The last 24 hours have proven somewhat exciting – or at least newsworthy – for our family and all the others who live in our prefecture. Here are 3 photo “shots” to help describe what has been evolving as we experience influenza hitting Japan:
1. Since Saturday night, 135 cases of the N1H1 – previously known as swine flu– have hit Japan- Osaka and Hyogo prefecture (where we live). These new cases are not from people who had traveled overseas; and mostly have occurred to high school-aged children. Japan tends to react in a BIG way to health-related concerns, and this situation has been no different. Here is the look on our kids’ faces when they woke up this morning and found out that their school (and all others in our prefecture) have been cancelled for a WEEK!
Here are two kids pretty excited… But they didn’t realize that it is really is like a quarantine — all parents have been instructed not to let their children leave the house this week. No parks; no playing with friends; no going to the store. Quarantine. I don’t think we’ve ever experienced this before! Our phone and cell phone have been busy with calls about all the extra- curriculum activities being canceled as well. Most of our english classes are being cancelled (After talking with several moms tonight who are going a bit crazy with their kids home all day, Eric is going to go to a few kids’ homes on Wednesday and give private English lessons!). We really are home-bound while we wait out this week and see if the flu continues to spread or is able to be contained.
2. I went to a large home center today for some necessities — pull-ups for Olivia, toothbrushes for the kids, and white face masks. Eighty-percent of people walking on the streets in nearby Kobe are reportedly wearing them; we are asked to do so as well whenever we leave the house. Here is what I found on the shelves for the masks:
They’re all sold out. Of course. Some face mask company is making a bundle somewhere.
3. Japan is amazing in its ability to organize and get people to do things! This is our favorite “flu shot”:
It is Owen’s teacher when she came to visit our home today. She was wearing the obligatory mask, of course, and she brought a week’s worth of homework for Owen to do! She had probably been up half the night pulling together all the homework, making and collating 31 copies, and today she made the rounds to all 31 homes to check on everyone’s health and deliver the work in person. Is that not impressive? I asked if she will be able to rest the next few days of quarantine and she said, “Of course not! We have to go to school. It’s our job.” We were also given information about not leaving the house, etc., as well as the phone number we should call if anyone in the family begins to exhibit flu-like symptoms. So far, so good.
It may be a long week. Tonight we made s’mores in the toaster oven. I’m trying to think of a few fun projects we can do together tomorrow. Feel free to send me your favorite indoor ideas… (I’m still working on a blog entry of our camping experience – coming soon!).