The latest “brilliant” idea from SoraNews24’s founder.

With masks remaining an essential part of people’s wardrobes in coronavirus-era Japan, it was with great anticipation that Uniqlo, the country’s most popular casual clothing brand, introduced its first-ever face masks last week. So great was the pent-up demand that the Airism Masks sold out almost immediately, which had our boss, SoraNews24 founder Yoshio, feeling down.

▼ Yoshio, flaunting his wealth with a 1,000-yen (US$9.35) bill

“I really wanted to get some Airism Masks,” he sighed to everyone within earshot. “But by the time I got to my neighborhood Uniqlo, they were already all gone.” This was followed by more sighing…which gradually changed to a low, unsettling chuckling, which had many of us inching toward the door. “That’s it!” he suddenly shouted. “I’ve got a great idea!”, and since the rest of the staff doesn’t always share Yoshio’s personal definition of “great” the room turned into a sudden game of reverse musical chairs, with our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun the last person left inside, and thus roped into Yoshio’s plan.

▼ “OK, P.K., come with me!”

For a moment, P.K. considered making a break for it while Yoshio wasn’t looking, but then he remembered the sort of trouble that can happen if we don’t have someone keeping a close eye on him. So P.K. resolved to take one for the team, and followed Yoshio to Uniqlo’s gigantic Shinjuku branch, near SoraNews24 headquarters.

“But boss, the Airism Masks are sold out,” P.K. reminded him, only to have our fearless leader shake his head with a pitying smile. “Ah, young P.K., so pure of heart, and thus only able to see the direct path to your desires. Yes, Uniqlo is sold out of Airism Masks, but they’re not sold out of Airism.”

See, Airism is actually an entire clothing line at Uniqlo, and also what the company calls the proprietary lightweight, cool, breathable fabric used for it. So even if there aren’t any Airism Masks to be found, there’s still a plentiful supply of Airism T-shirts, tank tops…

…and underwear.

“Since you came along, I’ll make a mask for you too, P.K.!” Yoshio told him with a smile after he picked out two pairs of boxer briefs.

Back at the office, Yoshio generously let P.K. pick which pair he wanted for his mask, and he chose the white-with-blue-stripes option.

Still, P.K. was unsure about what exactly Yoshio was planning to do. While our boss sometimes displays some unexpected talents (like songwriting), we’ve never seen him pick up a needle and thread or work a sewing machine, so what was he planning to do?

“Just gotta grab some scissors,” Yoshio said while rummaging through a drawer. Once he found them he laid one of the pairs of Airism underwear flat on a desk, traced a couple of circles with his fingertips. Then he started snipping, and about a minute later, he was done.

“See? Do-it-yourself Airism Mask!” Yoshio declared, his voice muffled but full of pride. “Hang on just a minute, and I’ll have yours ready for you.”

▼ Look closely at their eyes, and you’ll see that only one of these men is smiling.

“Gee, thanks, boss…,” said P.K., but the confusion in his voice was impossible to miss. “What’s wrong, don’t you like it?” asked Yoshio. “I thought you’d be totally into it, since you like pro wrestling so much.”

“Well, yeah, I do like wrestling, but it’s just, well, it’s a little weird-looking, isn’t it?” P.K. replied, only for Yoshio to once again smile and patiently begin an explanation. “P.K., you can’t let little things like that bother you. And besides, my Airism masks have two major advantages over the ‘official’ ones. Not only are they ideal for protecting your skin from harsh UV rays in the summer, they’re also far more effective at protecting your privacy!”

P.K. was about to point out that trying to protect your privacy like this will actually cause a lot more people to look at you than you’d ordinarily have to deal with, but he decided to let our boss have his moment. After all, considering what can go wrong when he and Yoshio wear underwear on their heads for professional purposes, this really wasn’t all that bad.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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