Life in Lockdown

Life in Lockdown

Learning Welsh, Rekindling my Imagination, Running an Ultra-marathon and Things You could do whilst Stuck at Home.

(*Click here for a list of things you can do whilst in quarantine*)

Right now, life is incredibly hard.
We’re all suffering in some way or another with limitations and restrictions being put on our lives due to the threat of the coronavirus.
I’m currently in the U.K, with no easy way of returning to Japan to be with Riku. It isn’t easy. Although, I am glad that I can go through such uncertain times with the support of my mother and brother, I worry constantly about Riku and the possibility of him getting sick in Japan while I am stuck here. I do not follow a faith, but I pray to any god that will hear me that that will not happen.

I’ve been in the U.K since January, and was supposed to return to Japan on March 11th, but I decided to cancel my flight when things began to look as if they were taking a turn for the worse in the land of the rising sun. It seems now that perhaps I was the unlucky one. As of 5pm yesterday, the U.K has had 1,408 confirmed coronavirus deaths, whilst Japan has only had 54. I am, however, pretty sure that the number would be higher in Japan if they utilised more tests and if the Japanese government we’re a little more truthful to their citizens. But it is more possible to move a mountain than it is to move the Japanese government.

With current restrictions having been put in place on daily life in the U.K, I have had to resort to keeping myself and my mind as busy as possible, not because I worry that if I focus too much on what’s going on around me, but because I want to keep myself as happy as possible.

Bristol’s Park Street under lockdown. (We live local and took the dog on a walk with the camera)

Before the lockdown I was heading to the gym to lift weights everyday for 2 hours – an activity that was also normal to me when I lived in Yamaguchi, but after moving to Tokyo pretty much disappeared from my life (i.e I became lazy). Now following the closures of public venues across the U.K I resort to running and doing body weight exercises on a daily basis.

Swapping my daily gym routine for running is not a bad thing for me, in-fact, I have high hopes of completing some kind of ultra marathon in the future, and often find that when I go to the gym – I don’t run. If the gyms are closed then my running will increase which has got to be good right? (the only problem I see is running into possible injuries – but I have been pacing myself more than I usually do and also started to change my running routes and incorporating sprints, hill runs and long distance).

The bodyweight exercises I do are pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, goblet squats and handstands. I made it my mission last year to be able to do a full pull-up so that I can begin to incorporate more bodyweight training into my life. It has taken a while, but I can now manage 6 in a row (which may not seem like a lot, but when you haven’t done a pull-up since you were 7 years old, it is hella hard!) and I’m increasing my output all the time! I can do more chin-ups as they’re 10 x easier, and squats and push-ups have always been something that I am good at – so it’s just a matter of experimenting and finding different ways that I can challenge myself with those two. As for handstands, I began training back when I lived in Yamaguchi after deciding that I was angry with myself at not being able to do one since I sprained my wrist when I was 12. I would practice on a daily basis against the wall in Japan, but now that I’m back in the U.K I struggle to find some free wall space to practice against in the home, so have to resort to incorporating handstands into my runs when I am out and about. One day I hope i’ll be able to move away from the wall.

When I am done with my daily run, I focus on keeping my brain active with a number of activities at home. The activity that takes up most of my time at home is language studies. Obviously, with a Japanese husband and a life back in Japan to return to, I do practice Japanese as often as I can, but, I often find myself getting bored by the language – as beautiful as it is – and I loose focus. So currently I have moved onto spending a lot more time studying a different language; Welsh.

Throwback to Snowdon 2019 – I finally reached the summit with Mum after 3 previous (ill-planned) attempts. The summit can be seen in the top right hand corner.

Why Welsh you may ask? Well, if you’ve known me for a while you would know that I have a serious obsession with the country and it’s beautiful countryside, and often spend time heading up either the Brecon Beacons or Snowdon to take in the views. My obsession is so bad that I have decided that I want to live there at some point in my life, and if I don’t complete that goal then my soul will not rest after passing. If you’ve just met me, now you know. In addition to my love of the country, I am able to trace my ancestry back to Wales and believe that I should learn the language of my predecessors (incase they ever feel the need to contact me from beyond the grave). It also baffles me as to how close Bristol is to the Welsh border and the fact that hardly anyone from here speaks or understands even a whisper of the language.
They say it’s a hard language, perhaps even the hardest, but for some reason, I seem to be doing ok so far, and I am REALLY enjoying it.
(give me a heads up if you speak welsh and I can practice with you – I’d really love that!)

In addition to learning Japanese and Welsh, I plan on adding in Sign Language (something I believe we should all learn) as well as refresh my knowledge of French. But for now, I am content with my daily dose of Cymraeg.

