As the pandemic-stricken world struggles to its (proverbial) feet, some old habits die hard. One doesn’t step into a queue without looking earthwards first. The all-powerful sticker – literally – draws a line in the sand: personal space is not a courtesy, but a given, especially when comprising said space might lead to calamity. And that last look into the mirror before leaving one’s home or car – that’s to check if your mask is on.
Restaurants, likewise, have had to make do with new rules. Dining rooms got a lot less cosy as warm bodies are replaced with mannequins, soft toys or cardboard cut-outs. Some establishments even threw out the dining room altogether, opting for a chair and a table in the middle of a field. But those are 2020’s ideas. It’s 2021, and Japanese ryokan Hoshinoya Tokyo – first established in 1914 – brings a fresh look to the pandemic-safe dining experience, even as Japan begins its way into the new normal.