Five more examples of how the the coronavirus pandemic is forcing change in every corner of life in Japan:
- Across the nation, 1.24 million young people celebrated becoming an adult on Monday, Coming of Age Day, in an annual rite of passage that would usually involve childhood reunions and all-night after-parties. But as Ryusei Takahashi reports, thousands still gathered in Yokohama to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime occasion — despite inevitable criticism and potential exposure to the virus.
- Japan’s new unified university entrance exam is still going ahead this weekend. While the test has some 530,000 applicants, the education ministry is advising test-takers to apply for a later substitute exam if they have health issues. Applicants are also being told to check their temperature every morning for about a week ahead of the test and bring their stats to the exam venue.
- For anyone in the business of organizing huge events in Japan — be it Fuji Rock Festival, the Tokyo International Film Festival or one of the marquee exhibitions or conferences — 2020 has been an annus horribilis. So how have they coped? Philip Brasor spoke to some of the big players about how they have adapted, and the prospects of a comeback for in-person events in 2021.
- Fashion, too, has been hurting. The trendy backstreets of Harajuku have seen an exodus of smaller names, notes Samuel Thomas in his On:Fashion column — one casualty being the shockingly cute Kawaii Monster Cafe, which closes Jan. 31. And speaking of kawaii, last week Loewe released its “My Neighbor Totoro” collection, with everything you need for a complete Studio Ghibli wardrobe.
- The vocabulary surrounding the state of emergency is back in the headlines as Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures hunker down. When people — politicians in particular — go against those guidelines, well, the excuses start. How do you say “Don’t follow what I do, follow what I say” in Japanese? Tadasu Takahashi presents readers with the vocab to discuss these strange times.