Hello from Day 1 of my 14-day self-isolation in Tokyo. Since travel to Japan is still fairly strict, I thought it would be interesting to share the journey process thus far.
Firstly, at the moment you can only travel to Japan if you have a work visa or Japanese passport. I booked this trip very early knowing that anything can happen, and both my outgoing and return flights got cancelled and moved to different days, unsurprisingly. In any case with the current uncertainties I felt it’s important to be ready to fly a few days either side, and get a direct flight.
Once landed in Japan, everyone needs to do a rapid covid test. This part was super organised so as soon as you get off the plane, we go through a route where we hand in our details, get given a number, pick up our test kit, go to our booth, queue again to hand in, and go to a huge waiting room where we stare at a board for our number to appear. By this point the jet lag was mega and I really thought I was in Argos – it’s actually very similar, except the wait is more like 90 minutes and you don’t pick up a physical item at the end but a certificate of health.
During the flight we were all given a (very long and detailed) questionnaire form to enter details like how you will travel not using public transport (it’s possible to book certified hire cars specifically for travelling from the airport to your place of isolation), where you will be self-isolating for 14 days (and yes, even if you test negative you are still required to self-isolate for 14 days), and contact details.
One final thing worth mentioning is that a mask is required for the whole flight and in airports, so bring a few masks that are super comfortable. The flight itself is 12 hours and with the travel and airport time in London and Tokyo, it was more like 20 hours of wearing a mask. I was very glad of this rule as the plane was actually very full, with someone in front and behind me, and on my right across the aisle. I practiced in the run-up by wearing a mask for longer periods, and as long as the fit is good this was absolutely fine.
So here we go, day 1! I’ve come prepared with plenty of things to keep me occupied, and will continue to work over zoom in the UK. In fact at one point I need to stay awake until 2am so wish me luck and bottomless coffee!