Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD Throwback from May 29. 2020

The Epidemic of Fear by Alma Reyes

At the time of this writing the understudied COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to sweep the entire world, subjecting many nations to lockdowns as a hypothetical measure to contain the virus. Closing boundaries to foreigners has felt like a universe divided. For Japanese, the nationwide atmosphere appeared like a mirror of the March 11, 2011 Tsunami and Tohoku earthquake disaster. The new phenomenon of social distancing has kept intimacy frozen and interrelations far apart. Citizens have been waiting at a standstill at home, teleworking, parenting, broadcasting changes in their lifestyles on social media, which has been the only available medium of communication, while watching infections and death statistics escalate. As frontliner (as they are called) health workers sacrifice their lives to save thousands, and world leaders combat economic and social challenges, the pandemic leaves plenty of room to dissect human behaviorfs response to a global crisis.

In the beginning, the fear that filled our nightmares was simply the naked fear of becoming a possible carrier of the virus; hence, the fear of death. As proven, man seems ever willing to do anything to uncross that fate. Gradually, this fear has begun to discolor and mutate into other spectra. We have been haunted by the fear of losing our jobs, fear of our businesses ruining, fear of not being able to protect our parents or grandparents in isolation, fear of not reconnecting with our families quarantined in other regions or countries, fear of not being to explain to our young children what the pandemic could mean for their future, fear of losing trust in our leaders and neighbors, fear of sacrificing our comfort for others, and the mere fear of helplessness and incapacity to comprehend what has befallen us.

Then, there is the invisible fear for the dying morals of our humanity. Amidst the excruciating horror of listening to doctors agonize over choosing patients that live and die, and the sick and destitute who starve, steal, and cry for their loved ones to hold their hands at the ultimate breath, how do we fight politics that exploits the epidemic to enhance their wealth and power? How do we defy lies and cover-ups in the name of the only existence that we know as Truth? How do we swallow the filth of self-proclaimed superior races that spit at other cultures out of discrimination? The fear of death may be fatalistic but while you trod along that path and feel human virtues collapse, that fear of losing life may ironically no longer be threatening. Have we faced the tormenting crisis with conscientious actions?

Alas, one of the unexplained fears is the fear of not knowing what to expect after the virus dissipates. Will cities, governments, families, and individuals be able to return to the way they were? Or will we be better, live better? Will our view of the world, the future and our needs reflect something differently? Would we all be able to redeem ourselves from what may have been our unforeseen mistakes in our neglect of nature, our environment, protection of economies, and human values? Where had we gone wrong? How do we rectify our failures? The sorrow of losing loved ones is the greatest sacrifice to reassess our minds on how we could instill more value into this life that now we realize is as fragile and fleeting as stories that escape us without warning. In the end the only thing we choose to preserve is our life of memories. Thus, how we cultivate this in heart, mind and body dictates the contours of our economy and welfare, our principles, relationships, behavior, and our honest and responsible choices.



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Strange but True


Magical Mask!

A Harry Potter fan has created a face covering which magically changes as you wear it - and the good news is they'll be on sale soon. Artist Stefanie Hook uploaded a video to TikTok as she put on what appeared to be a plain black mask, which have become a common sight during the coronavirus crisis. But after just a few seconds, the material begins to heat up and changes to reveal the Marauder's Map - and the magical effect looks like one straight from the movies. The clip racked up 2.2 million views, with plenty of people desperate to get their hands on one of their own. The design change is activated when the masks reach about 27C, triggered by the heat of the wearer's breath. Her website says a limited supply of Marauder's Map masks will go on sale online on May 29.

Up for SalecAnyone?

A brothel which has been left untouched since it was abandoned in the 90s has been put on the market with many of its original features still in place. The former location of Janie's Ranch sits close to Montgomery Pass in Nevada. Standing alone in the 'middle of nowhere' out in the desert, eerie images inside the abandoned brothel capture a glimpse into the lives of those who worked there and those who visited. Many of the walls and floors have caved in after being left to rot. The ranch, which is now on sale for ’146,000, is believed to have shut its doors in the 1990s and used to advertise its services in towns around towns on the border of California. Sitting on six acres of green countryside, the manor has similarly been left to fall into a state of disrepair, but anyone willing to take it on will benefit from sprawling land, original fittings and a setting that wouldn't look out of place on Downton Abbey.



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