Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Going to the Doctor in Kitami

Lazy or Incompetent? 

I am referring to doctors in Japan.  If you are a frequent reader of my blog (hi, Mom!), you have noticed that I’ve been quite busy recently.  Within two months I’ve had two international trips, and hosted my family as they were on an international vacation.  I’ve also attended a wedding and gone on a girl’s weekend trip to Lake Toya about six hours away from Kitami.  Right in the middle of this, I caught a nasty cold.

I thought I was recovering while my family was here, but even the week after my family left, I continued to have an irritating cough.  Normally I’d ask my dad to check it out, he’d sigh and check my throat just so I’d believe him when he’d tell me that it’s nothing and I’ll get better soon without medicine. 

However, living in Japan has made me a bit of a hypochondriac. After my horrid experience at the eye doctor’s (which I don’t think I blogged about because it was that awful), and another experience getting told that I was fat by a different doctor, I’ve been trying to avoid going to a clinic no matter what.  My hyper-vigilance has made me aware of every little thing that might be a sign of something bad to come and has increased the amount of time I spend worrying about my health.

I should say, this is not entirely out of paranoia.  Last year, a non-JET foreign English teacher got the MUMPS!  Yes, my kerosene heater isn’t the only old-fashioned thing about Japan.  Another JET out in eastern Hokkaido got a nasty bacterial infection from tonsillitis which resulted in a week-long hospital stay and a loss of about 15 pounds in two weeks.  A different JET started to get such chronic sinus infections that he needed surgery to breathe through his nose again.  These are just people that I know personally.   Rare instances?  Logically, maybe, but I sometimes feel like I’m not so sure…

Monday, June 4, 2012

Johnsons in Japan

A few weeks ago I was exceptionally fortunate to have my entire family visit me in Hokkaido.  My mom, dad, and three younger sisters made the 24+ hour trek to Hokkaido to see what my world has been like for the past two years.

I have been planning this trip since February.  I organized every last detail, and although I knew I took care of things, I was still surprised that there was not a single problem the entire trip.  Every reservation was there, no surprise fees were added, and the timing was just right.  All the hard work paid off when I was able to host my family on our first family vacation outside of the USA.

They only stayed for about a week, but we made the most of that week.  Highlights included taking a ropeway to the top of Asahidake Mountain, visiting classes at my school, watching my little sister Katelyn practice basketball with the Ryokuryo girls’ basketball team, going to the outdoor onsens at Lake Kussharo, doing a Japanese-style hotel bath, mountain biking in Daisetsuzan National Park next to an active volcano, and seeing a baseball game between the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and the Nagoya Dragons in the Sapporo Dome.