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Quarantine in NZ vs. in Japan

I went to New Zealand recently on compassionate grounds, and no, it wasn’t for the purpose of filming this video. Unfortunately, it meant I’ve had to quarantine at both ends and I’m currently quarantining in Japan. I’m going to take this opportunity to compare the two, because going overseas at this time is quite rare, as far as I can tell.

Right now, you have to quarantine at both ends, even though New Zealand has managed to control the virus relatively well, and if I were to contract COVID-19, it would most likely be in Japan.

Well, New Zealand’s quarantine is managed very well by the army, and once you arrive, you get taken to your designated hotel. When we went, it was a day before they changed it to mandatory advanced booking, so we didn’t know where we were going.

Turns out we went to Wellington which suited me just fine, it’s only a little up the road from where I was going anyway. As soon as we arrived in Auckland they told us as such, and about an hour later we had a charter flight to Wellington, a debriefing at Wellington airport, and then a bus ride to our hotel. We had no way of getting out of it.

Quarantine in Wellington wasn’t so bad. I had a king suite with a great view so I wasn’t complaining, and the food was decent. The only problem was that our designated exercise area was a covered car park. We just walked in loops twice a day for 45 minutes, but fortunately we could chat with the other guests if we kept a distance, so it wasn’t so bad in the end. Two weeks came up pretty quickly, and we were free to go!

New Zealand at the moment is crazy. I don’t think New Zealanders really understand just how good they have it at the moment. Not having to wear a mask is bordering on insane. I really enjoyed simply going out and exploring the place. It’s such a great country to be in especially now.

Japan on the other hand, is very much leaving it up to the individual, which is both good and bad. Good in that you are still free to move around, bad in that it would be really easy for the virus to get through.

I get the impression that Japan isn’t really looking after their citizens’ health, and is focusing entirely on economics, which I don’t agree with because you can’t contribute to the economy when you’re dead, but that’s a whole other story.

No, when we got to Japan, we had to fill out a form saying how we were to spend the following two weeks, and besides that, there wasn’t much else out of the ordinary in terms of getting into the country. We still had to scan our fingerprints on the same machines used by thousands of people, and we were able to talk to the airport staff just normally ( I even saw my friend who I saw on the way to NZ there too).

They just ask us not to use public transport, and to self-quarantine for two weeks. For me, I felt the easiest, and I believe cheapest, way to do so would be to rent a car and drive the 8 hours it takes to get home. So I did.

I got out of customs quite easily, and then went straight to the rental car place. Eight hours, four breaks, and five bottles of coffee, pocari sweat, and coke later and I arrived in Sakata. My wife had dropped off my car at the car rental shop, and I went home where I’ve been since.

My wife had lovingly prepared some meals, and she comes around daily to check up on me, albeit in a socially-distanced way. It’s much more comfortable quarantining at home, but that’s probably because I have the whole house to myself, and I can ask my wife to get me anything I need. She’s generally pretty good at predicting that anyway 🙂 so I don’t have to ask for much.

Also one big difference is that I can do laundry. That was a problem in Wellington, we were limited in what we could wash, and I nearly ran out of underwear. Don’t have that problem now.

Now I just have to wait here for another week and a bit and I’ll be allowed outside, although there’s nothing really stopping me at all. I could have just jumped on the train once I left Narita, but I wouldn’t want to anyway. All in all, I probably prefer being here, but it requires having someone to help you from the outside, and having the means to get home from the airport. If you can do that, I’d recommend staying at home.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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