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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

Okay, so maybe I don’t hate them that much.


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