A Tale of Two Americas

METコラム「マスクするアメリカ & しないアメリカ」

Daniel Penso
My Eyes Tokyo Columnist/Proofreader/Translator

A nice family trip to Santa Barbara from my current residence in Los Angeles presented a completely different picture from the pandemic-plagued city of L.A. Almost anywhere you go in L.A., be it West L.A., Santa Monica, Downtown L.A. or other locations, a large if not the majority of people are donning masks as they shop at a grocery store or other location.

I do not doubt that the coronavirus is real so I always have a mask with me and wear it where it is needed. However, here I am with my family in Santa Barbara just 100 miles north of L.A. in one of the most left-leaning states in the union and there were only two or three out of 10 people I’d say who were wearing masks. California is one of the most left-leaning states in the union and schools are scheduled to be online as directed by Governor Newsom.

But!!!, you wouldn’t get that vibe if you were walking along a beach in Santa Barbara or many of the beaches even down to Malibu. Some beaches were teaming with pro-Trump banners and nearly devoid of mask-wearing individuals.

Once we reached Malibu, the picture began to change and the number of mask-wearing individuals increased significantly. People were also separated by greater distances in the sand.

The contrast between L.A. and a reasonably large city such as Santa Barbara was quite stark.

I wish the best for everyone of you! Ogenki de!

Photos by Daniel Penso




Daniel Penso

Lived in Tokyo from 1999 – 2009 and calls it his second home. Currently he resides in California and is a Japanese-English translator. He enjoys traveling, learning languages and cuisine. When visiting Japan, he enjoys watching rakugo shows.
*J-E/E-J Translation: http://www.myeyestokyo.jp/translation
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