HomeODD NEWSODD NEWS: Dancing robots replace fans at Japanese baseball game

ODD NEWS: Dancing robots replace fans at Japanese baseball game

With their stadium devoid of fans due to coronavirus restrictions, Japanese baseball team Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have come up with an imaginative replacement: dancing robots.

Before their most recent Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) game against Rakuten Eagles on Tuesday, over 20 robots danced to the team’s fight song on a podium in the otherwise empty stand.

Two different robots, including SoftBank’s humaniod robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs like a dog, stamped and shimmied in a choreographed dance that is usually performed by the Hawks’ fans before games in the 40,000 capacity Fukuoka Dome.

Some of the robots wore Hawks caps and waved flags supporting the team.

Fans on social media had mixed reactions.

“I think this is like a dystopia,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another called the performance “insanely beautiful.”

Boosted by the supportive robots, the Hawks won 4-3 as they look to defend their 2019 NPB title.

The NPB season began three months late on June 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic and currently no supporters are allowed to attend games.

However, from Friday, up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend professional baseball and soccer games in Japan due to an easing of restrictions.

Cuban dons full-body cardboard shield against coronavirus

Ever since the novel coronavirus reached Cuba, a tall cardboard box with arms and legs can be seen tottering around a Havana suburb, popping into the bakery or butchers, or browsing the newspaper stand.

This is Feridia Rojas, 82, who decided to build and wear mobile housing to shield herself from the virus that is particularly deadly to seniors in a country where personal protective equipment is not sold at stores.

“I am at home, what about you?” reads a message on her box, in a witty nod to Cuba’s coronavirus slogan “Stay at home.”

The widower, whose daughters both live in the United States, said that with no one to run her errands she had to find a way to do so safely by herself, illustrating the resourcefulness and humor for which Cubans are renowned.

“I was worried about the asymptomatic cases who could cough just as I passed,” she said. “So I thought: I’ll do a little house with a cardboard box and wear it.”

The retired Cuban nurse salvaged the box from the pharmacy in her Palatino neighborhood and cut arm holes and a window for her face that she covered in clear plastic.

On top, she glued cake boxes to make it look more like a house with a roof than a flat-topped apartment building.

“She’s very creative,” chuckled her neighbor Zayda Echemendia, adding that Rojas still helped locals with injections at home and the like.

While her mobile home may be less necessary as Cuba’s outbreak appears to have come under control, Rojas said it still provided necessary comic relief.

“In the midst of this pandemic, this stress and anxiety all the time, my little home makes people laugh,” she said.

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