Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Needless Surgery

Cold weather is on its way. By November, it will be dropping down to freezing in my village. In Japan, the winter weather brings out surgical masks in droves, strapped on the faces of men, women, and children. It can be a hassle, especially when I am asking a child a question and they respond with "mffmmfbbfmfm."
As I'm sure you know, surgical masks can be beneficial when trying to avoid getting sick. They prevent bodily fluids from entering your mouth, provide a barrier to reduce the spread of germs expelled by coughing and sneezing, and prevent people from touching their mouths after touching a potentially disease-ridden surface.
You can find surgical masks in any drugstore. They also sometimes come with patterns like the ones in the picture above. While it may seem like the only reason to wear one of these masks is to stay healthy, that is only half of the reason. In Japanese culture, it is expected that a citizen would show consideration for their peers by preventing the spread of disease. More than staying healthy, it is a way of demonstrating you possess a sense of social responsibility.

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