We live in strange times at the moment. Who would have thought that the new decade starts off with a global pandemic that pushes everyone into a corner, unsure of what to do next. In such an unusual situation with the COVID-19, we may wonder what we are able to do to keep ourselves entertained.
Tokyo is such a vibrant country, but one may think it’s almost impossible to enjoy the city if they’re not able to go out. On the contrary though, there are still loads to do even without the crowds and mass gatherings. That’s the beauty of the capital city of Japan. From home activities to outdoor ones for a breath of fresh air, we got you covered with a list of essential things to do during the COVID-19 in Tokyo.
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How The COVID-19 is Affecting Japan
Japan was one of the first few countries to be hit with the COVID-19. Being so close to China and also South Korea, which was one of the countries to have a dramatic boost in numbers of infected people, it was inevitable for Japan to avoid the situation as tourism comes from these two countries too. It didn’t help when a cruise ship of infected people docked in Yokohama.
With the rising numbers and the COVID-19 crisis getting bigger and bigger, Japan manages to slow down the spread of the virus by implementing measures and precautions all around the country. Japan is generally a clean country, and with these precautions, it delays the spread of the COVID-19 even more.
However, schools have been closed down and some companies are implementing work from home to minimise crowds gathering unnecessarily. Citizens have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible. In other words, they’ve been told to self-isolate themselves. Practice social distancing and self-isolation while still being able to make the most of Tokyo city with these top things to do:
Binge watch Japanese TV shows & movies
The best way to play your part during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay indoors, but how can you entertain yourself while you’re stuck at home? The answer is simple: binge watch some programs! Whether it is a television show, cartoon series or movie, they’re definitely going to fill up your time in no time!
If you’re worried about missing out the cultural aspect of Japan during this self isolation, why not try watching some Japanese dramas and movies? There are countless of them out there for your choosing. From romance and comedy to action and thriller, there’s got to be one that piqued your interest.
There are platforms on the web that have already translated these shows and movies to English via subtitles, so don’t worry about not being able to understand Japanese. They’ve got you covered.
Another option is to pick up the good ol’ anime. If you haven’t gotten into it already, then you should! This unique genre of cartoon, special to Japan only, has captured the hearts of many all around the globe!
Loads travel to Japan exclusively for it and because of it! There are thousands, if not millions, of anime out there, covering everything from mystery and suspense, action and violence, to light-hearted lifestyle and school-life, comedy and romance.
Pick up simple cooking of Japanese cuisine
There’s nothing quite like a good meal. Except for one that is home-made. Since you have all the time in the world at home, why not pick up cooking? It’s a lifetime skill that is beneficial to you for the rest of your life! You can make meals as healthy as you want or as flavourful as you want — whatever floats your boat because you are your own chef!
What we would suggest is to try out making some Japanese cuisine while you’re at it so that you won’t feel like you missed out too much of the local food offered at the restaurants in Tokyo. The ingredients you can get from the local supermarket is just as good as any other because it’s the most authentic you can ever get — you are in Japan, after all!
Make some sushi — that’s probably the easiest to do of all the Japanese foods. Simply get yourself a sushi rolling mat from a 100 yen shop like Daiso, some seaweed wrappers, rice and whatever fillings you want. Experiment as much as your heart desires — the world is your oyster.
Once you’ve mastered that, the next to try is ramen, or even udon! The key to mastering these soupy dishes is the broth! Search up some broth recipes and try a few till you’re satisfied with your Japanese noodle skill!
Others we recommend are takoyaki — you’ll need a takoyaki machine for that — okonomiyaki, and Japanese-style curry.
Stroll in the less populated parks (and areas)
It’s understandable to feel trapped in your own home, especially after being in it for a while. Fresh air is always good, and it’s not wrong to want to go out solely for it. As the weather gets warmer, it’s an ideal time of the year to casually take a stroll in a park nearby or around your neighbourhood.
Don’t feel like this is going against social distancing or self-isolation. Just satisfy your craving for fresh air at areas where it’s less crowded.
Places to avoid are busy central areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya. They’re always jam-packed with people and that’s not ideal during this COVID-19 outbreak. A short stroll down the street to a nearby sitting area or park should suffice for a stretch of legs and breath of fresh air.
Get a bicycle
For some of us, we would still have to go to work or school, or other obligations. Japan trains are extremely known to be packed with people in the morning and in the evening. These rush hours are the worst timings to be in, especially in this COVID-19 outbreak. Avoid such crowds by getting a bicycle and commuting to work with it. For those who live extremely far to their workplace and can’t avoid these packed trains, use bikes whenever possible. For example, instead of taking a bus to go to the grocery store, opt for a bicycle instead.
For those who do not need to go to work at the moment as you’re working from home, the bicycle is an extremely wonderful way to get a bit of fresh air from being cooped up indoors. Cycling around can be refreshing, therapeutic and peaceful. Japan has such a high number of people on bicycles all around the country, so you’ll fit right in!
Bikes also allow you to keep a safe distance from one another, establishing the social distancing practice!
The COVID-19 outbreak has no doubt affected various aspects of our lives, from professional working one to our personal one. It’s disrupting the flow of everything, but despite it all, we are still living and we still have to continue living. Instead of dwelling in the negatives, focusing on the positive aspects of the present is the best way to go! These activities mentioned above will definitely allow you to keep on learning, expanding and enjoying your time in Tokyo, regardless of what’s happening in the world. And of course, all these while still practicing social distancing and taking precautionary measures.
Usually tucked away in a cafe anywhere she goes, Azra Syakirah is a fashion designer and entrepreneur living in Tokyo, Japan. Born and bred in Singapore, her heart belongs to the world. Also a language enthusiast, she virtually scribbles her thoughts on a blog as well as freelances as a writer. She is experimental and versatile with her writing genre and content creation, seeking to put her passion in linguistics and hunger for creativity into practice.