People gather at a beach in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Saturday, even though there are no beach huts or lifeguards. Photo: KYODO
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Japan's summer season transformed by coronavirus

59 Comments

As the rainy season ends, Japan is entering summer without its typical scenes of festivals, fireworks and open beaches this year as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the country.

Shonan and other famous beaches in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, are without huts or lifeguards as people have been advised to stay away amid strict coronavirus control measures.

An association representing around 40 beach hut operators in Zushi in the prefecture said some members cannot make ends meet without opening their huts, while they continue to patrol and clean up as people are still visiting beaches that are not off-limits.

Even those visiting beaches are taking anti-virus measures, including maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks.

"I missed the sun," said a woman in her 70s living in Fujisawa as she visited a beach in the Kanagawa Prefecture city with her son and his family for the first time this year.

Wearing a face mask and sunglasses, the woman said she enjoys watching her grandchild playing in the waves.

In in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, the Omagari firework festival, which attracts 700,000 visitors every year, was canceled for the first time in 73 years, leaving many firework balls in stock.

"We hope to prepare our best work, hoping the festival will be held next year," said Kentaro Saito, 40, president of Hibikiya Omagari Fireworks, which had prepared 20,000 firework balls for the event.

Other famous festivals have been canceled, including the Aomori Nebuta festival, in which large illuminated floats parade in the city of Aomori, and the Sendai Tanabata Festival in Miyagi Prefecture, known for its hanging decorations.

In Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, ice makers have suffered a blow from the cancellation of summer festivals and events in which shaved ice is widely sold.

"July and August are the best time for business, but I expect our sales this year to fall to 30 percent or less of the previous year's levels," said Osamu Maeda, 66.

The coronavirus pandemic has also forced changes to children's summer vacation plans as many schools have shortened summer breaks to make up for closures in spring under a state of emergency.

A group holding exercise events for children in Sapporo, Hokkaido, said it had decided not to ask elementary school students to participate as their breaks are limited.

Japan's National High School Baseball Championship this summer has been called off following the cancellation of its spring tournament.

"I've never experienced a downturn like this," said Hatsue Fujisaka, 78, who runs a restaurant near Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, where the finals are held.

Without many high school baseball players visiting the restaurant, her husband Etsuo, 81, said he feels sad, but added, "I'll take care of my own health and keep working."

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

59 Comments
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I'm actually happy about this. I hate crowds, and during a Japanese summer the heat and humidity make the crowds all the more unbearable.

When we go out in the daytime this time of year, it's usually to a secluded spot in the forested hills.

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

A blanket cancellation of all outdoor festivals and festivities is completely wrong. These are events that keep communities ticking over and connected, they offer hope and inspiration, as well as nurturing local economies. Fireworks displays or Tanabata could have had alterations if necessary. There are only a very small number of leaders in the world now with any kind of courage or vision at all for the present and future.

-16 ( +14 / -30 )

as people have been advised to stay away amid strict coronavirus control measures.

strict?

don’t they mean overly lax.... and I don’t even want to say control measures

11 ( +18 / -7 )

@that person - how about “strict urges” for better accuracy?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Shonan and other famous beaches in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, are without huts or lifeguards as people have been advised to stay away amid strict coronavirus control measures.

Good. More room for people like me, who never used the beach huts anyway.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

@Simian Lane

a blanket cancellation of all outdoor festivals and festivities is completely wrong

I 100% agree!

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

I always enjoy japanese summer

Next week my Obon starts and it will completely different from the usual Obon before.

No fun at all!

It is very depressing to see that life lost all fun, because of a virus that was orginated or created in a country which is still continue bullying the whole world.

And I hope that the whole world will never forget that.

I dont need to mention the name of that country. Everbody knows what I am talking about.

-2 ( +19 / -21 )

The report on mental health from the lockdown will be interesting reading.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

"I missed the sun," said a woman in her 70s living in Fujisawa as she visited a beach in the Kanagawa Prefecture city with her son and his family for the first time this year.

I wonder where in the heck she lives normally if she doesnt get to see the sun!

More like missing the beach, I would bet!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Obon vacation is next Monday! Im excited and dislike being coupe up in my room working from home for last 8 months and cant wait to hit up a beach myself! That article picture making me wanna go right now with a six pack of asahi super dry!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Pleased to say only a handful of people actually wearing face masks on the beach we’re I live. The rest of us are having fun with our families and friends.

