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Re: Masks 2022/11/13 15:03
I have been here in Japan for almost 2 weeks now, almost everyone is wearing masks. We are of course wearing ours whenever we leave our hotel room. Most hotels expect you to not only wear masks but to sanitize your hands constantly and have your temperature checked whenever entering the hotel or going for a meal. I have seen other foreigners not wearing them and I can tell you they treat you much better if you are wearing one. I don't mind wearing it except when climbing stairs or hills outside when it is hot out, then I struggle a bit even with copd it hasn't been a difficult thing to do.
by Vicky Bowen (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/12/5 21:52
You should probably adopt the customs of the culture in the country you are visiting if you dont want to get people to think less of you. Ifm visiting right now and would say 99.9% of Japanese people wear mask indoors and outdoors atm.
Less than probably 5% of none asian tourists wear maskc(americans, french and german) which is giving the rest of us a bad rep. This was the reson Japan had for not opening the borders to foreigners for 3 years, turns out they kindof had a point. If you canft take a cultural habit of the place you are visiting, perhaps just stay home?! Japanese people are probably just too curteous to tell you to your face when youre behaving like a douch.

Do I like wearing a mask myself? No. But I can take a bit of discomfort these few weeks in order to finally get back to visit Japan.
by Marten (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/10 10:15
Just wondering whether a few months later there are still no changes to masking?

I'm concerned that if masks become a permanent thing both indoors and outdoors in Japan, that you will never see another human's face again, and kids wont properly learn to read each other face expressions and use their own... Are there no such concerns amongst the Japanese?
by Conan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/10 13:52
There has been almost no change. 95% still mask up even in uncrowded outdoor places. The fear of the virus (or acting against social norms) is much bigger than the fear of the social and economic damage caused by this disproportionate response to the virus. Panic making with respect to the virus continues to dominate the mass media.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/10 14:26
The only change I noticed is that since October there are back Western tourists. Most obligingly wear masks, but you see some without. More than Japanese / Asians.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/10 19:38

Please read the whole thread. As it suggests, lot of people are concerned, and a certain percentage of people avoid wearing masks because (A) they are anti-mask and/or (B) they physically can't tolerate wearing masks.

I'd like to repeat that I don't wear masks unless I'm speaking to a stranger close by or if I'm personally asked to wear one (some establishments have strict rules set). For example, today I silently rode trains for a couple of hours, dined with a friend, and all that time I had no mask on. This is not at all against government protocol.

And again, a lot of Japanese people simply wear masks because they don't mind. They'd rather keep one on than to put it on and off repeatedly, or to avoid accidentally coughing in public without remembering to put one on.

Here is a quite accurate example of how a restaurant in Tokyo looks like today.

And I'm not at all saying that everything is solved, because it isn't.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/11 06:56
Thank you for the clarification
by Conan Barbarian rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/11 13:17
I am not Japanese, but I would also argue that from what I understand, the Japanese learn to read facial expressions via the eyes, not the mouth, so being masked is not quite the impediment to them that it might be for Westerners who tend to read expressions more based on the mouth.

(see this study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002210310600032... )

I was in Japan from 12/22-1/3/23

Outside of eating, the onsen, and occasionally when taking pictures, I saw a few non-masked Asians, I am not going to try to guess what nationality they were, and a few unmasked white people, like the obviously buzzed guy who accosted us in Roppongi. But the vast majority of people are still masked and there is hand sanitizer everywhere and if you forget to use it when entering a shop you are often asked to use it.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/11 16:36
I'd asked the original question because my husband and I were planning to visit last autumn. When we heard that masks were still expected, we cancelled our trip and went to Australia instead. Going on holiday marks the end of the pandemic for us. It would have taken away much of the pleasure to have to wear a mask all over again. (Or get dirty looks I've been told.) I was hoping things would have changed but it doesn't seem to be the case.
by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/11 16:44

I'm really sorry that masks are still expected in too many places in Japan, and I understand your thoughts about holidays.

