Konnichiwa from Osaka! Every time I come to Asia, I find myself once again curious about the surgical masks. We all might know the obvious reasons, but the last one I’ll mention is what fascinates me the most.
At first glance, many other cultures might assume someone wearing a mask doesn’t want to get sick. That’s true. We saw a lot of masks especially during SARS and the bird flu.
What I find profoundly awesome about the Asian culture is that a grand majority of those wearing masks don’t want to get you sick. They’re worried they’re contagious and could pass it along. How many times are we under the weather but still shake someone’s hand? Perhaps we don’t want to go through the uncomfortable process of holding our hands close to our chest and explaining that we’re sick. “I’m sick, keep your distance.” What an unbelievably honorable and beautiful gesture to wear a mask.
Masks are also worn to protect against radiation and pollution, especially during particular times of the year when the winds blow in a certain direction. Judging by the giant gaps I’ve see in between facial skin and the masks, I’m not convinced of the efficacy.
There are many more reasons, but what fascinates me is that many wear the masks to hide. It’s like wearing headphones. Have you ever walked the streets of New York City and been approached by tons of people trying to get your attention, sell you something or convert your faith? Do you ever get annoyed by the Delta people in airports trying to get you to sign up for their American Express card? Wearing headphones allows you to move on by unscathed.
The mask does the same thing. Many wear masks and headphones. You might be a woman that doesn’t feel like getting approached. You might feel insecure today and wearing the mask gives you a chance to hide from the outside world. You might be embracing your introverted self. If any of you have ridden the Metro in Tokyo, you understand the sardine-like situation. A mask can give you some space.
We all feel like hiding sometimes. And some do it in style. It’s hip to add some color or design to your masks as I’ve seen the past couple of days.
Am I missing anything? Let me know below.
Until next time, y’all have a good day. I’ve got to go find a mask.