Five stories on how the coronavirus crisis continues to infect life in Japan:
- Restaurants’ efforts to get customers to refrain from talking while eating have been attracting public support. The campaign for mokushoku (silent eating), began when a curry restaurant in Fukuoka posted the word on a social media, complaining about how bad manners of some customers were undermining restaurants’ antivirus measures.
- Having canceled 2020’s Asakusa Samba Carnival due to the pandemic, organizers have already scrapped the 2021 iteration, more than six months before it was due to be held, writes Kyodo’s Eriko Arita. The annual samba parade, which usually takes place in late August and attracts half a million spectators to the area northeast of central Tokyo, has grown to be the biggest Brazilian carnival in the northern hemisphere.
- A 49-year-old man was arrested in Tokyo after refusing to vacate a toilet cubicle for hours following his disqualification from the standardized university entrance exams — after six warnings — for not covering his nose with a mask. A police officer eventually had to climb over the cubicle wall to reach him.
- A traditional doll maker that unveils new figures featuring prominent newsmakers each year has chosen the governors of Tokyo and Osaka, two prefectures with high numbers of coronavirus cases, for its 2021 lineup. Kyugetsu decided to feature the pair “in the hope that they can suppress the virus and lead us back to our normal daily lives soon,” said a spokesperson.
- The death toll related to shoveling snow has reached 70 this winter in Japan, with people aged 70-plus accounting for 48 of the fatalities. An Akita Prefecture disaster management official suggested that coronavirus travel restraints were a factor in many deaths, with older people forced to clear snow off roofs themselves because younger family members were unable to visit.