The Call to Come Home

Trudeau’s call for citizens abroad to return to Canada probably makes sense for people who are on short-term business trips or vacations.  Though it’s more complicated than usual, that’s easier if you are among the snow birds driving back from the States.

News stories cite some of the horrendous difficulties people who must fly now face as they attempt to comply. Worse, if they do get seriously sick abroad, those who didn’t realize it before departure, do now: Travel Insurance does not cover plagues or pandemics.

In my situation I am committed to a lease contract. Plus, the opportunity to give notice (the day after I arrived) has passed. I would be required to pay the rent as well as increased costs of changing my flight. My gut tells me I’m better off taking my chances.

In my last blog post I address some of the unknowns briefly. But the bottom line is that I have almost six weeks remaining on the lease and much could change in that time. Should it be necessary, I can also extend my lease as my tourist visa is valid for up to 90 days and I’ve committed to 58.

Returning during present uncertainties when I am quite comfortable also feels a little like hoarding toilet paper when I have a Toto to warm the seat as well as wash and dry my butt. Not logical. If I did return, I’d face mandatory self-isolation the moment I hit Canadian soil.

Self-isolation is something which would be required in Tokyo as well, but right now it’s recommended only if people begin to feel unwell. In addition–and it’s a gamble, no question about that–in six weeks the need for self-isolation may have passed. Or not.

Altering plans now would not only be costly and hugely stressful, but my intuition also tells me to stay the course. Many, many times in my life I have won the day by waiting (with as much serenity and grace as I can muster) for painfully difficult circumstances to change. Eventually they do.

With nothing to do between one or two classes a week and all venues that might pique my interest closed, on Monday I took a train to Nezu-jinja which is renowned for its bright red torii gates and azaleas.

Citing a wonderful absence of crowds, various video bloggers I follow highly recommended it as infinitely superior to Kyoto’s Fushimi-Inari.

Not. Perhaps Nezu-jinja would have been different with the azaleas; however, I found it peaceful but underwhelming. Different strokes for different folks.

Though I posted the story some years later, I visited Kyoto’s Fushimi-Inari shrine in 2007, long before the Internet and Instagram era or the resulting hordes after Japan’s relentless push to bolster the economy through tourism. I arrived at 8:30 AM and with the mountain to myself I enjoyed a profound experience you can check out here.

Though I normally don’t bother because I already know my Great Good Fortune, at Nezu-jinja I paid 100 yen only to have it confirmed. That is exactly what I drew from the bin: Great Good Fortune:

Like a dragon mounting powerfully to the heavens, all your wishes will be granted as long as you maintain your steadfastness…

Included was advice to serve others, revere the Divine and walk in righteousness. I can do that, but for the time being I’ll be doing that at home. In Tokyo.


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