A lot of Japanese folks believe that gargling will prevent you from catching a cold or the flu, a tradition that goes as far back as the Heian Period. While rinsing your mouth with salted water or medicine certainly helps with bad breath and keeping good oral hygiene, there’s very little supporting evidence that it actually prevents you from catching a cold.
That didn’t stop the governor of Osaka from claiming, during a briefing earlier this week, that gargling medicine can keep the novel coronavirus at bay based on the results of a limited trial, far from meeting scientific standards. The claim took the mouthwash brands themselves by surprise and the Japanese Ministry of Health declared that it’s too early to tell if the trial results are accurate. Even WHO announced that there is no evidence supporting that mouthwash can prevent you from catching COVID-19.
Seeing (on TV) is believing…
Nonetheless, (way too) many people in Japan took the advice at face value and rushed into their nearest store. The fever for povidone-iodine gargle products cleared shelves overnight, not only in the Kansai region but across the entire country.
Japan is now facing yet another type of shortage, with soaring prices online as more and more worried buyers are desperately looking to catch the last bottles of precious antiseptic mouthwash.
— あこち (@akochi_akochi) August 4, 2020
“The competition for isodine (gargle solution) has started!!!!”
— †孔雀の羽† (@Kujyaku000) August 4, 2020
“2020 Panic buying/product shortage:
Gargle ← [now here]
People are so incredibly gullible to information, or perhaps should I say,
there are people who believe anything they see on TV.”
While folks are certainly free to purchase gargle products, it’s worth noting that only drugstores and licensed sellers are allowed to sell and resell OTC medication. Run away from shady online or street sellers!
— おじま紘平（東京都議会議員・練馬区） (@ojimakohei) August 4, 2020
“If you gargle with isodine and test your saliva [for the coronavirus], it will be negative. I think the truth is that the virus is not disappearing from the body, so the number of ‘false negatives’ in infected people who sterilized only in the mouth will only increase. Even if it has a protective effect, can it prevent the severity of the virus? Stop panic buying. Resale of third-class drugs is a crime.”
Peeps on Twitter are already predicting what the next big rush will be when all the gargle medicine is gone.
Learn how to use the expression と言うか
The expression と言うか is often used to clarify or reformulate what has previously been said or written. Its colloquial forms are ていうか, てゆーか, and てか.
Japanese people consider that と言うか actually means “そうではない” (it isn’t this) and therefore the expression carries a negative connotation. と言うか is commonly used in three types of contexts:
- When rephrasing what you or another person has said (“more precisely, in other words”)
- When contesting what you or another person has said (“rather than saying…”)
- When summarizing what you or another person has said (“simply saying…”)
Keep in mind that changing or doubting someone else’s words is potentially rude, so you have to be careful.
と言うか can act as a connector between two sentences but also start an entirely new sentence. In both cases, you’re putting emphasis on whatever comes next:
どんだけ情報弱者がいると言うか、TVの情報番組信者がいるん = people are so incredibly weak to information, or perhaps I should say/or more precisely, there are people who believe anything they see on TV.
Recently, it has been noted that young Japanese people use と言うか a lot not to rephrase something, but simply to change the topic of a conversation, as in “by the way.”
|うがい薬||ugai gusuri||gargle medicine|
|どんだけ||dondake||oh my god/what the/ incredible|
|唾液検査する||daeki kensa suru||saliva test|
|第3類医薬品||dai san rui iyakuhin||Category 3 pharmaceutical product|
|要するに||yousuruni||lastly/in conclusion/in other words|