Friday, October 1, 2010

In Japan, no one can hear you English

I woke up one morning and felt like someone had punched me in the right eye. I looked in the mirror to discover that the bottom eyelid of my right eye was pretty red and swollen. Even students pointed it out in class. The vice-principal recommended an optometrist in the area and another teacher made an appointment for me that day. N-Sensei agreed to accompany me as a translator (he was just happy to get out of school early).

I arrived about 30 minutes before my appointment so I sat in the lobby. N-Sensei, where are you? So there I am, all by me onesy, is a place where no one can hear me scream…in English. The nurse handed me some paperwork to fill out, which I left on the bench to my side. I was waiting for N-Sensei to come so he can translate the paperwork. Where is N-Sensei? Luckily a nurse came over and spoke to me in VERY BASIC Japanese. I know the words for address, phone number, and (hilariously enough) insurance card. That was apparently enough for her, so she took the pad away and whisked me into the waiting room portion of the office.

The Doctor actually saw me pretty quick. He examined my eye with some kind of super, hyper, mega microscope machine and came to a diagnosis quickly. He cued up pictures of the condition on his laptop, and typed some key words on MS Word so I knew what I was up against. He typed the words “bacteria” and “corazion.” I have no clue what a corazion is and neither does google. Where is N-Sensei?

One of the nurses was kind enough to walk me around the corner to the pharmacy where I picked up some antibiotics and eye drops. The pharmacist knew some key words like “after meal” and “daily.” I nodded politely, paid for the drugs, and went on my merry way.

On the way to my bike, who should I spot? N-Sensei! He was a little late (grrr..), but he did go into the office while I was at the pharmacy to find out how things went. Apparently, children get the same eye problems when they do something dirty, than rub their eyes. Great! Now I am a child in terms of language AND behavior! Who do I blame for this mess? I blame the Japanese Board of Education for choosing to stick with chalkboards. I must have wiped my eye when my fingers were covered in chalk dust. Well, that’s my theory anyway.

I told N-sensei that I paid $15 for the appointment and you would’ve thought I said $500! He said, “Josh, I’m sorry. Maybe next time you pay $5 or $10.” I saw a doctor and got two prescriptions, all for $20. That is lower than my copay in America. God bless Japanese healthcare.

Crisis averted and my eye is healed. By the way, I’ve heard from good sources that the pictures from Kobe will be up soon. Be sure to check the Kobe posts for updates.

P.S. This is what part of the alphabet would look like if Q and R were eliminated.

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