Japan - buying a mask on arrival

Old Feb 27th, 2020, 01:38 AM
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Japan - buying a mask on arrival

I'm due to travel to Japan for a month from end March and I'm hearing that many people are wearing protective masks. Although we've been advised they are not always effective, I don't to offend by not wearing one. Will I be able to buy on arrival in Tokyo? They are out of stock where I live.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 01:41 AM
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I don't know about Tokyo - I was there about three weeks ago and found one package of five masks. Since then I have traveled around Hokkaido and Tohoku and am now in Kyoto - almost impossible to find masks anywhere.....
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 01:46 AM
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Thanks Mara, how are you managing, do you feel that you're expected to wear one?
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 12:19 PM
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Well, "offend" is not quite the right word, is it? You don't want to offend, so don't do what 'all' Japanese don't do: don't litter, don't be noisy, don't cut in line, don't eat when walking, don't ask for butter on your rice, .,,

Not all of the Japanese are wearing masks (from recent youtubes I've seen). They can't if the masks are sold out. If you still need to then go ahead and check at the duty free shops on arrival and the shops after immigration and in the city. If you go out in the morning and see people lined up at a store then you might want to get in line. I understand that people are going into stores, find no masks available, and then asking when they might have more. Then they line up that day when the new stock hopefully arrives.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 09:12 PM
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I was in Narita on Feb 2, and there were no masks in any of the pharmacy or convenience stores on either side of immigration. I was actually looking for something else, but chatted with one shop manager and he said there weren't any, anywhere at that time. Are you flying on ANA or Japan airlines? They often offer masks as or after you board, and did so even even on Feb 2. If you want to get some the best place is at your doctors office or nearby hospital here in the US.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 10:06 PM
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I have a few I got from a Japanese friend. I basically only use it on public transportation that is crowded. It does seem that most people I see here in Kyoto wear them - goodness knows where they got them as my friend here couldn't even find them online....

The good thing at least imo is that I have usually found that Japanese people don't sit next to foreigners on public transport so at least they're not breathing on me. ;-)
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 05:31 AM
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Several authoritative sources, including The Washington Post yesterday, insist that masks offer little to no protection from others' infections. Their function is to keep symptoms inside infectious persons, smothering the coughs and sneezes etc. The external protection is next to nothing. So you are looking at etiquette. I'd guess a simple woodworking dust mask, costing a dollar or two, would look like it satisfies conformity?
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 11:56 AM
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I suppose the OP was a bit about conformity, but it also does bring up the excellent thought of the affect that personal mask use has on other people. The discussion about masks on other threads is pretty much all about the protection it affords the mask wearer.

On trips to Japan I have seen Japanese wearing masks because they are sick. With the possibility of asymptomatic (or mildly symptomatic) transmission I will assume that some of them are wearing masks to protect others.

You might not wear a mask if you think it does no good for you, but I would be more comfortable if I worked the front desk at your hotel in Japan if you wore one.

Southam, I looked for the WaPo article you referred to and found one, maybe different: https://www.washingtonpost.com/healt...s/?arc404=true

I hate the bit in the title: "Not sick? No need to wear a mask". That is true, so far, in the USA. People don't wear masks here when they are sick.

And it says that use of an N95 mask is a waste if not fitted properly and the wearer is not trained on its use. I am not a nurse nor am I a petroleum industry worker whose job requires wearing one (a good reason for me not to wear one is because the petro workers need them). I get it that an N95 mask is not totally effective if used or worn improperly. A properly fitted scuba mask could be totally effective at preventing water from getting in your eyes if your head is submerged in water but I think it would do a pretty good job if someone threw a glass of water in your face.

I am not going to buy a respirators or masks. I actually have some masks that I got before my last trip to Japan. I was sick and thought that antibiotics would fix me in a few days.

Years ago, I was on an overnight flight from Sao Paulo to D.C. and in the morning got in line for the restroom. There was another guy waiting who was facing me. I yawned and he coughed at the same time. Neither of us covered our mouths. I think that was what put me in the hospital for pneumonia some time later.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Feb 28th, 2020 at 11:59 AM.
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 12:05 PM
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Anyway, I saw another youtube recorded in front of Tokyo station. Most, not all, of the people in the background were wearing masks. Which means that most, if not all, of the people were able to get them.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 12:49 AM
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Many people in Japan have quite a cache of masks in their homes. As a friend told me, if you are sniffling on the way to work or a social even, you'll go to the nearest pharmacy or convenience store to quickly buy a mask. However, the masks normally come in packs of 5, 10 or more, so you end up with 4 or more leftover masks each time. I learned this a few years ago when I asked friend for a mask and she brought out DOZENS of packages of different brands and different styles.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 05:49 AM
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Amazon has some medical face masks available. You may order as little as a pack of 10. I'd get some now, instead of wasting time to look for face masks in Japan.

I read that face masks need to be changed every 6 to 8 hours, and be very careful how one takes it off and folds it before discarding it in trash bin. Currently, in many countries including Japan, the face mask production cannot meet demand.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 10:42 AM
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lcuy, that makes sense that Nihonjin would have a stash of masks left over from the last time they got a cold, before the CV. The minority of people, the ones not wearing masks, may have simply used up their supply.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 04:50 PM
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Doesn’t your doctor’s office have them as you enter? Ours does and I took a handful.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
Doesn’t your doctor’s office have them as you enter? Ours does and I took a handful.
I doubt the intent is to provide you with a free personal supply.
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