Covid 19 and the Future of Mankind


Daniel Penso
My Eyes Tokyo Columnist/Proofreader/Translator

This coronavirus has affected the lives of all of mankind. That is unquestionable wherever you live on the globe. From lockdowns to social distancing to schools closed to people staying indoors and ordering everything to wearing masks and gloves, there have been absolutely unprecedented measures implemented to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the number of casualties.

Am I a proponent or opponent of these measures? I would say that I am a proponent with caveats. For example, even before the words “social distancing” became a part of the lexicon in the everyday lives of Americans, there was something called “personal space”.

You could easily tell somebody not to intrude in your personal space when they were too close to you so the idea of social distancing is not novel.

Neither is the idea of washing your hands. Washing your hands with soap and counting to 20 is a reliable way of keeping yourself clean (the equivalent to singing “Happy Birthday” twice). The length of time is something I heard for the first time.

Wearing a mask to prevent yourself from spreading germs is an idea that’s hard to be opposed to.

Nonetheless, the thing that worries me is having kids go to school and having to wear masks for the rest of their school lives. This is something I dread to be honest. If a kid is sick, coughing or sneezing or has a temperature, the parents should be responsible enough to have them stay at home to prevent the spread of germs.

I would say that preventive measures could be an alternative to masks at schools in the U.S.A. Adopt some Japanese customs! Things such as taking off shoes before entering the school and I also noticed people brushing their teeth after lunch at schools I taught at in Japan. Brushing the teeth is critical in preventing germs from infecting the oral environment. 8020 (hachimaru nimaru) undo (campaign) is the saying people express at the schools meaning having at least 20 or more teeth at the age of 80.

Greetings with bows instead of handshakes would be something I would like although I doubt it would ever take place. The amount of germs on our hands is nothing to take for granted, with an estimated 2 to 10 million bacteria between fingertips and elbows.

I will stop here for the time being. Wish everyone well! Ogenki de!



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.
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