Tokyo 2020 is still Tokyo 2020 but not in 2020

Quite expectedly, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed. Exactly one year. I didn’t immediately post to this blog because I didn’t break the story so I didn’t think it would really increase my numbers.

Actually I would have posted, but work stuff was crazy for me around the same time and after a full day of sitting in the home office talking into my monitor, I really didn’t feel like rotating my chair 90 degrees from the work computer to my home computer and write more depressing news.

In all honesty, delaying a year does not change our ability or enthusiasm to go, and for that I am grateful. I do feel for the athletes who have been making so many sacrifices to prepare for THIS YEAR and now they have to re-think everything. There was an article in the New York Times about the impact. Steele Johnson, who I’ve highlighted before, was featured in the article.

Steele Johnson, a diver who won a silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Games, woke up Tuesday morning to texts from friends saying they were so sorry that the Summer Olympics had been postponed. They knew how hard it had been for Johnson, 23, and his wife Hilary, to make ends meet as he pursued a gold medal in Tokyo.

When he read the news, Johnson said, he felt it in the pit of his stomach.

“We’ve had a very, very tough year financially,” he said. “I don’t know if I could keep up a lifestyle like this for another 12 to 15 months of just diving without getting a full-time job. It’s hard to think about making more sacrifices than we already have.”

On a lighter note, the Olympics is still being called Tokyo 2020, so I don’t have to change the name of this blog! 

Social Distancing

Well, COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19. This pandemic certainly is the news. Sport is basically on hold in the US, and should be around the world. Qualifying for Tokyo 2020 has basically stopped. I seriously doubt if there will even BE a Tokyo 2020.

The pace of this blog will slow until I can build the enthusiasm to start researching and preparing for something that I’ve been anticipating since it was announced and now likely won’t happen in 2020 and may never happen.

The health of people around the world is more important, but I’ll allow myself to be disappointed with the impact this is having to things we enjoy.

Stay safe everyone, and let’s see what the future holds.


Oh well, my Google analytics show that this blog hasn’t even had a single hit in two weeks.

COVID-19 versus sport

COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan Coronavirus, the Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, or whatever you want to call it may be the biggest gold medal winner at the 2020 games.


As we edge towards a declaration of a pandemic, lots of things are being disrupted. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just raised the alert level in Japan to Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions.

Alert – Level 2, Sustained Community Transmission—Special Precautions for High-Risk Travelers

Key Points

  • Japan is experiencing sustained community transmission of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by the novel coronavirus.
  • The virus can spread from person to person.
  • Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol.

What is the current situation?

A new coronavirus that recently emerged in China has been detected in a number of other locations around the world. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Japan. Sustained community spread means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing.

Illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sore throat and diarrhea have also been reported in some patients. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.

What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?

Because older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe disease, people in these groups should discuss travel with a healthcare provider and consider postponing nonessential travel.

If you travel to Japan, take the following steps:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
    • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

If you spent time in Japan during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel an area with community spread of coronavirus, and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Clinician Information

Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever or acute respiratory symptoms. For patients with these symptoms who were in Japan and had onset of illness within 2 weeks of leaving, consider novel coronavirus infection and notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately.

For additional healthcare infection control recommendations, visit CDC’s Infection Control webpage.

For additional information, please see:

This map from Johns Hopkins is a bit disturbing, and the World Health Organization (WHO) provides a similar view.

The threat of COVID-19 has already disrupted the Tokyo Marathon, causing the cancellation for all but elite runners. I’ve been to the Tokyo Marathon before by chance as it started at my hotel. Indeed it is a very dense cluster of people.

Strangely, from that time, I don’t have any pictures from the start. I take pictures of everything yet I don’t have that. I do have a picture from the runners coming through Ginza. Even at that point the course is still crowded and there are crowds on the sidelines. These were not the elite runners.

Tokyo Marathon heading towards the finish late in the day

In other impacts, the recent FINA Grand Prix Diving event in Madrid did not have the Chinese divers as their travel was impacted.

It has also been reported that some training associated with Olympic volunteers has been postponed due to COVID-19.

However, in the same article they are quick to stress that Tokyo 2020 will go on.

Organizers have been at pains to stress there is no question of canceling or postponing Tokyo 2020 despite mounting fears over the potentially deadly virus spreading fast around the globe.

