Toyonaka, Osaka ー After a four-month hiatus, it’s finally time to dust off my blog and give a recap of life during the pandemic. As I write this, the air conditioner is working tirelessly to fight off the 38 degree weather and the humidity that never seems to go away. The poor cicadas haven’t stopped crying out since rainy season ended, but who can blame them? Summer is here.
To kick things off with a bit of good news, ZoomU has officially ended (at least for summer break), and I will no longer be spending my days staring blankly at a computer screen. Classes were held virtually from April, the beginning of the Japanese school year, and the university is currently devising a plan for the upcoming semester set to start in October.
Unfortunately, the second wave of the virus hasn’t been as calm as the first. The number of confirmed cases has grown in both urban and rural areas, having a heavy toll on hospitals and the medical community. The small town I lived in during high school experienced a wave of clusters over the past few weeks which has put the whole area on high alert.
Due to the pandemic and my heavy course load, I’ve spent the past four months secluded in my apartment. Now that classes are over and I have more freedom, I decided to explore my neighbourhood. It’s regrettable living somewhere for so long without appreciating what’s right next door.
First stop: Hattori Ryokuchi Park.
This 126-hector park is only a few minutes away from my apartment by foot – it takes longer to walk through the park than it does to get there. While I sometimes run through the park in the evening, it’s completely different during the day.
The park has a little bit of everything with tennis courts, bamboo gardens, ponds, playgrounds, flower gardens, a concert hall, a flower road, a horseback riding track, and a water park. It’s the perfect place for a socially distant outing during these crazy times.
The highlight was the open-air museum showcasing old farmhouses from around Japan. Traditional Japanese architecture never ceases to amaze me. Each house was built specifically to meet the local climate and is crafted with intricate detail.
While 2020 has been full of excitement, for better or worse, the past four months in Osaka haven’t been too eventful. I planned to spend the summer in Tokyo for an internship, but the pandemic put an end to that. Instead, I’ll be taking a few more online classes from Johns Hopkins University as I explore new options for future research.
For now, I’ll enjoy a few days off before getting back to work. If anything worthwhile happens, I’ll be sure to write another blog post.
Thanks for reading and stay safe!