Friday, April 30, 2010

following custom

there are a few things that japanese people are known for doing really well.  singing karaoke and sleeping whenever they have a free moment.  this is one of my coworkers doing both in fine japanese fashion.  he is a great guy and deserved a little rest.  some of my coworkers though were encouraging me to karate chop him in the adams apple.  this is what happens when you give them shochu.  they become less than polite and cut throat!  (sorry it isnt the best picture either...i had to sneak it when i took it and now i am having to sneek posting it as i sit right beside this man and surely dont want to have him thinking that i am delighting in poking any fun at him! ) 

as for me now, i am off to celebrate what they call golden week here.  it starts with this coming monday which is constitution memorial day, then tuesday is green day and finally wednesday is childrens day.  i have no idea what monday and tuesday mean and a little bit of an idea on what wednesday is about.  i hope to find out, but i will be celebrating work off anyhow on another tiny island on the other side of the mainland.  yes for beach music festivals and camping and all of the wonderful things that will go with it.

cheers to those of you who will celebrate cinco de mayo wednesday too.  im sure it will be a great holiday for you there!


Friday, April 16, 2010

health check day

i got a notice from the sensei who sits next to me at my desk in the high school (he is an english teacher) that we would be having a urine test today with many more health checks in the weeks to follow.  great i said, can you tell me what to expect?  well, he is a man, but a progressive man so he decided to throw caution into the wind and went ahead and tried to explain to me what i needed to know.  pee in the cup and pour it into the little tube, easy right?!  well i knew that there was to be more to it than that, so i went ahead and took the notice that was handed out with directions all in kanji (the pictures were not very good either) and asked some of the lady senseis at the elementary and jr high school if they could tell me anything that i didnt know already.  i am glad i asked.  we got the "packet" a day early which i didnt think much of considering the organization that happens around this place most days, so i could show the others what was inside and what i might be having to do with it.  well i kept asking questions and kept asking to make sure that i would be saving myself any embarassment and the last question i asked was "so when i am done peeing in the cup, should i put it in a bag or something to carry it from the bathroom to the nurses office to drop it off?".  inui sensei (woman, english teacher at the jr high) just started smiling and told me that it wouldnt be a problem at all and that i should definitaly put it in a bag, especially since i would be peeing in a cup AT HOME.  it was like homework to take the little cup home and to make sure that you could collect the first pee of the morning.  ohhhhhhh, now that makes sense to me!  i get it!  that is why we got the cups early and why all of the other questions i asked seemed strange to her and the other teachers that i was asking.  so in the end i actually got this one right, or at least i think i got it right.  no one has told me that i have diabetes yet or that the pee was not labeled or collected right.  it is the small victories that really make me smile here. 

so the whole reason behind doing all of this is a good one that i learned more about as i was asking questions yesterday.  basically every one in japan has to take a pee test and a lung exam once a year as a sort of precautionary measure to keep the population healthy.  if there is a problem like diabetes forming or some sort of lung problem, they are thinking that they can catch it before it gets too bad, AND expensive to treat.  why would they care you ask?  well, they have socialized health care here and every one gets it, it is inexpensive and it is usually pretty good care.  so if the govt can save some money by giving these tests every year they are going to do it.  wow, now that makes sense and i feel like there are a few places in the world that could learn a thing or two from the way that they do things here.  next week is the lung test and further down the line this year we get blood drawn.  the students undergo many other health screenings but i think that they are for more reasons than just purely for health. 

just another interesting thing about life here...

happy friday everyone