Japanese citizens are enrolling in classes to relearn how to smile, following years of strict government pandemic policies.
"I believe they've forgotten," Keiko Kawano, a former radio host who runs the smiling classes in Tokyo, said. "Because they were wearing masks, chances or opportunities to smile declined."
Videos online show students holding up a mirror and moving their faces with their hands, attempting to form smiles.
"I hadn't used my facial muscles much during COVID, so it's good exercise," Himawari Yoshida, a 20-year-old student taking the class, said.
Kawano teaches students to use facial muscles properly and practice smiling in mirrors and with video software.
The classes follow years of near-universal masking in the Asian country, even though mask mandates were never imposed by the government.
Japan dropped its COVID-19 border restrictions in May, becoming one of the last countries to leave the rules behind.
Democrats in the United States were also slow to relax their views on the pandemic. A poll taken last month marked the first time a majority of Democrats believed the pandemic is over.
Published under: COVID-19