We’re finally reaching the end of 2020, elected the worst year ever by TIME magazine. Humanity has probably seen worse times, but 2020 was a bumpy ride and we’re ready to close that chapter and move on to 2021.
It’s been a long year
First, the buying frenzy started it started in February. Stores were completely sold out of supplies such as masks, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Folks on Japanese Twitter assumed vodka could work just as well.
Then the Olympics got canceled, despite the government trying to put it off for as long as possible. We should have seen it coming. After all, iconic anime Akira had predicted a dystopian 2020 Olympics. The hashtag #中止だ中止 (“just cancel it!”) was trending on Twitter in early March, as well.
Despite the gloom and doom, some cool moments did occur. The Takanawa Gateway’s opening day was so historic, many Japanese folks couldn’t miss it. The crowd waited nearly three hours to purchase tickets as souvenirs. In hindsight, probably wasn’t the brightest idea during the pandemic.
A lot of screw-ups
Japan experienced a voluntary lockdown. Folks were encouraged to work from home and avoid unnecessary outings, but these were just requests from the government. However, a lot of Japanese heard their leaders and stayed put. The monotony became unbearable for some of them, beyond bored staying home. They looked for (crazy) ways to kill time. Such as sorting out the seven spices in shichimi (seven-flavor chili pepper).
2020 should and will also be remembered as one of the years the United States and other nations had to face racial inequalities. Police brutality and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on ethnic minorities lead to a worldwide mobilization – Japan included. But when it comes to explaining such a complex topic to the Japanese public, the NHK couldn’t do better but broadcast a racist video that sparked outrage.
During the early summer of 2020, we could safely say that Japan had dodged the worst of the pandemic so far. But hospitals still suffered economically, as the fear of the virus kept their regular patients at bay. Simultaneously, Covid-19 hospitalizations required a lot of care but didn’t bring the money hospital boards used to make. Many decided to make budget cuts.
But when Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital decided not to pay staff their annual summer bonus, the board probably didn’t expect 400 nurses to resign.
— 看護メン (@nursemens4321) July 6, 2020
“It’s incredible to see how everyone is equally enraged in the staff reviews for the hospital that won’t give bonuses due to corona.”
Stop raining already!
During a world pandemic, you’d think Mother Nature would give us a break. Unfortunately, Japan had to put up with torrential rain, deadly floods and what feels like a never-ending rainy season. The only ray of light amid the clouds, Japan had its first typhoon-free July since records started in 1951.
— あさひは面倒くさい (@rei124c41) July 29, 2020
“I can’t put up with the rain anymore!
It’s not summer, but isn’t July ending!?”
Gargling and other fails
When the governor of Osaka claimed that that gargling medicine can keep the coronavirus at bay, (way too) many people in Japan took the advice at face value and rushed to their nearest store to purchase mouthwash. The fever for povidone-iodine gargle products cleared shelves overnight, not only in the Kansai region but across the entire country.
We needed something a little more positive for our 100th Tweet of the Week and what better than epic fails that’ll make everyone smile? If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then how about this printing company developing a possible solution to face blindness: the business-card mask? Not that we can see your smile anyway thanks to the mask.
2020 versus reality
The least we can say is that 2020 has not been the year we expected. You probably had awesome plans like a trip to Japan, a new job or a marriage. Then the pandemic showed up to ruin your fun and your social life. Raise your hands if this popular Tweet is a good visual summary of your corona life.
Staying home all day every day isn’t what we envisioned for ourselves, but it’s the right kind of sacrifice we needed to do. A lot has changed, but we’re resilient. On the dawn of 2021, we should all hope for a recovery that’ll lead us to a better world.
Let’s cultivate the good that 2020 has brought us, such as confronting racism, addressing climate change and embracing science.
How to say “Happy New Year” in Japanese
Technically, it depends. When you greet people before midnight on December 31, you should say 良いお年を迎えください, which is kind of hard to translate into English. For the lack of a better expression, you can understand it as “Best wishes for the coming New Year.”
After December 31st, you can officially wish a happy “new” year using the following expressions:
Spread good vibes with our quirky stickers!
If you’ve enjoyed seeing our original characters, Jo, Kimi and Tori, on Tweet of The Week, download our new GaijinPot sticker pack for iMessage. You can download the sticker pack on the Apple Store. Leave a review and let us know what you think!