Travelling in Japan a few years ago, I noticed that many people were wearing masks. I asked a staff member at the hotel where we were staying why they would do that. They explained that in the big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, there were often huge masses of people. Masks gave people protection from flus and colds. Also in the big cities, air pollution was a problem. The masks were thought to filter out some of the pollutants..
One thing I also noticed was that smoking was more prevalent in Japan. It was unusual to see people smoking outside of buildings like to here in North America, because the Japanese thought that this was bad manners. In restaurants and offices though, it was not unusual to see separate glassed in smoking rooms where smokers could get their nicotine fix. One day we were at the major train station in Osaka awaiting the bullet train to take us back to Tokyo. I observed, a youngish, impeccably dressed woman in the smoking room, chain smoking as she ate her lunch. Then when she finished her lunch, she put on her mask, left the smoking room and the restaurant. I thought it was so strange. Here she was not worrying about her health and others affected by her second hand smoke- by smoking so heavily and then in the next breath being concerned about her health and the health of others by wearing a mask. It seemed such a paradox.
Wearing a mask. It is not something that I really gave much thought about until this past year. Now it is my common practise whenever I go out. Have I got my mask? Now I can't say that I enjoy wearing a mask. They are hot. Around my big head, the straps seem tight and I always have to struggle to get my nose in properly. I sweat underneath my mask. I have to pronounce my words so clearly when I am wearing a mask because my quiet voice is not often heard. My glasses fog up in winter time when I am wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is not fun.
However, I realize the necessity of wearing a mask. As someone who has had a few problems with my health, I know I have spent enough time in hospitals during the past year. I don't want to get sick again. So I rely on others wearing masks. And just in case I am ill with the virus and don't know it, or to protect others, I wear my mask to protect others. No it is not fun. But if my little bit of discomfort helps keep others safe, then I will suffer a bit. So wear a mask. Together we can get through this. Blessings.