Five possible distractions from the coronavirus pandemic — some of them age-old remedies, others born out of the strange times we are living in:

  • Flying kites used to be the gold standard at New Year’s. In 2021 they made a comeback, as Kaori Shoji reports in Japan Pulse, being a pastime that can easily be enjoyed in the open air with plenty of social distancing. Popular spots in Tokyo were dotted with kite fliers, and social media was full of positive posts by people enjoying their newfound hobby.
  • Need a new #stayhome hobby as parts of Japan move back into a state of emergency? Maybe it’s time to pick up some yarn and needles and give knitting a try, suggests The New York Times. And if you’ve caught the crafting fever in Japan, Haruka Murayama has you covered with a list of five shops where you can order a variety of ready-made kits and specialty yarns for your next project.
Japan aquarium holds inter-species meet-ups during coronavirus crisis (May 2020) | AFP NEWS AGENCY
Japan aquarium holds inter-species meet-ups during coronavirus crisis (May 2020) | AFP NEWS AGENCY
  • With the coronavirus pandemic restricting human interaction, pet ownership has shot up in Japan as people hunger for companionship in stressful times. But some animal rights groups warn that the surge could be setting up a dire situation for many of the newly bought pets once people’s lives return to normal and less time is spent at home.
  • At the same time, facilities that thrive on the thrill of human-animal contact are suffering as they face plummeting attendance, so they’ve had to think outside the box. From lion-ripped jeans to scan images of dolphins’ bone marrow, zoos and aquariums in Japan are offering unique gifts in return for donations as they try to survive the novel coronavirus crisis.
  • Contributing writer William Lang has not one but four distractions in his latest Foreign Agenda column — unfortunately, it’s all stuff he wants to “un-discover” from 2020. Ninety-nine percent of us would probably agree with his views on the widening wealth gap, but what’s not to like about urban birdsong on the TV and radio?