It was Thursday, July 22. I was walking around Ariake in Koto ward, the land-filled man-made part of Tokyo Bay right off of Shinagawa.
I had an appointment at the Villa Fontaine Grande Tokyo Ariake Hotel, so afterwards, I took a walk.
Around me were the Ariake Arena where volleyball will be featured, the Ariake Gymnastics Center, the Ariake Urban Sports Park for BMX and skateboarding competitions, and the Ariake Tennis Park.
I was right in the middle of a huge concentration of Olympic arenas. It was the day before the Opening Ceremonies of the XXXII Olympiad. And it felt like I was walking around a ghost town.
Oh, you could see people walking here and there. But under normal circumstances, I imagine I should have been surrounded by thousands on this day, a public holiday to boot.
Tourists, volunteers, staffers, officials, journalists and athletes from Olympics past should have been wandering around sipping cold Coca Colas, trading pins, and taking selfies.
Sponsors should have had booths or centers to educate, entertain and give out prizes to giggling kids and adults alike. But not during these Olympics. Most sponsors have toned down their affiliation to the Games. Toyota announced only a few days ago that they would not run Tokyo2020-related TV commercials.
I passed by the Panasonic Center, a place for tourists to learn about future Panasonic products and ideas. It’s in a prime spot, right on the corner of a park near so much of the action, selected probably just for these Olympic Games.
Except for a picture of Naomi Osaka, you wouldn’t have known that Panasonic was a Global TOP Sponsor of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Next to the Panasonic Center, floral versions of Miraitowa and Someity, the mascots of the Tokyo2020 Olympics and Paralympics, stood behind fences, looking a little worse for wear these days.
Aren’t we all.