Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Masked Men (and Women)

Yokohama - Masks are practically de rigueur for any serious outing in Japan. I think they probably really cut down on health problems. The only problem for me is that when my eyes meet the eyes of a passing masked stranger, as they often do, I wonder: "Do I know you? Are you my neighbor?" Then the question is: Do I bow and greet them or just pretend we never saw each other (which is actually an art form here that I have yet to master but am working on). If I don't know them, and then bow to greet them, I risk becoming the weird foreigner who always bows and says hello to everyone. If I don't bow and greet them, and they turn out to be my neighbor, I'll be forever labeled "that rude foreigner" or worse. Either way I'm doomed.... unless I too join the masked masses hiding behind the veil of anonymity.

This would be "perfect" for me!

When I first saw this mask advertised on TV, for some reason or other, I immediately thought it must be used to ward off the Avian Flu. I'm sure it must really work, if I were a flu bug I think I would definitely be scared off by this mask.

The CDC recommends that you use your sleeve to cover your cough when you don't have a tissue. My son has a technique of his own. I'm thinking about sending it to the CDC to see how it measures up against using your sleeve. Here is a photo of me using my son's cough covering technique (he uses it for sneezing t too).


  1. Happy New Year to our man in Japan!

    Enjoyed your story aobut your ten year old son very much. Have you considered sending in your musings to a publisher? I think a collecton of your essays would make a great cultural statement.
    Your biggest fan in Maryland

  2. Taro-san, you might want to read up on and possibly research "vizards" - quite the rage during Restoration England - a vizard designed with an ancillary protective sneeze guard device would be incomparable. Ah, a world of masks - reminds me of sci-fi / fantasist Fritz Leiber's short story ( some point to it as the seminal classic that originated the cyberpunk movement) "THE GIRL WITH THE HUNGRY EYES". I think you should develop your own line of "face cloaks". Goodbye! Your Man In HoCoMerlin

  3. Dear Anonymous (deux),

    Great comment but your so yesteryear. Nobody knows what your talking about. According to WikiaEntertainment (
    ), "the vizard masked army (仮面の軍勢, kamen no gunzei), pronounced in English as Visoreds (ヴァイザード, vaizādo), is a group of Shinigami that have acquired Hollow powers. Following the battle at the Fake Karakura Town, they have become central combatants against Sōsuke Aizen's Espada." Get with it man!