Mask マスク

Maybe the whole world knows by now that Japanese people often wear masks for protection. My mother often recommended I wear a mask but unfortunately I can not wear a mask. I love my mother and I believe that she was right but wearing masks is not for me. Since early childhood I have a very sensitive nose so when I wear a mask, my nose reacts to this with congestions almost like an allergy which is quite unpleasant. Many Japanese think that masks work well against pollen but I react as though the mask itself were an allergen. More than half of my life I have been living in Austria, where nobody wears masks in public. People say that wearing a mask means you are very sick so it is quite an uncommon sight. During my time in Austria, a doctor recommended wearing masks but this did not meet with success and was quickly forgotten. A few years ago the government even passed an “anti-concealment law” which also includes facial masks. Right now because of the Corona virus, the Japanese embassy in Austria is sending out email to resident Japanese to provide updates on the virus situation. There they write that because of the anti-concealment law the Austrian Interior Ministry requires people in principle to have documentation from a doctor in order to be allowed to wear a mask. On TV it was reported that wearing a mask will not stop one from becoming infected but it will however reduce the risk of already infected people spreading that disease to other people. I think it may be unusual for Japanese people that it is forbidden to wear masks voluntarily. Today on the 29th of February at noon there are 9 officially confirmed cases in Austria. I sincerely hope that this virus does not spread rapidly and that it will subside soon. When I think that people suffer or even lose their lives, it really makes me sad.

日本でよくマスクを付けることは、今や世界中で知られているのではないかと思います。私の母も、マスク愛用者で、私にも勧めてくれました。母を信頼してましたし、言われた通りにしたいのですが、私にマスクは合わないようなのです。小さい頃から鼻の調子が悪く、少しでも鼻に触れたり、変化を加えると、すぐに鼻水やくしゃみが出て大変です。マスクにはまるでアレルギーでもあるかのように鼻が反応し、とても付けていられません。花粉などへのアレルギーを防ぐ意味もあるマスクなのに、私にとっては、まるでマスク自体がアレルゲンであるかのようです。   私はオーストリアに住み始めて長いです。すでに人生の半分以上をこちらで送りました。ここにはマスクをする習慣がありません。ある時期、医療関係者がマスクを奨励していたことがありましたが、ほとんど広がらず、売れ残った大量のマスクと共に、発案は消えていったようです。それどころか、数年前より政府によって出された「覆面禁止法」に、マスクも含まれていたのです。 現在、新型コロナウイルスの流行について、在ウィーンの日本大使館より、オーストリアに住む日本人に、情報や留意することなどに関するメールがよく送られてきます。そこにも、オーストリアの内務省が、覆面禁止法に基づき、「健康上の理由によりマスクを着用する場合には、原則として医師の診断書が必要」と述べていることが記されています。また、テレヴィのニュースでも、マスクはウイルスを防ぐことはできない、すでに病気になった人が、他に移さないために付けるものである、と医療関係者が言ってました。 自由にマスクを付けることを禁止されるのは、日本人にとって大変に違和感があるのではないかと思います。   2月29日正午現在、オーストリアでは、新型コロナウイルスの患者は9名と発表されています。どうかこれ以上広がらず、早く流行が終わるようにと願います。   罹患された方、また、命を落とされた方のことを思うと、心が大変痛みます。

Tengu 天狗

Recently in Vienna it is quite warm in terms of being winter and very windy. Sometimes because of loud wind noise I wake up during the night and then it is difficult to fall asleep again. Then I turn from side to side and remember my childhood. I was a child who never could fall asleep easily. My mother lay next to me and softly sang a lullaby for me. Then she softly tapped my body in the rhythm of the music. This rhythm grew slower and weaker and she fell asleep. I shook her, woke her up and demanded she continue with the song. One windy night, because I continuously woke her up, presumably I was getting on her nerves so she started to tell a story about “Tengu”. “Tengu” is a monster with a long nose and a big fan, making wind with it. If Tengu finds a child who does not sleep, he will come and take that child. She meant to say that I should fall asleep. I however felt scared and it became impossible for me to fall asleep. My mother used to work and I assume she must have been really tired. When I think back now, I regret that I did not let her sleep in peace. Gratitude for mother may possibly be recognized later in life…