David Chart's Japan Diary

February 1st 2004

I went to Tokyo and Kamakura this weekend, and I've just got back. It was a good trip, but I should cover the week first.

On Monday, we had our first big class test, and on Friday we got the results back. I didn't do as well as I might have liked. Part of this is doubtless due to the fact that I did no revision for it at all; I was still feeling rather ill last weekend, so I decided to rest instead. However, part of it is also due to a tendency to make mistakes, in cases where I really should know the right answer. (I lost a lot of marks on one question because the English construction it parallels can be used more broadly than the Japanese one...) I think my fluency is getting better, so maybe it's time to work on accuracy with more focus.

One problem is finding enough time. If I'm going to do more Japanese study, something has to give, and I've not really been doing enough freelancing over the past couple of weeks anyway. I'm going to try having a packed lunch instead of going to Yamanaka, and doing work in the lunch break. I'm also going to try switching my breakfast to something that doesn't need me to spend ten or fifteen minutes washing rice the previous evening. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do about dinner, because I still need at least one proper meal in the day.

Being ill is not helping this. My cold is taking its own sweet time clearing up, although now it's no worse than an occasional cough; certainly not enough to slow me down. My skin, however, doesn't seem to be clearing up. I decided to go to the doctor's on Wednesday, so I went to the Gakuseika (Student Affairs Office) to find out where to go. The upshot was that Hoshino-san went with me to the clinic. This is obviously standard practice, since she started from that assumption. It was helpful to have a native speaker with me, although I did understand most of what the doctor said. He said that it was, in part, a reaction to my cold, and that it would get better. He also prescribed a couple of varieties of pill and some cream for my face. The face cream is great; the skin is much less dry there now. I'm not sure how much progress is happening elsewhere on my body; my arms and legs are still very itchy. And the "anti-itch" hydrocortisone seems to make me itch even more when I put it on. Still, the doctor told me to use it, so I might as well do as I'm told. The pills will run out next Wednesday, so I might have to go back; although this time I think I'll be OK without an escort.

There were a couple of interesting differences from England. First, of course, the Japanese national health insurance doesn't cover the whole cost, so I had to pay a bit for the consultation and prescription, although the prescription charge was about the same as it is in the UK. The more interesting differences included the lack of appointments; we just turned up at the clinic and waited for our turn. Fortunately, it wasn't very busy. The most surprising difference was that the pills didn't come in boxes. Instead, the pharmacy took the requisite number of pills required out of the boxes and put them in a plastic bag (still in the little bubble foil sheets, of course).

Anyway, here's hoping that the pills all work.

Out of time... More, including the trip, later.