As fairs and amusement parks began to re-open in Japan at the end of May, park operators agreed on a set of guidelines to help prevent the spread of infection at their sites. As well as checking for temperatures and asking guests to wear masks, people should be “urged to refrain from shouting/screaming” on rollercoasters, the document read when translated into English.
At Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park west of Tokyo, guests have reportedly been finding this a struggle. “We received complaints that the theme park association's request to not make loud noises was impossible and too strict,” a Fuji-Q spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. “That's why we decided to release the video.”
Ah the video. In a move that they quite possibly regretted, Fuji-Q CEO Daisuke Iwata and his boss Koichiro Horiuchi decided to lead by example and prove that even on the 129-kilometer-per-hour (80-mile-per-hour) Fujiyama coaster you can hold the screaming in. Although, it does look painful.
The “only-in-a-pandemic” video sees the duo ride in complete silence whilst navigating the twists and turns of the track. After Iwata and Horiuchi showed their nerves of steel, and just about kept their masks on, the park offered guests an alternative to vocalizing their fear – “scream inside your heart.” What they perhaps didn’t think of at the time was that, when whispered, this sentence could definitely pass as a murderous threat.
Back in context, mastering the “screaming in your heart” art may well seem impossible, but the sentiment is informed. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is thought to be spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or indeed screams. By adding in this warning, Fuji-Q and other Japanese theme park officials are trying to reduce the risk of infection spreading amongst staff and visitors. So whilst trying to not scream on a rollercoaster is as challenging as not licking your lips whilst eating a sugary doughnut, it is for the safety of yourself and others.
In response to the video, social media users posted images of themselves looking similarly stone-faced and mask-clad on rollercoasters under the hashtag “serious face challenge.” One participant, auto-parts company employee Minoru Nagasawa, told the Wall Street Journal that he aced the challenge on a recent visit and hopes to impress a date with his steely stare in the future. “It would be great to find someone who sees my lack of fear as cool,” he said.
[H/T: Wall Street Journal]