‘Masks were worn here before the pandemic. It’s not political. It’s a matter of, ‘Maybe it’s just allergies, but I don’t know for sure.’: Woman urges ‘community is a beautiful thing’

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“I speak English.

I live in Japan and only speak English and maybe 20 Japanese phrases.

I grew up in a world of people saying, ‘Go back to where you came from. This is America. We speak English here.’

Not once has any individual in Japan told me, ‘This is Japan. We speak Japanese here. Go back to where you came from.’

Not one time.

Individuals give up their seats in waiting rooms, on trains, or on busses here when they see me pregnant or carrying my children. No words, just a simple standing and gesturing for me to sit in their place.

I can barely thank them in their native language.

Masks were worn here before a global pandemic ever surfaced.

Before Covid-19 was circulating rampantly, the Japanese people wore masks to protect their communities.

Not themselves.


They didn’t want ME to get their sniffles, and they expect me to not want to give them mine.

It’s not political. It’s not an infringement of rights. It’s a matter of, ‘Maybe it’s just allergies, but I don’t know that for sure, so I wear a mask to keep from spitting on you when I speak.’

Freedom is a beautiful thing, yes.

But collectivism isn’t a threat to freedom, y’all.

Caring about someone else’s reality doesn’t make you weak, and for the love of God, it doesn’t make you a ‘sheeple.’

Community is a beautiful thing.

So is compassion.

So is empathy.

I love my country dearly, hear that. But in so many ways, I KNOW we can do better.”

Courtesy of Emily Bolander

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Emily Bolander of Joyful Crew. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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