Human beings require vitamin D (sunlight) in order to have healthy immune systems. The whole stay at home thing is counter productive in my opinion.

Get outdoors and enjoy your lives folks!!

2 ( +11 / -9 )

@Oxycodin

Enjoy your Obon with a lot of beer.

Asahi Super Dry and a beach fits best!

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

A blanket cancellation of all outdoor festivals and festivities is completely wrong. These are events that keep communities ticking over and connected, they offer hope and inspiration, as well as nurturing local economies. Fireworks displays or Tanabata could have had alterations if necessary. There are only a very small number of leaders in the world now with any kind of courage or vision at all for the present and future.

How on Earth would you be able to make most of these events safe? Popular Japanese summer festivals are insanely crowded events, its like having hundreds of thousands of people crammed into a giant open air commuter train at rush hour. Its not like sports events at a stadium where they can limit entry or anything, people just show up. They would be the perfect super spreader event.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

And as you head for the beach, the cinema and festivals and complain that life isn't fun anymore, please remember that there will be countless number of medical staff around the world who will not be able to enjoy life as you do. There will also be countless number of patients in ICU who will be unconscious and will not even know it's summer, and there will also be countless number of people including young children who will die alone in an isolation ward away from their loved ones. Yeah, Kanpai...

1 ( +11 / -10 )

@rainy day people can sit in their cars and still enjoy seeing fireworks, watching movies, watching a concert, admittedly a controlled number of cars and controlled spectator spots, it can be done

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Dehumanization...

Don't show your face. Don't travel. Don't socialize. Don't touch anything. Don't hand money directly to someone, make them pick it up. YOU are probably killing others at all times. Your comments will be censored if you speak out. YOU are the disease.

Now get back to work!

3 ( +14 / -11 )

And as you head for the beach, the cinema and festivals and complain that life isn't fun anymore, please remember that there will be countless number of medical staff around the world who will not be able to enjoy life as you do. There will also be countless number of patients in ICU who will be unconscious and will not even know it's summer, and there will also be countless number of people including young children who will die alone in an isolation ward away from their loved ones. Yeah, Kanpai...

All because I went to the beach?

2 ( +11 / -9 )

It is very depressing to see that life lost all fun, because of a virus that was orginated or created in a country which is still continue bullying the whole world. 

And I hope that the whole world will never forget that.

I think we get the message.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

@Agent X

You are right,

If we dont take care, the world situation will become the same like in John Carpernter's "They Live".

But someone stand up against it!

But dont't worry!

Let us be happy and optimistic.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

@Jimizo

Good!

Finally my messages are heard!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

MontyToday 07:42 am JST

I always enjoy japanese summer

Have you ever actually been to Japan?

15 ( +17 / -2 )

rainy day people can sit in their cars and still enjoy seeing fireworks, watching movies, watching a concert, admittedly a controlled number of cars and controlled spectator spots, it can be done

Have you never been to Japan? The events we are talking about are massive ones that draw 10s or 100s of thousands of people to areas with almost zero parking.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan, and everywhere else man. Weird times.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Simian, lol, festivals keep communities, together. Not this year, if those noisy, over priced festivals were held the virus numbers would triple as people would not stay home. Just like when the emergency lockdown was lifted....okay, we can do whatever we want attitude with no consequences. You watch by next week if the government really keeps up this amount of testing you are going to see 600 plus cases because no one wishes to suck it up and stay put.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I wonder where in the heck she lives normally if she doesnt get to see the sun!

We haven't had sun for about 2 months here in Japan.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

@Alfie

I live since many years in Japan.

And like I said, I love the summers in Japan.

Hot and humid and Ice cold beer!

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

@AgentX

Dehumanization...

Don't show your face. Don't travel. Don't socialize. Don't touch anything. Don't hand money directly to someone, make them pick it up. YOU are probably killing others at all times. Your comments will be censored if you speak out. YOU are the disease.

Now get back to work!

You don't really get it do you. This isn't some kind of conspiratorial attack on your 'rights', it's a sustained process of social responsibility to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities from contacting a disease that may kill them. Like your grandparents. Social responsibility, care, compassion. The very definition of humanity. Young people get it and transfer it, their grandparents die from it - just look at what has happened in Victoria, Australia. Young, selfish, reckless and irresponsible people doing 'whatever they like' has now sent a whole state into lockdown for at least 9 weeks and people have died as a direct result of their stupidity. But their 'rights' are, like, super important, right?

