A viral video of two top executives from Fuji-Q Highland amusement park silently riding their famed Fujiyama roller coaster with face masks on ends with the unusual but somehow charming request to "Please scream inside your heart."
It references the park's no-screaming policy, put in place after reopening from a four-week closure, and it's an attempt to prevent riders' hot, virus-carrying droplets from misting their neighbors and entering their face holes.
Fuji-Q, located southwest of Tokyo, is not alone. They are joined by Tokyo Disneyland and other Japanese parks in this bold suppression of free screech.
After the rules were announced by the parks, many would-be travelers reacted online with howls, some saying that adherence to the bans is simply impossible, and that coasters are specifically designed to make people scream.
"There’s just no way not to scream," college student Rika Matsuura told the Wall Street Journal, about her trip to Tokyo Disneyland last week. "It's kind of torture to be back at your favorite place in the world and to not be able to scream and enjoy everything 100 percent."
Fortunately for Tokyo tourists, screaming violations won't be punished any further than the resulting social shame. The bans on screaming at Japanese parks, along with a recommendation that visitors wear masks, were part of guidelines issued by Japan's theme-park associations back in May, when parks began reopening there. These same guidelines are supposedly being used now by reopening theme parks here in the U.S.
When Walt Disney World's Orlando parks start reopening to the public on Saturday, however, face coverings will be required but there's no mention of rules against hollering.
That could be because the Disney-branded Tokyo park is operated separately by Oriental Land Co., or it could be due to American culture and our political climate, which has split between party lines of those who take mask wearing seriously and those who think it's too oppressive a step to protect other people.
During a state of emergency in April and May, the Japanese government requested voluntary lockdown measures. Most stores closed and events were canceled, and new cases fell below 50 a day. Florida, where restaurants remain open and schools have been ordered to reopen next month, racked up 8,948 official new cases just yesterday.Mask wearing, almost universal in Japan, is a common courtesy and a reflection of concern for the safety of everyone around us. It may be merely recommended in Tokyo, but Floridians, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, still need a little more kicking and screaming.
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