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In The Age Of Covid-19, Japanese Drinking Parties Look Complicated

Illustration for article titled In The Age Of Covid-19, Japanese Drinking Parties Look Complicated
Screenshot: NHK
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As the number of novel coronavirus cases drops in Japan, some people will want to go out and drink with others. Whether or not they should is another matter.

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For the past few months, people in Japan have been participating in online drinking parties called “on-nomi,” which is short for “online drinking.” Basically, you’re drinking with folks through your webcam, which is both safe and comfortable. The folks I drink with are really nice.

As of writing, Japan has a total of 16,000 coronavirus cases, with 768 deaths. The state of emergency continues in places like Osaka, where I live, and Tokyo, where people continue to stay at home.

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NHK recently did a report showing a small trial run of a social-distancing party in Oita. That prefecture, with a population of over a million, has reported 60 cases and one death.

Participants wore plastic visors and snuck sips after lowering their masks.

Illustration for article titled In The Age Of Covid-19, Japanese Drinking Parties Look Complicated
Screenshot: NHK
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If you’re in Osaka or Tokyo, on-nomi still seems safer—and, from the look of those visors, less sweaty!

I understand that these council members participated in this event to help promote safety while partying. (Also, I realize that the Japanese food and drink industry is taking quite a hit—as it no doubt is everywhere.) 

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Illustration for article titled In The Age Of Covid-19, Japanese Drinking Parties Look Complicated
Screenshot: NHK

Drinking alcohol does lower your immunity, so that is certainly something else to keep in mind, among other factors that could put you and others at risk.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

Growing up, I could never buy horror or disaster movies where people wilfully ignore an obvious crisis. It always broke my suspension of disbelief when characters wanted to reopen the beach, gawk at the monster, keep zombie grandma in their guest room, etc.

In retrospect, that was pretty naive. The instinct to pretend everything’s normal, or near enough that you can go out drinking/get a haircut, is far more powerful than I ever realised. Blegh.