30th January 2002
It seems Japan
is somewhat behind many other westernised countries when it comes
to political correctness. Whilst studying today I discovered the
literal meanings behind the Japanese words for "husband"
Husband: shujin - meaning "master".
Wife: kanai - meaning "inside
talking about someone elses wife, use the polite form okusan
- "someone in the back of the house".
notes that "while politically incorrect, these are used as
there are no alternatives..."
be off to see if the woman has made my dinner.
20th January 2002
been quite a week, seeing the return of stress to my life after
a well-earned break!
a week or so before Christmas, I was woken by the most horrendous
chest pain which gave me the inability to speak or move. The pain
continued for a couple of days after that, although it was a lot
milder. By New Year it was just a general ache that I felt 24/7.
problems well represented in our family, I eventually succumbed
to my worries (and those of the folks around me) and visited the
local hospital. I had been reluctant to do so as I had heard that
Japanese doctors were not so keen on disclosing to patients what
their problems were, rather, they would prescribe a bottle of
pills and send them home. The second reason for my reluctance
was that I didn't want to know if something was wrong with
I must say
that that was the best hospital that I have ever been to (for
a start it didn't smell at all, and there was no ghastly orange
and brown carpet in the reception area). Having walked in off
the street (i.e no appointment) I was seen by an English-speaking
doctor within 20 minutes. She asked me all the relevant questions
before sending me off for a bloodtest, chest X-rays and an Electrocardiogram.
(Is that what it's called? They stick little electrodes all over
you to monitor your heartbeat) 30 minutes later I was back in
the doctor's office with all of the results. She talked me through
them, and explained that they were completely clear, no problems.
In order to
get a true picture of how my heart was working, they would have
to monitor it for 24 hours, and so I was sent back to the Electrocardigram
test section, where I was fitted out with the latest state-of-the-art
heart monitor that would record every beat on a little memory
stick. I was told to be as active as possible over the following
24 hours to try to spark an "event" (bad chest pain).
I was also told not to take a bath or shower as the little computer
strapped to my belt was not overly fond of water.
I set out from home for a jog around the neighbourhood. Sure enough,
not two minutes after I'd begun, my chest was filled with searing
pain. I became very dizzy and breathing deeply was a near impossibilty
due to the agony. I pressed the button on the monitor to mark
the event, and began walking back home. Surprisingly, the pain
was gone within 30 seconds of my relaxation. Happy that I had
my problem "on record", I returned the machine to the
hospital the following day. I pity the nurse who had to take the
machine off me as I stank like a wilderbeast after that jogging
and stress without being able to have a shower!
A week later
I returned for my results. Once again, all was clear. This time
a very funny English-speaking male doctor talked me through it
all. The print out clearly showed that on the previous Friday
at 6.28pm my heart was doing just fine with absolutely no abnormalities,
and none found elsewhere on the recording either. He told me that
he was 99% certain that my heart is ok. Without sticking a camera
snake inside me they can't find out any more. (No thanks!)
So, the mystery
will remain with me. The pain comes and goes but does not concern
me too much as I know it is not my heart. My lungs looked OK in
the chest X-rays... I really don't know and nor do they. This
of course all coincided with my 24th birthday which has served
to mark the date from which I can no longer jog or go hiking!
Yes, old age has caught up with me! I'll vist my doctor when I
next visit the UK
I would just like to say that in my experience Japanese hospitals
are fantastic. The only sting came with the bill - £300,
I spent the day admiring the latest
Japanese technology in the shops with two good friends.
Did you know that you can buy talking, voice commanded self-opening
fridges which have up to seven doors? And what about a contraption
that looks just like a mouse cage designed exclusivley for doing
the drying-up? Video-phone door bells are all the rage too - witness
the latest model in action! Then of course there's the Electric
Chair which can give you a heavenly massage with all the brute
strength in its hands of an articulated lorry! Of course there's
the water-massage-toilet seat (see below)
but perhaps the best recent addition to the world of home comforts
is the electric slippers!
out the photos by clicking here!