Corona Updates

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finished last Sunday, what everybody thought would happen, actually happened: Japan is on the way into its 5th Covid19 wave… Checking this page, you will see that at the moment, we’re having just shy of 150.000 active cases, almost double than in the last wave. This is certainly because of the Olympic Games, with 50.000 people coming into the country just for that, but of course, if you have a look a bit further down, Japan has ramped up the testing too in the last few weeks.

Kyoto has been under a state of quasi-emergency where the government “calls” on restaurants and bars to close before 8 p.m. and stop serving alcohol. I think they are terrified to place us under a real state of emergency again; Kyoto city has already lost millions because of a lack of tourists since last year. And the number of cases has been steadily rising. Whenever I checked before, we’ve had about 10% of the cases in Osaka, but now we’re standing at roughly 20%. In absolute numbers we have less than 3000 active cases; in a city with 1.5 million inhabitants it’s not really worrying – if the testing were up to scratch…

In any case, I have finally received an invitation to my first shot; next Saturday’s the day. As I suspected, the call center is quite efficient and things run slowly but smoothly. However, I did have a problem with one of the forms I’m supposed to bring with me. It’s a checklist of medical conditions and how you’re feeling etc. and of course, it’s entirely in Japanese. While there is a website about the vaccinations, it uses mostly machine translation, and that obviously doesn’t work on forms that are uploaded as images or pdf files… And because I couldn’t be sure that anybody at the vaccination site would speak enough English to translate for me, I contacted the call center, where they have interpreters for several languages.

I thought they might have a translated form somewhere (the website suggested as much), but nothing like that. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with an interpreter who did a live translation of all the 15 questions for me. She was very good and efficient, but I was a bit embarassed to cause so much trouble and take so much of her time. Anyway, the form is filled in now, I have all my other ducks in a row and if nothing serious happens, I’ll get my shot on Saturday. Just three more days! I’m actually quite happy about it.

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