I’m with itsonlyrocknroll on this. The fuss they make over a party!! Meetings about meetings. Surely the way forward is to let young people have their fun and for others to make a bit of money. Japan already is a ‘nanny’ state - my opinion - sucking the fun out of life. The more extreme parties for people to let off steam the better. Yes, let’s make a profit as well.
-6 ( +9 / -15 )
@wolfshine - excellent post. There are two sides to this story as you so eloquently pointed out. There needs to be a national campaign to educate the local population about the reality of Covid today. Young people should not be masking (out of fear?!) at this point without a very good reason.
-4 ( +6 / -10 )
I think Elvis is right on this issue. First two weeks of July could be the hottest the world has experienced in 120,000 years. This coming week in certain parts of Europe it’s projected to reach 49 degrees Celsius. Mind boggling and impossible to deny that we are in serious trouble with climate change tipping points about to tip.
-7 ( +5 / -12 )
The Saitama city area is a good place to live and visit - it’s modernising quickly, much cheaper than Tokyo, and is becoming a major transportation hub. Tbh, living in certain parts of Tokyo can feel more isolated than somewhere like Omiya which has 11 lines and get to Tokyo station or Shinjuku in about 30 mins. Plus you can access places like Kariuzawa in 45 mins by Shinkansen. What’s not to like?
2 ( +3 / -1 )
Some posters whining about the poor manners of tourists. It’s the other way round. It’s bad manners to judge guests who have made the effort to visit the country where you live. The majority of tourists are decent people, respectful of Japan and interested in the culture. Welcome them.
-1 ( +8 / -9 )
I think posters are right to keep the pressure on the media and others as to how ubiquitous mask wearing is unnecessary and damaging to the mental health of children in particular as well as being terrible for the environment. Unmask, unmask and then unmask some more.
-5 ( +1 / -6 )
It would be great if the royal family was more transparent about the vast wealth it has squirrelled away. All the inheritance taxes that we mere mortals have to pay, etc are clearly taboo to those born with the ‘divine right’ on their side!
-2 ( +0 / -2 )
Good to see travel back to something like normal. Of course Japan is still preoccupied way to much with Covid. Young children wearing masks is now verging on the abhorrent. All employees should be given the option to unmask on May 8. After all, if you categorise Covid as the same as flu then it should be treated the same as flu. Otherwise, don’t recategorise it.
-1 ( +5 / -6 )
@Patricia - it seems some retail organisations are going to leave it up to staff while others like Takashimaya are going to continue masking ‘for the time being’. I’ll avoid those stores from now on as it’s blatantly unfair on staff. I agree that kids should demask en masse - even schools enforcing it for the greater good.
-2 ( +3 / -5 )
Still seeing the majority of school kids masked up - clearly anxiety now not disease related. The fear is endemic and will take yeas to unravel. There should be an urgent national campaign to unmask the young and healthy. Social pressure can work both ways. Undo what has been done.
2 ( +7 / -5 )
@Elvis - Cheers - interesting article. Gives me some hope!
-1 ( +5 / -6 )
@ Awa - I think you will find the majority of people that have a problem with mask wearing in Japan aren't that friendly or considerate of others and not team players of the community.
I think we can all agree that there was a time and place for team play as you call it. But 3 plus years in - nearly 100% conformity - the only country in the world still fully masked. The problem is not with the maskless anymore - it’s switched.
-7 ( +8 / -15 )
@Bob Fosse - It’s not as simple as that though. Many employees are still forced into wearing them. Or you still need to wear them watching baseball or soccer or going to the theatre. That’s not including peer pressure. Japan is the last country in the world doing this. It’s not acceptable.
-1 ( +11 / -12 )
I’ve seen the most absurd conformity to mask wearing: young couples masked on park benches; lone hikers in the middle of the countryside masked; people putting on theirs masks leaving a crowded bar. The list goes on and on. Tbh, mask wearing wouldn’t normally bother me. It’s just the irrational extent of it, the now anti-science of it that gets to you. It’s like living in a gigantic sick ward. Even the crowd in the Taiwan baseball game was largely maskless yesterday while Tokyo Dome was masked up to the eyeballs. The last country in the world to be totally masked. Let that sink in for a minute.
1 ( +25 / -24 )
Numbers are becoming irrelevant now. In a post yesterday, I commented that I hoped mask wearing would drop 20-30% from next week. Somebody commented why does it bother you what other people do? Here’s why. I’m one of the only people maskless so I obviously stand out. It’s not me that’s against science anymore but people stare at you anyway. Another reason: People - especially children - are not making their own choices. Many are coerced or peer-pressured to conform. Finally, a lot of studies are coming out showing the detrimental effect masks are having on child development. One study in Hong Kong showed a large increase in young children needing speech therapy. Let’s just end the madness now.
2 ( +16 / -14 )
@sangetsu - A really good post but comparing Japan to Sweden is somewhat of a false equivalence as we know how Japan isolated itself. If you were on the inside then great - as you expressed - but if stuck outside trying to get in then the optics were not so good.
-1 ( +6 / -7 )
The numbers are extremely low. Other good news is that most retailers are falling into line and making masking optional in their stores from March 13. Even if 20-30% of people drop their masks I’ll be satisfied. What gets you down is the ubiquitous, obsessive, 99% that you see most days. It’s a kind of sickening and irrational conformity, completely against science now.
1 ( +11 / -10 )
@rainy day hits the nail on the head superbly. Every other argument is irrelevant at this stage.
-4 ( +6 / -10 )
@Ricky - Absolutely spot on. There needs to be real leadership on this issue not some half-hearted nonsense. Masking for many has become a psychological crutch.
5 ( +15 / -10 )
@ reamer - Sure, Murakami can dwell too much on the surreal and the whimsical but when he wants to be he can shock with the best of them. Wind up Bird human skinning scene comes to mind. That’s a scene that stays with you even if you consider American Psycho light reading!
3 ( +3 / -0 )
Murakami likes to revisit symbols and motifs in his works. He admits that he often repeats the same story but in different forms. A bit like how we are trapped in our own repetitive routines and lives. The walled city idea was used in the novel Hard-boiled Wonderland and represented an uncomplicated and idealised subconscious state away from the conflicted ‘real’ world. Commentators here dismiss Murakami’s later work but he is still a great writer in my opinion. I teach his books (which now appear on set curriculum in International schools) and kids really engage with his work.
-1 ( +3 / -4 )
To be fair to the HK govt, they don’t mess around once they make a decision. It was the last place in the world to have an outdoor mask mandate. Then suddenly, within 24 hrs, all mandates dropped including indoors and public transportation. Wow!
6 ( +6 / -0 )
When even Hong Kong gives up the game on masks, you know Covid is done.
10 ( +11 / -1 )
@Roy - Hong Kong is part of China. The article is about China and Covid restrictions. I pointed out a salient fact about why strict measures are being dropped everywhere. What’s your point?
-3 ( +1 / -4 )