Category Archives: Japan

Summer news

Summer fireworks

2016 Fireworks, Ome-shi, Tokyo

The cicadas have started serenading Japan again, signaling the official arrival of summer in the country. Finally, summer has arrived! Actually, summer arrived a month ago. But let me pretend that it has just arrived. I love summer. Nothing best describes summer than “fun”. Of course, dreadful things also happen in summer but somehow the summer season lightens up any misery, at least for me. My best memories were all made in summer. Nothing, not even Bell’s palsy, can ruin my summer 2016. Continue reading

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Bureaucrats!

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Every time something works, someone will come along to mess it up.

This morning, I visited my endo for my quarterly checkup. Everything is fine, except for one tiny change in our arrangement which my endo announced at the end of the consultation. Apparently, the National Health Insurance (probably thanks to a bored bureaucrat or more likely a group of bored bureaucrats) has decided that effective April 1 doctors cannot issue a script for more than 60 days’ supply of medicine. Previously, my endo regularly issued 90 days’ worth of metformin (plus 10 days’ allowance in case I need to reschedule my checkup due to any unforeseen event), which covered my needs until my next quarterly A1C bloodwork and checkup. It worked perfectly. With the recent change, however, my script will no longer match my quarterly A1c check and I will be required to pay extra visits to my endo just to pick up meds.

Why? Why? Why? I’m sure that in the larger scheme of things there is a reason for the new restriction. But, I’m also sure that whoever thought of this new scheme did not consider the fact that it is a big inconvenience to a lot of patients.

My doctor and I discussed our options.

Option One, in two months, I’ll pick up one month’s supply of medicine and go back one month later for my A1C checkup and to pick up my next two months’ supply. Repeat.

Option Two, in two months, I’ll pick up two months’ supply of meds and go back two months later for my A1C test and the next two months’ supply. Repeat.

Either option demands that I visit my endo the same number of times. But with Option One, I can maintain my quarterly A1C tests, whereas with Option Two I will have only three A1C tests a year, with a total of three months that are not covered by any A1C check. I suppose it’s Option One for me.

Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the problem? It’s just four extra visits to the doctor’s a year to pick up medicine.” Of course, if I had all the time in the world, the extra journeys to the doctor’s is not an issue. But, like most people, I don’t have that luxury, and I’m willing to bet, neither do those bureaucrats should it be their turn to be the patient.

A new chink in my diet

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Rice bowl.

When it comes to food, I consider myself lucky in that I have no allergy or intolerance, apart from lactose. Of course, being diabetic, I have to minimize, if not avoid, carbohydrates (especially simple carbs) to have better control of my blood glucose. That said, I can choose to indulge if and when I wish; of course, with full knowledge of its effects. This is the case with rice. I generally do not eat rice because rice of all sorts, white, brown, red, polished and unpolished, raises my blood glucose really really quickly. But now I have to avoid rice for another reason. It seems that I have developed an intolerance for it.  Continue reading

Lunch

Note: Day 5 DBlogWeek. Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)

Pardon me for deviating from the topic but I thought this DBlogWeek prompt would be an apt opportunity to answer a question I often receive from friends and strangers, diabetic or not: What do I eat for lunch? I get this question because I live and work in Tokyo, where rice and noodles are among its staples. Since I do not bring my own lunch to the office, many wonder how I manage. Actually, it is not that difficult to find suitable dishes and restaurants in Tokyo, which is among the world’s top food meccas. In most cases, rice is either served in a separate bowl or placed at the bottom of the bowl (as in rice bowls). Instead of describing food options, which I’ve done before (here), I’ll let you see for yourselves some of the reasonably priced choices available at restaurants and food courts near my office.

Western

Another Garb lunchGarb lunchLunch salad

 

 

 

Chinese

Chinese pork dishMabodofuChinese lunch

 

 

 

 

Japanese

Negitorodon

Rice bowl – the rice is separated by dried seaweed

Japanese lunch

Oyakodon

Chicken and egg rice bowl – the rice is under a layer of cooked egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bento

Thai bentoBeef bentoSalad bento


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last days of autumn

Autumn never stays long enough and winter arrives too early; this year, winter arrived far too early. Over the past four weeks, I’ve watched the golden trees along my running path discard their red, gold and yellow leaves; I’ve suffered the autumn breeze turn into a blustering frosty wind; I’ve observed the migrating birds fly south.  Continue reading

Running in the rain

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Can you see the runner with an umbrella?

It’s supposed to be rainy season (tsuyu, which literally says “plum rain”) in Japan, but I don’t think it rains as much in Tokyo during this season compared to other months of the year. In fact, I find that it may rain more on other times of the year (April, May, September and October, for instance) not just in Tokyo but in other places in Japan as well. For instance, it rained everyday during a week-long October visit to Kyoto, including the day I hiked through a forest on my way to Enryakuji Temple when it rained heavily (to make matters worse, one of my cheap running shoes split apart) but I was able to capture stunning photographs in the rain.

Continue reading

Kindness of strangers today

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First act of kindness
My hubby and I took our car for its biennial car inspection (shakken) this morning. At the testing center, I could not figure out where to get the forms we needed. Then, out of the blue, a guy wearing greasy overalls with the Nissan name and logo asked me what I was there for and, after I told him my purpose, asked to see my documents. He leafed through the documents, signaled for me to follow him and then led me to the building next door so I can pay the required fees first and get the necessary forms.

While I took my wallet out of my bag, the cashier asked him if I was a client. He shook his head and told her that he was just helping me out because I looked like someone who didn’t know what I was doing (true!). When the cashier told him that he was kind, he casually shrugged his shoulders and said that he just happened to have the time before the first round of inspections. Continue reading

100 km trailwalk

After the half-marathon in May, I’ve been running to maintain a decent base but without following a specific “pre-training” program (which sounds like another training program to me). On the weekend, I’ve been setting my timer and not worrying about distance or pace. I’d also been playing games during runs, as I’m sure many runners do. I may decide to speed up or slow down every time I run through the shadows cast by apartment buildings, or from the time I meet someone with a green shirt until I see someone with blue shorts. Sometimes I’ll decide to run up and down each of the many flights of steps and steep paths along Tama River. I’ll be training soon for a November half-marathon so right now I just want to run.

My running gear

Continue reading

Aizu Wakamatsu: The half marathon and the city (Part 2)

Aizu Wakamatsu

Dinner by the river

Dinner by the river

I, my husband and a couple of friends from Tokyo who accompanied us to the race arrived at our ryokan in the town of Higashiyama Onsen in the late afternoon before the race. The train journey from Tokyo station to Aizu Wakamatsu station consisted of a Shinkansen ride, a local train ride and about half an hour of waiting time in between. From Aizu Wakamatsu station, our inn was a short taxi ride away. The journey was pleasant as I had great company and the May countryside landscapes outside the train window were lovely. We saw not just vibrant green mountains and late spring wild cherry trees (yamazakura), but also snow-capped mountain ranges (Mt. Bandai and the Azuma Mountain Range) in the distance.   Continue reading

Aizu Wakamatsu: The half marathon and the city (Part 1)

Selfie Aizu wakamatsu 2014

This is a much delayed report on my most recent half marathon. I was happily sidetracked by the Diabetes Blog Week and not so happily by work (work’s always there, isn’t it). Last week presented more work and much needed break from blogging. Although I’ve listed most of my initial thoughts before, after and especially during the race on my May 12 post, I thought this race deserved its own report. In fact, I may just start reporting on some of the races I’ll be joining. Continue reading