lessons: the fact that even the most rights-sensitive liberal nations can easily and quickly control individual’s rights and freedom before the impending crisis. It means that, once an emergency happens, the rights of individuals are insignificant and vulnerable.
What is happening in front of us now seems like a dry run exercise for the third world war. I think it is likely to occur in the coming decades because it is a very similar situation where a big earthquake occurred in 1923, the world financial crisis in 1929, and WWII 12 years later. Likewise, the big earthquake and tsunami happened in 2011, and the economic crisis derived from the coronavirus epidemic eight years later. Now the world is divided. Each country is isolated and closing its borders. How many years is left for us to see those countries to collide?
The time is right to be prepared for in the future. Divide your assets into some pieces and save them in different countries. If possible, have multiple places to live and jobs in two or more countries. Having as many life options as possible will save you in this volatile future with many uncertainties.
Looking back on what I experienced in the year 2019, the words of this year are: Hokkaido, Mercari, and Grand Cherokee.
I’ve traveled to Hokkaido three times this year alone for both business and private. In February, I visited Sapporo to conduct a system test, and I went to Hakodate one week later to see a friend of mine. In September, I was in Sapporo again for the system test. I’m revisiting Sapporo next month, too (It won’t be “this year,” though!). In spring and summer, NHK broadcast a morning TV drama set in Tokachi area, which became very popular. I had more opportunities to get in touch with Hokkaido.
I started e-commerce this year through the Mercari marketplace app. It allows users to buy and sell items quickly and easily from their smartphones. I sold a briefcase I wouldn’t use any longer, one of the bottles of hand sanitizer I bought too much to use up all, and even a socket of an iPhone charger. I purchased an antique bookshelf, English soaps, and a sixpence coin for comparatively lower prices with several taps on the screen.
I sold my 2013 Jeep Compass Sport and bought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo in April. The new Jeep’s odometer reading was about 21,000 miles when I found it at the Jeep car dealer, and I have driven more than 6,000 miles for about eight months since I bought it. It is a big, comfortable, good-conditioned, and powerful SUV, excellent for both short-howl and long-howl drive.
The words of the year 2001 were getting a flat within the Tokyo metropolitan area, a position change at the office, and Soarer. The word of the year 2002 was America. The words of the year 2003 were the airplane and the musical. The words of the year 2004 were the blog, Asian countries (Singapore and Hong Kong), and the GSM mobile phone. The words of the year 2005 were darts, the GSM and WCDMA mobile phone, and visiting Hong Kong again. The words of the year 2006 were the US stock and the mutual fund. The words of the year 2007 were changing my car and visiting Hawaii. The words of the year 2008 were England and Fukagawa. The words of the year 2009 were office position change, MacBook Pro and JR Seishun 18 Ticket. The words of the year 2010 were Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, iPhone and the credit card. The words of the year 2011 were the car, the British culture and China. The words of the year 2012 were Oji, the mahjong, the flight attendant and Facebook. The words of the year 2013 were Ayurveda, Korea, high school alumni and Tsuyoshi Takashiro. The words of the year 2014 were England and Android. The words of the year 2015 were Maine, United States; Estonia and transfer of workplace. The words of the year 2016 were traveling to places in Japan, mapping and Jeep. The words of the year 2017 were Yurie Omi, NHK, shingles, and English exams. The words of the year 2018 were cashless, Japanese language and comeback.
It is becoming more and more difficult to bump into new things over time, because the older one becomes, the more satisfied with what he is and the more reluctant to change. That being said, changing with the changing times is absolutely essential to keep pace with the future, and it would be fun.
On August 31, I went to NHK Culture Center at Aoyama-itchome in Tokyo to attend a lecture presentation of Ms. Yurie Omi. As I wrote in this entry, I have been a fan of the NHK Announcer, and once met her at her talk show in Nagoya two years ago. This time it was held in Tokyo and it was much easier to have access to the venue, so I applied to this lecture presentation as soon as NHK Culture Center began selling the tickets.
