It’s a Friday night and I’m sitting at home watching Naomi Watanabe perform an impromptu dance routine on her couch. Tens of thousands of viewers tuned into her April 3 YouTube livestream, during which the Japanese celebrity ate dinner, chatted with her audience and indulged in a few sudden flights of fancy for a little over 90 minutes.
Watanabe has held these livestreams on each weekend night ever since Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged residents of the capital in late March to stay at home on Saturdays and Sundays. These YouTube sessions are Watanabe’s way of encouraging folks to refrain from leaving their homes — they can digitally hang out with her instead. To underline the point, she’s deployed hashtags in English and Japanese urging everyone to #stayhome.