Visiting Japan and Noticing the Corona Crazy

BusinessThoughts

So we made it to Japan to a signing ceremony with a large customer. First thing to note is that we are flying from San Francisco to Tokyo. And this is what our flight looks like:

Empty Plane
Empty Plane

That is crazy since Adam and I flew to Tokyo twice already and it was jam packed. When we got to the hotel, the convenience stores didn't have any masks. In Japan, masks are always available. But here:

No Masks
No Masks

But what you might notice is that there is an attempt to write "1 mask for 1 customer" in Chinese. A bit of an error it looks like however I asked Andy why this sign was in Chinese. He said that a lot of Chinese people flew to Japan and bought up all the masks. Perhaps it was for personal use or to sell back in China. Whatever the reason, Andy stated that the price of masks on amazon.jp is about 10x the normal price.

Things definitely started to freak us out when Andy was sporting a mask. He had a sniffle but so did everyone we met in Japan. It was odd for so many people to have a "cold".

Adam Fish, Shunsuke Kondo and Andy Wang
Adam Fish, Shunsuke Kondo and Andy Wang

My gut is saying this isn't a coincidence. Adam and I are talking about quarantining ourselves when we get back for 2 weeks so we don't give it to our loved ones. It's "non-zero chance" at this rate. So far we feel fine but we might be convincing ourselves that we feel sick. Who knows?

Luckily before we leave, Andy got me some masks! He found some convenience stores that restocked!

Andy Wang bought me a mask
Andy Wang bought me a mask

Here's me wearing it!

Maximilian Alexander with a Mask
Maximilian Alexander with a Mask

Since Ditto sells to the aviation industry, you can probably guess why we're in Japan. We noticed a sense of deep unease even though the Japanese are extremely polite.

Weird thoughts

  • Chatted with people in aviation in Europe, US and Asia and people are seeing incredible pressure to close routes.
  • Think about how many businesses depend on the airlines. Tourism is around 10% of world GPD; which is nothing to scoff at. If restaurants, hotels, travel and aviation all close down, the entire world is going to freak the fuck out.
  • I am getting a big feeling in my gut that things are going to get crazy very soon; and it won't be directly due to corona. I feel lke there will be a massive economic panic even if one major financial hub like Tokyo locks down an airport.

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Maximilian Alexander