The International Olympic Committee has also said there is no need for a contingency plan to postpone, cancel or move Tokyo 2020, despite new cases of the deadly virus emerging daily in Japan.

“I can confirm Tokyo 2020 remains on track,” top IOC official John Coates said last week in Tokyo.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Yoshiro Mori has criticized “irresponsible rumors” about the Games.

One time I flew from the US to Japan when there was a Swine Flu outbreak in the US (in 2009). The local government where I lived tracked me down and called me every day for a week to ask about my condition. They take infectious disease seriously. It will be interesting though to see how they handle the Olympics if COVID-19 is the international pandemic it is likely to become.

Too cute for diseaseI arrived back to Japan on Tuesday, just as the hub-bub over the swine flu was begin to intensify. As a matter of fact, Sunday night in the US I emailed my boss warning that the frenzy over the flu could impact my travel plans. I think he thought I was crazy. However, I kept checking the interwebs and the  JAL home page  to see if my travel would be impacted. At that time, the JAL web page just said that they were in contact with the appropriate authorities. I talked to Tomo and he said that planes were going to be delayed at Narita while health officials came onboard and screened the passengers. …

I arrived to Narita and, as predicted, we were delayed at the gate for medical officials to board and screen the passengers. It was very movie-like as people in yellow gowns, fancy masks, laboratory goggles, and rubber gloves came on board. We were given paperwork to fill out, and they walked through the plane pointing their thermal imager at people in search of fever. I guess it is fair, the flu has everyone concerned. It did seem over the top though, but totally expected in Japan. Things are not done halfway here.

As I was walking through Narita just after disembarking, I passed a photographer and a news crew. Fortunately no one decided to interview me. I made it the rest of the way home without trouble.

I live in Marunouchi, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi. Aichi-ken, Japan. That’s neighborhood, ward, city, prefecture, country. A very systematic way of classifying locations. If there are any crazy blogger stalkers out there, I guess I’ve increased my chance for detection through my “open kimono” description of my address. (As a side, is “open kimono” used commonly? It seems to be a popular phrase these days for full disclosure.)

Yesterday, at work, I got a phone call from a local number. It was the Naka-ku health office. Yes, I was getting a telephone call from the local health officials. I gave the phone to one of the translators (thus, infecting her too) to get a better idea of the purpose of the call. Initially, the officer starting asking about my health. The translator told me that I was going to get a call every day between 9:30 am and 10:00 am to check on my health. Do I have a fever? Runny nose? Headache? EVERY DAY UNTIL May 8. She was very adamant that I memorize the Japanese for these symptoms (which, in general, I already knew but just needed a reminder).

Run for your life!

Interestingly, at work on Thursday, just before the Golden Week holiday, we got the news that anyone coming from the States has to wait two days after arriving in Japan before coming in to work at our site AND is expected to take their temperature on a daily basis for 10 days and refrain from coming to work if their temperature is greater than 38 deg C. I bought a thermometer on Thursday night but didn’t try to use it until this . I am happy to report that I am a very respectable 36.8 deg C.

Today during my morning phone call, I asked the official if they were only calling foreigners. I couldn’t quite tell but that seemed to be the case. I guess Japanese are responsible enough not to be called? Or maybe I misunderstood.

This is not the news I was expecting to have as a part of my blog, but it is where we are at right now.

Purdue athlete Annie Drews, with a Japan twist

I just highlighted volleyball for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. One of the Purdue athletes being highlighted by the university is Annie Drews. She is a member of Team USA in volleyball, a Mishawaka Penn graduate (not to be confused with Adam Driver’s Mishawaka High School), and a Purdue graduate.

Life in Japan for the Olympics won’t be hard for her as she was the Japan V-League championship game MVP playing for the JT Marvelous team. おめでとうございます!

I had never heard of JT Marvelous … but it sure sounds Japanese. It seems JT Marvelous is in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan and the JT stand for Japan Tobacco Ltd. Why not light up after a match? Go JT Marvelous.

Nishinomiya is the home of the  Koshien Stadium (use this link for the official website of the stadium), used by the Hanshin Tigers and also the home of the two annual high school baseball tournaments. When I lived in Japan I would watch the high school tournament on TV when I could, and would always get teary-eyed at the end of a game watching all these kids who gave it their all trying so hard not to cry but more often than not sobbing heavily.

