A Yokohama Walk Amidst the Pandemic
Since the Declaration of the State of Emergency because of the coronavirus disease on April 7, 2020, I have refrained from visiting popular sights in Yokohama. I’ve contented myself just going to nearby parks and the supermarket. However, the other day, after half a year, I dared to venture around the city center again. I was curious to know what was happening in the neighborhood. I brought with me an old Ricoh GR IV.
From the north entrance of JR Ishikawa Station, I walked down towards the west gate of Chinatown. I strolled along the length of Nishimon St.
‘The tourists are back,’ I muttered to myself. The streets were full of families, young lovers, and a few foreign tourists. ‘Business is picking up again.’
Shorompo, milk tea, and noodle restaurants were doing a brisk business. Surprisingly, there were also queues outside palm reading shops; they have cut down their rates to as low as 995 yen per reading.
At Zenrinmon Gate, the big intersection, I turned right and headed towards Yamashita Park, to the sea.
Despite the threat of rain, hundreds of visitors came out to enjoy the cool breeze and sea view. It was really a delight to see many people enjoying themselves. People had been deprived of this basic means of relaxation.
On the elevated promenade, I walked towards Minato Mirai. Under an overcast sky, I took some snapshots around Akarenga — the red brick warehouse. Everywhere, people are reclaiming their old haunts.
The garden across from Akarenga was teeming with little flowers in bloom. However, the most stunning of the blossoms was the pampas grass. I wanted to cut a spike and keep it in my room but I restrained myself. An autumn-like atmosphere in the room, I thought, would look nice.
Infrastructure development in Minato Mirai never stops: Now, a billboard announced the opening of Yokohama Air Cabin in 2021. This 600-meter ropeway will connect Sakuragicho Station to Shinko Futo Pier.
I had been walking for two hours and was feeling a bit famished. I decided to sit down at a noodle restaurant. There were quite a number of customers.
‘The pandemic is still with us,’ I whispered to myself. ‘But we have to learn to live with the virus.’
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I have a little garden: slightly bigger than the forehead of a cat. I grow herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and mint, and lemon grass, and lavender, and basil. Occasionally, I cook for myself. Sometimes, my Japanese wife and my daughter like my cooking. I come from the Philippines – it is said that there are more than seven thousand islands but I do not own one. I’d love to, though. I always carry a camera with me – in my walks, journeys, and wanderings. Most of the time, I’m home – staring at Fujisan and writing something.