After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics begin in earnest on Friday. For thousands of athletesdelegations and media crews from abroad, the excitement of the games, not to mention Tokyo itself, is palpable.
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And yet the government declared a state of emergency in the host city and surrounding areas, the fourth such declaration, amid rising coronavirus infection s, between 12 July and 22 August. For the visitors, this not only means they have to be quarantined upon arrival and be monitored; their every move to and from the Athletes Village or hotel and the venues is heavily restricted.
And any hopes of meeting locals, sampling Japanese food and drink, or merely discovering Tokyo and Japan are massively curtailed — if not totally dashed. Social media platforms in Japan, in particular dating apps, are experiencing an uptick of foreign users, most of them officially here for the games.
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She points out three foreign men in their forties who recently surfaced on her Bumble feed: two are reporters covering the games, while the other is a sailing coach on a national team. In fact, it was a Facebook friend of hers who initially made a post about the sudden increase on Bumble of foreign males associated with the games. Apps like Tinder and OkCupid, are also trending, if with mixed. Ok-Cupid and bumble seems better. FYI there is no such thing as Olympic lockdown in Japan Pairs, a domestic dating app that is popular in Japan, has also seen a slight increase in foreign users — which is remarkable given the app is in Japanese, meaning users need more than a passing knowledge of the language.
Unlike most other dating apps, Pairs caters to people looking for longterm relationships.
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They are breaking all sorts of quarantine rules there. Rules under the emergency declaration include social distancing, curtailed hours for bars and restaurants, restrictions over the sale of alcohol, and restrictions over non-essential gatherings after 8pm.
For international athletes, delegates and international media visiting Tokyo, these restrictions pose a real challenge: how can they enjoy their visit and respect the rules? For foreigners visiting Japan, the repercussions for breaking quarantine rules, for example, which include at least 14 days of self-isolation upon entry, can be severe: deportation is a real outcome.
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But not all are planning to break the rules. She remembers walking through the usually popular Shibuya district recently, and noticing a bus full of athletes being shuttled to the Olympic Stadium.
If any of those athletes are on dating sites, she had a word of warning: not everyone on there is actually looking for a quick hook-up. Depending on the platform, a lot of people in Japan use dating apps for language exchange or to meet people who speak a language that they wish to study further.
It really depends on what your intentions are. thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies.
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