Sunday, June 10, 2007

To let you know

The medical check-up post was by Ira, not me--(Katrina).
I would never carry a piece of turd around with me anywhere.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

buh bye!

The boy's last day of school...

I went to St. Mary's the other day (the boy's school) and found myself talking with the Headmaster ( they still exist--Celia's school has a Headmistress) and the conversation inevitably turned to the boys over grown hair.
I was reprimanded.
The hair needs to be cut, upon arrival back to school in the fall, "nice and neat, no weird stuff, and no spikes."

Spikes....I looked quickly to see if I had goth boots on.
I guess that if hair is a bit too long, then the spikes are right around the corner.
I assured him, it wasn't my intention to let the hair to that point, I just see haircutting places around here for something like 4,800 yen per cut, and don't have it in me to drop that kind of money on the boys hair. (That's about $45 . per)
I guess they have more of a problem with it in the Jr hi/hi school, and next year apparently will be a strict hair rule, it cannot touch the shirt collar. And of course no spikes and 'weird stuff'.

Going back to the USA today. Fly into Seattle, then off to Denver CO.

Looking forward to a bag of cheetos.

Maybe I'll make an occasional post about what is happening in Golden CO.

So goodbye, and wish us luck on that long flight in coach!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Strange experience the other day. Went for my annual medical check-up - it's a benefit all Japanese get from their companies and the government. The entire process was in Japanese, which created an air of mystery and puzzlement to the proceedings.

First of all, I had to complete the form that details personal and family health histories. My friend and colleague Ben Strauss, who's also here on assignment from the US, had his exam the same day. He's fluent in Japanese and coached me through the form, translating the Chinese characters (kanji) into such interesting ailments as Autonomous Nerves and Big Liver Disease.

Preparation included three consecutive mornings of coughing into a liquid-filled plastic beaker for I don't know what purpose and taking a stool sample the morning of the exam. Also not eating or drinking after 9pm the night before, which greatly hindered my ability to provide a urine sample the next morning.

So I'm standing in the crush of the morning subway commute into central Tokyo and I'm having a very Hunter Thompson/John Waters-like moment realizing that I'm carrying around a piece of turd with me. Wondering what the people pressed against my briefcase would think if they knew. Then I start doing the math. If all the salary men and women in Japan exercise this benefit each year, on any given subway car on any given morning there must be several people carrying pieces of fecal matter with them to the clinic. I started looking around me to see if I can pick out my co-conspirators. They must have been very practiced, because nobody was giving anything away.

At the clinic I disrobed and put on a stiff cotton two-piece light green pajama set that was at least three sizes too small for me, as were the slippers (open heel style - my favorite), and waited in the general waiting area. The clinic is set up this way - four or five rooms and some other stations surrounding the central waiting area. There were 8 or 9 of us going through the same order of activities - sonogram to check various innards (turns out I'm not pregnant), blood pressure, air-puff into eyeball, electrocardiogram, others - all done by young female Japanese nurses. I guess having women do these tasks is the only way to get the typical Japanese man to go for their check-ups. One bizzare test had me drinking barium and standing on a machine which was then maneuvered around horizontally and vertically to get the stuff to swish around inside me for different views of my stomach. The nurse was barking orders at me to turn towards her, then away, then slightly towards her, then roll over three times. Often I couldn't understand her and she'd run over from the controls and move me a bit in the direction she wanted me to go. Fortunately she was cute. At one point when I wasn't looking she ordered an extended metal arm into position pressing against my solar plexus. I did a lot of laughing through this whole stage because it was so absurd.

The result of all this - I'm healthy and need to exercise more (knew that) and drop a little weight (knew that too). And I can now go for another year without carrying crap with me on the subway, but I'll be a little hesitant squeezing into the car next time...