今ごろになってこんな記事を書いているのは、昨年末はＷｏｒｄＰｒｅｓｓのトラブルのせいで新規記事投稿ができなくなっていたせいです。新規記事投稿のボタンを押すと５００ Ｉｎｔｅｒｎａｌ Ｓｅｒｖｅｒ Ｅｒｒｏｒが出てしまっていたんですが、どうやらプラグインが悪さをしていたらしいことがわかり、いくつかプラグインを停止すると表示できるようになりました。ここのサイトに感謝です。
昨年はキャッシュレスが本格化した時代でした。自分のｉＰｈｏｎｅ８のウォレットにＡｐｐｌｅ Ｐａｙを入れ、クレジットカードやＳｕｉｃａをそこに入れてコンビニや鉄道やその他のお店を利用しました。Ａｐｐｌｅ Ｐａｙ以外にも、ＬＩＮＥが提供するＬＩＮＥ Ｐａｙはローソンや大手の薬局で利用できますし、Ｏｒｉｇａｍｉ ＰａｙはＫＦＣやＬｏｆｔなどで使えます。今では自販機でジュースを買うのも、スーパーで買い物するのも、スタバやマクドナルドも電車の利用も、現金を使う機会が極端に減りました。ｉＰｈｏｎｅ８があればこれらのことがみなできてしまうようになったからです。
I’m writing such an entry right now because I couldn’t post any entries in the end of 2018. When I tried to open the “add a new post” page, I had a 500 Internal Server Error and couldn’t open the page. Now I fixed it. It was because some of the plugins I installed in this blog system conflicted, so I deactivated the troublesome plugins and now I can post new entries. Thank you this article.
I’m looking back what happened in the year 2018 as I usually do it in the end of every year, and picking out some short words representing the last year. The words of the year 2001 were getting a flat within the Tokyo metropolitan area, a position change at the office, and Soarer. The word of the year 2002 was America. The words of the year 2003 were the airplane and the musical. The words of the year 2004 were the blog, Asian countries (Singapore and Hong Kong), and the GSM mobile phone. The words of the year 2005 were darts, the GSM and WCDMA mobile phone, and visiting Hong Kong again. The words of the year 2006 were the US stock and the mutual fund. The words of the year 2007 were changing my car and visiting Hawaii. The words of the year 2008 were England and Fukagawa. The words of the year 2009 were office position change, MacBook Pro and JR Seishun 18 Ticket. The words of the year 2010 were Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, iPhone and the credit card. The words of the year 2011 were the car, the British culture and China. The words of the year 2012 were Oji, the mahjong, the flight attendant and Facebook. The words of the year 2013 were Ayurveda, Korea, high school alumniand Tsuyoshi Takashiro. The words of the year 2014 were England and Android. The words of the year 2015 were Maine, United States; Estonia and transfer of workplace. The words of the year 2016 were traveling to places in Japan, mapping and Jeep. The words of the year 2017 were Yurie Omi, NHK, shingles, and English exams.
Now I’m picking out as the words of the year 2018: cashless, Japanese language and comeback.
I’ve been in touch a lot with the cashless society since last year. I set up Apple Pay in the Wallet of my iPhone8, and stored my American Express Gold Card and Suica, a rechargeable contactless electric money card used as a fare card on train lines, convenience stores and other shops in Japan. Other than Apple Pay, I have used Line Pay, which allows payment using your Line account, mainly for the payments at Lawson and major drugstores. I use Origami Pay for dining at KFC and shopping at Loft department store. Today I rarely use cash for buying a can of soft drink at the vending machine, buying groceries at the supermarket, buying coffee at Starbucks, dining at McDonald’s, and passing through the wicket to take trains. All I need is my iPhone8 to do these things.
I paid attention more to brushing up skills of Japanese language than to mastering English this year. I took the first grade of Nihongokentei test (This is not the JLPT N1 test!) and passed it. I don’t know how it helps in my work or life, though. As for comeback, I was appointed to a new position of the company I work and my workplace was relocated in November.
Almost three months being passed since the beginning of the year 2019, I have already experienced a lot of things in this single year. I’m so excited.