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Opinion: Coronavirus made me change my plans

Picture credit: Amanda Dickson

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

It was just a trip.

Not a life, or an illness, or someone’s life savings.

But a year ago next month, my husband and I started dreaming about going to Tokyo to see our daughter Ashley and her husband Landon. They’ve lived there for several years now, and they absolutely love it. They love how clean everything is, how polite the people are, how artistic even vending machines can be. They love restaurants where the food comes around on conveyor belts to your table.

Aaron, my husband, has been there before with our older son, Cameron, but I have never been, not to see Ashley and Landon or for any purpose, so it was a big deal when we finally decided we could spend the money to go. You see, our going involves more than just our going – it involves flying our two younger sons to Florida to stay with my brother and sister-in-law AND our going. (We don’t have any family in Utah who can stay with the boys for a whole week.) So the thought of a trip to Tokyo is quite an enterprise.

I had planned everything. We would stay in a hotel near Tokyo Station. Ashley said that was the most central location and close to their small apartment. I found one that looked beautiful and was a good price, and I mapped out all the amazing things we could walk to from there.  It was called the Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi. Just the name was beautiful to me. I dreamed of driving to Mount Fuji and spending a night near there. I started listening to people speaking Japanese on YouTube to see if I could pick up the basics. “Thank you.” “Where is the bathroom?” “Do you speak English?” That kind of thing.

My daughter has the most fascinating job in Japan. She sells Pokemon cards on the social media platform called Twitch. Her company is Pokemon BariBari Japan. From the time she was a little girl, she loved Pokemon. She loved all things Japanese really – Pokemon, Digimon, some other anime. I saw how the art and the playfulness of the characters and their big eyes drew her in, but I never felt the spark until last year when I started watching her stream online. Something about the sparkle of the rainbow secret rare cards caught my eye, and I was hooked.

Now I am a collector, and I was so excited at the thought of going to the Pokemon Center. I had planned to take an empty suitcase (or two) to fill with Pokemon plushies and cards and whatever else I could afford to bring home. I wanted to go to the Pokemon Cafe and eat Eevee burgers and drink Pikachu shakes. I wanted Snorlax salads and the Bulbasaur buffet!

Alas. We will have to wait. Aaron and I were never really worried about catching the coronavirus if we went to Japan. We probably have more chance of getting it here. We’re more concerned about getting stuck away from our young boys, quarantined, unable to get back to them. That possibility, once unthinkable, seems just possible enough to keep us at home, at least for now.