Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The Japanese and flu. It's a love/hate relationship, for sure. One that annoys the hell out of me more than Jordan cracking his knuckles.

Japanese people think that sickness is a direct result of cold weather. And while I am not for a moment suggesting that ill health has NOTHING to do with the winter, winter is certainly not a prime cause.

Every winter, usually in the 6 weeks or so after the holiday, kids and teachers can be seen wearing surgical masks. Many kid will be off school with 'infruenza'. Let's explore these two very Japanese phenomena...

MASKS: People wear surgical masks in the belief that it will protect them, to some degree, from flu bugs floating around in the air. Perhaps these would do SOME good if they were used at all consistently. But you regularly see noses poking over the tops of masks (NEWSFLASH: your nasal passage leads to your oral passage that leads to your lungs!!), teachers take masks off to explain things in class, and people put masks on half way through the day when SURELY, if they were going to catch something, they'd already be doomed? Silly.

INFLUENZA: If you've ever had flu, then you'll know how debilitating it is. You are bedridden. You hurt. You wheeze. You live for the next dose of whatever drugs you're on. You are off work for two weeks. You don't get it every year. Proper flu happens only every few years, if you're that unlucky. In Japan, what they call influenza is more like a heavy dose of the common cold. Kids stay off school for a week or less. Maybe they have a slight temperature. And they get it year after year. This is NOT the flu, or at least no full-blown flu! It's a bad cold. It's not something you need to go to hospital to diagnose. You need a Lemsip and a day in bed to sweat it out.

And then I asked one of my friends if she's play tennis on Thursday. And her answer was that if she wasn't sick, then maybe she would. But tennis is dangerous in winter, because of the cold. WTF?! Sorry, but that is pure tattle.

I love this country, but sometimes their reasoning is just so wrong! Especially in health matters.

The pictures are: what Joe looks like with a flu-like illness called Between Party and Hangover, and Jane, cause she's cute, she's dressed in winter clothes, and I don't have a picture of a good-looking, fluey girl. Sorry Giuseppe. I did look.

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