As of October 11, 2022, Japan is finally, finally allowing individual tourists back into the country, and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.
There was a period of time in 2020 where, due to the pandemic, Japan took one look at the world and went, “Nah,” and closed the borders. You could leave, if you wanted, but you could not come back. Foreigners, regardless of residency status, were out of luck if they happened to be out of country for any reason then. Yes, including permanent residents. I heard horror stories of people forced to wait months upon months to be allowed to come back in. Even if they were married to a Japanese citizen.
At one point, things opened up a little. We could travel in and out, yes, but flights were limited. And upon return, you had to quarantine for two weeks in a hotel. This was not unique to Japan, but it was something that gave a lot of us pause, even in terms of visiting loved ones abroad.
Things progressed. The quarantine time in a hotel lessened. Then, you could bypass it if you were from certain countries who qualified, but only if you had so many vaccinations.
Now, we’re waiting to see how the new policy shakes out. In theory, if you’re from certain countries and either 1) have proof of 3 vaccinations OR 2) proof of a negative test within a time window, you should be good.
As I said, I’m relieved. The country being open means that people can come to me, if they need to. That I don’t have to scour government websites to make sure I have an updated form stamped in such a way, lest I be denied entry on a flight back to Japan.
Yet at the same time, it’s hard to stop holding my breath.
Life has been on pause for a very long time. And it certainly isn’t at full play speed yet, with people still getting sick, with the number of flights limited, with people around the world so, so angry at what’s been going on and what is to come.
Maybe it’s starting to creep forward, just a little at a time, again.
I haven’t been to my home country since 2018.
I’m planning on going this winter.
I’ll let you know how the whole thing plays out from a resident’s POV.
In the meantime, I’m going to go stick my nose in a textbook. The JLPT is in a couple of months, and I am not ready.
How have you all been holding up? How do you feel about this news? What other news has caught your attention?
Be safe out there.