With no more state of emergency, and most restrictions now deemed unnecessary, Tokyo is slowly but surely retuning to normal. A normal that admittedly involves more masks, and more protective measures in shops and bars, but with each passing day, the city rather miraculously feels more and more like it used to do.
With this in mind then, students are heading back to school, and many workers are once again dealing with long and arduous daily commutes. For some of course it’s a welcome return, as isolation, domestic issues or the simple lack of a fixed schedule mean that home based life isn’t for everyone. At the same time, however, statistics also suggest that for many, remote working or learning was mostly positive— the starkest indicator of which being that in April, suicides were down 20% compared to the same time last year. A reminder, if indeed it were needed, of the sometimes enormous pressures of work and societal expectations. Something Japan does both very well, and very badly.
But for now at least, the old way is seemingly still deemed the best way, so once again it’s back to commuting, and back to clock-watching.