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A Bit of a Relapse

Posted on 2006/05/19 16:34:48 (May 2006).

[Friday 19th May]
Well, the previous day I'd thought I was getting over my recent bought of illness, but today I seemed to take a step backwards. I wasn't feeling 100% when I woke up, but went into work, attended a meeting, did a bit of email, and then realised that was as much as I could manage. I wasn't able to concentrate and as lunchtime approached I was feeling increasingly crappy. So I decided to just call it a day there, and around 1ish I trudged back home again.

I'd decided I ought to cave in and buy some cold medicine. This was probably the first time I've ever been to a pharmacy by myself in Japan, and I realised just how difficult it was to choose medicine with none of the labels in English. To start with I couldn't even find the right section of the shop - I had to ask for help with that. Then after a while of browsing I made a choice, largely based on the fact I liked the colour of the box. The little I could read gave me reasonable confidence it was cold medicine, and there were some cartoon drawings on the side of the box of a guy with a sore throat and runny nose, which was a useful backup. On further inquiry in my terrible Japanese I ascertained that I should take it three times a day, after meals. I really wanted something I could knock back straight away, without having to wait to eat first, but they didn't seem to have anything like that.

It is interesting that pharmaceutical companies go to great lengths to provide those highly detailed leaflets you get when you buy medicine, covering every eventuality just to be on the safe side... and then they quite happily sell it to someone who basically can't read it! I suppose it's a good job I can at least speak a bit of Japanese, and so far as I could gather the staff in the pharmacy didn't say "OH MY GOD, NO NOT THAT ONE - IT'S RAT POISION!!!!".

So I got back home and knocked together some lunch (only because it would enable me to take the medicine). With some trepidation I then took the medicine - I mean, what's the worst that could happen? After that I went for a lie down, and to my surprise managed to sleep right through the afternoon, pretty much right up until Chie got home from work.

The evening passed fairly uneventfully. I didn't have an appetite until much later on, when at around midnight I raided the cupboards, and found a tin of baked beans, and given that there were a couple of bits of bread in the freezer I went for the obvious British classic - beans on toast. A rare delicacy in this part of the world.

Baked beans always remind me of two fond university memories:

1) Beans a la Ryan - Our friend Ryan made a "student cookery" website, which listed a number of recipes, including this variant of beans on toast where the toast was cut up to make sort of croutons. The particularly great part of the recipe was the footnote, which read "Add pepper for that Mexican feel". Genius.

2) Italian Bean Surprise. As in, an Italian who was surprised by beans. I can't remember the circumstances that led up to the incident, but once Jon Ellis poured a plate of baked beans over Lorenzo's head. It was a seminal moment.

Comment 1

Can you get lemons and honey?

Posted by Mum at 2006/05/19 22:02:45.

Comment 2

Mate you are a braver man than me. How do you know your 'medicine' was gyjin compatable? Stick to ibroprofen and paracetomol in future! Perhaps you should get a stock sent to you from the UK. Is there a Doctor in the house. LOL. LOL. Sorry. LOL.

Posted by Kev at 2006/05/19 22:15:34.

Comment 3

'Seminal' you say...?

Posted by Dirty-minded Sheri at 2006/05/20 08:33:16.

Comment 4

John: Round of applause for the sheer courage! I have been in your shoes a million times here (unfortunately), but I always managed to surbvive strange looking medicines...

Sheri: Errr PLEASE, it's hard on me to remember the incident altogether (though I don't remember why it happened).. .:)

Mary: Any chance you could tell us the recipe of the Boston Baked Beans? John always talked rather highly of that recipe bu he never got around to make some...

Posted by Lox at 2006/05/20 09:25:18.

Comment 5

Aahh.. Beans on toast. Lovely! An underrated classic! I read an article somewhere about what astoundingly good food the beans were...

My advice for the pharmacy is to go in, cough, sneeze, dribble and hold your forehead dramatically. The assistants will understandably wish to evict you very quickly and will probably press the best medicament into your sweaty hand and usher you towards the door!!

Posted by Nigel at 2006/05/20 10:15:49.

Comment 6

John, ibuprofen in Japan is branded as Eve (ƒCƒu) or Naron Ace (at least they are the two brands I have seen most commonly). They are only about 75mg per tablet, so you might want to take a few if feeling awful!

Decongestants might be harder to get hold of - for example some amphetamine-like stimulants used for this - maybe ephedrin - are illegal IIRC.

Posted by Tom at 2006/05/20 11:33:20.

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