The Slow Climb Up from the Hole

At the very least, according to NHK this morning, the State of Emergency has been repealed for the entire archipelago. The plastic barriers remain wherever we go, but most of the warning signs have been removed. Maybe in a few weeks the unmasked shoppers will outnumber the masked. (In this particular building we are still enjoined to wear doctor masks, either from a faith in their effectiveness persisting in the face of all evidence to the contrary, or simply from the high cultural value placed on lip service, one.) But with new cases still appearing, and increasing in frequency, in South America, the Middle East and India, we can expect the next pandemic not long after things go back to really normal here in Japan as well.
As we all crawl up from the hole, talks have begun on how to better promote the institution of TPIEF. The email magazine seems to have had less than the desired effectiveness at linking the Foundation and its activities to the broader international community. I have been told, in this connection, that this here Blog gets far more attention than many other facets of the sight. I suspect that's for no other reason than that it's updated more freuquently than most sections, although the bits of coronavirus news are revised quite often, so clearly this isn't the whole story. But there is a creeping, unsettling suspicion that the information about events, projects, and other outreach activities just isn't reaching the intended number of persons.
If this were a typical blog, the kind that normally appears most places on the internet, it would be easy for readers to post comments and give feedback, enabling me and the rest of the crew to gauge how well or poorly said information was actually reaching them, and how we might be able to improve. Alas, this is not the case. Sending feedback requires clicking an extra button, and even then you have no guarantee that your comment will actually end up in the blog at all, much less proof that I will read it. (I will, by the way.) This extra clicking and lack of certainty makes it as inconvenient as having to share email addresses in order to exchange text messages, which is why services such as LINE have become so popular. But if you do email me, I will certainly answer.
And in other news, somebody came and hacked off most of the branches from the grove of hundred-metre fir trees on the other side of the car park, and I'd like to find out just who the deuce it was.