While we’re fully aware that the battle with Covid-19 is not over despite the fact that Prime Minister Abe just lifted Japan’s nationwide state of emergency, we’ve come to a point where looking ahead is the very least we can do to emotionally move on from the pandemic. For the past several months, many of us (we should consider ourselves the lucky ones), got highly skilled at fully functioning in isolation, working online, and entertaining ourselves without stepping too far from our homes. For many of us this became the new normal.
But with this new normal came the realization that there are many things that we miss — and for the most part, those are the simple pleasures in life. Like getting our favorite burger with friends, or simply being able to meet them in person.
Curious to see if our readers felt the same, we reached to you via Facebook with the question “What’s the first thing you really want to do after the pandemic is over?” The responses kept coming in — close to 90, to be precise. Here we count down your top six post-Covid-19 to-dos.
6. Get back in shape
How many times during self-isolation did you find yourself scrolling through friends’ yoga photos on social media while eating a giant cookie? Or going on yet another “quick run” to the fridge? Turns out you’re not alone. Many of you responded that they’d hit the gym first thing after we’re somewhat back to normal and get rid of that #coronaweight for good.
5. Reunite with people
You’ve seen the “I’m never turning an invitation down again” and “I’ll even hug my enemies” memes across the board, but truth is, especially for those who were stuck in tiny apartments alone, one of the things we missed the most is human-to-human interaction.
“Hug my friends.”
Some of you said that you simply couldn’t wait to go home and meet your families or visit relatives. Hugs were common too: “Hug my friends!,” “Hug someone. And say, Hold me tight!” While maintaining social distance will be important down the road, so is maintaining that in-person contact and letting our loved ones know that we missed them.
4. Return to reality
Many of you expressed that the only thing you really want is to go back to where life was before the coronavirus spread globally. Some of you spoke of returning to work and getting the business going: “Open my guesthouses again.” “Go back to my college classes and find work.” Others mentioned that they just want the simple life again: “I would like to be able to do my shopping at my normal shop 110 kms away instead of having to go to the one 200kms away due to a covid spot.” (We’re curious where home is, #tbh) or “Get back to normal without fear.” We wonder when we can leave the house without a mask on, too, though this may take much longer.
3. Eat, Drink And Party
Tired of cooking three meals a day or getting delivery? Been there. Eating out is on people’s minds for sure, as it became evident from your answers. “Pub and restaurant, small ones who need the business,” one of you wisely said, while others were busy planning the return-of-the-era party: “Hold a great big Hanami-St.Patrick’s-Easter-GoldenWeek-MultiBirthday-Party. In an izakaya. With Karaoke.”
Cravings for sushi, burgers and karaoke were also prevalent in your responses. “Eat a big fat juicy hamburger without fear,” another user said, though we weren’t sure whether it’s the fear of getting infected or the fear of those extra calories that bothered them the most. Either way, there are thousands of businesses that need your help, so plan ahead your visits while taking all precautions to stay safe.
2. Go out
Leaving the house for other purposes than grocery shopping was the second most popular on the list. “Go do some light shopping for my sweetheart in Ginza, get an early cocktail from my hidden places, walk around Marunouchi and see the swans, loop back to meet the family for beers at Baden-Baden.” “Spend the whole day at a museum chatting about art with random strangers.” Go to an anime convention, and then maybe go to places I have never been to before.” The list was long. Many of you were still cautious in your choice of less populated places, with some of you saying that you’d like to go to the beach, camping or hiking, while others just wanted to go back straight to the jungle: “Get on a crowded train and get pushed up against the window. Miss that s*it.”
It’s funny how our brain works — we often want what we can’t get. Or what we’ve been specifically told not to do. With borders shutting down amid the pandemic, one of the best things in life we’ve been deprived of is the freedom to explore places. To move around cities and countries and get inspired by changing our comfort zones. It didn’t surprise us that traveling was the most common reply we received — it’s the same for us, too. We just can’t wait to leave town and go somewhere far away from where we are. For many of you, this place is Japan. Some said they want to visit Tokyo. Others had Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagasaki or the beautiful beaches of Okinawa in mind. While Japan is yet to fully lift its restrictions on traveling, this will come eventually — and when it does, know that Japan (and we) will be waiting for you with countless opportunities to explore and get adventurous.
A special bonus …
Last but not least, there is also the element of taking time for oneself to collect your thoughts and get back on track. As simple as one of you put it, the next best thing to do could be to “Spend some time by myself.” Whether this is a physical or mental self-care, go for it. If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us is that life is nothing but predictable. Living for the moment is what many of us tend to put aside, but maybe it’s time to prioritize it for a change.
What is the first thing you want to do once the pandemic is over? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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