When should you wear a mask in Japan? 日本でマスクが必要な時はいつ?

Last week I had a slight cold so I had to wear a mask to school. I hate wearing a mask! They make your face all sticky with humidity, fog up your glasses, and look hideous on almost everyone, myself included. As if I needed something white on my face to draw attention to how white my skin is. Also, I am pretty sceptical that they are serving their intended purpose of “stopping the spread of viruses.” Every year there is a plague of influenza that doesn’t seem deterred by masks. However, the longer I live in Japan, the more reasons I find to wear one. This is my running list that I am sure will continue to grow as times moves on and I become more and more Japanese.
先週風邪を引いていてマスクをつけないといけなかった。マスクが大嫌い!顔がべたべたになって、メガネが曇って、私を含めて、ほぼみんな、似合わないと思う。肌が白いのを強調するような白い物をつける必要があるのか。それに、感染予防に本当に役立つのか。毎年、たくさんの人がマスクを付けていてもインフルエンザが流行る。しかし、日本に長く住めば住むほど、マスクを付ける利点に気づく。だんだん日本人っぽくなってリストが長くなるかもしれないけど、今まで気づいた利点はこちら。

When you want to eat nodo-ame or other candy in class
Anything that requires a chewing motion you may not get away with, but wearing a mask is a perfect cover-up for when you want to suck on candy during class.
授業中にのど飴やキャンディをこっそり食べたいとき
噛むキャンディなら、ばれるかもしれないけど、のど飴を食べていることを隠すためには、マスクが便利。

When you want sympathy
If you turn up to school in a mask, you will instantly be greeted with a sea of concerned faces. Are you ok? Do you have a fever? Would you like a nodo-ame? Yes please!
同情してほしいとき
マスクをつけて仕事に行ったら、みんなが心配してくれる。「大丈夫?熱がある?のど飴はどう?」と声をかけてくれる。ありがとう!

To protect your face from the cold
Some days it is so cold that I wish I could wear the mask I wear while snowboarding. A regular mask draws a little less attention in non-ski resort public places.
寒さから顔を守りたいとき
スノーボードをする時のスキーマスクを付けたいぐらい寒い日がある。そういう日にスキー場じゃない場所では普通のマスクの方が目立たない。



When you don’t have tissues handy
This bides you some time after you sneeze to find the nearest tissue box without anyone knowing how badly you need one.
ティッシュが近くにないとき
くしゃみした後、ティッシュが要るのが周りの人にばれずに、ティッシュを探す時間を与えてくれる。

When you don’t want to talk to people
A mask is a great deterrent for unwanted small talk. Even if someone is brave enough to start a conversation with you, they will likely give up quickly when they realise they can’t understand your now muffled voice.  For even better protection, try the mask and headphones combination!
他人と話したくないとき
世間話を避ける方法にもなる。他人が勇気を出して声をかけてきてもマスクのおかげでくもった声が良く聞こえないから、その人たちがすぐ諦める可能性が高い。ヘッドフォンもつけていたら、ディフェンスは完璧!

Okay, so maybe I don’t hate them that much.
そんなに嫌いじゃないかも。

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