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Five more dispatches from the place where Japanese life and culture collide the novel coronavirus to create the new normal:

  • The idea of travel and reuniting with loved ones may be all the more tempting if you can get a COVID-19 vaccination while you’re away. Magdalena Osumi spoke to some foreign residents who are giving up on Japan’s snail-paced rollout and heading back home for jabs.
  • For those staying in Japan, Rebecca Saunders has been consulting the experts about the latest health guidance in order to work out how (or if) it’s safe to socialize this Golden Week. Is it OK to visit parks? Without a mask? Answers are in her Q&A.
Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free: Some foreign residents of Japan are heading back to their home countries temporarily for COVID-19 vaccinations. | GETTY IMAGES
Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free: Some foreign residents of Japan are heading back to their home countries temporarily for COVID-19 vaccinations. | GETTY IMAGES
  • Humans aren’t the only ones getting stressed out amid the pandemic — dogs are showing tell-tale signs of mental fallout from the coronavirus crisis, a Japanese survey shows, with an increase in clinginess and barking among the symptoms.
  • A majority of people in Japan are turning down calls from their superiors or clients for drinks, a survey shows, with refuseniks finding the pandemic to be the perfect excuse to avoid a tradition many workers apparently dread anyway.
  • Read all about it in Mark Schreiber’s roundup of what’s big in Japan’s tabloids right now: 2021 will be remembered as the year of the “baby shock,” one warns. Meanwhile, plastic is proliferating in the pandemic — and could older residents be shipped off to China?

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