Little House In Ise

Overheard in Tokyo
September 5, 2008, 10:05
Filed under: Expat, Japan | Tags: , , ,

I’ve never really liked going to doctors or dentists in Japan. This has nothing to do with concerns about how skilled Japanese medical practitioners might be but rather due to my expectations of how medicine “should be” practiced.

Once, years ago, I had a painful ear-infection and went to an ear, nose and throat specialist. His office was one large room with chairs along the walls for waiting patients and a chair in the middle for the one being examined. Everyone in the room could watch and hear what was being said to the person in the chair. Though I knew he wasn’t going to tell me that I had an STD or anything embarrassing, it was still uncomfortable being examined in front of an audience.

As a result of that and other similar experiences, I have resisted seeing health professionals except when my need was clear. But when you do need to go, how do you pick? In my case, I pay attention when people offer advice about their doctors. The other day, I overheard a conversation between three guys talking about their dentists. One had just tried a new one and wasn’t impressed. The second remained loyal to his because of an attractive hygienist. The third, older guy offered up the following:

“I have been going to the same dentist for years. I hate him, he’s terrible!”

“Then why do you go back?”

“It’s never crowded so I don’t have to wait in line…”



2 Comments so far
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OMG, I had such an experience when I was 5 years old. My mother is Japanese and we went for a trip to Japan but the air flight wasn’t good to me and I got an acute ear (don’t know if this word is right). So we went also to a Japanese ear doctor and it was the same as you described before. Many people sitting at the wall looking on you while I’m crying and wheeping, that was so embarassing and I can still remind this scene althought it happend now 32 years ago… ^^;
So nothing has changed really during the last 30 years, unbelievable lol.

Comment by Mayu

I remember less weeping and crying but, theoretically at least, I was an adult at the time…

Comment by Eric Holcomb

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