Ever been to a Japanese medical centre?

Japan the land of endless gyoza, happy people and white fluffy snow. Not a place you imagine yourself to be peeing in a cup… too much info?

Unfortunately I am a person that seems to be struck down with all that weird sickness stuff.  If its gunna happen, it’s gunna happen to me.

If you don’t want to know I would say stop here but for the rest of you that are grossly intrigued then by all means…keep reading. I inconveniently am a repeat offender to the devil of UTI’s… AKA a urine infection, something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling I seem to know all too well. Symptoms include:

-       Needing to pee every second

-       Burning sensation when you do pee

-       Blood in the urine (gross)

-       And yeah…needing to pee ALL THE GOD DAMN TIME.

Anyway, I am not Dr Oz and I am not asking you to hold my hand I just need to tell you how it plays out when you enter a non English speaking medical center (and maybe also, hold my hand). Lets not forget the reason why I set foot through the door was for an awkward sickness that needed to be explained in a series of questionable charades.

So here I was sitting in the waiting room of a traditional Japanese clinic as the only western white girl with tiny little Japanese slippers on. (Japanese culture requires you to have inside and outside shoes, sorry Timberlands you didn’t cut it)


As I sat quietly, a Japanese game show blared on the TV hosting entertainment for sick children lying on the tatami mats before it. Luckily for my poor sake, I had recruited a friendly Japanese speaking girl; Mieku who worked in the lodge I was residing at to come along and translate. Standing before the nurse, I explained to Mieku what was going on with me and who thereby reiterated it in Japanese to the nurse, making sure the rest of the waiting room could also hear. The nurse exchanged an awkward smile from underneath her facemask & escorted me to the doctor’s room.

The doctor presented me with a cup to urinate in along with a series of random English words and more body movement’s that indicated what I was to do with it. “Hai,Hai, Hai” (yes, yes, yes) I said quickly in hope that he would stop trying to hold my cup beneath his crutch to demonstrate. Holding the urine sample cup in my hand, I was in shock… this wasn’t the typical plastic cup with the screw lid and everything, it was in fact a mini Japanese coffee cup with no lid...

japan cup.jpg

The nurse escorted me to the bathroom and as I stepped inside the nurse yelled in Japanese again pointing to my feet. I had to change my slippers again, to bathroom slippers. With the deed finished, I walked back through the hallways with a nice warm and open cup full of urine… JUST GIVE ME THE ANTI-BIOTICS ALREADY!

Back in the doctor’s room, I was greeted with a graphic diagram about the urine tract and I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation that was unfolding before me.

Finally having the necessary drugs in my hand I was ready to get the hell out of there! I’m not sure what motivated me to document this whole ordeal with you, but like the Japanese culture, my experience was unique and wacky! Making the most of the situation, I managed to capture just one photo that essentially tells all.


georgia farrellComment