A year on and we’re still talking about the “new normal.” When does it lose the “new” and just become plain old “normal”? Here are five ways that it’s still a thing in 2021, right when younger people should be having the time of their lives:

  • What if Cinderella dressed up in her finery only to discover, last minute, that the ball was canceled? This year, thousands of young women are hoping COVID-19 won’t dash their dreams of morphing into fairy tale princesses for their seijinshiki (coming-of-age ceremony) on Jan. 11. And Louise George Kittaka’s daughter is among them.
  • An apparent surge in unintended pregnancies, particularly among teens and women in their 20s, since April as the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to spend more time at home has prompted the health ministry to launch a nationwide study in order to come up with more effective policies to support women.
Raising the alarm — Youth suicide in Japan | RENE DUIGNAN | TEDXTOKYO | TEDX TALKS
Raising the alarm – Youth suicide in Japan | RENE DUIGNAN | TEDXTOKYO | TEDX TALKS
  • Japan has seen a rise in the number of people taking their own lives in recent months as anxieties brought on by the pandemic take an emotional and psychological toll. The trend is believed to have been exacerbated by the apparent suicides of celebrities and has had mental experts scrambling to respond.
  • Less than half of classes are face-to-face at 187 universities across Japan in the current second half of the academic year, according to a survey. As for students, a quarter of those receiving support from charities said they have thought of quitting school, citing financial hardship and a lack of motivation, another survey shows.
  • Has 2020 left you feeling blue? Are you having problems at work or home? If you’ve answered yes to either question, it may be time to write to a 9-year-old girl on Instagram who has become a go-to guru for angst-ridden adults in the age of COVID-19, explains Kaori Shoji in Japan Pulse.