How do I look? Do I frighten you? Probably you think it's weird to see a person wearing a surgical mask out in public. One day recently on my way home, it got so windy that I took out a mask from my bag. With this mask on, I kept my throat and nose warm from the chilly air.
You will see many Japanese wearing masks especially at this time, the flu-season. It is not an unusual sight. We put it on as if we were wearing a pair of glasses. Of course, some people don't care to wear masks, either.
There are some reasons people wear surgical masks. For one thing they might feel a little sick. For another, they are healthy. And both reasons make sense.
For sick people, those who are getting a cold or flu, a mask is worn in consideration for others so that coughing and sneezing won't make their neighbors uncomfortable in a crowded place such as in a subway, a bus, an office or a class room. That way they decrease the chances of passing on
germs to others.
Nowadays, a great number of Japanese people suffer from pollen allergy at this time of year. They have running noses. They absolutely need a mask for covering up the mess.
And there is another group of people who are not sick. They make a decision to wear a mask since they believe it protects them from germs or pollen reaching the throat and lungs. Some research has shown that this really works in a dense and crowded space.
Considering these facts, I think Japanese people simply wear masks as a part of our daily lives.
A surgical mask is not a weird object. Some masks we can find at a drug store are more colorful and cute with little patterns. Kids and young girls love them. Men prefer just plain ones.
So while you are here, you can give it a try. Just enjoy putting one of these things on. No one will stare at you because they think you look weird.
They will look at you only because you look good with your cute mask on.
This is going to be your very special experience in Japan :)
(all the pictures but one most above are from google )