How life changed in Japan with the Covid-19?
Just like everyone around the world , because of corona, I have been staying home for almost 3 months. Although the quarantine life is suffering in many ways we still found some interesting & positive changes in the society and those changes might be continuously impacting our life after the coronavirus is ended.
Digitalization & work from home
This topic might not be new for China or US, but due to the impact of corona, this part is getting well improved in Japan. For example, the Food/vegetables e-commerce sites are getting more and more popular in Japan. Some of them is run by the local community and some of them are of B to C mode (farmers directly deliver the food to the users). Those online services are getting more and more recognized & used during the quarantine.
Another interesting point specifically in Japan, is the digitalized contract. If you have any experience doing business with Japanese people, you might know about their 印鑑 culture. It is another type of signature in Japan.(see the below screenshot). Even if you want to open a bank account, you will need this kind of signature. In traditional Japanese companies, for most of the approvals, you will need to get the 印鑑 from your boss. Depending on the importance of the application, sometimes you will need 印鑑 from managers of several levels .
As people start to work from home, this become one of the difficulties in Japanese society. They can’t easily get the 印鑑 and get approval as normal. There comes the digital signature & digital contract. For example, NEC is pushing their digital signature service and seems to have a good success.
Online meeting, online school, online drinking party , both old & new concepts are invading into our life.
With all the necessary “infrastructure” & “process” being digitalized, we start to believe that wfh is getting easier and might be the future way of working. Just read from news , Twitter announces that their employees will be allowed to work from home forever. Cool~~
We know that cash flow is one of the biggest problems for small biz during the quarantine. Japan’s cloud founding services are getting well used those days for prevent the small business from bankrupts. Like on camp-fire, they got a lot of projects supporting the Izakaya（Japanese pub) & the YATAI in Fukuoka(food stalls, as the image below). It helps save the small business, and eventually save the precious local culture.
Theatre & concert business is another big victim of virus. A lot of musical and concerts are being canceled these days. On another funding cloud service, people are also raising money for those people.
新型コロナウイルス感染症被害対策：舞台芸術を未来に繋ぐ基金＝Mirai Performing Arts Fund | MOTION GALLERY
If you ask, is there anyone who is not playing the animal forest(crossing)? The answer might be those who are not playing only cuz they haven’t chance to get one switch. This switch game is extremely popular right now. Many articles have analyzed the reason behind. Those who have no interest in game at all before, start to play this game and seem to like it a lot. Personally, I feel switch game is not only a new emerging way of killing time but also a new way of life. You can communicate with people(like in the animal forest) and even doing the sports with it. (esp. Ring Fit Adventure)
Another big winner during the quarantine, is the online live platforms. For example, a lot of musicians are doing their broadcast on YouTube/Instagram etc. It is so impressive to see those musicians around world performing together, which is rare even without the quarantine. For example, the cooperation between the Broadway stars and West End stars in solidarity to sing duets etc.. etc.. those online platforms help reduce another kind of distance when everyone keeps the real social distance!
Another interesting new way of online entertainment is from zoos and aquariums. For example, Kyoto aquarium has broadcasted dolphin’s performance without the audience.
We have seen many negative economy trends, like the decreasing housing price esp. in big cities , the bankrupt of cruise service, the unemployment etc… etc… but still we need to have a look at those new positive trends, not only for having more confidence in life but also for not being lost when the after-coronavirus new era comes.