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A Japanese Amusement Park Wants You to Keep Your Roller Coaster Screams ‘Inside Your Heart’ to Fight COVID

While the admonishment might not sound particularly fun, there could be a free one-day pass in it for those who can keep it together.
Therese Reyes
Manila, Philippines
July 10, 2020, 6:34am
roller-coaster-japan-screaming-challenge-coronavirus
For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Jack O'Rourke on Unsplash

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

Part of the fun of riding a roller coaster is screaming your heart out with wild abandon.

Everyone else on the ride is usually doing it too, so noise isn’t an issue, and frankly, it’s the only natural reaction when you’re strapped into a machine whose sole purpose is sending you hurtling along a gut-churning, twisty track at a dizzying height.

In Japan, however, this unique source of catharsis has now become yet another thing the coronavirus had cancelled.

As entertainment venues reopen in the country, theme park associations are telling visitors to hold their screams while riding roller coasters to prevent potentially COVID-laden spit particles from flying into the faces of fellow passengers. But while that may be a legitimate concern, some say not screaming while on the ride just isn’t possible.

To prove the naysayers wrong and keep their park safe, Fuji-Q Highland’s president and the president of Fuji Kyuko CO., LTD, the company that owns the park, have appeared in a video riding the Fujiyama roller coaster, without so much as a squeal.

The video was released on June 17, in time for the park’s reopening, but has since gone viral. In it, the two men in facemasks—one in a shirt and bow-tie, one in a suit—keep a perfectly straight face throughout the ride on the 79-meter-high roller coaster. In the end, they urge would-be parkgoers to “scream inside your heart” instead.

Now, Fuji-Q Highland is challenging visitors to do just that with the hashtag #KeepASeriousFace, for a chance to win a free one-day pass. Five pairs of winners will be chosen by lottery.

People have already been taking them up on the challenge, posting photos of themselves looking oh-so-casual mid-thrill ride.

The challenge will be on until July 17.

And because theme parks are supposed to be fun, Fuji-Q Highland executives told the Wall Street Journal that people who just can’t help themselves from screaming won’t actually be punished.

Japanese cities have slowly been coming back to life in recent weeks as the country continues to enjoy one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world. As of press time, the country had recorded 20,619 confirmed cases and 982 deaths.