Our social behaviours are exactly what the virus exploits perfectly for its proliferation and survival, and those are what need to be modified to 'win', as the Americans put it, not stupidly and stubbornly refuse to modify behaviour because we won't compromise on who we are.

That's just selfish, dumb and a death sentence for people in our community.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

These festivals are mostly all the same. And fireworks , can they not be sacrificed at least for environmental reasons ? That also to much to ask ? And the plastic one time use food serving materials and drink cups , of course the plastic bags.. when is the Japanese public going to get it ? Overpriced low quality junk food. Festivals here translate into beer and sochu guzzling events. But everyone is welcome to go, they are not for me. This is my opinion but I am happy to have others enjoy them. Just with a bit more respect for nature which these festivals are in part at least supposed to celebrate.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

coronavirus control measures

What measures??? There are ZERO measures from the national government and there’s only recommendations from local governments. Nothing is being enforced on anyone anywhere.

In fact the national government is pushing for more travel with the Go To campaign.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Japan's summer season transformed by coronavirus

Heh. More like tanked.

This place is hell in summer without public pools, or the beach.

The only thing to look forward to are high utility bills,

and sweaty masks.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think I’ve been to the beach like seven or eight times since March. I rather enjoy the extra space!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I was at that beach a few weeks ago and it is not very crowded. I intend to go again surfing with friends next Saturday. If you are concerned about crowds go a bit farther south like 1-2 kilometers and the beach has few persons.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The economic and social effects will be worse than the actual virus. Meanwhile in Berlin... https://youtu.be/GlXxU1b3dXs

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The last big vacation period, which was GW, had a voluntary lockdown nationwide and a stay at home thing going on. This Obon period will have none of that with lots of people planning on traveling and/or going back to their hometowns. I have a feeling there's going to be a massive spike in cases near the end of August.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

“Human beings require vitamin D (sunlight) in order to have healthy immune systems. The whole stay at home thing is counter productive in my opinion. 

Get outdoors and enjoy your lives folks!!”

Precisely

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Well, it is a transformation for the summer. Pretty much around the world, but as we see, it’s also in Japan. Nice to see, that despite the event cancellations, people can still get to the beach. Amongst other things, but I am at my family shorehouse this weekend, here in the states. So I can attest to how nice it is to get to the beach during this whole situation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's disappointing to miss out on lots of fun stuff this year, but you should still consider yourself lucky if that's the extent of it for you. Other people are losing a lot more than that.

I reckon we're looking at another state of emergency and expect things to get worse before they get better. There were murmurs a couple of weeks ago about the disease being airborne, not merely in droplets, and if that is the case, we'll be in this for some time to come.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seems like a regular summer here under the palm trees

Beach is full, people having fun

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What a country Japan is when beaches are ‘open’ and ‘closed’ !

I was (the only one) in the water in May on Maiko. Each in Kobe and it was so refreshing.

And

Without many high school baseball players visiting the restaurant, her husband Etsuo, 81, said he feels sad, but added, "I'll take care of my own health and keep working."

What is an 81 year doing working all day in a hot restaurant?

Surely, it is time to sell the business on?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This isn't some kind of conspiratorial attack on your 'rights'

Where did I mention that it was a conspiracy? The over-reaction to this minor threat by melodramatic people, like yourself, is no conspiracy.

Living your life and maintaining your livelihood are NOT selfish acts that are killing people.

The way that the media and politicians pander to individuals (in order to profit) that feel threatened, is doing far more damage than 'the threat'.

You really haven't done your research if you feel otherwise...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

AgentX, it's not because you went to the beach. You don't get it, do you? It's that mentality, the immediate gratification, let me party while I can attitude. You may be careful but you can't guarantee that others will. Going out now in public places only increases the chances of infections and what's sacrificing a few months of pleasure to prevent a breakdown in the medical system? My son has asthma and I don't want to have anything increasing the chances of him getting infected.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"People gather at a beach in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Saturday, even though there are no beach huts or lifeguards."

The fella in the red trunks happens to be a life saver (lifeguard).

Thank goodness that there are none of those chimpira-owned beach huts! They always attract the wrong kind of people to the beaches who always leave their trash everywhere. Good Riddance!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Dbsaiya.... If you are worried about your son’s asthma (which by the way, does’t seem to be a contributing factor to corvid infections) then keep him at home. Let those who want to live a normal life get on with it.... Of course while social distancing, wearing masks where appropriate and not acting like idiots.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Summers here time for waves and bbqs bring it on...if your worried about the virus stay home let everyone else get on with their lives..

