Thursday, February 19, 2009

Face masks: Just how creepy are they?

The Japanese love face masks. In the street, at work, and especially on trains, you can see them everywhere. Seems a bit weird for newcomers, you come to a strange country with an unusual culture, only to find that Ebola seems to have broken out, and the locals refuse to breathe the air, oblivious to the alien, inhuman feeling they create among freaked-out foreigners.

Well, the Japanse have reasonable-sounding explanation for wearing face masks. It is claimed the masks prevent infection, especially from influenza, and more importantly, stop your flu being transmitted to others. It is thus considered polite to wear the mask, as a courtesy to others. They are also worn in the Spring to prevent breathing in the pollen that commonly causes hayfever. A reasonable explanation, I suppose.

However, I prefer to believe that these Japanese are members of a satanic death cult, and they wear face masks because they are preparing for Armageddon, as only face masks will protect them from the hideous viruses soon to be released by the government and foreign multinationals. Soon the charismatic leader of the cult will unleash his word and the mask-wearers will attack, killing and eating, zombie-like, all the unbelievers who refuse to conform...

But that's just me.

But seriously, what is it with these people? Don't they know how they look? Extras from some B-grade sci-fi plague movie? Basically, the truth is that the Japanese are basically afraid of everything; somebody in the same city with a case of the flu gives them an excuse to put another barrier between them and the scary world. Japan: paradise for paranoia. Lowest crime levels in the world, yet locals patrol the streets at night looking for 'troublemakers'. Safest country in the world for kids, yet the poor little buggers are forced to wear personal alarms, just because a few years ago, one child, out of a population of 125 million, was kidnapped and murdered...

Anyway, for an account of my favourite example of Japanese paranoia see for some nice pictures of the Pana Wave cult, whose penchant for white masks, white everything has some interesting parallels with the face mask movement. Call me cynical, but it has occured to me that the Pana Wave people are just at the extreme end of the face mask continuum.

Anyway bye for now. I gotta lie down. Think I've got the flu coming on...

Maid face-mask soft porn: why didn't I think of that?

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