Japan is a country that is famous for its everyday use of the surgical mask. At any given time on any given day you will find someone wearing one. Whether they have a cold or allergies, those around them can only guess as to why they are wearing the mask. The mask is to help protect others from any germs that you might be tossing about...or to protect yourself from catching anything flying around in the air.
(FYI....the other day I read where teachers were now expected to teach their student the correct way to sneeze and/or cough---by turning one's head or by covering one's mouth with arm, hand or even better, a tissue or handkerchief. As a westerner, my first response to that was "Du-uh!")
These days, thanks to the swine flu, it is more often than not, you see people wearing these masks. Last week at the boys' school, there was a culture festival and a memo was sent home the day before, reminding everyone to wear their masks to the festival...we all had them on. Only those students about to perform were allowed to take theirs off.
At the stores, you can find a bevy of masks to choose from: adult or child sizes, cotton or other materials, with germ-fighting medicine or not, generic shape or face forming shape, you can choose men's or women's....the list is endless
Some even have pictures on them....personally, the Hello Kitty ones are my favorite (but they really don't come in adult sizes. Damn.)
The other day, I was at one of my friend's restaurant and she was in the back sewing masks for her grandchildren. I commented that they were really cute and was she going to make them in adult sizes? *hint hint* She had some very cute ones with Hello Kitty material on one side....yeah, I wanted one of those. The ones that the majority of adults wear are plain white...actually, kind of boring.
A few days later, I went back for lunch and the owner handed me a small package....a present from his wife, he said. "How did she know I would be in?" The look on his face upon hearing that question was funny....his own thoughts of "Du-uh!" were quite evident. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I go there pretty often!)
Inside the package was this.....my own personal handmade, reversible, washable mask.
It's pink with white polka-dots and I like it very much.