Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

How do I catch a cold? Let me count the ways...

When I arrived at work this morning, there was a peculiar puffy envelope sitting on my desk with my name on it. I opened it to find inside a bag of lightly salted potato chips. I was quite perplexed by this. When I asked, it turned out that the guidance office had some kind of raffle at the teacher's meeting yesterday (which I didn't have to attend), and the envelope contained my prize.

Hey, free potato chips--that aren't shrimp-flavored. It doesn't get much better than that.

My team teacher stunned the class of first-year students when he announced that, while he was at a homestay in America, the father of the family had a fever and took a cold bath to cool down. (A cold bath, in Japan, is anything less than scalding.) The whole class gasped in horror.

This is because, in Japan, it is common knowledge that getting unheated water of any kind on you causes fevers. That's right, getting wet is an invitation to coming down with a debilitating cold (regardless of the season, mind you). The water could come in the form of getting caught in the rain, taking a dip in a river or pond, getting splashed, or (worst of all) neglecting to dry your hair completely after taking a hot bath.

Other common causes of incapacitating illness include (but are not limited to):
  • falling asleep on the couch
  • falling asleep on the floor
  • falling asleep without changing into pajamas
  • falling asleep without being completely covered from the neck down with a blanket (preferably two) (and this is, again, regardless of the season)
  • wearing pajamas anywhere other than inside the bedroom
  • being inside a bedroom at night without actually being in the bed (yes, I have read a book in which a character is standing in the bedroom--properly wearing pajamas as well as securely wrapped inside a blanket--and is told "don't just stand there, you'll catch cold, get in the bed")
  • (and, just to deviate from the nighttime hazards) eating cold food

    God forbid you fall asleep on the couch in your clothes without a blanket after eating ice cream while your hair is wet. You're as good as dead.
  • Tags: culture, school
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