Thursday evening. I was just starting to relax at home after a full day of teaching when a message came in from a supervisor. Apparently Prime Minister Abe had made an announcement that schools should be closed.
I work at a private school, which means we are technically exempt from following such an order. But the decision was made that Friday would be our last day. Maybe.
So, Friday started earlier than normal. The sudden ending, possible, of school meant shuffled schedules, and so instead of teaching periods 3-6, it would need to be 1-4. But then we would be free.
We came in and taught classes with the idea that they might need to serve as last for the semester.
And then two of us went to lunch. We talked about what would happen next, and other general news as we are and drank. Then we drank some more.
My buddy decided he should buy toilet paper off Amazon. The day before he went to buy a back up pack and all the supermarkets near him were sold out. That morning he had check Amazon during a class break. They were still in stock. Now it was three hours later and everything was sold out.
That’s something no one really mentions about Japan. Everyone loves stories of cleaning up stadiums during the World Cup and of lining up for trains. I haven’t really scene there being much sticking power to the amount of panic buying am that goes on here. And of course the hoarding or scalping that such panic buying produces.
After the 3/11/11 disasters many markets were picked clean. You could see through the shelves of convenience stores across the entirety of the store. For the first week the government actually encouraged people to stock up on what they could, further motivating hoarding. Then we they realized that wasn’t helping and started to encourage sharing and only buying what was needed at the time. Stores started putting limits on how much paper products and milk could be bought in one trip.
I haven’t looked at our local supermarkets. I’m to worried. We don’t need more tp now. But what about a week from now? Two weeks? Well there be some available or will it be snatched off the shelf.
On her way home my wife stopped by to pick up some rice. We just ran out. She said there was almost none left at the largest market near us. She was able to get a 2kg but seemed doubtful if there would be any available tomorrow.
We don’t want to panic buy. We have food and we don’t want to buy surplus in case there are others out there who don’t have any. It should be the right decision. I hope.
Next week classes are cancelled. I have a few meetings to attend. Decisions are still being made as to what the plan is for the rest of the semester. There is a most likely option, but nothing can be decided it seems.
As for my family, we’re all healthy. In all honestly I have more worry about the state of supermarkets in a week than I do about getting sick. We’ll see.