Thank you all who have sent me emails from your quarantine to enquire about me! Looking at what is happening in Europe at the moment, I have to say that here in Japan, things are much, much better!

Kids are on holidays, universities are closed, and many events have been cancelled or postponed, including the Olympic Games 2020. People are wearing masks if they still have any, and there’s no toilet paper on sale, still. If you talk to people, the main topic is the Corona virus.

But other than this, things are pretty normal: We can go out whenever we like as opposed to just when needed, many museums are now reopening their doors, and the supermarkets are full, both with goods and with shoppers. So yes, for me, things look pretty normal with small exceptions, but then again, I neither care for kids nor for the elderly, and I work from home where I don’t meet many people to begin with.

Every now and then I do go out though, and the Corona crisis has provided me with a new experience! At our last soroban class, our teacher asked everybody to wear a face mask. Who knows where he got that stash from, but I obliged and wore a face mask for the first time in my life. It was… well… At first, it felt like I couldn’t breathe at all. The standard face masks are made with some sort of thick paper-pulp and it is weird to feel your own breath on your face. It took me some time to get used to the mask, but after a while it was okay.

After the class we took a walk at Nanzen-ji temple which was not very busy, but it was also a bit early for the cherry blossoms. The mask felt more and more restrictive the faster we walked about, and when it was finally time to go home, I took it off completely. I have never seen anybody wearing a mask on a bicycle or while doing sports, it really makes breathing much harder.

In any case, there are still no face masks to be had anywhere. And while the situation is relatively relaxed right now, there might come a time when you have to wear a mask when going out. So, I thought I’d be prepared – and did a bit of sewing last weekend. I took the mask I received at the soroban class and made a cloth version of it with some scraps I happened to have at home. It’s nothing fancy and definitely not perfect, but for a first trial I think I did pretty well. The left one below is the sample, the right one my own creation.

face masks bought and made

4 thoughts on “Facemasks”

  1. You can take the mask off your nose and just have it over your mouth if breathing is difficult. It’s mostly meant to contain droplets from coughing/sneezing/speaking. 🙂
    Personally, life is not that much different for me either. I now work from home, but I still work normal hours. I enjoy saving 2+ hours travel time every day. Hope Japan is not taking it too easy. Like Italy, there are a lot of older people.

    1. Most people in Japan are very careful. Almost everywhere you enter, there is some disinfectant, and many people use it. I also heard of some elderly who don’t go out but let somebody else do the shopping. I don’t think we’re taking it too easy here, even though many of the venues that have been closed are now slowly opening again.

  2. Today I was handed one of these masks when I entered the supermarket. Feels strange and is suboptimal for people who wear glasses.
    But I have a suggestion for improvement: The masks should be black, then at least you feel like Darth Vader… chhhhhhhhh… chhhhhhh… chhhhhh… chhhhhh…

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