Tokyo and H1N1

It was May 20 when the first two cases of H1N1 in Tokyo were confirmed. After the news broke, the sanitary masks in every store were totally sold out. Last Friday night, I decided to go to Shibuya to shoot people wearing the protective masks. But when I got there, I spotted only a few wearing them.

Does this mean that the Japanese government was effective in reminding people not to panic?


Or is it just there’s no enough supply of sanitary masks in Japan?


Is the swine flu (H1N1) really life-threatening? Or is there more life-threatening than this?


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  1. By imghellip; « H1N1! on May 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    […] It was May 20 when the first two cases of H1N1 in Tokyo were confirmed. After the news broke, the sanitary masks in every store were totally sold out. Last Friday night, I decided to… [continue reading here] […]


  1. a lot of people wore masks last 18th on the trains, but has dwindled since then.
    i’ve been wondering about this too, knowing how paranoid/oc the japanese are.

    Posted May 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  2. gracey

    @3rdPhoto: that’s more life-threatening!! Note that H1N1 falls under COMMON flu category.. back in the Philippines, i bet everyone would just say “just drink a lot of water, and eat a lot of fruits..”.. with the lifestyle there, i’d assume most people would think that there’s really no need to panic..

    Posted May 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  3. For the common flu masks are effective only for few minutes. When the humidity of the breath impregnates the masks, it becomes useless (if not worse)….
    …but it is good for photos! :D

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink
  4. @oweynge: It seems that only the schools in Japan strictly implement the mask-wearing among the students. For adults, you only see a few in a hundred.

    @gracey: True, water and fruits help a lot. There’s no need to panic really.

    @Carlo: Yeah, masks are useless after a certain time. A friend said why people wear masks when they don’t know how to wash their hands.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  5. swine-flu scare is exaggerated..
    we are one of the states that is so near mexico, thus the name of our stat new mexico, but i didn’t see anybody wearing any mask here..

    Posted May 26, 2009 at 1:13 am | Permalink
  6. Why be scared? How many healthy, strong people have died in developed countries? And of that number, how does it compare to the number of people that die of the common flu every single year?

    AFAIK, there’s nothing one can really do other than be careful. Don’t grab a public handrail, then wipe your eye or anything like that. Other than that, if you get it, you get it. That’s just the way it is.

    As for the mask shortage, it’s real. They’re getting to be hard to come by. Fortunately, since it’s related to my job, I’ve got boxes and boxes o’ the things. Do I wear ’em out on the street? No. I’m not sick :P~

    Posted May 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
  7. Totally love your shots, man! Very beautiful. About the swine-flu? Um… I don’t know, I think it’s a little overrated.

    Posted May 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
  8. Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I?ll definitely be coming back to your site.

    Posted June 2, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  9. Hi! I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Will you post some more?

    Posted June 16, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  10. I’m not sure.. here in the United States, lots of Asian people wear them.. I actually read on the internet that it’s done as a courtesy – not just to keep other people’s germs out, but to keep their own in if they are sick.. Interesting concept..

    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:44 am | Permalink