Meanwhile, I'd just like members of the forum to know that I've never gotten dirty looks for not wearing a mask. I've also seen a foreign tourist in Greater Tokyo talking without a mask on, across the isle inside a not-really-crowded train, and no one seemed to care.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/12 08:53
Thank you Uco. I accidentally turned off notifications for this thread. How do I turn it back on? I would still like to visit Japan.
by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/12 09:55
because you like foreign authorities more than that of Japan,
still in progress.
it is told that in USA, more than 1000000 people were dead, although the death in Japan still 60000, 90% is more than 70 years old.
residents need to prepare to the virus for the sake of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, although you don't care of their deaths. this point is critically different between residents and visitors.
in Japan, some people take PCR test to confirm that they are negative, before going to meet them, although I don't do that. you need to know the reality.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/12 10:59
Masks are a great tool to reduce the number of infections if used in scientifically meaningful ways. If they are used in meaningless ways, they (in combination with a general overreaction to viruses) also have the power to inflict big damage to society and economy. A correct balance is needed.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/1/12 17:18
I am not vaccinated.
In the past, when I was riding a bicycle, I had difficulty breathing while wearing a mask, so I often took off my mask outside. (especially when exercising when no one else is around)
There is an aspect of infection control, but in my case, I also wear a mask to prevent shedding from vaccinated people.
Masks are not compulsory, so you can remove them outside.
However, if you are not wearing a mask, there are places such as supermarkets and restaurants where you are not allowed to enter, and there are cases where you cannot board an airplane.
In that case, you will need to wear a mask.
In the case of many Japanese people, they are concerned about the eyes around them.
Also, there are probably many cases where people cannot remove their masks because they think they will be blamed if they get infected without wearing a mask.
Of course, some people wear masks because of colds (coughs, etc.) and hay fever.
by haro1210 rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/2/6 13:58
It's not absolutely required to wear one. Even outdoors, more people don't wear them now which is a nice change to see people's faces.

You don't NEED to wear it unless a place makes it mandatory to do so. The only thing is that in Japanese culture, people are extremely judgmental and might try to move away from you or say something about you not wearing a mask.

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Japan is still behind in the whole mask wearing thing compared to the rest of the world because no one wants to be "out of place"in society.
by Tom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/3/13 19:22
In case anyone is interested, hear latest news on masks in Japan.

Official rules from government changes today:

Adoption is slow BUT existing.

While up to last week I rarely saw a Japanese in the subway with out a mask (maybe 1 person per week), today in every carriage I took there were a few. Maybe 2-5 people per carriage. This is still less than 5% but for the first day after change of instructions a first step.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/3/14 11:03
The two best things I learned through this pandemic here in Japan is:

1) I realized that I wasn't the only Japanese person who feels sick from wearing a mask for long hours.
2) I realized that my dear friends weren't the only people who love to wear masks and feel physically and mentally more comfortable with them on.

On-topic, even during the pandemic, I mostly haven't been wearing masks in Japan unless I'm speaking to someone or am directly asked to wear one.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/3/15 10:19
I appreciate that things have changed this week, but we were there for a few weeks and came back last Thurs. Observations:
1. I was amazed at the almost militant mask wearing even in the countryside. I felt guilty taking my mask off even if there was only one or two people around in a hundred metre radius;
2. the absence of paper towels or hand dryers in most toilets had the unfortunate side effect that some locals werent washing their hands after going to the toilet, even in the cubicles. But then at least hand shaking isnt a thing, so you are not getting poo poo or pee pee transfer;
3. personally in the crowded areas (some train stations, parts of Gion, some sites) I was happy to be wearing a mask;
4. that said, masks and attempting to grow a beard are not a good mix;
5. also, cold weather and strenuous activity lead to quite a bit of bad breath condensate in a mask. I cant imagine that rebreathing the smell can be all that good for you;
6. the perspex dividers between couples at restaurants were like something out of a science fiction movie, lol.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/3/15 14:18
Based on my observations, the percentage of maskless people has increased from around 1% to around 5% since Monday, which is a visible increase. I think it will gradually motivate more and more people to drop the mask.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2023/3/16 00:34
2. the absence of paper towels or hand dryers in most toilets had the unfortunate side effect that some locals werent washing their hands after going to the toilet, even in the cubicles.

Are you sure they were "locals"?

Toilets in Japan hardly provide paper towels in the first place, and hand-dryers are a relatively new technology. (Well, okay, decades-new.) And the Japanese, to this day, are educated to carry a handkerchief and tissue paper anyway. I know that most toilets had stopped the operation of dryers until recently, but if paper towels are absent, that's not because of the pandemic.

I've been using public toilets all my life, including the past three years in Japan, and I have seen no one leaving the toilet without washing hands. It is also not rare to see men wiping his hands with his hanky after leaving the toilet area (which doesn't even look good).

I do have seen people wash hands, and then realizing "Whoops, no hand-dryer," but I've never seen anyone trying to skip the washing just to save the drying. I asked a male family member, just in case, and he also said he never felt that the pandemic has caused the decrease of hand-washing in toilets.

But the thing is that there are now always sanitizers at entrances and exits of almost any room, so, chances are that whatever filthy stuff you happen to touch, it's going to be sanitized at the end of a room.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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