Perfectly OK to stay home, says One OK Rock

Late morning of Saturday, May 16, my social media feed began filling with these: photos of congested streets, reopened commercial centers teeming with customers, and warning about the certainty of a second wave of coronavirus infections because the Philippine government eased the lockdowns too early.  

Past noon, the world-famous Japanese rock band One OK Rock was on my IG feed, announcing from Japan that they would be releasing a new video in the evening on their Youtube channel.  

There’s a connection between those two stories, I promise.  

The past week, most of the Philippine provinces and cities had been in lockdown for two months.  

May 16 was the start of 3rd extension of this setup where cops would arrest you (and could abuse you) if you went out of your house without a government-issued “quarantine pass,” without a face mask, and at the wrong hour. 

In the same week, Japan lifted two weeks ahead of schedule what was supposed to be a one-month-long state of emergency in most prefectures. If the situation improves in Tokyo, Osaka, and 6 other prefectures – which had been under this state of heightened alert since early April – then the declaration would be lifted by the end of May, or even earlier.  

In Japan, there is no law restricting people’s movements and activities, just a request from both national and local governments for them to stay home as much as possible, and to avoid the 3 C’s: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings. Yet, within days, the crowding in the usually busiest areas, like Shibuya in Tokyo and Umeda Station in Osaka, was reduced by around 70%.  

And that, fellow OOR followers, is where the connection comes in.  

As we in mega Manila rushed out to the streets and malls, Taka (vocals), Ryota (bass), Tomoya (drums), and Toru (lead guitar) in Tokyo urged fans to remain holed up at home the way they knew best: through a music video. 

Here’s their 2010 song, “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer (literally translated, Perfect Sense Dreamer),” with its title tweaked to translate as “Perfectly at Home Dreamer.” 

They don’t change the lyrics. It still captures the 4 young men’s resolve a decade ago to combine their talents and passion to move on and reach new heights. This was after a rather unfortunate chapter where the 5th band member quit.  

Still, young people who listen to them would probably understand how the message applies now: pull ourselves together, we’ll make this through.   

The treat in this video is we see the OOR members recording their antics from their respective homes: Taka trying to exercise although his joints hurt, Ryota washing his hands vigorously, Tomoya playing the drum set that obviously belongs to his toddler son, and Toru wearing pajamas and pigtails. (Things you do when you get bored!) 

But, hey, not all goofing around for them. On May 1, Taka made several IG posts, recommending takeaway restaurants and food shops that people could support. (Click here, here, here, and here if you want to check them out in the Shibuya and Minato wards of Tokyo and the Chuo and Kitaku wards of Osaka.)   

Don’t just drop by, Taka says. You have to call in your orders (there are limited bento boxes and raw ingredients each day), and then pick them up at the exact time the shops say you should.  

The past days, Taka had been posting IG Stories of him picking up his orders from some of these restaurants.  

Earlier, on Taka’s 32nd birthday on April 17, the band started streaming for free the videos of their biggest concerts in Japan (you can catch the last two on May 23 and May 31). This is their gift to the fans after the coronavirus pandemic forced the band to cancel their Eye of the Storm concert tour.  

Which brings our conversation back to the Philippines. They were supposed to perform in Manila, for the 3rd time, last May 2! (And my family was just strategizing which was the best box to be in at the Araneta Coliseum!)  

I don’t know how to write about concerts (I’m a political journalist!), but I do dance and sing along when I watch them (present in the first two shows in Manila!). But someone else knows how to. Here, Filipino OOR fans (and their elders who want to understand the craze): imagine “One OK Rock’s ‘Ambitions’ in Manila: Pure talent, art in motion.”  

And as One OK Rock’s latest video tells us, it’s perfectly OK to stay home for now. – Rappler.com  

Here’s another #StayHome campaign initiated by Japan’s music industry: Gen Hoshino’s “Dancing on the Inside.  

As of Sunday morning, May 17, Japan, with an estimated population of 126.52 million, has 16,203 coronavirus cases, with 713 deaths and 10,338 recoveries.

The Philippines, with an estimated population of 109.4 million, has 12,305 coronavirus cases, with 817 deaths, and 2,561 recoveries.  

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