Five more stories that illustrate the way things have changed in 2020, the year of the coronavirus, in weird but wonderful ways:

  • How are Japanese abroad coping with life in a foreign land, compounded by the fear of COVID-19? Kathryn Wortley, who spoke to expats in places as diverse as Italy, Sudan, the U.S. and Hong Kong, finds a guarded optimism about prospects in the long term tinged with anxiety for the near future as we all await the rollout of vaccinations.
  • Back in Japan, a number of foreign detainees have been let out of detention across the country temporarily under a provisional release program to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in immigration facilities. But many of these ex-inmates have been left without means of support, prohibited from working and ineligible for government aid, reports Hiroshima’s Nishinippon Shimbun.
Sky Scape & Terra Bonsai | LANDSKIP
Sky Scape & Terra Bonsai | LANDSKIP
  • Symbolic of the “new normal,” masks are now even worn by people while running and working out. Athletic apparel manufacturers have been quick to capitalize on the demand, but which to choose? Kaz Nagatsuka recently tested out some of the best-sellers, wearing each of them through a 2K run so you don’t have to, and scored them according to six variables.
  • In a sign of how desperate airlines are to get people flying again, budget carrier Peach Aviation is considering launching a new pass program that gives holders unlimited travel on any of the airline’s domestic flights for a set fee throughout February. And some passes will be as cheap as ¥19,800 for passengers without any checked bags — and ¥29,800 with one checked bag? Really?
  • There’s a new pandemic-era gadget for those who can’t wait to gaze outside an airplane window again: Sky Scape. It consists of a 22-inch high-resolution display surrounded by a plastic frame shaped like a window in a passenger aircraft. Yes, you’re still going absolutely nowhere — but at least you’re doing it in style.