Letters from Asia COVID and more 2020/2021

I had been writing more expansively but abandoned the work soon after we got back from England. These letters were sent to the mailing lists that had been getting letters I/we have been writing ever since our first sojourn in Japan in 2001.

March 23, 2020. Japan’s Coronavirus is not yet a killer —Choices now and ahead that affect the rest of us. Early days. We were just beginning to grasp the situation.

March 24, 2020. More on Japanese cleanliness — some details about tradition not virus driven.

April 5, 2020. Letters from Asia 2020 and elsewhere. The first of the letters about South Korea as well.

April 6, 2020. And a letter from England too. A short note from a friend about the dying and death of her father.

April 14, 2020. Numbers. Descriptive statistics that helped me understand patterns of illness in a comparative sense.

April 30, 2020. South Korea did it — the special features of their seeming success in restraining the virus.

May 7, 2020. More Korea’s different, Japan’s different, the numbers are different and I am different as well. Pictures more than words for once

May 26, 2020. This one was about China and the subjugation of Hong Kong setting COVID aside completely.

I also wrote a couple of letters to friends and colleagues in Japan asking for their perspectives on the situation in Japan and reporting for them a little about what I was seeing here. April 2, 2020 and April 14, 2020.

A new letter completed August 5, 2020. One day before the Hiroshima Remembrance Day which will be so important in Japan and largely ignored most places in the world. That letter results from several months of careful work on culture and difference in COVID 19.

There were two more letters, both written in 2021. The first went out roughly a year after the main 2020 series. The second went out in the fall. By then we were getting used to the notion that COVID and its variations was no short term crisis. As I write now, December 2021, we are into our fourth big surge under pressure from the Omicron variant. Japan is still different. Other countries are also following their distinctive paths.

April 2021 Japanese people were facing a summer under pressure from the Olympics and thousands of visiting athletes. There was fun to write about as well, because in 2020 I initiated a transpacific cooking “class” and community which grew and prospered. The letter takes up both.

October 2021 More about the Olympics, more about Japan and more about food plus a bit of a survey of where other places in NE Asia were in dealing with COVID etc.