Monday, 12 November 2007


I went back to the hospital/doctor last week as my prior complaint had returned a month or so after I had finished my antibiotics. They took what seemed like a litre of blood and whatnot and had me go back on Friday for results. I had the same doctor as my first visit and again he kindly made the effort to speak in English. He had a thick stack of papers that turned out to be my test results and he went through each one carefully.

"Your maslfhweo (English approximation of Japanese medical term said quickly and under his breath in an attempt that I recognize using myself when unsure of the exact word to use) level is..... NORRRRRRUUUMARU!" (the last a version of 'normal' said at about twice the volume and with four times the oomph as the rest of the sentence) He would then point to the numbers printed on the sheet to confirm my normalness. Now, of course whether one number was 40 and the next number was 0.1, or the other way around would make absolutely no difference to my comprehension. I haven't taken biology or anything like it since grade 10!! Not realizing my lack of comprehension, however, the doctor pushed on... Your lksjfoawr," he said, "level is.... NORRRRRUUUUMARU!!" Your sljfoewei level is also..... NORRRRUUUMARU!! This went on for quite a while (as I said they did take a lot of bodily fluids). He ended by telling me that my various systems were also norumaru.

All this norumaru-ness is a good thing, and the doctor seems quite confident that there is nothing wrong with me, but I'm still left wondering why if nothing is wrong with me I don't feel quite so norumaru? To his credit the doctor was very understanding and said that I should come back the minute I don't feel right, even going so far as to recommend the best time for me to suddenly feel sick (~3pm on Mondays or Wednesdays, when the hospital is apparently at its emptiest).

On a side note - if I needed confirmation of Japan's rapidly aging population I certainly didn't after a morning in the hospital's waiting area. In the nearly three hours I spent there I only saw one other person under 30. Everybody else seemed either over 70 or was accompanying a parent in said age range.

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