Japan continues to struggle to limit the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s prepares to step down, the number of daily cases in the Tokyo region is fluctuating wildly. Cases dropped from 181 September 5th to 77 on September 7th, only to rise sharply to 170 the following day. Despite this volatility, government officials are deliberating on relaxing restrictions on mass gatherings. New rules could allow for greater crowds to gather at sporting events, concerts, and the like.

Perhaps the move is necessary. Consumers continue to show signs of lockdown fatigue as the outbreak approaches the one-year mark. Many are growing restless as officials continue half-way measures aimed at limiting the spread of the disease. Critics claim, rather, that the government should focus on supporting the livelihoods of individuals.

Here at Grape, we’ve touched on some of the more over-the-top examples of lockdown fatigue—from public freakouts at discount stores to lockdown haircuts and the ills of panic buying. Although Japanese residents are renown for their genteel nature, everyone has their breaking point. A reported increase in divorce further underscores the point.

Pressure on the Front Lines

Artist Atomi (yumekomanga) is a supermarket clerk by day and manga artist by night. As the pandemic wears on, she recently cataloged her troubles as customers relax their attitudes against the infectious disease. While most may think little of cutting corners here and there, for someone regularly exposed to hazardous conditions, such actions could be dangerous.

Reproduced with permission from Atomi (yumekomanga)

Reproduced with permission from Atomi (yumekomanga)

Reproduced with permission from Atomi (yumekomanga)

Reproduced with permission from Atomi (yumekomanga)

As you can see, the little things add up. As poor Atomi becomes increasingly flustered, she must be careful to protect herself in the meanwhile.

Readers sympathized:

  • “I completely get this. Very few people still practice social distancing while waiting in the check out line.”
  • “My store is a lot like this. I really want customers to stop licking their fingers!”
  • “It’s hard not to let your guard down after the pandemic has continued for so long. But it must be tough for workers to remain vigilant and not get sick.”

Hopefully, store clerks and other front line workers can protect themselves and stay safe.

You can find more content by Atomi on her Instagram page. She also runs a blog. Check them out.

By - Luke Mahoney.