Sunday, July 18, 2021

Tokyo Olympics - Last minute details

It is the night before I leave and I have been knee deep in paperwork, hoping to make the entry into Japan a little smoother. I have had numerous reports from friends who are already in Tokyo and they are saying that the process to get Covid checked and cleared of all entry hurdles can take up to 8 hours. After flying for 10 hours, this just sounds horrible. We were also told that there will be no food at the airport, very few places to charge our devices, and limited WiFi.

For the last couple of months the organizing committee has told all of us with credentials (athletes, media, support staff...) that we need to submit an activity plan for the Games and that we would then receive an approval letter. Once we receive the approval letter, we are supposed to load an app on our phones, log in, and have this as an entry requirement. But I do not know of one person who has received an approval letter, so we are all entering without this approval. The messages amongst all my photographer friends has been interesting, with all of us asking if any of the others has received their approval, and then a sense of relief when we find out that we are not alone.  

In lieu of the activity plan, there is a "backup process" which we have all filled out, hoping to get into Japan without issue.

But there are a ton of other documents which we have to have with us. And from what I have been told, it is best to have them printed and not in digital form. So we are all printing every document in triplicate to cover our bases. These papers include:

* Our proof of negative Covid tests as provided by the test facility

* A Japanese Covid test form signed off by a doctor

* A coronavirus questionnaire which was completed online and generated a QR code

* Our activity plan that we submitted (even though they were never processed)

* Copies of our credentials

* Copies of our passports

* Proof of our housing (pre-approved by TOCOG)

* A copy of my vaccination card

I should say that I respect their abundance of caution when it comes to the pandemic, especially with the recent news from the Olympic Village and here at home. I just hope to get there, stay healthy, get some great photos, and share the stories with all of you.

Tomorrow I will head to San Francisco Airport and join the men's USA Water Polo team for the flight to Tokyo. They were training in Hawaii, thinking that this would be a great place to train and be half way to Japan. But their flights were cancelled and so they are flying a red-eye flight tonight back to SF and then making the long flight to Japan. That does not sound like fun, does it? 

So...the next blog may be from SFO or from Tokyo, but either we go!


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Gina Ibarra said...

Sorry for all the hoops you have to go through. Travel safely tomorrow and good luck with the entry into Tokyo. Looking forward to all your stories, but be safe!

Patty Weber said...


Arsalan B. said...

Best of luck. Looking forward to see your work from the Olympics. Hope the flight and entry into Japan are uneventful.

Carolyn said...

Be safe. Go Team USA!! Looking forward to your dispatches.

David Enzel said...

If you have time to find Eric Brodkowitz and photograph him that would be great: