The Olympics 2.0 in Japan have been a welcome distraction this weekend with Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide in lockdown. Protests not withstanding, I’d prefer to focus my attention on our fellow Australians competing for our country in the land of the rising sun. I was very proud of our swimmers today after watching the opening ceremony live on Friday night and second half streamed yesterday. While it was a different and more subdued event amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, I thought the fireworks, pictographs, live entertainment and drone light show were pretty amazing and a very fitting athlete in Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic torch.
Japan had risen to the top of our family bucket list before COVID-19 hit and it remains there now – we hope to visit when we can for all sorts of different reasons – the people, the food, the culture, the history, technology and landscape – I think there is so much to experience as this Traveller article shows. I’ve had family teach English there, while I worked for Japanese department store Daimaru when I was a uni student – way before the likes of Uniqlo, Muji and Daiso arrived in this country. Mr Rosanna and I have just finished watching Anglo-Japanese series Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) on Netflix – it’s been a real thriller. If you’re a lover of Japanese design, Mr Kitly and Provider Store sell some unique pieces, albeit more on the pricey side. Kaoru Rogers also sells her delicate handmade jewellery at egetal in Melbourne. We were lucky to pick up a vintage Japanese print (above) on our recent trip to the Mill Markets in Daylesford.
It’s not been an easy time for us in Melbourne and even harder for our northern friends in NSW who I fear have a long journey ahead of them similar to ours last year. I have friends caught up in the recent outbreaks having to isolate at home not even being able to go for a walk or exercise outside of their home and I’ve been thinking of them this past week. My work team was asked to talk about something that gives us a sense of momentum and moving forward this week but for me, it’s been more immersive experiences where you lose sense of time and place that I’ve focused on – yoga, cooking, walking, running and even washing my car have all allowed me to be still in the moment rather than wishing I was somewhere else.
I had family contribute to a Kitchenaid mixer for my recent birthday so I got my bake on last weekend while my girlfriends bought me a Fornasetti wall plate (my favourite design featuring opera singer Lina Cavalieri sipping from a cup) – they are a collectors item and Mr R hung my plate last weekend in our kitchen, which has given us both great pleasure this week cooking at home.
It’s been helpful to re-frame thinking about lockdown and choosing instead to see this as ‘cosy time’. There is in fact a cosy collection exhibition using vintage wool being held by fashion designer Kara Baker next Saturday (above) and it’s Open House Melbourne this weekend which you can visit online. While we can’t go to restaurants or visit the library, I’ve been amused to see the owner of Italian restaurant Mr Bianco in Kew offering The Italian Job home delivery in his mini cooper and YPRL mobile library offering click and collect. I’ve been walking in my local area and it’s been lovely to see a street library book stand in a nearby front yard and another house giving away free lemons to passers-by. There is no shortage of Melburnians thinking of their fellow residents at the moment and it’s important to remember that this is by far the great majority of people as much as it’s not what the media reports.
I’m gearing myself up mentally for another (hopefully partial) week working from home in lockdown – I’ve managed to progress ANZSOG’s alumni strategy and related operational plans but it’s been a slow process. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself as I think if you can simply put one foot in front of the other at this time – you’re doing a good job! Have a great week and fingers crossed there may be some good news for us all here in Victoria.