For more than a decade now, many Japanese have become accustomed to wearing flu masks whenever they step outside.
While some wear them as protection from airborne diseases, dust, or the cold breeze, others wear them mostly as a fashion accessory.
In the U.K., however, wearing a mask would most likely mean something is wrong with the person, like if he or she was very sick.
For that reason, local customers at a supermarket in the Merseyside town of Southport, the U.K. were understandably shocked when a bunch of Japanese tourists entered the establishment wearing flu masks.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” a terrified local shopper told On The Spot News. “I immediately thought that this was some sort of terrorist operation in place and could see other people were getting really anxious. My family were genuinely frightened.”
The shopper then reportedly sought answers from the supermarket staff, but “was told that it was probably some type of ‘cultural thing’, which did not answer my question or allay our fears. The masked people were pulling big cases on trolleys, which could have contained anything.”
Nonetheless, the worried shoppers captured the images of the tourists who casually shopped with their masks on. Photos indicate that they seem completely oblivious of the minor disturbance that they were causing the British customers.
The shoppers gave their own suggestions as to the probable reasons for the masks. Someone pointed out that this may be due to pollution, but then found it odd since their town is actually known for the clean, breathable and healthy air. The suggestion of the reason being “diseases” was also counted out since, as the report pointed out, “None of the group seemed ill in any way.”
There is a high chance, however, that the tourists were merely wearing their masks because they are already used to doing so back home.
Here’s a helpful video that lists the many reasons why the Japanese love wearing flu masks: