In a matter of seconds, just steps into Tokyo, you can see evidence of the war the country is facing, where victory means more than gold...it means life.
Upon landing at the airport, we were instantly separated into athletes, media and locals, and we begin a tedious process of checking documents, including results of two prior COVID tests taken within 72 hours.
At this station, we took a third COVID test and waited for results.
Airport officials verified our Olympic credentials and passports plus we signed a pledge to follow all government regulations.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
We downloaded an app for daily health check-ins and contact tracing. Quarantine teams escorted us through every checkpoint.
It took us three hours to determine that we were safe for Japan. Then, we finally made it to the hotel.
Still exhausted, we were excited to see as much as we could of the city, though the scenes are an eerie reminder of the past year we’ve all experienced.
Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC
Unable to freely walk the city for 14 days, by bus we noticed closed storefronts along quieter-than-normal streets. Residents are asked to avoid nonessential outings as a state of emergency is in place to curb a resurgence of COVID infections.
But Toyko’s beauty, remains undiminished.