If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s how to survive extended periods of time in an enclosed space. I found myself very grateful for the practice as we checked into our Tokyo hotel, and squeezed ourselves and our luggage into the rooms in which we would spend our Tokyo Olympics hotel quarantine.
Luckily, our quarantine period is only three days – plus the remainder of our arrival day. From Friday we are free to travel via dedicated media transport to the Equestrian Park and Main Press Centre (MPC), though we cannot use public transport or go anywhere else until we have been in the country for 14 days. So unlike other championships where a room is literally just a place to sleep, it has rather more riding on it this time around.
There’s no way around it – the rooms, as is typical for Japan, are very small. But to be honest, there’s little else to moan about. There’s decent wifi, just about enough space to do an only slightly modified workout, a desk, a mini fridge and kettle and, importantly, a window – plus being on the 10th floor there is something of a view. Oh, and the most crucial thing of all, considering the 33 degree heat and intense humidity, air conditioning.
Much of the WhatsApp chat between me and my Tokyo Olympics colleagues Pippa Roome and Peter Nixon in the run-up to our departure centred around the food we were packing. Naturally, when we arrived, it was the first section of my suitcase to be unpacked, along with the cafetière and freshly ground coffee I also brought – yes, I am a coffee snob, and I’m sad not to be able to visit any of the excellent Tokyo coffee shops during our visit.
Speaking of food, the highlight of our first evening was navigating the Japanese Uber Eats app – with a little help from Google Translate and a lot of help from the pictures. I was very pleased with the results – 20 minutes after placing my order, a steaming bowl of ramen and an ice cold beer arrived at my hotel room door. On tonight’s Uber Eats menu: sushi.
I thought the days in quarantine would drag, but actually our first full day seems to have flown. Dividing the day into chunks helps: a few hours of work, undisturbed by emails (thank you eight-hour time difference), then iced coffee and a lunchtime wrap courtesy of Uber Eats, with which I think I am developing something of a love affair, followed by a surprisingly satisfying workout given the small space. Once 5pm rolled around and the UK woke up, we dialled into a couple of meetings and podcast recordings, where the excitement of the fact Pippa and I were joining the meeting from Tokyo was somewhat eclipsed by another colleague producing a rabbit on camera. Yes, a small white fluffy rabbit – it was rather cute…
One interesting diversion was the arrival of our Covid test kit this morning – we must submit daily saliva samples for testing every day of our quarantine, then every four days thereafter. It’s a different type of test compared to the UK, with no invasive swabs that feel as though they might dislodge your brain, but instead a tube and a straw with which we must collect 1.5ml of saliva. Turns out that’s a lot of saliva to produce in one go.
Right, I’m now off to eat sushi, play around with the remote controlled lighting in my room and then jump on social media to see how our riders got on training in the main arena today. I can’t wait to get there myself – but things could definitely be worse in the meantime.
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