Sunday, September 18, 2005

Autumn---or what passes for it in Tokyo

seems to be about here. Normally, were I back home I wouldn't be calling days of 80-83 degrees autumn-like, but it has cooled some, especially at night.

With fall comes an increase in colds which seem to spread quickly and easily here. One of the big reasons is that people don't regularly use handkerchiefs to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. It actually seems rare. Sneezes are done full volume and full blast. If you are close to an sneezer, you are likely to have your eardrums burst as well as getting a full load of spit all over you. This is great fun in trains.

Today, I was only coughed on a few times by some young guy in his 20s---seemingly the weakest when it comes to cold immunity---who was shopping near me and coughed on me twice from about 3 feet away. Yes, it is hard to not say anything (or punch someone in the nose) for that, but this is Japan. Had I said something, I would have been the bad guy.

The other nice thing about cold season is that Japanese don't like to blow their nose (or wipe it on a tissue). It is much better manners to sniff constantly. Most foreigners really enjoy this. It is nice to work next to someone all day who sniffs her runny nose about 30 times a minute. Nice to be next to someone on a train doing that, while sneezing, and coughing all over you.

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