I dare you to watch this video and not get tears in your eyes.

I guess I’ve been through Nishinomiya as it is between Kobe and Osaka, but I didn’t pay attention.

Sorry Annie Drews for making a post about you turn into a walk down memory lane in Japan. But that’s why I’m blogging, making these discoveries and sharing them.

Meeting last week’s ticket challenge

Getting a low number in the queue is always the challenge when tickets first go on sale. Since tickets are limited the most desired tickets go early. Without getting too specific, we had multiple computers with multiple browsers up and running, as well as phones and tablets. Our lowest queue position was 250 and our highest was around 8000.

We were able to get tickets to the Women’s Soccer Finals. The closing ceremonies were finally available, but at a price above $2000 per ticket, we decided to pass. We do have a budget after all. Although we were interested in judo, the prices were also very high, so we decided to pass on that too. Today was successful though, as we purchased one of the few remaining events were targeting.

Note: This is a modified re-post because a strange blog setting caused my blog to roll back several edits. 

And now the reason for the blog

When Tokyo was announced as the host city of the 2020 Summer Olympics on September 7, 2013, Tomo and I decided that we would go to the Olympics. We’ve held that promise to ourselves, and we are going. Airplane tickets are purchased, event tickets have been lined up, and somehow we’ll figure out where we can stay. We have a backup plan, so that’s good.

I want to document the experience, and considering my previous post about social media, I don’t really think Facebook is the way to do it. I have a specific Instagram account just for the Olympics, but I want the narrative. Like my previous blog, I can imagine that this blog will help me collect the memories and then help me recollect them later. That’s the plan. You can join us as well.

The modern blog challenge

My first blog, which was seriously damaged in an uncoordinated software upgrade, chronicled my life in Japan from 2008 to the end of 2011. I loved creating it and continuing to add content.  Yes, I did feel the pressure for content, and there were months where I was ashamed that I didn’t produce much (May 2011, why was there only one post the whole month?). The last sentence in my last entry says, “So sit tight, more to come.” More never came.

I still love the look of that blog, and I still refer to many of the things I documented. It has become my journal for that time in Japan. If only I could make it available again on the web (I will, some day, and it will be linked – sit tight, more to come). As platforms have changed though, a blog optimized for someone reading at their desktop or laptop doesn’t really work for the person reading on their iPad, or especially their phone. It seems blog design and maintenance has become that much more complicated and the design is compromised to accommodate multiple platforms. My old design doesn’t scale to a phone, unless you want to read everything like it is a desktop on your phone.

This design has a lot of white space. It is clean, for sure, maybe a little too clean. It is a compromise, but in the end it is all about the content, right?

Welcome to 2005

Blogs were really cool, in 2005. Then iPhones were released, social media rolled out, and everything changed. It didn’t change right away, but the change started. Facebook debuted more broadly in 2006, Twitter joined the fray in 2006 as well, and Instagram came along in 2010. Everything became an App. Now you had a computer in your hand and you didn’t know it and you could check something “real quick” and then get back to whatever you were doing. And blogging sort of withered. Why write to an audience who doesn’t react when you can show your highly curated life to friends and acquaintances (the people you want to show off to anyway) via social media? The interfaces for social media were easy. Just type, add a picture, and hit “POST.” Done.

Unfortunately, blogs take work. They take designing your theme, or going through any number of existing themes to determine the look and feel of your post. Attempts have been made to make blog management easier through various tools, but then that just constrains the look and feel. It has taken me hours of configuration to get to this level, and it isn’t that special. Blogs can be long form too, how much do people want to read about something that might be really interesting to you but kind of meh for them? And those food bloggers – do I really want to see and have each course explained to me? Scroll, scroll, scroll. Content matters.

Then the run up to the 2016 election happened. Social media became a minefield. People you were friends with shocked you with their opinions. Hate spewed everywhere. We learned just how much influence social media had on the election. People were unfriended, bubbles grew, and all the while I kept feeding the machine. I still feed the machine – don’t forget to click on my social media links below or in my title bar!

Suddenly, blogging seems pretty cool again. I can focus on my interests. People aren’t forced to read something on their timeline. I can do things together that I really enjoy – design, writing, and photography.

So here I am, starting up blogging again. I hope you will enjoy it. And don’t forget to click on my link in Facebook to my blog site!