As in the rest of the world, COVID-19 is causing many residents in Japan to hunker down until the worst is over. During trying times, it's hard not to feel a little bit concerned about more vulnerable populations. Indeed, how are older members of society coping during the current state of emergency? How are they passing the time? Cooking, watching TV, taking care of their pets…

Twitter user Meganeno Ojiichan (@meganenooo) is one such person stuck at home. However, this talented artisan is passing the time with a unique hobby. Meganeno makes washi foodstuffs. Washi is a type of traditional Japanese paper like origami. See for yourself:

"I am an old man who makes fake foods with Japanese traditional paper."

The pictures are indeed realistic—my stomach is growling just from looking at them. The tempura fried vegetables are particularly striking.

Meganeno’s followers were also impressed. They reacted to his artwork:

  • "I did a double-take like 'What? Is it really made from paper?"
  • “Wow, It’s just great!! If you have an exhibition, I definitely would go to see your work. Those foods are not just similar to real foods, but they have a type of warmth. I think it comes from the washi paper and also his heart.”
  • “Are you so old!? I could hardly tell these were fake, especially the lunch box!”
  • “Oh my goodness. I thought those were real. You are so talented! I love your work.”
  • “Every food looks tasty, especially the tempura. I can hear it crunch."
  • “I think there are many people who want to have these items.”
  • “The salmon lunch box looks very tasty! If this were a real lunch box, I’d definitely buy it!”
  • “I haven’t seen such wonder in awhile. I think he enjoys his life!!"

Lunch time!

Indeed, Meganeno is busy during the pandemic. He also made the following:

"An in‐flight meal. It feels like a flight abroad."

During COVID-19, residents can't travel abroad. And, sadly, this means no in-flight meals. Sure enough, Meganeno is covering the gap. His followers also reacted to this piece:

  • “I’m waiting to fly through the clouds. I imagined I had an in-flight meal. Thank you for the meal!”
  • “It makes me feel like I want to fly abroad. Thank you for warming my heart.”
  • “I said, ‘Yeah! That’s it!’ ”
  • “I was so sad that I couldn’t get on a plane last year. But I could feel as though I were about to fly. Thank you so much!”
  • "It's amazing! The butter and dressing look so realistic! I was like 'Wow, it's an in-flight meal!' I want to eat it!"

Since the early days of the pandemic, many people were disappointed they were unable to fly. However, this in-flight exhibition perhaps helps ease the pain. If you agree, you can find more fake food on Meganeno’s Instagram. 

A VR trip

Unfortunately, we can't all be as creative and resourceful as Meganeno. Another older internaut would likely prefer to be traveling but decided to satisfy the itch in a different way. See for yourself:

"My grandmother experienced a VR trip for the first time. She said 'Oh, I don't need to travel anymore.'"

As you can see, Twitter user Yoshi (@Yoshi6054) posted his grandmother enjoying a VR vacation using a VR headset.

His followers reacted:

  • “Your grandmother is so tech savvy How nice!”
  • “It’s a good way to use the VR glasses. In my case, I couldn’t move for a while after using them because my head was spinning.”
  • “Your grandmother really enjoys it! I hope this will spread.”
  • “Oh, the battery is red that means it’s almost dead. Your grandmother really enjoyed her VR vacation.”

Naturally, it is easy to feel stressed out these days. The key to surviving the lockdown may be learning to relax and enjoy some hobbies and entertainment.

By - Luke Mahoney.