Face shield drinking top image
Design: Time Out Tokyo

Coronavirus is changing the way Japan thinks about drinking parties

A new experimental party for the coronavirus era includes distanced seating plans, masks and clear plastic face shields

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

As more and more businesses start reopening in Tokyo and across Japan, people are being encouraged to adapt to a new lifestyle to curb the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Japan is particularly known for boisterous social gatherings, especially when it comes to after-work drinking parties. So what does the future look like for these types of gatherings? Thanks to a group of office workers from Oita prefecture, we can get a feel for what may become the new normal when going out to bars, restaurants and izakaya in Japan. 

The salarymen who attended this experimental social-distancing party were sitting strategically, so they were not directly facing each other, and each wore a clear plastic face shield that covered their entire face. During the party, people also refrained from clinking their glasses together when toasting, and when not wearing the face shield, guests covered their mouths with a handkerchief or mask while talking.

If you’re thinking of drinking behind a plastic sheet, Oita prefecture has offered step-by-step instructions on how to create your own DIY face shield. You could also try making this one created by the designer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch.

Some bars, like this one in Osaka, are even handing out free face shields to customers, so keep an eye out. Or you can buy your own pre-made face shields and plastic partitions from Tokyo-based acrylic company Miyuki Acryl online.

This might not be the kind of drinking party we’ve been missing in isolation, but you know what they say – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ready to go out? See our guide on how to go out safely in Tokyo.


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