Talks and news of the coronavirus have dominated Japanese Twitter for the last few weeks. Don’t get it wrong, it’s still probably close to 80% animal videos to 20% coronavirus posts, but for the internet, that’s a lot. More importantly, studying those tweets can give us a fairly accurate picture of how Japan is dealing with the epidemic, so let’s do that:

Fear of Toilet Paper Shortages Has People Unrolling

There is no toilet paper shortage in Japan, be it imminent or in progress. But good luck finding a roll of homemade mummy make-up at your corner store right now thanks to people panic buying it all up. To try and calm everyone down, the Marutomi Seishi company tweeted pictures of their gigantic TP inventory, assuring people that they won’t have to fall back on their toilet bidets. Which, you know, close to 80% of Japanese homes have, and which can replace toilet paper in a pinch.

But fear is a powerful thing and it makes people do stupid things like hurl racist insults at a 21-year-old actress or steal toilet paper from public toilets. The situation has gotten so bad with the latter, that a public toilet in Nakano simply stopped stocking their facilities with butt-roll, explaining that it’s all because of bathroom raiders. The Charmin Bears remain the top suspects.

Yet another public toilet decided to handle the problem their own way by literally chaining their backdoor Kleenexes to the holder. Of course, nothing is technically stopping people from unrolling all that paper and carrying it back home, but the facility must’ve assumed that even bog burglars have some standards.

Playing to Empty Arenas

We’ve mentioned last week that musicians across Japan have been canceling shows because of fears of the coronavirus. Not the rock band Novelbright, though. They decided to go ahead with their performance at this year’s Tokyo Girls Collection, a semiannual fashion festival. Except that they did it without an audience, playing to an empty hall and sending their music to all of their fans watching at home. Some people might call it inspiring. But legendary musician Yoshiki probably wouldn’t be one of them.

Earlier this week, the co-founder of X Japan was talking with his friends about organizing a similar audience-less concert for the fans, but in the end he refused. Yoshiki explained in a Twitter post that while he cared about his fans’ well-being, he also cared about his band members and the support staff that would have to be present at the concert, and he just didn’t want to risk their health. It of course wasn’t his intention to subtly call out all other acts who went the other way, but he still succeeded, because Yoshiki is just that talented.

Another Day on the Yamanote Line

On February 28, Twitter user @__Aerials posted a video of a tense scene on the Yamanote Line. In the tweet, which currently has been liked over 70,000 times, two passengers are in a screaming match because one of them wasn’t wearing a mask and was apparently coughing. This absolutely sent the older passenger into a frenzy, screaming at the other one to wear a mask.

This really shows you how stressed the coronavirus is making everyone: It actually forced two Japanese strangers to talk to each other on the train. That’s the sure sign of the upcoming apocalypse.

Lessons in Coronavirus Prevention with Chiitan

Chiitan is the fairy baby otter with a turtle hat who nonetheless isn’t even in the top 5 weirdest Japanese mascots. A self-declared symbol of the city of Susaki in southern Shikoku, Chiitan has made a name for himself with the violently cutesy videos he posts to YouTube and Twitter that even caught the attention of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.

There was no chance that Chiitan wouldn’t have something to say about the coronavirus. In a Twitter video from March 3, Chiitan emphasized the importance of preventing the coronavirus by rinsing out your mouth, which he demonstrated by violent downing cups of water then waterboarding his turtle hat for the rest of the video. If you’re asking why, you clearly still don’t get what Chiitan is all about.

Feature image: Md. Zakir Mahmud /