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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

face masks

I find myself in that annoying situation where I'm ill at work wearing a facemask. This makes me feel ridiculous. The concept of wearing one makes enough sense - but half of my vision is cut out. Good for typing practice I suppose.

I've become so accustomed to people wearing facemasks in Japan. It gets to a point where if someone seems ill and they are not wearing one its like "wheres your mask bro?". However, wearing one myself is something Ive had to build up the courage to do. The first time I wore one to work I felt so self-conscious. I believe this to be ironic as people tend to wear them to blend in rather than stand out. In a way I equate it to muslim woman wearing a hjiab. Sometimes they wear them just to fit in and not draw any attention to themselves. However - culturally there are completely different intentions behind Japanese people wearing a 'hygenic' facemask and a lady muslim face scalf.

When you first roll up to japan, and suddenly see everyone wearing white facemasks. It's really shocking and somewhat intimidating - and then you get used to it and stop noticing when people are wearing them. Some people wear them preventatively, as a precaution to not getting sick and sometimes they are worn by someone who is sick. They are worn by different people for different reasons, this is something I quite like about it. If you are having an ugly-day you can just pop one on, and no one will question it. But in all honesty, I dont know how people can really go about their business wearing these things. I know my dad has to wear a facemask for his job - as do many people. I also think that when you are ill and sneezing and spluttering loads wearing one of these makes you feel better about your public appearance. I have a friend who wears them when he gets a spot. But really, wearing one of these things, I feel surreal. They make me feel so far away. As though I am somehow detached. This is partly due to the hot air that is circulating under my mask coming from my nose and mouth.

They make me feel so insular, and when I wear one I dont want anyone to talk to me. When I take it off randomly, to take a drink, eat a snack or to blow my nose, I get a weird rush of reality, suddenly Im back in the room.

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