Sunday, 14 June 2009

Doctor Doctor

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.


  1. Interesting. Maybe her doctor missed the recent Japanese study that said that people who were a bit on the chubby side actually lived longer. This is as good as the study that said that chocolate is good for your health! Glad to hear that there's nothing really wrong with your friend!

  2. The thing is my friend is not chubby. Not at all.

    After talking about it with another friend I realized that maybe I (and my friend) and over-reacted. Perhaps what the doctor was getting at isn't her size, but what she is eating, and there he has a point. My friend loves rice, and her favourite meal is a bowl of white rice with a raw egg. She is also a big fan of meat. She is very slim now, but she is also very active and she is still young. When she gets older and her metabolism slows down she may have a problem on her hands (or rather her hips, tummy, and everywhere else!)

    That said, I am still often surprised by how common and accepted it is in Japan to comment on somebody's weight, even when they look incredibly slim to my Western eyes.

  3. Interesting. Maybe the doctor was asking her to branch out a bit and try some veggies! It's true that eating lots of meat/protein and rice/starch won't make you fat, but it will become unsupportable, especially after menopause (at least from what I hear).
    I don't think of the Japanese as having a problem with obesity, so it is strange to hear that there's so much commentary on people's weight. Is it part of the subjection of women, and something that women do to each other? Hope you're immune from all that!
    Stay strong and healthy!