The concept of germs is quite simple to me. If you spread your germs around, other people are pretty likely to be affected by them. Keep them to yourself and you're doing those around you a big favour. Is this NOT extremely simple?
In Tokyo, there seems to be two groups of sick people: the first group wears a face mask, the second group doesn't. The second group coughs and sneezes over everybody within firing range. (Think train or elevator here for a moment).
There are a couple of strange concepts I was brought up with:
1. You cough/sneeze: you cover your mouth/nose.
2. You cough/sneeze: you turn away from people / point your head to the floor, if possible, whilst doing 1. (see above).
Is this hard to understand? Feel a cough / sneeze: raise arm from elbow so hand hovers around nose/mouth level; cover mouth / nose and then cough / sneeze. EVEN better: do it into a DISPOSABLE TISSUE.
Disposable tissues are those things that are given out by promotions people every day outside a hell of a lot of stations. They are easy to get. They are FREE.
Now, I'm all for cultural differences BUT one I just cannot come to grips with is how sniffing is perfectly acceptable but blowing your nose in public isn't. PLEASE. Please, please, please. I hate the noise of someone snot snuffling in my ear even more than I dislike being up close and too personal with imperfect strangers on the Chuo Line. Not Nice. Not. Not. Not. AND, whilst we are on the subject of hygiene, the face cloth (flannel/towelling square) in your bag (and my bag) for mopping up sweat, emergency hand drying, bike wiping, etc (actually that's a lie; I normally have one for me AND one for my bike with me) should NOT be used for mopping up your snot. I mean, do you replace it before next wiping it over your forehead or hands? I wonder.
For a city that appears so spotlessly clean; where most public loos are spangly and clean (and with toilet paper); where litter and graffiti are rarely seen; where litter is carefully separated into a million different types; where mattresses are regularly aired out.... the germs factor just seems wrong.
But then this is a country where grown men on telly think it's fine and funny to try and poke fingers up each others behinds. Nice.
* 'eyyy' must be imagined being said with at least seven syllables each one a tone or semi-tone higher than the last. It's approximate meaning is 'what' and is used when surprised or amazed, normally (though not exclusively) by females in the 15 to 45 year age range.
Other news: I dragged my swollen-glanded, sore-throated, aching-everything'd, feverish body back to work today. Partly because I couldn't be arsed with the idea of having to explain the perculiarities of my Monday students to another teacher, and partly because I don't take sick days if I'm physically capable of standing/speaking. (The latter is optional). I never have - too many years of temping/temporary no work = no pay jobs.
My days off are currently Sunday and Tuesday and, one of the nice things about being a second year teacher, is I can now have consecutive days off. I had a small problem with this. I REALLY wanted 2 days together, but I really like my Mondays. Anyway, I've been given it now and change days at the start of December.
Today I told three of my classes. I felt so guilty. They looked so disappointed. The school I'm leaving was the first school I ever taught at. Some of the students I teach there now I've had since day one. It IS sad, but also nice to know I'll be missed.
Another something I find strange: non same-sex dubbing. Call me weird, but if I see a woman (man) I expect to hear a womans (mans) voice, even if it is obviously the person's voice being translated. It just feels and looks very wrong to me to hear the 'wrong' sex voice doing it. Especially, when a young female voice 'does' the voice of an old male. Weird.
Oh and Darwin Award for this Japanese teenager, anyone: This girl tried to kill her mother and blogged about the whole thing. It gets better, when the mother was hospitalised she tried to do it again. Despite having signed with her name and address at local pharmacies for the chemicals, and what she's written on her blog: she's claiming to be innocent. Yeah, right.