I Think I'm Turning Japanese
Japan, I have a bone to pick with you.

For a country that prides itself on its cleanliness, you sure are unsanitary. First there are the public restrooms without soap. No, not "Woops, Gertrude forgot to refill the soup dispensers, what a silly little bathroom matron," but the restrooms actually have no soap dispensers (about 50% of the time). Then you insist on having me select my baked goods by placing them directly on cafeteria trays. Do you wipe those trays down afterward? Oh, you do? With that brown rag? Hmm. I was willing to overlook those things, because exposure to germs can actually benefit your immune system, but some things just cross the line.

Like your urine tests.

Today I went to visit my friendly neighborhood City Hall for my health check. No big deal... blood pressure, eye test, hearing test, weight and measurement, and the requisite urine test. In the states, we pee in sterile plastic jars with screw-on lids that have our names or medical numbers labeled on them, and there is usually a little depository window in a bathroom or discreet area so that we can drop off our samples.

Oh, wait, you want me to pee in THAT cup? The little paper cup out of which I would otherwise drink a cold beverage at a child's birthday party? And you're not going to offer me a lid to conceal my sample from passersby, a way to label my pee, or a nice sterile biohazard bag to put it in? Oh, and you want me to walk with my open cup of pee down the hall and stand in line in an open room to have my health check completed? You don't think that's weird? No?

So there I am, holding my warm cup of pee (sounds like it can be a country song), thinking it doesn't get any stranger than this-- and yes, my fellow JETs are standing around me doing the same, and we are all giving each other the side eye and pretending it's normal and no, that is not urine in my cup. But, it does get stranger. We are being herded like cattle through the different health stations. It is a quick and efficient (though I hesitate to say thorough) method of checking the health of everyone in the city. You tell me to go to the first station where a friendly lady sits waiting for me to have my pee tested. No privacy! No, I am not behind a curtain or in a little room. I am just standing at a table handing my cup of pee to the lady sitting on the other side. Kind of a reverse lemonade stand of sorts. She quickly puts in the litmus paper, the colors change accordingly, she marks off my health form, and hands it back to me. I start towards the next station, but stop suddenly when I wonder: What is she going to do with my little cup of piss? I turn and see that she very casually dumps the urine in a small translucent jug on the floor and discards the cup in a wastebasket. A JUG OF URINE. URINE BELONGING TO SEVERAL DOZEN PEOPLE. All I can do is turn my widened eyes away and pretend to unsee what I just saw.

You sure do things differently here, Japan.
Heather Holladay
9/2/2010 01:17:54 am

That is pretty gross...I mean unique! :)

9/2/2010 01:56:49 am

Wowie! You'd think they could just have you pee on the litmus strip and bring it to the person at the table. Eh, eh? There's an idea! =)

9/2/2010 03:34:13 am

Did they make you fast the night before?
If not - so you could smell what everyone had to eat the night before through the cup everyone is holding? Gross!!!
And what happens if one trips while holding the cup of pee?

9/2/2010 02:02:35 pm

9/2/2010 02:07:55 pm

Again, might I say "stupid Weebly" in regards to the previous post...

And to the post before that, all I have to say is wow. And that it was a genuine LOL moment when I read that.

Well, the Japanese may be clean-ish and non-HIPAA compliant, however they seem to be very trusting individuals. What exactly are they testing your urine for? Protein levels? Maybe. Glucose? Probably not. Drugs? If it is so then boy oh boy, what's stopping anyone (not you, of course) from bingeing on the good stuff and putting some random person's piss into a dixie cup and then handing it over to the nice litmus strip lady? Wow.

9/3/2010 12:16:57 am

Not many people in Japan dare do drugs because they are VERY strict about it here. You get thrown into jail for the littlest things and you don't get off easy. That's why they are so trusting, cuz if you eff up, boy, are you screwed!

This doesn't apply to the mafia here... they do what they want...

9/6/2010 03:11:55 pm

eww, this is gross (and i'll pretend i didn't read the comment about it sounding like a country song).

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