Spring to Summer to Autumn 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the world to ‘pause’, often referred to as the Great Pause for more dramatic effect. This isn’t a blog about the Covid pandemic though, but rather a blog to excuse me for such an absence in sharing the experiences of life in Japan over the past six months.

Firstly, due to the aforementioned pause, we have not had as much to share! Life is much simpler at the moment, with days out being planned around a walk and visit to a coffee shop to get a take out decaf. While life in Tokyo is slowing returning to normal, the Covid outbreaks have not reduced and so to maintain our health, we are still trying to physically isolate and take care of ourselves. This means spending most of our time at home…

Secondly, there have been some shocks and life has not been easy for me and my family. And that’s something of an understatement. I have experienced more than one loss, including the loss of loved ones, and I haven’t felt much like writing anything. In fact, some days it has been difficult to even get out of bed, let alone trying to raise the energy to do anything other than what is essential. Part of what has been essential was the Spring term of my university MA. I was taking five courses, which were all reasonably demanding. I was offered a leave of absence but in many ways, the distraction studying gave me helped at times. Still, trying to engage with difficult topics, all online due to the Covid pandemic, while living through some of the worst times of my life, was not easy. Yet, somehow I did it, and now we have reached September…

September means I am a second-year MA student focusing on data collection and writing my thesis. I thought I would be more prepared when the second-year approached, but Covid threw a spanner in those works! Instead of currently being in South Korea collecting data for my thesis and then moving to Germany at the end of this month until Christmas, I am writing this from a desk in Japan. While I enjoy being in Japan, it is a huge restriction for my study to still be here! Nevertheless, I am collecting data and have made adjustments to my research. Not least, I hope to show how a fully immersive field-work study can be moved online if you have the support of great organisations who can still support with the data collection. It is not easy, but I never thought collecting data from the field would be!

The past six months have been a period of great distress, but also a period of reflection. I have struggled at times to maintain focus, but through it all, I have still managed to. That is something I will always hold on to as I continue with my MA’s second-year…

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