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Continued from Part 1…
Of course, the pandemic has shown that handshakes — touching anything with your hands — might be on their way out. Shrines and temples all over Japan have had to rethink their rituals since the beginning of the pandemic. From the ladles visitors use to wash their hands, to the ropes for ringing bells, so many things are an infection risk. Some shrines and temples have introduced sensors to activate bell sounds, while others have implemented QR codes visitors can scan to draw fortunes. While I don’t follow any of these rituals, I can’t help but feel that the lack of contact makes the spiritual connection seem weaker. Touching the smooth handle of the ladle, feeling the icy cold water on your hands or the scratchiness of the giant rope — these are all things that feel like they ground you to the place you are in. Selecting your fortune yourself gives you the feeling that you have some control over which one you get, rather than relying on an algorithm to give it to you.
Inevitably, we’ll all have to adapt, which is something humans seem to do pretty well. You can’t shake hands with a closed fist, but these days you really shouldn’t shake hands at all. If world leaders can demonstrate a mix of wrist, arm and elbow bumps when they meet, I’m sure we will all find other ways to make a good first impression. (Samantha Loong)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.