text by Ryoko Kuwahara
photo by Tetsuro Hayashi

Self Isolation Issue :「今後の行動が僕の周りの大切な人たちを守ることである」清水文太/How to Survive – Bunta Shimizu

ーーHow has the spread of coronavirus affected your lifestyle and creative activities?

Bunta : My work spans across wide range of fields and many were cancelled or postponed. My friends around me have started to lose their jobs and I feel things are tough.

ーーPlease share your thoughts and realizations about the current situation and anything in particular you have become aware of that has changed you in any way.

Bunta : I have realized what is important and what I have taken for granted. I realized I intend to do my best to protect the people who are very important to my life. I now appreciate what used to be our norm, meeting up with everyone, taking a walk along the beachside, enjoy each meal, chit chat with friends all night. In case I had COVID-19, to avoid any risk of infecting others, I refrain from seeing my older friends, loved ones who’s like family to me. But it was also an opportunity for me to realize who and what is most important to my life, for both work and personal aspect.

ーーHow are you trying to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the lockdown?

Bunta : In situations like these, I would keep up all communication with the people around me. Take advantage of video apps like ZOOM to stay in contact with society. This way, I can stay in touch with my friends and loosen the lockdown anxiety. It’s always nice to say “Let’s meet up again soon” too.

ーーIn light of your own activities, what kind of ‘creation’ or artistic endeavors are possible indoors?

Bunta : To make our post-pandemic life better, I would continue to work on ongoing projects from home, think about styling ideas, creating websites and music, and plan upcoming and new fun projects. There is so much to do. Stay focused and energetic to get things done. This is something that is on another scale from creating but reading books, and having time to slow down and do things we normally don’t have time to might be good as well. I recently finished reading “Distorted Mirror(歪んだ鏡” )by Minori Kimura, a manga artist who I’m into now. Her manga has very unique structure, almost magical. Many of her stories taps into topics related to psychology and society, and as a reader, I think she is illustrating our future.

As an artist, I also create music. I created songs called “Word(言葉)” and ”Castle(城)” which are paired songs. Reading manga by Minori Kimura, I sense there is a hidden message that tells us regardless of how unreasonable things may be, we must stay positive as human. I felt a connection with this message to my songs. (The album is exclusive to a subscription service, and it takes a lot of energy to listen to it so I highly recommend to take this opportunity to enjoy it)
There are so much to do. I’m currently working on filing tax, sorting out my receipts. Running out of time but I will get it done.

ーーPlease share any recommendations or ideas on how to use digital platforms to their full extent during the circumstances regarding COVID-19.

Bunta : As I mentioned above, like ZOOM, there are many great ways to stay in touch with other people on-line, so I suggest take advantage of it. There are so many shops that are having difficulties keeping up their businesses. If there was an online service available to help them, that would be ideal. If it was a bar, maybe a platform where they can open an online bar so people can support them by tipping online, but this will become a consulting so I will leave it at this.

ーーDuring this time is there anything you would like to challenge yourself with?

Bunta : This is not a challenge but I’m focused on my nutrition and exercise. There was a time when my life was a mess, but I have bought some training equipment and started to train regularly. I’ve also started to cook for myself and experiencing benefits from it. I’m also trying to better educate myself. Maybe it’s a good opportunity to try online university course which I’ve always wanted to try. Because we have time now, I want to give my all to try all the things I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t. First, I’m going to rearrange my room after finishing up this article.

ーーWhat would you like to do after COVID-19 settle?

Bunta : Get together with everyone and have a good time.

ーーDo you agree with the measures provided by the government? If not, what other measures would you recommend?

I find the way our government release the facts and plans are creating confusion, and is quite harmful. It becomes hard for us to grasp the truth. I guess legally, staying at home is the best way for now but If this situation continues, people will be divided into those who are forced to stay at home or forced to go to work. To avoid that, the companies and self-employed individuals should be fully supported.
I can only say the basic and common measures but if we were able to accomplish that, then I believe our problems would be solved. So I support our prime minister Abe-san and the governor of Tokyo, Koike-san for having to steer this ship. Because in the end, we chose our leaders. So I implore our government to find and take the best possible strategy to overcome this situation.

Bunta Shimizu
Instagram : @bunta.r

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