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Five more dispatches from Japan’s new normal that caught our eye over the past few days:

  • With most of Japan’s major urban centers under a second state of emergency and everyone encouraged to avoid nonessential outings, On:Tech’s Chiho Komoriya presents some gadgets and apps that may come in handy — from pop-up teleworking modules and toilet paper tech to pocket-size painting studios.
  • With so many of us relying on tech to do our jobs at home, having a “digital detox” may be impossible. But to lighten your digital diet, Rebecca Saunders has assembled an array of analog activities you could try out instead. Maybe it’s time to put down the phone and pick up a new Japanese skill, from shogi to shodō.
A sign of things to come in the world of performing arts, director Kuro Tanino’s virtual reality production, 'Dark Master VR,' plays with the audience’s senses of sight, taste and smell to create an immersive theater experience. | KEIZO MAEDA
A sign of things to come in the world of performing arts, director Kuro Tanino’s virtual reality production, ‘Dark Master VR,’ plays with the audience’s senses of sight, taste and smell to create an immersive theater experience. | KEIZO MAEDA
  • In 2020, theater companies broke the mold by embracing digital platforms and trying out new approaches to business models and staging productions due to the pandemic. Such changes will no doubt carry on in 2021, writes Nobuko Tanaka, as she looks back at last year and forward into the brave new theater world.
  • Tax-deductible donations to local governments that allow people to receive local specialties in return have jumped sharply as people stay home, Kyodo reports. In fact, 59 out of 221 surveyed local governments said donations received more than doubled between April and September from the same period the year before.
  • The use of masks by television personalities and news anchors on camera is sparking a debate among the public and within the entertainment industry in Japan after broadcasters on a major network began wearing them during a program last month. Is it really necessary or a case of going a step too far?

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