Masks, masks, masks

There are now over 300 confirmed H1N1 cases in Japan, mainly in the Kansai area (Kobe, Osaka in Western Japan), and recently 2 cases have been confirmed in Tokyo.  As a result, masks throughout Japan are sold out – looks like someone purchased a 900 yen ($9) box of masks for 120,000 yen ($1,200) at Yahoo actions!

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Our company had given all its employees a box of masks earlier this year as part of its normal pandemic planning activities – good call.

In the Kansai area, the majority of people are wearing masks and in Tokyo, I have noticed about 20-30% are now wearing masks (higher than normal at this time of year).  Earlier this week, I had worn a mask for the first time due to allergies (allergy medicine I brought from Canada not too effective it seems).  Though I only wore it outside and took it off when I got to the office.

Protective masks are typically white, but there are all sorts of designs in Japan, as seen in this combination photo of visitors to Sensoji temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district from Japan Today (photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters).

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Finally, below is a YouTube video post a few days ago by BusanKevin, a Canadian living in Kobe, talking about the H1N1 flu in Japan and about 85% of the people in Kobe are wearing masks.

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