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

There are only a very small number of leaders in the world now with any kind of courage or vision at all for the present and future.

Hmmm, I wonder who those might be...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All these posts saying something along the lines of “get some sunlight because we need vitamin D to have strong immune systems” must be fairly uninformed about vitamin D synthesis.

Sunlight isn’t the only means of getting Vitamin D. Dietary means of vitamin D can be perfectly efficient / potent. For example, a serving of salmon contains over 100% of vitamin D dosing for a day. Same with shiitake and some other mushrooms (particularly if they are placed in the sun gills up before cooking).

So no, please don’t use vitamin D as an reason to invalidate viral mitigation measures.

For what it’s worth, I have lupus, which entails allergies (organ damage) to UV light in the sun. Guess what? I have a perfectly healthy level of vitamin D even while avoiding the sun thanks to dietary sources (salmon, shiitake, etc.).

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

People stay home the novel virus also on beach! I just love the empty beaches, no trash no people... Paradise. Keep the novel going.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

And they’ll be millions on the trains tomorrow not at the beach...keep the urging going though...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I’m writing this year off. Stay home. Stay alive. Come back next year vaccinated.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Ashley

You watch by next week if the government really keeps up this amount of testing you are going to see 600 plus cases because no one wishes to suck it up and stay put.

The number of pcr test has increased a bit hence the higher infection numbers but still embarrassingly low and not numbers to rave about.

There are still thousands of people being refused testing by the welfare centers for not meeting some ridiculous criteria.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why can't they open a large amount of these events, with strict guidelines, they could limit the amount of people at organised events, they could check each persons temp, provide hand wash sterilisation areas, and tell people to use masks, I know its going to hard to impose these restrictions in town areas, but they could try rather than just shut everything down, opening some events would not only be good for the economy but its also good for your soul and well being.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

AgentX

The over-reaction to this minor threat by melodramatic people, like yourself, is no conspiracy.

Okay, now you seem confused in the connection between your posts. Your quote I posted implies that it is a conspiracy, which is confirmed by this:

The way that the media and politicians pander to individuals (in order to profit) that feel threatened, is doing far more damage than 'the threat'.

Can I ask you this; if your parents, or your siblings, or even you died of this virus, would you still think it a minor threat? Think about that carefully and answer honestly.

Can I ask how old you are?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Not sure why the down votes for stating a scientific fact...

You can check for yourself if you doubt vitamin D can be obtained via dietary sources just fine...

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Not sure why the down votes for stating a scientific fact...

Kay, you're not the first person to be downvoted for that, unfortunately. Some people just don't want to hear inconvenient things like facts.

Soldier on...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Sunlight isn’t the only means of getting Vitamin D. Dietary means of vitamin D can be perfectly efficient / potent. For example, a serving of salmon contains over 100% of vitamin D dosing for a day. Same with shiitake and some other mushrooms (particularly if they are placed in the sun gills up before cooking).

I am from Florida and in junior high days a long time ago they were trying to encourage us to avoid too much sun which is linked with skin cancer and at the assembly the white doctor said something like "White is Right". It was a nonissue at the time but now seems crazy. In any case, I personally need sunlight for my mental health and eating salmon all day is just not going to do it for me. Sunlight is life, hope and happiness.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the white doctor said something like "White is Right".

Yaaahhhh.... you don't want the wrong person walking in on that presentation at the wrong time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Reckless

Sure, I understand sun is important for mental health (seasonal affective disorder is a good example) but getting sun doesn’t need to be synonymous with engaging in activities counterproductive to viral mitigation (like crowded matsuri or hanabi taikai) as some folks on here are proposing. Be well~

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tamarama, hear hear, well said.

Kay Bow, quite right, don’t worry about the down votes, the ignorant, stupid, scientifically illiterate and self centred are always with us.

Mr Kipling, Asthma has no connection to catching the virus but if you bother to read a little scientific fact you will see that it is a recognised underlying factor that should an asthmatic catch the virus can lead to worse outcomes including death. Which is why in all civilised countries people are adopting socially responsible behaviour; limiting their own actions for the benefit of all rather than mere self centred selfishness.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We should avoid too much sun.

We only need a few minutes of sun per day to get enough vitamin d so chances are we get enough even if we are doing all we can to avoid it.

"For example, in the UK, 13 minutes of midday sunlight exposure during summer three times per week is enough to maintain healthy levels among Caucasian adults"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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