Thursday, July 01, 2010

Physical Exam, in Japan!

Today I went and got my yearly physical, something I have to do for my health insurance... or somethin. Basically, I got to experience a physical exam for the first time in Japan, and it was an interesting experience, with plenty of 'oh yea, I'm in Japan' moments.

Turns out the clinic my appointment was at is on the way to the station, so that was convenient. When I got to the receptionist, I handed them a couple forms I filled out before hand, my insurance card, and they gave me a number, a folder with all the tests I would have, and also a cup. I grabbed my stuff and headed to the floor below for the exam.

When I got down there I handed them my little folder, and they directed me to the bathroom for the urine sample. Actually while on the subject of bathrooms, there's one thing I've finally realized about Japanese bathrooms. Auto sinks, auto dryers, auto toilets and bidets aside, the toilets themselves (as opposed to urinals) are like, 100% enclosed. Like the walls around the toilet go to the floor, as if the toilet is in its own little room. This difference has come up at lunch a couple times, and naturally to Japanese people they can't quite understand how open the public toilets are in the US. Yet... now that I think about it, urinals at public restrooms in Japan (like at a park) are pretty much completely visible from outside, as in they're not really tucked around a wall or anything. I feel like theres a conflict of privacy going on here...

Anyways, back to my exam, when I got to he main exam waiting room, I noticed everyone else had changed into exam tops and bottoms... Maybe I didn't fit so they didn't offer? When she told me to go down stairs she said I was fine in the clothes I was in so... whatever.

First on the list was my weight and height. And in beautiful Japanese form, the machine for this was completely automatic. I took off my shoes, emptied my pockets and stood on the scale with the height measurement. The lady pressed a button, the machine came down, rested on my head, and printed a piece of paper with my height and weight. Why have I not seen anything like this in the US?! That was WAAAY faster!! In fact now that I think about it... I don't think I've even seen a digital scale for a physical in the US either! Yeesh. Then after that she took my blood pressure (with another automated machine), it printed out the result, she complimented me on my Japanese, and I sat down on a couch in the middle of the room.

Here again was beautiful Japanese efficiency - there were a dozen or so people, all with their own numbers waiting. The entire room was lined up with different 'stations' and we all basically moved from one room to the other depending on which tests we had. Brilliant!

Next up for me was a chest X-ray. After I finished with that, the lady complimented me on my Japanese, and I went to wait for the next station - testing my eyes and hearing. The eye test was looking through a microscope type instrument and reading the direction that the letter "E" was facing. I gotta say it was interesting doing an eye exam in Japanese. I had to think a little bit more than usual. The hearing test was done in a soundproof 1 person booth. She put some headphones on and I pushed a button when I heard any noise. When I was done she complicated me on my Japanese and I went to wait for the next station.

Finally I met an actually doctor and all he did was feel my throat a bit, and listened to my breathing a bit. On my way out I heard them talking about how surprised they were of my Japanese. Yes, every single person I met was surprised at my Japanese, haha. Not that this is a bad thing, who doesn't like compliments? I definitely can see a day where I get tired of it though, haha. I just gotta keep it from getting to my head - I'm definitely lacking in my kanji (chinese characters).

So yea, had my first physical in Japan, it was super automated and incredibly efficient, and every single person complimented me on my Japanese. Also, I didn't have to do any blood work, so no needles! YES!!! Man I was sweatin bullets about that.

Oh also random thing on the way home today. There was this little kid, maybe 8, who fell asleep on the bench. The train came and he still didn't wake up. There's only one train he could ride from the platform he was on, so I went to wake him up. I shook his shoulder and said, "Ooii! Densha kita yo!" which means "Hey! The train is here!" Of course he woke up startled, but he was ten times more startled when he looked at who woke him up. Then he thanked me but kinda mumbled a little bit probably because he was shy/startled/didn't know if I could understand him. Man I can't image how surprised he was to see my SUPER FOREIGNER face staring at him, hahaha.


Anonymous Parsons said...

Funny kid story!

7/02/2010 4:11 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Love your posts. :)
That restroom-stall-thing was a big deal to many of our exchange students. They did not like the short doors or "eye cracks". In fact, at our final gathering that was what many of the students had been "most surprised by" in the US.

7/21/2010 11:57 AM  

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