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Tweet of the Week #66: Amidst Coronavirus Fears, Twitter Shares How (Not) To Wear A Surgical Face Mask

Bet this will keep those pesky germs away!

By 3 min read

In Asia, wearing a surgical face mask in public is socially acceptable. People do so for a lot of reasons, such as to protect their personal space, hide a pimple or skip their make-up routine. Historically, the mask culture appeared first as a common courtesy, to prevent your germs from spreading around when you’re sick. And for a while, doctors weren’t sure mass-produced masks for the public were that really efficient to prevent catching the latest virus going around.

Turns out, worn correctly, masks *do* help

Studies go as far as saying you’re 80% less likely to catch the flu if you properly wear your mask.

But as the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan China has spawned fears of a pandemic across Asia, people are showing revolutionary ways to max up their protection to 100%, as demonstrated here by @miimoti.


= This morning, watching this image on TV, I thought ways of wearing masks are limitless. 

(やな imitates the Kansai accent. In standard Japanese, it’d be だな).

Well, it’s at least guaranteed no one will dare come cough near him!

Of course, Twitter peeps were quick to add some variations of their own.


= Limitless indeed! 

You can read on the screenshot:


= I’m not good at taking out a new mask from its wrapping so it always ends up like this. 


= Exactly. 

Japan’s unprecedented mask shortage

With Japanese evacuees from Wuhan taken to hospital, people’s fear went up a notch. From Sapporo to Hiroshima, people are now reporting a mask shortage at their local drugstores and supermarkets. In some places, store owners had to limit their clients from buying more than one box at a time.

Masks were limited to one pack per person at this supermarket in Shinjuku!

Too little too late, as business savvy peeps sniffing a good opportunity, raided physical and online stores to resell their stocks… Three or four times the regular price.

Nothing like fear to make good money.

I saw it “on” TV

で isn’t one of Japanese’s most complex particles, but refreshing your memory never hurts.

First, remember で has two main jobs, that is 1) indicating the place where an action takes place and 2) how the action was performed.

Here are real-life examples from a regular day at a Japanese office:

ファクスで書類しょるいおくってください。= Please send the documents by fax.

同僚どうりょういたくないので、トイレで昼食ちゅうしょくをとります。= I don’t want to see my colleagues, so I eat lunch in the toilets.

By now you have spotted at least a third usage of the particle , which is indicating a cause or reason.

ゆき電車でんしゃまっている= The train is stopped because of the snow.

In Japanese grammar, で has actually several more meanings that are kind of variations of the method an action or something is “done”.

  • Origins as in つくえつくりました = this table is made of wood.”
  • State or condition as inはだかます = I sleep (in the state of being) naked.”


Japanese Romaji English
今朝けさ kesa this morning
テレビ terebi television
画像がぞう gazou image
みる miru see
マスク masuku (surgical) masks
かた tsukekata way to wear
可能性かのうせい kanousei possibility
無限大むげんだい mugendai limitless
おも omou think
新品しんぴん shinpin brand-new
ふくろ fukuro bag
toridasu take out, pull out
から kara from
苦手にがて nigate dislike
いつも itsumo always
こうなる kou naru end up like this
そのとおりです sono toori desu Exactly, that’s it, as you said
ファクス fuakusu FAX
書類しょるいおく shyorui o okuru send document(s)
ください kudasai please
同僚どうりょう douryou colleague(s)
au see, meet
トイレ toire toilet
chyuushyoku o toru take lunch
ゆき yuki snow
電車でんしゃ densha train
まる tomaru be stopped
ki wood
つくえ tsukue table
つく tsukuru make
はだか hadaka naked
neru sleep

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