When I become tired of speaking in tongues I focus my energy on drawing. If anyone ever asked me what natural talent or skill I may have, I would reply “drawing”. As a child I would spend hours of the day sketching characters and destinations from my imagination, filling up the kitchen table with my tons and thousands of my illustration masterpieces, much to my mother’s chagrin (not really, she treasured them all).
My imagination still remains but I now struggle to put those thoughts onto paper, so now I spend a few hours a day with a sketchbook and some ink. I put my struggle down to the fact that I went on to study Graphic Design at University, which should have helped my creativity blossom but instead, made me far to aware of what was “wrong” with my art, or how art “should” be. Now I have to remind myself every time I get the ink out that “the page does not care” and that I can draw whatever and however I want, and that even if I am not happy with that particular drawing it is still getting me one step closer to the creative me that I used to be.

Although I could draw for hours and hours, I still have things to do, one of the most important things being writing.
Currently I am lucky enough to be earning money as a freelance writer. I write for a company in Japan about all things Japan, from products, food and destinations to events and people. Whatever it is you want to know about Japan I most probably have an answer for it. It is a job I love, and I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to do it. If you ever want to know more about my writing or photography (which features on my posts) just let me know!

Another activity that I make sure I do on a daily basis (before going back to studying Welsh) is reading. I read because it makes me happy. I read because it helps my writing. I read because it makes me smart. I read because it’s good for me.
The book I am reading at the moment is Extreme Sleeps by Phoebe Smith. It details the adventures of wild camper Smith as she heads off to some of the most unthought of places in U.K for a wild camp. I find similarities between Smith and myself, and admire her unshakable confidence that allows her to go out and find the perfect pitch for a solo wild camp (despite many of them being illegal).

Following reading, I head back to writing, but not articles this time. Now I am on Scrivener, trying my best to squeeze out a novel from my mind – it’s not so easy to put your imagination down on the page when it’s running wild inside your head.
I have been telling myself for years to write a novel, and spent many a night attempting to get the story down to a rough plan but the more time I spend on it, the more I find the story developing in my head and making less sense when it goes down on the page. One day, I hope it will be completed. I would love to be able to share the insides of my mind with people who are interested. But for now, I am just plodding along trying to make sense of the story myself!

When I am done all of the above I have successfully completed all my “to-do” tasks of the day. BUT, I normally find myself going back to study Welsh or doing pull-ups as breaks throughout the day.
When I’ve had enough of all the mental activities I have to do during the day I try to settle down and get a movie or some episodes of a show out of the way – this quarantine time is really great for spending time relaxing.
However, my Netflix is full to the brim with shows I want to watch, and no matter how many I complete and remove from my list, I find I’m constantly adding more and more to it. I guess “finishing My List on Netflix” is not really something that should be on anybody’s Bucket List.

If I have time some other things I like to do or want to get out of the way are spending some time studying motor bike theory, practicing piano, editing some of my photography and uploading them to Instagram and Facebook and working on blog posts such as this one (although I seem to be very irregular with writing on this site). I also sometimes attempt to teach my 13 year old dog new tricks – I taught him to lie down and give paw last year, so it is definitely still possible – but lately he has lost interest.

On top of all of that, I will sometimes prepare and make freezable soups,plan future trips and journeys, attempt to plan my own business, and settle down to play cards with the fam.

So, if you have managed to read all of the above and you are still with me then I congratulate you! You now know what I am getting up to whilst being stuck inside! For a quick list of what I do and some things you could get up to during lockdown check out below:

  • Exercise – Run/Bike/Walk (if you have a pool swim!)
  • Bodyweight exercises – pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, handstands
  • Study a language (I recommend sign language so that we can bridge the gap between those with limited hearing and the rest of us)
  • Read
  • Write 
  • Draw
  • Paint
  • Start a blog
  • Start a business plan
  • Edit photographs/Store photographs/Sort out a scrapbook
  • Test out a new creative app such as something that you can create music or videos with
  • Practice an instrument
  • Train your pet 
  • Bake
  • Cook
  • Card Games
  • CLEAN YOUR HOUSE!
  • Plan future trips and holidays
  • Design Christmas and Birthday cards
  • Call up family and friends and start a daily video chat habit

If you are feeling a little lost or under the weather with all thats going on around you, feel free to send me a message – I always have time to chat!

One Reply to “Life in Lockdown”

  1. You will write your novel, one day when you are ready. Sign language would be great to learn, tried many time, just find things hard, will do it one day ! I do believe you will live in Wales one day , so very proud of you Yes I keep everything 🤣😘

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