Part 3: Making the Best of the Pandemic Lifestyle Disruption ––
The other significant challenge is the Covid-19 virus. Although conditions are less severe here than most other countries, the impact has been disruptive and the isolation and social distancing stressful.
Tokyo is a vast metropolis and discovering the capital’s many neighborhoods, best done by exploring, is both an exciting and daunting exercise. Unfortunately, the forced self-isolation and other restrictions due to the pandemic have remarkably impacted our “normal” lifestyle and my plans for experiencing Tokyo and other regions of Japan have been put on hold.
The pandemic has made getting connected and making new friends, Japanese or not, extremely difficult. I am exploring a host of online networks that appear to align with my interests. As soon as possible I plan to just join some groups, keep showing up, and expect that eventually relationships will develop.
Notwithstanding the limitations, one of the joys of my new Tokyo life is walking around our local area. I have also found that I can walk or take my bike instead of taking the train to just about any Tokyo destination. It is a lot slower trip but discovering the fascinating world between train stations also has health and fitness benefits!
Also on the positive side, having Keiko working from home is wonderful. We have used the gift of unexpected time together to get settled in our new home and enjoy life together with Toma a constant companion.
Our faithful Toma has adapted well to Tokyo and appears to enjoy his urban life-style. The Japanese people are dog lovers and Toma’s friendly personality insures that we make new human and canine friends through enjoyable encounters almost every day.
Living in a “bubble” may seem boring for some; I have seen it as an opportunity. Since I no longer have any need or desire to work, I have used the current conditions to pursue interests that satisfy my intellectual curiosity. Although learning the Japanese language appears an elusive goal, gaining a deeper understanding of Japanese history, tradition and culture is a rewarding area of study, one that has encouraged me to embark on a journey of self-reflection and an opportunity to rediscover myself in the process.
As a lifelong Stoic, I have discovered a convergence between Stoic philosophy and Zen Buddhist teachings, adapting my daily lifestyle routine to focus on the shared elements of wisdom, justice, courage, kindness and temperance.
I have returned to a long ago practice of meditation, fulfilling the Zen proverb “to be calm is the highest achievement of the self.”