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To hell with the coronavirus and all its misery. Let’s at least try to look on the bright side:

  • “It is essential to clearly distinguish the current age of COVID-19 from the aftermath it will leave when the virus finally burns itself out,” writes Haruaki Deguchi in a commentary. Thankfully, Deguchi has only good things to say about what the pandemic will mean for globalization and work-life balance after all this hideousness is over.
  • Now that COVID-19-induced social distancing has become an accepted part of life, the call of the wild is more tempting than ever, spawning a new trend: buying plots of affordable forestland for camping expeditions — a prospect that turns out to be easier said than done, writes Alex Martin.
Kyohei Ueyama enjoys a hot bath on his plot of land in the mountains of Hyogo Prefecture. | COURTESY OF KYOHEI UEYAMA
Kyohei Ueyama enjoys a hot bath on his plot of land in the mountains of Hyogo Prefecture. | COURTESY OF KYOHEI UEYAMA
  • Japan’s physical bookstore market, which had been pressured by the growing presence of online bookstores and electronic books, is expected to expand in 2020 for the first time in four years. Paradoxically on two counts, this appears to be because of the increased tendency for people to stay home and … a certain anime.
  • The spread of the coronavirus may have slowed economies and closed many businesses worldwide, but it has been a boon for a newly opened Tokyo sauna that caters to solo customers. The Finnish-style sauna rooms at Solo Sauna Tune, where customers can relax in solitude and enjoy the heat from water over hot stones, are so popular they booked up within hours.
  • Tokyo has agreed with Chinese authorities to push back the return of Xiang Xiang, the popular female offspring of a giant panda couple on loan from China, to next May due to the pandemic, Gov. Yuriko Koike said last week. They also agreed to push back the return deadline for her parents, Ri Ri and Shin Shin, by about five years. You can see the whole family at Ueno Zoo — for another five months, at least.

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