Wednesday, November 21, 2012

low ldl?

I was scheduled to go for the mandatory health check when I first joined the company. But with all the work and travel, only managed to do it few weeks back.

Was expecting a traditional hospital with whitewash walls in stark lighting. To my surprise (didn't manage to take pics!), it was more like a private hospital with very comfortable ambience - carpet floors, dim lighting and dark wood furnishings. The health screening centre felt so cozy I wish my apartment was like that too!

I was quite happy with the health checkup I signed up for in MJ Life, as they automate and digitalise the screenings, making it almost a breeze to do your screening. However, the Kobe Kenshin Clinic tops it up a notch.

My x-ray was over in seconds, no need to wear the protective vest and don't even need to close the door, just a curtain. The measurement for height and weight had automatic sensors that no manual intervention is needed. For blood pressure measurement, I just had to slip my hand through a tunnel-like device, and the protective covering will expand to squeeze around the arm to get the right reading.

They even have blankets and shawls placed around the clinic available for anyone to use. For some reason, I noticed there were only ladies on that day, so I thought that was a nice gesture to ensure privacy.

I just got my blood and urine results back through mail. Other than the slightly low LDL figure, everything else seems normal. Guess it is consistent with the doctor's analysis that day - I'm a healthy individual! Well, of course this is quite a basic health checkup, I still have to maintain my eating habits and keep a balanced lifestyle.

Monday, November 19, 2012

japan indeed p2

Continuing on my wanderings around town, I saw this toilet deodorant seal which comes in various patterns. Thought the butterfly was cute, but a bit strange to paste stickers on the toilet.

Still, I guess for a country that has almost everything, they have the creativity to come up with such items that are not really necessity, but added to make life more comfortable and liveable. Just like the toilet seat warmer!

I noticed this time around there were not many seasonal Kit Kats, so I was quite delighted to find a Halloween-themed Kit Kat. Personally, I'm not into the festivities, and it can be quite a big thing over here in Japan, but I'm into collecting Kit Kat experiences.

Apparently this follows the theme of costume or, pretending to be another character, which is part of the Halloween festivities. The filling is pumpkin pudding flavoured, while the outer coating is supposed to be white chocolate but, "pretending" to be the "devil", it is dark chocolate instead.

Now not only do we have various fluffy bath mat that comes in microfibre materials that dry quickly, there is now those that imitates animal fur. Deer, lion and sheep are just some of the texture that can be enjoyed when you purchase these bath mats.

Guess it's better than getting real fur just to have it stomped by your feet on the floor!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

of hot buns in the rain

On Sunday I had brought a long a gift for Yuko-san, as a little token of gratitude. She was the one who loaned me her sister's rice cooker and welcomed me to KBF.

This was one of the first few dishes I cooked after getting the rice cooker. It felt really good to be able to have home cooked food, nevermind that it was a simple one. This was supposed to be for lunch but looked more like breakfast food!

It was a windy and rainy evening as I walked from the station to church. On the way there, near the station there are a few restaurants and cafes, some selling food to take away. As I was focussing on not catching a cold, I was careful to cover myself from the wind.

Just at the corner of my eye, I noticed an old woman huddled at a bench just in front of a shop selling hot buns. She was covered in plastic, and beside her was a small bicycle with cans and bottles, presumably for recycling.

I was so tempted to give her the gift which was meant for Yuko-san. A part of me wondered how much that hot bun cost her, not knowing how much money she made selling cans and bottles. Another part of me figured perhaps I could get a replacement gift the next week. After all, Yuko-san would not notice. The other part of me thought, the gift is wrapped in many layers of Japanese wrappings, this old lady would have problem opening it. Another said, why bother, it might be too lavish for her to appreciate. Yet the other, but if you're genuine, you wouldn't make all these excuse not to show some kindness.

While I had these conversations in my head, the light had turned green, and I hurried away with the crowd in the rain. I couldn't help but look back and felt a tinge of guilt. I could have bought her a few more hot buns, and wouldn't lose Yuko's gift. Maybe that's a more practical solution.

Even though there are no beggars in Japan, and the government do try to take care of its citizens (sometimes at its own debt), it reminded me that not everyone in Japan is well off. All quite ironic when that area is frequented by young people and adults in fashionable clothes and seemingly large disposable income.

When I reached KBF, Yuko-san was at the entrance greeting everyone as usual. Still standing in the rain, I handed her the gift. After a short exchange of, no you shouldn't have, but it's okay I just wanted to appreciate your warmth, she thanked me, saying perhaps it's God's timing that the gift came, for her birthday was just a couple of days away.

Just before then, I decided, if I were to see that old woman again, I'd buy her the hot buns.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

cycling back the heater

I haven't realised how tiny my bicycle looked until I parked it next to the scooter. I know it's small enough to be folded, and anyone bigger than me might have a bit of problem cycling it, but I couldn't help laughing when I saw this after my Japanese class.

I have just started lessons at the Kobe YMCA, and last weekend when I had caught a cold, pushed myself to cycle up the slope to the Kitano area. Needless to say, I almost collapsed when I reached the language centre. I had to psyche myself to keep going, and good thing about Japanese vending machines they are everywhere. A bottle of isotonic drink helped me reach the class.

It's now officially autumn and the weather is brilliant. Sunny but crisp, it's the kind of weather that you'd want to spend daytime outdoors. I wish we didn't have to spend most of that time in the office working! But oh well, we need to pay the bills.

However, it was quite a drop in weather from mostly 30 degrees until September, and just 1 month later we're averaging 15 degrees. Even though I had caught a cold, I didn't want to waste such a good weather being indoors (quite silly sometimes!). After all, it will only get colder after this.

So I decided to bring my tiny bicycle for a stroll in the hilly Kitano area. This is where most of the foreigners lived and made their home when Kobe opened its port to the world, along with other ports in Japan. There are many remnants of Western style buildings here, and this is also a major tourist spot.

I've been here a few times every summer while I was studying but never enjoyed the humidity. It's nice to be able to explore the other side of the city and not have to rush through. Was quite surprised to find a mosque here, and also a mini grocery opposite it selling Asian food stuff. Another option for more choices.

I remember taking this kind of shot when I first arrived in Japan. I'm rather fascinated by the colours of flowers in foreign lands. Then I realised, maybe I should try to do a bit of gardening and put some colour in my balcony.

This was taken outside someone's residence. Was almost tempted to sit at the steps to take a breather and enjoy the tree above, but didn't want to raise suspicion!

As I went further away from Kitano, it became a little more residential. Well,  I had made an appointment to drop by this couple's place to survey their Sayonara Sale. I remember when the economic recession hit Japan back in 2008, there were many foreigners leaving the country and selling/giving away their furniture and things.

This time, it was not that easy to find Sayonara Sale ad, but I was really happy to find it on the Kansai Classifieds section. Since I came with a bike, there was not much that I could carry with me. So I bought what I went there for - this ceramic heater.

Well then, bike or no bike, it doesn't make a difference. I still had to carry it by hand. So they helped to make some makeshift handle for me. So I had to walk back to my apartment, one hand carrying this heater, the other hand trying to steer the bike.

It took me one hour with many stops along the way because the tape is not the best handle! But still, I'm really happy now I have my own heater. Also, it was really nice weather so it was quite a good workout.