Two weeks with a Japanese cold.

Monday was our last day off in that break, and the last weekday off for the rest of the semester. I realized pretty quickly that, probably due to five long days, I’d finally caught a cold. (I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did.)

Our 華道 class took two weeks away from flowers to try our hands at 茶道 instead.

One good thing was that for the next two Tuesdays, rather than 華道 (flower arrangement), our teacher would be coming to the I-House tatami room to teach us 茶道 (tea ceremony) instead. This meant that we got to come back after our second classes, and were already home when afternoon class was done. I was glad to get back early, since I wasn’t feeling great. We dressed in yukatas and had tea and sweets, while our always-genki teacher told us the basics of tea ceremony.

Wednesday was election day. On Thursday, they were counting votes when I got up and had their decision by the time I got back from class. I went to kendo as usual, but my cough was bad enough I let everyone know I was only there for 見学。 I also checked ヤマデン for a spare camera battery, but they told me they didn’t carry Samsung products. Friday was basically an exit interview with Miyano-san, the woman who’d brought me here from the airport.

On Saturday, despite still having a cold, I went out anyway and realized that when the outside temperature drops, all the stores crank their heat. It was nearly unbearable in some places; I actually had my jacket off indoors most of the time. I also learned, after checking Bic Camera, that if I want a Samsung battery in Japan, I’ll probably have to order it from the internet.

I felt a little better on Sunday, but by Tuesday, I couldn’t shake what felt to me like the symptoms of a sinus infection. I had gone to Haba-san’s office before our second 茶道 class and found Haba-san’s wife (technically also Haba-san) there. She recommended the Kondo Clinic near Seria (the 100円 shop closest to the dorm), saying it was where she and her husband got their flu shots, and that they even spoke a little English. They keep odd hours, though; they shut down around noon and then reopen at four. I thanked her and decided to pay them a visit after class — no sense in having health insurance unless you’re gonna use it, right?

After filling out a standard form (what are your symptoms, does it hurt, how long have you been sick), I waited a bit and was shown to the doctor. He really did only speak a little English, but after listening to me breathe for a bit, he prescribed me a mixture of basic cold-symptom-easing medicine and a separate antibiotic. The fee was a whopping 1020円、which is maybe twelve US dollars or so. The receptionists sent me next door — which was directly to the right of the clinic — to fill my prescription in a little walk-in pharmacy. They had no shelves with product;
they specifically filled prescriptions and that’s all. The cold medicine was in powder form (which tasted vile), while the antibiotic was a tablet. Total cost: 820円、bringing my final total to just over twenty bucks equivalent. Also, by the time I finished, I couldn’t help but learn the Japanese word for “sinus infection” (副鼻腔炎). I came back to the dorm, took my meds, and crashed.

I felt a little better over the next few days, and finished the meds pretty quickly (three doses a day, give or take). It rained on Saturday, but I was due for a haircut, so I went down to ドラゴン and got my usual guy (and my usual fantastic cut). Once I was ready to leave again for the afternoon, I went out to the bus stop in front of the dorm. I usually find someone waiting there, often an elderly person, and this day was no exception. I stepped behind the old woman, since she was first, and sighed… whereupon she turned, realized I was standing behind her, and RAN out from under the bus stop awning as if I’d produced a knife. I was almost as surprised as she was! I tried asking her if everything was okay, and even motioned for her to come back and stand out of the rain, but she wouldn’t answer nor budge. Two of the Korean girls joined me a moment later under the awning, and when the bus finally arrived, I had to make sure they knew the old woman had technically been there first so they’d let her go ahead. So weird. Maybe she’s afraid of foreigners.

I stayed in on Sunday to recuperate some more, and did some major rearrangement and organization, since my room had become rather cluttered since before Kyoto. I ended the night with a long-overdue Skype conversation with my mother, in which she told me how she’d been able to plug her USB drive directly into her TV instead of having to use my Xbox 360. The next day, I tried the same thing on the dorm’s Bravia, and with minimal remote fiddling, managed to get it to work. Thanks, mom!

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