While some people in the United States are refusing to wear masks, people in Japan are lining up for them.
Lines for masks were actually common earlier this year during the initial novel coronavirus outbreak, with mask shortages causing people to wait in front of drugstores for the latest shipments.
Now, however, it has become easy to find disposable masks. So, why are people waiting for Uniqlo ones? These “Airism Comfort Conditioning Technology” masks are made with Uniqlo’s cooling, fast-drying fabric. The washable masks, which are three to a pack for under $15, have three layers to block bacteria as well as pollen. (The masks even block ultraviolet rays!) As the country continues to get hot and humid during summer, cool masks are a must.
Long lines formed in Tokyo, Osaka and elsewhere. In small locations, hundred of people waited for hours to buy the mask.
いや〜ユニクロのエアリズム マスク並んでるね〜いや〜並んでるね〜 pic.twitter.com/qHBEEJNNgF
— 渡部建（がち本人） (@monsutotarouman) June 18, 2020
— 冥王 テトリス (@pskansaips) June 19, 2020
There was even restrained running!
— カニちゃん (@scooter_daylife) June 19, 2020
With attempts at social distancing.
— せぇの(^ω^) (@seeno6) June 19, 2020
Though, not everyone could practice said social distancing.
— はちみつライダー???? (@Pooh3rider) June 19, 2020
— はる (@harumichi0513) June 19, 2020
— VISSELISTA12 (@netsusama000008) June 19, 2020
— mk33685⚡⚡⚡ (@mk33685) June 19, 2020
— mcanrkeik (@mcanrkeik) June 19, 2020
— あちゃーちゃ???? (@zun_docoberorin) June 18, 2020
— 日テレNEWS / 日本テレビのニュース・速報 (@news24ntv) June 19, 2020
— エコロジスト健司 (@kenji_Ecology) June 19, 2020
— 大阪 不動産 shima (@design0124) June 19, 2020
— リリカル(☆∀☆)サンシャイン (@JzWOqCaJcjlMUV5) June 19, 2020
— yamachan上新庄 (@yamacha26805904) June 19, 2020
And the inevitable sellouts.
— くみあ (@drama_dagisuki) June 19, 2020
— ねとらぼ (@itm_nlab) June 19, 2020
According to Nikkei, the Uniqlo website crashed in Japan due to demand for the masks. Uniqlo, however, will be making 500,000 of these masks every week, so expect demand to normalize. Eventually.
Japan has had a culture of using masks dating back to at least the 1918 pandemic. In non-covid-19 times, people wear them when they are sick or suffering from seasonal allergies. Up to now, that same mask culture might have helped the novel coronavirus from spreading widely throughout the country.