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每日英語跟讀 Ep.964: Which side of a plain white mask faces out?
Pharmacist Ko Yu-pin, father of novelist Giddens Ko, says that even though white masks are the most popular type in Japan, they are not at all popular with the Taiwanese. Ko says that some customers asking for masks decline the minute they hear the masks are white. When he asks them why they do not want to buy white masks, they say that they have no idea which side is supposed to face out, so they would rather not use white masks at all.
Consequently, Ko decided to set up a “mask class.” Whenever anybody comes to buy masks, no matter whether the current batch is white or not, he always gives them a quick lesson, using a sample white mask to explain how to distinguish the inner and outer sides.
Ko says that the easiest way to tell the difference between the inner and outer sides of a white mask is that the side with the pleats facing downward is the outer side. There are two reasons for this. The first is that having downward-facing pleats on the outside makes it easy to breathe, and people who wear glasses will not get their glasses misted up when they exhale. The other reason is that dust will not accumulate in downward-facing pleats.
Ko says that some people think they can distinguish the inner and outer sides of a white mask by the ear straps, but actually some mask factories put the straps on the inside and some put them on the outside, so the straps won’t tell you anything. The best way is still to look at the pleats. Just remember that the side with the downward-facing pleats is the outer side and you will get it right.
Ko says that every time he receives a batch of plain white masks, he and his wife set an example by putting on white ones. Ko says that previously only people who wanted to send masks to Japan would specifically ask for white ones, but since he started his mask class, most people have been accepting white masks. After all, no matter what style or color of clothes you are wearing, you can’t go wrong with neutral white masks, which go well with anything.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/09/29/2003744239