I’ve had a cold for the last week now which I just can’t seem to shake off as easy as normal so I am often clearing my throat (which i do quite regularly anyway) and sniffing which I find very annoying but it’s tolerated in this country. People don’t seem to like blowing their nose in public because of the attention it may attract.
As a result of these colds, many Japanese wear surgical face masks to prevent them from spreading it to others (and probably vice versa too) in a city very tightly packed with people.
Personally, I’m not sure what to make of this mask wearing. Of course its good that the sick wear them to stop further infection but surely once they get moist they are of no real use for stopping germs. Also, if someone is wearing such a thing then surely they would be better off resting at home and not risking spread but I guess thats the dedication (stupid or otherwise) of the businessmen who continue to work (or want to appear to be working). Similarly, I saw a typically cute Japanese girl the other day wearing knee-high boots, a very short skirt and a big thick coat in the bitter cold weather as well as a mask and I hope i’m not sounding too old when I say she only has herself to blame but no doubt her appearance was top priority as tends to be the case in Japan.
However, with my kids often coughing and spluttering their way through lessons I am quite glad that some take the trouble to wear masks though it is a little strange still and maybe staying away would be best for all.
I have only ever seen Asians wearing them and I imagine that if someone wore one in London or wherever people would think that he has some very fatal contagious or infectuous disease and not just a common cold.