Wearing masks in Tokyo

In Tokyo, spring has arrived and that means allergy season – same as in Toronto. Luckily for me, I don’t seem to have any allergic reactions so far (knock on wood). One of the ways the Japanese combat this is to wear masks as shown below.

In the few months I have lived in Tokyo, I would estimate that about 5-10% of the people wear these masks. Certainly, you will look odd if you wear a mask in Toronto, but in Tokyo, it is commonplace and you can buy a box of disposable masks at any grocery, drug or convenience store.

The other reason people wear a mask is if they have a cold, so as to not infect the people around them. This is very considerate and a good way of preventing the spread of germs – as you know, subways and streets are very crowded in Tokyo.

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