This morning I thought a little about a woman I met about two years ago. Not sure why; I just do from time to time. It was one of my first days teaching at my visit school. At the time, I wasn't used to rude students and their antics, so it was a somewhat disheartening and rather draining day. That night I took a couple of trains, as I have for a long time now, and instead of walking home from the station, I took the bus. At that time I wasn't very familiar with the geography of my town, so I couldn't walk it. Anyway, I slumped onto the bench at the bus stop. There was an elderly woman sitting next to me. "You look tired!" she exclaimed, and handed me a little hard candy to suck on. Somewhat surprised, I accepted the losange. We talked for a few minutes while we waited for the bus. She was a retired teacher living in the same neighborhood as I was. She told me that she had a somewhat long and unusual name: 三百田 (Sanbyakuda)。Three hundred rice fields. On the bus we parted ways. She gave me her address on a piece of paper and told me that if I had any problems, I should let her know. That piece of paper is, unfortunately, long gone - carelessly misplaced and lost soon after receiving it.
|Some lady teachers.|
Posting has continued to be rather, well...lacking. One reason is that I'm currently planning something, so a fair amount of time and energy will go into it. I'll be telling you about it once it becomes a bit more concrete. 'Till then there are some things I want to post about - just need to find the time.
About 50 minutes ago I was in class, and right now the students are doing group project that involve them researching and presenting about foreign holidays. One group forgot to bring any research to class and so couldn't prepare. I ran downstairs to print out some information for them to use just during that period.
I noticed that a part of my slipper was coming off, so when I got to my desk I pulled out some scissors and hastily sliced it off. I also hastily sliced into my pinkie. The blood, it welled! I grabbed some tissues and compressed. After a couple minutes the bleeding slowed but wouldn't stop. Go to the nurse's room or go back to class? A teacher can't ditch class early! Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail, right? So I ran back to class, leaving some bloody tissues in the garbage. It was kind of cool - looked like one of those scenes where someone is fleeing the law and gets wounded, so they find refuge someplace and patch themselves up, and by the time the cops get there all they find are some bloody bandages.
Anyway, continued the last 30 minutes of class and then went to get patched up. Took like 5 minutes of pressure for the damn thing to stop leaking.
(Oh, and I wasn't able to print out info for the kids. I tried, but the printer was being an a**hole and telling me there was no paper when there totally was).
This is pretty goofy, but before you judge too harshly remember that in America we have had commercials with dudes singing about Viagra.
Last weekend I was in one of those all-purpose stores (MaxValue, maybe?) in Saga with Yoshie and we happened to stroll by the pet section. I must say I was surprised by the selection. For some reason there was a goat hanging out there in a little fenced-off area. I felt bad for the little guy - barely any room to move around. And he didn't appear to be for sale. Just there to attract a crowd?
...perhaps not the last of them.
By the way, here is an interesting article comparing our healthcare in the U.S. with that in Japan.
I actually talked about this with Joe a couple weeks ago, but weekend medical service in Japan is fairly limited. Joe recounted a story about his girlfriend's brother being really sick on a Sunday and the family going to the hospital and waiting for it to open.
This weekend I was in Saga and Yoshie wasn't feeling too hot. She said she'd go to the hospital the next day, and I suggested we go together that day. But no, it was a Sunday - the hospital was closed, she told me.
I understand that there are some emergency (ambulance) services and that facilities vary from place to place...but it just seems pretty shocking to me that there are hospitals that aren't open 24/7. If it's a matter of budget, how about cutting back an hour or so during the week? Sure, maybe a few less people with runny noses would be treated, but at least there would be some recourse for people who are sick or injured on Sundays...
For those times that you feel really bad about something, like for example getting into a fight with your girlfriend about something stupid, really upsetting her, and feeling like an asshat afterwards, I give you a few words and expressions useful expressions and a grammar note.
First off, "guilty." A good word to remember here is やましい。(疚しい)
As in やましい気持ちあるから寝れなかった。(I feel guilty so I couldn't sleep)
Second, to beat yourself up (over something): 自分を責める。
Next, to hate yourself. I think this is more in the sense of really regretting something you did or are doing, not actual self-loathing. 自分（のこと）が嫌だ。 OR 自分(のこと）が嫌い。
As far as my grammar tip, I think it's worth noting that a very easy mistake to make in the early (even to mid) stages of learning a foreign language is to try and translate expressions exactly as they would be in your native tongue. Sometimes they will be the same, but often not. Feeling guilty is a good example of this. Whereas one might be tempted to look up the words for "to feel" and "guilty" and stick'em together, that wouldn't work in Japanese. Well, you might be understood, but you wouldn't sound very smart saying something like やましい感じてる。Instead we use 気持ち (feeling) or 心 (heart) to express that we literally have guilty feelings or a guilty heart. Worth noting in your studies!
The other day Joe and I were talking about the pro's and con's of American and Japanese healthcare. I think we came to the conclusion that it really varies from person to person depending on their individual experiences and level of coverage. For example, if I were currently in the States and uncovered (as I am), I probably wouldn't be too happy right now.
For my part, my experiences with Japanese healthcare haven't been bad. My chief complaints are that things often take time and running around (though I guess that's often the case in the States, as well) and that most doctors here are specialists. Back home since most doctors (GP's anyway) learn a smattering of everything, you can see your family doctor for most things, and if he can't handle it he will usually refer you. I readily acknowledge the fact that I'm no expert, of course - that's just my impression based upon my experiences and having a doctor in the family.
In my most recent case, this bump on the back of my neck got red and painful last week, so I called a dermatology clinic, but was told they were very sorry that I didn't have a referral. Thus I wound up going to my local 内科 (internal medicine) clinic. I had been there before, so I thought I knew what to expect. Last time the doctor had seen me for 2 minutes, not even looked at my problem because it was out of his realm, and promptly written me a referral and charged about 2000 yen for it. Well, at least it was speedy. This time I expected a referral, but instead he prescribed me some antibiotics and told me to come back in a few days if they didn't work. They didn't - I developed a fever on Sunday. Took off work and went back on Monday and procured a referral to a general surgeon.
The surgeon was a welcome surprise, an interesting character. He looks to be in his 60's, which probably means he's actually like 90. He got his medical degree in Milwaukee, so his English was more than passable. The office was kind of run down - looks like business is slow these days. Anyway, he wasted no time in telling me he needed to lance the sucker. Needled me with a local, then lit a cigarette and shot the shit for a few minutes. Both amusing and disconcerting to have him standing next to me smoking while waiting for my neck to go numb.
Well, I survived anyway. Have to go back every day for the next few days to have my bandage and gauze changed. If anything goes horribly awry, I'll be sure to report.
Things just keep getting in the way of writing! A couple months ago I got this cyst on the back of my neck. Last week it abscessed, so on Friday I got some medicine, which didn't cut it...so today I went to a a surgeon and had it lanced. Ouch. So I just haven't really physically been feeling much like writing, but I'll try to get back into the swing of thing soon.