The coronavirus pandemic might have left many restaurants empty, but one establishment in Tokyo is relying on some model customers to enforce social distancing: life-like mannequins keeping diners from getting too close.
Masato Takemine’s Chinese restaurant looks busy even as many businesses in the city deal with a dearth of clientele, with ladies in ornate Chinese-style dresses and a girl in a kimono among those seated at his tables.
But the 16 customers are actually mannequins he has placed randomly at tables to keep diners from getting too close.
“At first I removed some of the tables to have more space in between, but it then looked so lonely, as if the restaurant was under renovation,” Takemine said.
“With these mannequins, the restaurant looks busy from the outside, and I can make sure customers are distancing themselves. “It’s also fun, giving us a jolly feeling,” he giggled.
While Japan has avoided the devastating tolls in places hit hardest by the coronavirus, many restaurants shut their doors during a state of emergency and even after it was lifted in May, the industry has seen customers shun eating out.
Takemine’s restaurant Kirin Saikan in downtown Tokyo reopened in late May but sees about half the number the customers it did before the virus, he said.
Among those returning was 51-year-old Tetsuya Kimura, who said he was startled when he walked through the entrance curtains for the first time after the reopening and saw the mannequins.
“These dolls look so real that I need some time to get used to them,” he said, tucking into a bowl of noodles at a table he was sharing with a child mannequin.
Takeichi Otomo, 82, another frequent customer at the restaurant, said he struggled to not look too shocked at the beginning.
“I still get startled when I come here,” he said with a straight face. “This is a crazy idea!”
While the mannequins keep the restaurant from feeling too empty, Takemine said he often thinks with longing about when his customers could visit with family and friends and enjoy carefree laughs and chats over platters to share.
“I don’t think we can go back to those times for many months,” he said. “I am just hoping we will return to normal while creating an environment where people can eat and drink safely.”
It has been 26 years since Nicholas Gould hosted his last Issues and Opinions radio show for ICRT a recording studio on Roosevelt Road. He remembers the familiar ‘whoosh’ as the door to the soundproof room closes and recognizes the carpet, but the recording equipment is gone, with half of the space being used for storage. Gould is filled with nostalgia as he greets his guests, two financial writers who are here to discuss Taiwan’s post-COVID-19 economy for his new podcast, Taiwan Matters. Gould had been thinking of revisiting his old career for a while, but being allowed access to
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was shown surrounded by pistol-toting generals while in the South masked veterans were socially distanced as the two sides yesterday separately marked the armistice that ended Korean War hostilities. The contrasting events marked 67 years since the ceasefire that left the peninsula divided and millions of families split by the Demilitarized Zone. In the North’s capital, Kim handed out commemorative pistols to dozens of generals and senior officers, who pledged their loyalty to him, state media reported. The North reported its first suspected case of novel coronavirus infection at the weekend — after insisting for months it had