Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, one restriction that every journalist is coming to Japan to cover the Olympics was the 3-day short but challenging quarantine period on arrival.
Members of the media undergo a quarantine paperwork check at Haneda Airport ahead in Tokyo at Olympic Games 2020.
Well, but you could have your way around this so-called quarantine! People who had contacts could apply for an exemption. People who needed to get food for themselves could visit a store. So each of the journalists who wanted to leave could manage.
It’s important to know that Tokyo adheres to the dry rule during the duration of the Olympics. To stop people from going overboard against the set rule, strongly worded emails were sent warning the foreign day drinkers that they were welcoming a reputational damage risk to themselves, their organization, and the Tokyo 2020 Games of Olympics.
The warning stated that they are spotted all over the city doing this. However, in my opinion, this should not have been announced publicly if averting people from engaging in such practices was the goal.Surprisingly the organizers by Wednesday laid off the rule of rigid quarantine altogether and stated that “We deeply apologize for the difficulties you have experienced upon arrival.”I read this email while standing in a line at Haneda Airport. I was being handed over forms that I had no clue about, and people were handling my phone because I could not manage to do what they were expecting me to do on my phone!
At that moment, I was experiencing jet lag, was tired, and the only thing I could think of was reaching the hotel, taking a hot shower, and changing my clothes! But sadly, I was yet standing at the airport standing with a form entirely written in Japanese and people asking me, ‘why have you not filled it yet!’ Well, being at the Tokyo airport is quite mind-boggling and no less than a horror film as it takes you about 6 to 9 hours to get out from there after landing!
We were expected to host different crazy things at the airport like verifying forms, verifying apps, getting new forms, verifying those forms. It even when to a stage when our formalities all got mixed up, then we had to unmix them, then verify more forms, get credentialed, clear customs, get fingerprinted and photographed, and then do the needful at the immigration. During all this time, they even held on to our luggage. You will be surprised to know that many North American airports can’t manage that under the best conditions.
Then as we waited in the lounge for our rapid Covid test results, I had a gentleman next to me who was screaming on his phone with his mask off, and I had completely lost all my faith in the efficacy of the process. On the other hand, a man in the lounge gave face shields to anyone who wanted it! The funny part of the man speaking on the phone without a mask and the man distributing the face shield ignored each other!
Think about it at times; teamwork does not make the dream work. To support this, read this instance, why are foreign visitors not allowed to use the elevators in the hotel they are staying in? The woman I met during check-in was very emphatic on that point. Why should elevators be accessible for locals only?
These kinds of rules don’t make sense. We as foreigners are already present in the hotel, using all its areas, why have this distinction in usage of certain facilities like the elevator? It’s strange!Hey! If you are scared of contagion, then possibly the Olympic fortnight is the best time for you to plan your Harajuku staycation. That’s common sense, and Olympics-wise, we can’t see the usage of common sense anywhere!
The Tokyo Organizing Committee makes us think that they are petrified, and we pretend as if we are not going to sneak out to the bars if they take their eyes off us for a second.This is why the head of Tokyo 2020, Toshiro Muto, does not promise that the Olympics are going ahead irrespective of where the COVID-19 numbers end up. He is not considering cancellation at all.
The reason is that Muto must pretend to consider cancellation because he pretends to be scared while we pretend to take him seriously.Here is another example. I had to hop onto a bus to leave the airport, and this bus was over jammed with the public. However, when it was time to get down the bus, it was told to go one by one and not to touch the luggage as that would be loaded into a cab, and we had to then wait for that too. Does all this make any sense?As we’re waiting for the luggage, a volunteer was talking to us about the fun facts about Tokyo.”A fun fact that he shared was that Tokyo is a paradise for foodies. To this, someone responded that’ but we are not allowed to go to the restaurant! After this also, he continued with the fun facts.
Another exciting thing to know is that the IOC pretends that they are worried about the athletes. On the other hand, the athletes pretend to be concerned about security. In turn, the security pretends to be worried about the “reputational risk to the Tokyo 2020 Games.” This way, it just goes round and round.Well, the only people who do not require to pretend are the local viewers in Tokyo! They enjoy this event from secure locations at the Olympics that are their living rooms. And the best part is that they do not require to fill the innumerable forms to enter!