22 July 2010


Today I got up earlier than usual and got to the office earlier than usual.  At 11am, I paid off the whole of my loan to TPU.  I could pay in 3 payments but since my money is not earning interest in the bank (yup, no interest for savings accounts in banks here), I thought what the heck, for peace of mind; one less thing to worry about.  Then a little bit of work.  Then 12 noon was my medical check-up schedule.  The usual schedule is in early April but since I arrived here mid-April, I missed it.  So I should not miss this medical check-up or else I need to pay money to get a medical check-up outside of TPU.

Anyways, I was told to go to the main building 2nd floor.  When I got there, I waited in line a bit, only to find out  that I should go first to the 1st floor.  When I got there, I was held yet again.  The lady there, noticing that I brought with me a Japanese-speaking friend, said that I should have studied Japanese first before coming to Japan.  Who is this lady?  So basically I'm scheduled already for this medical check-up because I missed the one in April and that's what we told her, but she doesn't trust that we actually arrived in mid-April! So she made a dozen phone calls first.  She was saying, if we missed the April check-up, then they can only accommodate me if I have some illness and otherwise, I should spend for a medical check-up outside of TPU.  Aaaargh!  What is it?  Is it because I'm a foreigner?  Is it because I can't speak Japanese?  Why wasn't she informed beforehand?  These people.  What could have been a 10 minute stint turned into 45 minutes.

I am glad that it is over.  By the way, it was my 3rd X-ray in a span of 14 months: May and December last year, and now July this year.  Come the next medical check-up, it will be my 4th X-ray in a span of 24 months.  I'm radioactive.  (No, I consulted with a doctor friend and she said it's fine.)

Also, although they are using not a digital sphygmomanometer, they reported my blood pressure to the nearest 1 mmHg (i.e. 132/78).  Yeah right.  Of course it should be reported 130/80 instead, but anyways, that is good news to me a bit.  I probably have 120/80 blood pressure in the morning.  I am thinking about bringing it down to 110/70.  So that I can eat more burgers!  Ehehehe.  Kidding.

Anyways, thankfully there was no blood extraction.  I wasn't psyched for that.  And if there was, no one told me beforehand that I shouldn't have eaten or drank anything for hours before going to the medical check-up!  Apparently it was only for researchers (i.e. PhD graduates already); no blood extractions for students.

The urine test was quite fast.  I wonder if it is as comprehensive as the urine tests I get in the Philippines.  Basically I give them a sample in a paper cup, they put some paper in it and immediately they know the results.

I am glad to know my weight is down to 85 kg, from 87 kg when I got here (and from a high of around 92 kg when I went to the US last year).  I thought my BMI now is below 25, i.e. I'm not overweight anymore.

But surprisingly my height measured 183.5 cm only!  Whereas I thought I was 185 cm.  Maybe I was kuba when they measured me?  So actually given that height and weight, my BMI is 25.2!  I'm still overweight!!!  Anyways, just 1 more kg down, and I'll be fine again.  I think I need to lose a lot of skin in the belly area...

What else did they do...  No, what else did they not do...  They didn't bother asking me about my family's health history!

Is Japan's medical practice this much less sophisticated than in the Philippines???  Or are professional medical service fees so expensive here, such that it's a significant increase in cost to require the medical check-up to ask about family history, and hence companies usually do not get such "sophisticated" medical check-ups?  Anyways, this is a medical check-up for students only.  And there's probably thousands of us here.  And they have to spend for all of that.  Of course, for most students here, they paid quite hefty tuition fees that are supposedly inclusive of this medical check-up as well as some level of health insurance.

As I said, my "appointment" was at 12 noon; we got there 11:55am, and left maybe 12:40 already.  I went straight home for a yummy ginisang giniling with pechay lunch.  And went back immediately to school, because I had class at 1:30, which is the last session for this semester, and then again at 3:00 (my Nihongo class).  After class, I did some work, and then went home for the last half of my lechon kawali for dinner, together with a green leafy veggie (lettuce?) + cherry tomatoes + Italian dressing + bacon bits salad.  The lechon kawali as you know I fried yesterday (or was it the other day?), and so today I microwave-heated it. It still wasn't so bad.  But I guess after another round of refrigeration and then reheating, it won't be so good anymore.

And that's about my day.  I'm still doing a little bit of work.  I'm sort of not used to this pace, but I like it.  I'm literally managing my own time, unlike in my work experience in the Philippines when you are asked to manage your own little time, i.e. it is always deadline yesterday and so there is practically little to no time to manage!  My analogy to that work environment is this: if you give me only 10 minutes to run a 42 km marathon, there is no amount of time management that can help me finish running 42 km!  But that's what is almost always expected (silently demanded) of us there in the Philippines!  So now I have a little extra time.  So actually this really needs a lot of management and paying attention to, otherwise I can just find myself in a lull.  Then again, maybe because it's only my first year of this PhD stint.  The more senior PhD guys say the 2nd year is the busiest.  Others say, the 3rd year is the busiest.  As for me, I'm thinking, I'm already too old for that.  If I can finish this thing in under 3 years, I will!  Oh well.  We'll see.

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