Hana Lowry: New challenges and another state of emergency – May 2021






Things have changed a lot since my last update.

Whilst I have been attending to my graduate studies, Tokyo has entered another state of emergency that was extended beyond its initial period. As a result, I had a very quiet Golden Week (a Japanese national holiday).

Sanshiro pond on the campus of the University of Tokyo.

Sanshiro pond on the campus of the University of Tokyo.

I have also been following the mounting public opposition to the upcoming Olympics. Through a journalism class at my graduate school and with some existing journalism experience, I have been able to do some reporting on the issue for a paper. I am trying to do grapple with the different perspectives that make up public opinion. It has also been excellent practice of Japanese as I am conducting research, carrying out interviews in both languages and trying to stay as updated as I can on the issue by following press conferences, statements and different news outlets. Due to the covid restrictions preventing some members of the overseas press from working on their coverage, I feel a sense of responsibility – as someone who is not only in the country but will not be confined to the Olympic bubble – to try to really tap into what the current situation is domestically.

I have also been challenging myself to work on my design skills by attending a self-publishing design class on weekends at a local community space before the state of emergency was announced. With the teacher, I am hoping to publish and distribute a zine on my research topic in an zine fair later this year. Working alongside the other participants, who all live locally and have a variety of occupations, has been an interesting way to interact with people outside of my university. For the time being, we will be updating each other via zoom until we can resume our in-person workshops.


Despite actually spending very little time outside of my home this month, I have felt very tapped in and engaged in a variety of new challenging activities that have also really required me to try to make use of my existing language abilities – but have also motivated me to work harder to get to a higher level.

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