Getting Sick In Japan

Ok, mistake number 1 has been rectified, I have changed the month of the previous journal to December. I’m not sure why I did write it as November, maybe I’m just trying to turn back the clocks so I can stay in Japan for as long as possible.

For the vast majority of the week I’ve been either revising for our end of semester Japanese exams or taking said tests. Starting with the Kaiwa (conversation) test on Wednesday, I chose not to volunteer to go first like I did for the mid-terms. Instead going 2nd to last thanks to the reverse alphabetical order system used. Still, I was pretty pleased with how I performed. However, shortly afterwards I realised that a lot of what I had said was complete and utter non-sense. Still, I hope what I managed to blather on about can save me again, just as it did in Leeds last year.

Thursday was the usually dreaded Kanji test, where we were tested on the first 3 chapters of AIAIJ; the 102 pre-requisite kanji, 125 written kanji and 101 kanji readings (though some of the kanji readings do cross over into the written kanji). Although Wednesday night I did work my ass off trying to remember as much as I could, with time restraints I could only get as far as mastering chapter 1 (50 kanji). However, realising it was possible to master a chapter of kanji in one night made me realise that given the coming winter holiday it just might be possible to really buckle down with kanji practice, something I’ve always struggled with.

Thursday was also host to our reading exam, where we were given two short stories to read and asked various questions upon them. One story was about a trip to … somewhere and it was … cold or something … yeah I don’t really remember that well. The other story I remember more about because it was quite funny. A foreigner (aka one of us ^_^) was talking about how trains in Japan are different to whatever country he’s from (it’s not mentioned). One time he noticed someone couldn’t get off the train (due to it being totally packed) and they looked like they were going to cry. But then at his station he couldn’t get off either. As it looked like the doors were going to close he wanted to say “Oroshite kudasai!” (please let me off) however in his confused state it came out as “Koroshite kudasai!” (please kill me). This in turn made everone get out of his way.

Yesterday was going to be the final test day, where we have a listening test followed by the main grammar test (aka The Biggie). Normally after this day’s testing we can relax a little more, or work on the one or two projects left outstanding. Due in next week is a linguistics project where I look at various aspects of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye Mr Despair), but more about that another day.

The reason I used “was” is because I didn’t get around to taking them. Yesterday at around 3 in the morning I woke up and had to be sick. To put it in the nicest possible way, I had to make several trips to a toilet throughout the morning.

When it came to my usual time to leave for uni, I considered the possibility of staying home, but given that the test was that day I decided to ‘man up’ and head in. After stopping at two stations (for reasons that should now be obvious … hmm … from now I’ll call it ‘painting the bowl’, it sounds a lot more pleasant) I managed to get to Uni five minutes late, not yet missing the first test (listening).

After hamming my way through the listening test we had a short break. I used this time to go and paint the bowl. When I left the bog there was a member of the KIEC staff waiting for me. I was told that I didn’t have to do the test that day and could take a make-up test on Monday. Knowing this was the case, I wanted to get myself properly checked over so asked if there was a doctor nearby who understood English.

Being sick is no fun, but being sick in a country where English isn’t the primary language is not only no fun, but it’s also difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in Japan and people shouldn’t have to be able to speak English just because I don’t speak Japanese well (something some of the other exchange students need to learn), but I thought going to an English understanding doctor could at least be a little bit easier on me.

Ironically throughout this whole excapade I found myself using Japanese for the vast majority of conversations with doctors, staff members and so on, and even learned some new vocab that wasn’t covered (i don’t think) in my text books, such as tenteki (drip).

To cut down what happened yesterday I went to the doctor, was put on a drip, slept, went to the Uni’s sick room, slept, went back to the doctor, was put on another drip, slept, got a taxi home, slept.

Today I went with my dorm manager to a local hospital to get checked up, but thankfully needed no more drips and was told I could start eating again. After that I came home and had a quick rest before writing this.

I really owe a huge thanks to all the KIEC staff members, my dorm manager and doctors for helping me out during that tricky period, especially those who accompanied me to the various locations.

Thank you

In other news, I probably won’t be able to walk to Shirakawa this side of new year. It’s not because of health reasons, but I’d forgotten that I actually had another assignment due for Leeds Uni shortly after New Year, so I really should get that done as a priority. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do the walk, it just means it’ll be a little bit warmer when I do.

Oh, I’ve still not got around to having a shave yet, but here’s an animation of a beard design I considered.

And on that note, I’m off to bed.

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