Japan Trip Cancelled


Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation by World Health Organization *As of March 9, 2020


Daniel Penso

The first two words in the title of this article might be fun but the last one is certainly not. Cancelling any trip is not appealing. You just want to blow up the whole world. Obviously, you can’t do that for moral and legal reasons.

I planned a trip this March to Tokyo to meet friends and take care of some private business. There is some business I would prefer doing in Japan over America, my birth country. I have lived in Japan for 10 years and have been involved in personal and business relationships with Japanese people since my teens, a period spanning more than 25 years, and have fostered a trust in Japanese people consequently.

As everyone knows by now, the corona virus is affecting the whole world, especially Asia in China, South Korea and, to an extent, Japan. I was prepared to fly over to Japan given the high safety and sanitary conditions of that country and go about my planned business. Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, a report came in from the airline I was planning to take that flights were being suspended. The flights were mainly on Japan-China, Japan-South Korea and Japan-India routes but if the flights to the new world were going to be added to that list, it would be troublesome for me in all sorts of ways.

As such, I made the wrenching decision of cancelling my flight to Tokyo and postponing my Japan visit. It’s devastating for me since much of what I love in life is across the Pacific in Japan.

I currently reside in Los Angeles and news about the virus has affected the lives of many people, including the school where my big daughter goes to. Alcohol hand gel has sold out in many stores and there are long lines in many places to stock up on supplies. Nonetheless, I just went to a nearby park on Friday and there were around 40-50 children playing. It seemed normal.

A recent issue of National Enquirer had on its headlines a claim of “100 million being infected and 7 million people dying” of the coronavirus in the U.S.. That would certainly be a worrisome scenario but hopefully will not happen. Let’s hope it is all hyperbole!



Daniel Penso

Lived in Tokyo from 1999 – 2009 and calls it his second home. Currently he resides in Oregon and is a Japanese-English translator. He enjoys traveling, learning languages and cuisine. When visiting Japan, he enjoys watching rakugo shows.
*J-E/E-J Translation: www.proz.com/profile/1644484
*His columns: www.myeyestokyo.com/tag/daniel-penso/