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20 March 2012 (Dust and Masks)

March 20, 2012

A thick, stubborn cloud of dust has been engulfing our area for the last two days or so. The photo above was taken today, which was a bit better than yesterday, when I couldn’t see the mountains in the distance.

My boss told me that when she went to the nearby town to go to the bank yesterday, she saw many people wearing masks.

“Wearing masks?! Like Japan!” I couldn’t help replying.

Bidiyouk (exactly),” my boss replied.

This actually wasn’t our first conversation about mask wearing in Japan. When her husband was getting a ride along with two sick people to the hospital the other day, she told him to get a mask at the kibbutz dentist’s office so that he could protect himself “like Japanese people do”. In numerous documentaries she’s seen about Japan after the earthquake, she’s always commented about the masks so commonly worn by the people. She knows by now after me explaining to her so many times that the masks are not just because of radiation. That masks have always been worn by the Japanese to prevent others from getting sick and vice versa, but more commonly because of severe allergies during pollen season. She no longer sees it as a negative thing like she used to.

I remember even when I was living in Tokyo, many of the foreign clients I worked with always seemed to get a bit of a culture shock from the sight of people wearing masks in public. To the Japanese it’s the norm, even a courtesy to others in a way. But to some foreigners it seemed even a bit offensive to them.

This is why I was a bit shocked to hear that masks were being worn by locals here in Israel. It made me feel like I was home in a strange way.

Yuval thought the dust is coming from Saudi Arabia while my boss thought it came from Turkey. If from Saudi Arabia, do the Muslims consider it holy dust?

I can’t help but remember the “yellow dust” we used to get in Tokyo almost every year from China. In my memory it always came around May. I wonder if it will appear again this year?








意外なところでイスラエルが一瞬母国に近づきました 笑



Much love,

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 1:22 pm

    If she succeeds in getting her husband to wear a mask, update me on how she did it! I’ve been trying to convince Shlomo for years to wear a mask for his severe allergies, and especially when there’s dust in the air. My coworkers call the dust אובך, which I think means something like “haze,” and they also said it’s from Saudi Arabia.

    The only time masks in Japan bugged me was when male coworkers wore them when they were too lazy to shave 🙂

    • March 22, 2012 6:19 am

      I’m not sure if my boss succeeded, but I know she was really persistent about it 🙂 But then again that doesn’t work on husbands, does it?

      And I can’t believe some of your male coworkers wore masks when they were too lazy to shave! Luckily none of my male coworkers ever did that. Yuval looked at your comment and said, “Why didn’t I think of that when I worked in Japan?” Of course!


  1. 23 March 2012 « Meuleh! מעולה | Meuleh | メウレ
  2. 1 May 2012 (Time for a book) « Meuleh! מעולה | Meuleh | メウレ

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