Olympic Games Diary
Nightlife disappears on the streets of the world’s most populous mega-city when the time comes when a state of emergency forces all businesses to close.
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There is not a single garbage can in five kilometres. And yet Minato’s roads are ancient. This neighborhood of Tokyo is not small. Its density is over 8,000 persons per square kilometer. But there are no cigarette butts on the ground. Neither paper nor plastic. Not being there, people are not either.
“It’s because of a state of emergency. After 8:00 p.m. almost everything shuts down and people stay at home. There’s no incentive to go out,” he says. sayaka, a young girl waiting for the light to turn green to cross to the other side of an avenue with several intersections. Not a single car passes. Do you see the crossing lights of a vehicle when you look from afar? But Sayaka doesn’t think of crossing in red.
“We wait in Japan, we’re not in a hurry,” he replies in full English. A minute later, the traffic light is still red. She continues on without a hitch, while her interlocutor’s impatience is rekindled, remembering how well Spanish pedestrians are taught the art of skipping traffic lights.
Sayaka resumed conversations about why there are no people on the street on Saturday night in the world’s most populous city.
“It hurts me to see my city so sad. But the coronavirus is hurting us a lot. More mental than physical. You know, Those of us who live in Tokyo don’t want the Olympic Games to happen. Politicians have forced them on us after a logical adjournment. We can’t enjoy them and above all doctors say that infection can start if foreigners don’t respect visiting rules.
The traffic light changes color twice as Sayaka continues her speech.
“Japan’s policy against the virus is largely based on relying on citizens’ social responsibility not to order stricter confinement during the pandemic. That’s why the police won’t go after foreigners, whether they’re athletes, Olympic Games workers Or journalists who bypass movement restrictions and don’t respect anti-Covid rules.”
At the end of the conversation, Sayaka tells that she works as a nurse in a government hospital. Now your concern is well understood. There have been more than 1,000 infections in Tokyo for six consecutive days. These figures have not been given since last January.
The sky is clear. It is full moon and the wind is blowing. Good conditions to continue the long night walk to the hotel. Although you can reach there before taxi. Eventually, it is paid for by the Organization of the Olympic Games, which has distributed 140,000 yen (1,075 euros) in taxi vouchers to each accredited journalist to travel to the farthest Olympic venues. Then everyone uses them the way they want.
The organization has also arranged for many buses to go from hotels to the headquarters or to the press center. It’s slow, some drivers get lost in the routes because they don’t know the redesign of the places map because of the pandemic, but it’s usually well organized.
Also, the youth who volunteered in the commuting operation are always smiling. And they greet with a small bow.