Views and Visions: Can’t touch this Part 2

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. on (one's) way out / ɒn weɪ aʊt / (idiom) – becoming less important, popular, etc.

    Those jeans were really popular last month, but I think they’re already on their way out.

  2. ritual / ˈrɪtʃ u əl / (n.) – a formal ceremony where a series of actions is performed in a specific way or order

    Important rituals are taught to the tribe’s children at an early age.

  3. implement / ˈɪm pləˌmɛnt / (v.) – to begin to do a plan or use a system

    The company’s new dress code will be implemented next month.

  4. can't help but (do something) / kænt hɛlp bʌt / (idiom) – to be unable to stop oneself from doing something

    I can’t help but dance whenever I hear this song!

  5. adapt / əˈdæpt / (v.) – to change one’s ideas or behavior to make it easier to accept a new situation or environment

    To adapt to my new morning routine, I started going to bed by ten o’clock every night.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author says that handshakes might be on their way out. Do you agree, or do you think that they’ll come back once the Covid-19 pandemic ends? Why? Discuss.
  • World leaders have been using a mix of wrist, arm, and elbow bumps as replacements for handshakes. What do you think about those moves? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Some shrines and temples have introduced sensors and QR codes to lessen the risk of infection. How do you feel about that? Why? Discuss.
  • Aside from shrines and temples, what other aspects of daily life have changed in the past year due to the risk of infection? Do you think those changes were good or bad? Why? Discuss.