Interview with a Professor of English (The Virus Part 2)

Today I have an interview post. I haven’t done an interview post in months, and I don’t think there would have been a better person to start the interview posts again than today’s guest! 

Miss Sue is the official editor of my blog, and she also is a professor of English. I hope you enjoy her insights on the Coronavirus and learn some things from her life!

Q: Hello, Sue! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

A: I am from the U.S. and grew up in Ohio, the oldest of eight kids. My parents were both from West Virginia, though, so we were always very rural people — in spite of the fact that we grew up on the outskirts of an industrial city. I have been teaching university English to non-native English speakers for maybe 20 years in Japan, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Q: When did you come to Japan?

A: I came to Japan in the mid-90s to teach in another area of Japan, taught four years, then left in 2000 and came back in 2011. I didn’t want to leave in 2000, and I always wanted to come back to Japan, so I was glad to return nine years ago. 

Q: What are your favorite parts of Japan? 

A: I like the people. I also like being in a walking and bike-riding society, and, especially after living in the Middle East, I like the ability to live openly and go about freely with my life. 

Q: Now, quickly getting to the point of this interview: What do you feel about the Coronavirus? Are you scared? Do you feel assured for some reason? 

A: I am not afraid, but I am very concerned. I think it’s a serious situation that people are not taking seriously enough. I think people need to take extreme precautions –but not everyone is.  

People have died and are dying from this, and I can’t stand that, and yet others are not taking precautions. Perhaps precautions could have saved those people’s lives. Especially in the U.S., people may say that it’s their freedom to risk themselves if they want, but in this situation, as in most situations, a person is risking other people’s well-being when taking chances they think only involve themselves.  

Am I assured? That depends — assured of what?  I don’t think that humanly speaking we can be assured of anything concerning this disease because health professionals don’t know much about it. For example, when I hear that people have recovered, I wonder whether it is recovery or remission. 

So many questions can be asked, but to ask those questions can make someone afraid. People who are being cavalier or unconcerned maybe need to ask those questions to be clear on what to think. 

For those who might be made fearful, though, perhaps it’s better to not think about the unknowns but to just take the situation seriously and go ahead with what might seem like extreme precautions. That is, do something other people might think is over the top and do something before someone around gets sick. Precaution, done calmly and practically, is not panic; it’s wisdom. 

On the other hand, of God we can be assured, and we should be asking Him what to do and asking for grace and wisdom from Him so that we are able to trust Him. 

Q: What kind of things do you do to protect yourself from the possible threat of getting infected? 

A: My classes are not in session, and other than the tests I have to give a few times a month, I have no work commitments. So, I stay in my apartment, which is easy to do because it’s comfortable. 

I have gone out only about five times, for necessities, in the past three weeks and when I do that, I wear a mask, stay away from crowds, and wash all my clothes when I get in. I do go out for walks in the fresh air, and I take vitamins — I just try to be healthy in general.  

I’m not so concerned about myself as I am concerned about other people who aren’t taking measures. I know, too, that others don’t have the luxury that I have because they do have work commitments. I watch people coming and going to work and watch people like garbage collectors working. I think of the health care people who must be so stressed out now. So, as I said, I have the opportunity to stay home because my staying home could make one less person out there who could possibly catch the virus and pass it on.

Q: How has it affected your daily routines?

A: As you can imagine from what I just said, it has affected my daily routine a great deal — though I don’t suffer from it at all. Usually, during my spring breaks from school, I spend lots of time going out with friends to lunch or other activities. I’m also not accustomed to wearing a mask and staying away from groups when I go out. It’s a big change, but it’s temporary, isn’t it? It is worth the inconvenience to save people’s lives and to avoid the possible unknown long-term effects on people.

Q: What would you give as advice to the readers, wherever they live and whatever situation their country is in regarding the virus? 

A: Don’t wait to be told to protect yourself and your loved ones. I think it’s important to wear masks. There are health professionals that say you don’t have to and those who say you should. I go with the ones who say it helps.  Logically, I’m convinced that it has to help. If you can’t buy masks, learn how to make the most protective ones (not out of toilet paper or tissue). Don’t depend on them completely, though.

Be creative in how you get your tasks done without going into even small groups. Keeping in touch with friends is easy these days without being with them. Sanitize everything you end up bringing home. Okay. I don’t think anyone will do that, but I do. It’s tedious, but this is temporary. Remember that temporary radical precautions don’t mark a person as being crazy. 

I think we should carry a good sanitizer with us everywhere and use it on our hands after touching things others touch — and don’t wait to get home or in the car, etc. Then, when we get home, wash ourselves, wash our clothes, sanitize — and enjoy being home. We need to eat well, sleep well, exercise (but not in a gym),  drink lots of water and take a good vitamin. 

Whatever we do as we are going through all these physical precautions, we should ask God to teach us about Himself and to give us the calmness we need.  

Q: There is a lot of information on TV, the internet, etc. Some of the info is true, and there are things we should follow. But some of it is not true. How do you think we should process all that information and determine what is right?

A: That is a difficult question, for sure. For one, in reading a non-official piece of information, ask yourself what basis the person has for giving the information/opinion. Maybe just skip that kind of information altogether.  Don’t be fearful. Take action based on what is truly practical. Often, my most immediate action when I read is to pray. 

Q: What, in your opinion, is a good thing to do during this hard time? 

A: Most important in doing all the above is to ask God what His purpose is for you in this — and in life — and, very, very importantly, to keep other people’s well-being in mind. Jesus says that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our being, and the second is to love people around us as much as we do ourselves. The Bible says to look out for other people’s well-being. So, do what will help others and don’t do what might have a chance to harm them. You might feel invincible, but if you take a risk, that might end up hurting someone else somehow.

Remember that the restrictions are probably only temporary. 

Also, remember the people who suffer all the time — the people for whom their hardships are not temporary. Ask God how you can help them. Ask God to take care of them. Learn from this what hardship is and ask God to help you continue to care for them and, even when your hardship is over, to not forget them.

—-

A big thanks to Miss Sue for being willing to help me in this blog post! I hope you enjoyed her insights on the various issues we are facing right now with the virus. 

If you have any questions for me or for Miss Sue, drop a comment below. Thank you for reading! God bless you!

3 thoughts on “Interview with a Professor of English (The Virus Part 2)

  1. Wow, thank you for sharing this interview with us, Noah! It is fascinating to read Miss Sue’s perspective. Here in the US, things have gotten a lot more serious since the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic. All the things I was going to this weekend were canceled or postponed, including church!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this was really such an interesting article, Noah! I really enjoyed reading someone else’s perspective in Japan about the COVID-19. It was very interesting (and well written) and gave some excellent insights.

    Like

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