I can tell something is wrong with my friend. She's not her usual boisterous self. She doesn't dig into the meal with her usual abandon. (Despite her small size she has a reputation for being a big eater)
I'm not the only one who notices and when we question her she whispers that she went to the doctor for her annual check-up and was told she needs to watch her weight.
I couldn't believe it. She was told WHAT?!?
Sure she's a big eater and she always has to have a big bowl of rice to finish her meal and she likes sweets. But watch her weight??? This is a girl who is far from overweight. She may not be stick thin like so many Japanese women, but she's in her mid-20s, actually has muscle, and is one of the few of my Japanese female friends who doesn't get sick at the drop of a hat.
As more dishes arrived and we began chatting my friend slowly began to relax. When it came time to finish off the fried rice she did so with her usual gusto, and promptly ordered redbean-filled sesame balls for desert. My friend was back to normal, but I couldn't help but worry about the effects of Japanese doctors on those with less self-confidence than my strong friend.