Masks and my first trip to Japan

✈️ Back in 2009, I visited Japan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ for what I didn’t know would be my first visit to the country and Asia in general. It was my first long-distance trip, like flying across the world and it changed a lot of things, it awakened this deeper desire to know these distant cultures β›©

I like to think I knew a lot about Japanese culture back then. I had never visited but I had read lots of blogs, watched movies, and devoured many anime shows (I know…) πŸ€“

Mind you, it was 12 years ago from today (2021). This is important because back then we had no pandemic. I knew how Japanese are generally conscious about others, at work, on the street, on the public transport. Conscious that if they fall ill or feel like they’ve caught a cold they’ll simply wear a mask. Not to protect themselves from getting sicker but to protect others. That’s it, nobody will pay a second thought to it.

At this point of the pandemic, it seems obvious to all of us. The regular surgical masks protect those around us from us. If everybody wears it, everybody is safe. Simple as that πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Well, long story short… The first few days of that Japan trip we were in Tokyo and I got a cold 🀧 Apart from drinking plenty of fluids I went to a convenience store and bought a pack of masks. Again, this is 12 years ago. This was normal in Japan, everybody did it so I had to as well 😷

We met a Japanese online friend a few days later and she was so surprised, in a good way, that I was wearing the mask because I had a cold. It was a thing foreigners didn’t usually do.

If I did the same thing 12 years ago in Barcelona people would’ve gone crazy πŸ€ͺ What’s going on? Is this guy super sick? Is he wearing a doctor costume? They would move aside or even get stopped at some point, maybe a grocery store πŸ€”

I hope that after this hell of a pandemic is over, we in the West, have learned and will use the masks more regularly. To protect others when we’re feeling under the weather.

πŸ’¬ What’s your take? Will you wear it after this is over?

Ricard Torres

What do you think?

About Ricard

Senior Front-end Software Engineer from Barcelona, Haidong Gumdo Instructor (korean martial art of the sword), street photographer, travel lover, TV addict, Boston Red Sox fan, and privacy advocate.

2 Replies to “Masks and my first trip to Japan”

  1. Yes, I think we must wear if we are sick. Time Will tell

    Reply

    1. Time will tell indeed. For Barcelona I don’t think many people will wear them. After more than a year we can’t wait to stop wearing them. We’ll see…

      Reply

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