China Culture

Cabin Fever

It somehow feels wrong to write about travel right now given the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Life in Tokyo has somewhat slowed down with much more time spent at home and infrequent train trips have turned into a masquerade. Unfounded rumours led to people panic buying toilet paper which paints a rather bleak picture of what might happen if things actually got worse.

These minor inconveniences are pretty trifling compared to those confined to their homes in China. My parents-in-law are stuck in their small town located in Jiangsu province (north of Shanghai). They run a restaurant which they haven’t been able to open since Chinese New Year. While everyone there is in the same boat, it is no doubt a trying time.

Illustration by Krish Raghav

The New Yorker has a wonderfully illustrated piece about quarantine cooking in China and how the break from normal routines has led to a whole new culinary genre built on an abundance of time and a scarcity of ingredients.

Censored though it may be, the internet is a vital lifeline at this time and it’s hard to imagine just how much more difficult being locked in would be without it. It’ll be interesting to see what lasting effects there will be on remote work and education once this is over.

I wanted to end this post with some photos that I took last year. I’d always considered Jiaoxie (my wife’s hometown) to be a bit boring with nothing more than a dusty strip of shops and a supermarket. On an extended walk around town, we came across a quaint road full of old houses with beautiful doors.

Here’s hoping they’ll be open again very soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *