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Amparo Bertram

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06:21 pm: 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.

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    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:December 9th, 2004 11:45 am (UTC)
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    The whole class gasped in horror.
    That's hilarious! I can just picture them.

    falling asleep without being completely covered from the neck down with a blanket
    It's not so much neck down as that your stomach has to be covered, or it's bad for your inner organs. My students were telling me one day that people often used to wear a special wrap around their stomach in the summer (when you're more likely to throw the blankets off in the night because it's HOT, duh) to keep from getting cold.

    I also found out today that Christmas lights are bad for trees. (Okay.) And, did you know that American sweaters are wrinkle-resistant? But Japanese sweaters aren't. They need to be ironed.
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:December 9th, 2004 11:59 am (UTC)
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    It's not so much neck down as that your stomach has to be covered, or it's bad for your inner organs.

    Weren't you the one who told me about the guy who supposedly caught a cold because his feet were sticking out? And I know I've read stories in which the blanket got pushed down to bare a guy's shoulder and another person pulled it back up so he wouldn't catch cold...I just can't think of any specific titles offhand.

    But Japanese sweaters aren't. They need to be ironed.

    <snerk> Yeah, tell my sweater collection that.
    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:December 9th, 2004 12:27 pm (UTC)
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    Weren't you the one who told me about the guy who supposedly caught a cold because his feet were sticking out?
    Ah, you're right, I forgot about that. But the stomach is EXTRA sensitive.

    Yeah, tell my sweater collection that.
    I wanted to tell her she was crazy, but I don't have any Japanese sweaters, so I really didn't have anything to back myself up with. But she was serious about ordering American clothes, because we have so much more wrinkle-resistant stuff.

    I think her real problem is that she needs a dryer.
    [User Picture]
    From:amilyn
    Date:December 9th, 2004 04:26 pm (UTC)
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    *giggle*

    Ah, culture.
    [User Picture]
    From:sara_tanaquil
    Date:December 9th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)
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    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.

    LOL!!

    So that's why Ishuca is scolding Blood about not drying his hair properly in the Koori artbook extra story. That story is so insanely cute.

    Don't forget to add to the list: sitting by an open window in winter (as demonstrated by Wild and Rapunzel in Koori vol. 24). ;-)

    The one about being in the bedroom without being in the bed is truly the weirdest. If wearing pajamas outside the bedroom causes colds, I ought to be dead and buried by now.
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:December 9th, 2004 09:13 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    So that's why Ishuca is scolding Blood about not drying his hair properly in the Koori artbook extra story.

    Yep, I would bet anything.

    Don't forget to add to the list: sitting by an open window in winter (as demonstrated by Wild and Rapunzel in Koori vol. 24).

    Oh, yes, feeling a breeze is definitely one of the fast paths to colddom. Here is the process:
    Step 1: Feel a breeze.
    Step 2: Sneeze. (The sneeze is essential.)
    Step 3: Come down with a fever.

    Witness poor little Sidney in City of Glass, who sneezed once because his dog's fur tickled his nose, and his mother (realizing that it was chilly) instantly felt him for a fever.

    If wearing pajamas outside the bedroom causes colds, I ought to be dead and buried by now.

    This one is also true. When I once spent the night at a Japanese person's house (the parents of one of my team teachers), I changed into my pajamas and sat at the living room kotatsu. They kept asking me if I was cold and telling me I should wrap myself in a blanket so I wouldn't get sick.

    You see, the logic is that pajamas are thinner and cooler than regular clothes. If you fall asleep wearing regular clothes, which are thick and hot, you will sweat during the night. This sweat on your body (Water! Warning! Red alert!) is what causes you to catch cold. On the other hand, wearing pajamas protects you from this fate, because they are cooler and you won't sweat--but! The drawback is that you must only wear them in the bedroom...and, of course, if you are in the bedroom you *must* be in bed wrapped in blankets, or else you will be *too* cold and thus get sick.
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