Staying at home in a concerted effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19 may be necessary, but it’s still an adjustment that takes getting used to, especially as the weather gets warmer. In this time of crisis, spring events and celebrations that usually happen every year have been canceled or postponed.
For a little pick-me-up during the Golden Week holiday period, which began at the end of April and will continue into early May, The Japan Times can offer some help with a virtual escape via its YouTube channel.
You can have a belated hanami (flower viewing) party at home by opening your windows and sipping some sake while watching a video of this year’s sakura (cherry blossoms) in Tokyo (https://youtu.be/nhDw_qCYfW4). A different video from last year showcases different parts of the city and various sakura-themed festivities (https://youtu.be/B1_qeqoSAV8), including a projection-mapping presentation at Tokyo Tower that emulates bursts of sakura petals in the wind.
Additionally, you can see what kind of preparations are underway to celebrate Children’s Day, an occasion to hope for good health and happiness for your little ones. Koinobori (carp streamers), a symbol of courage and strength in the face of difficulties, have adorned Tokyo Dome City’s Crystal Avenue since April 4 (https://youtu.be/ZbfnHIt8UOE). Displays of these streamers often go up in various parts of Japan a month or two before the actual holiday, which will be celebrated on May 5 this year.
If you feel like some music and dancing will lift your spirits, check out the dress rehearsal of last year’s Azuma Odori, a festival featuring dances performed by geisha based in Tokyo (https://youtu.be/aotZwRGiVFs). Although this year’s edition, which was scheduled to take place on May 23-26, was canceled due to COVID-19, the video will give you an idea of how the traditional performances unfolded before spectators at the Shinbashi Enbujo theater in Chuo Ward.
If you’re curious to know what went on in Tokyo over Golden Week in 2017, there were displays of koinobori ― including a humongous one in the Tokyo Midtown complex in Minato Ward, which visitors could walk through ― as well as a festival for cat lovers (https://youtu.be/DNbXSW3d-Tw). (Yuki Yamauchi)