Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Random Sightings

Nothing much to report. Ultimate frisbee practice game was fun in that it let me get out of the city proper, and in that it let our squad get some semblance of practice as a team. Normally we just play pick-up, which is bad for our tournament performance.

The weather continues to warm. Here are some random things I saw since I last posted:
  • Man tearing apart an abandoned air conditioner in the street. Not sure what he was going for but he wasn't simply out to destroy it.
  • Middle-aged woman on a bike with training wheels. I'm guessing this was the low-cost version of an adult tricycle.
  • Homeless man possibly nicking something from a kiosk in a train station. I didn't see the actual swipe, but he sure was looking around nervously after brushing against the candy display. Never seen anyone shoplift before here.
  • Middle-aged woman on the train with cell phone ring tone blaring Spice Girls' "If You Want to Be My Lover." Twice! The vast majority of people switch their phones to silent mode on the packed trains/subways.
  • Honeybees feeding on the blossoms of my plum tree— six stories up.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blood Drive

Unfortunately things have been quite busy at work, so I haven't had much time to write recently. My apologies. This week they also held a blood drive at Pioneer. I had only tried to donate in Japan once before, in Osaka, and had much more limited Japanese skills at the time. They told me that if I couldn't answer the questions, I couldn't donate.

This time I was determined and armed with my electronic dictionary, but it turned out they had an English translation anyway! This is good because words like the names of diseases are hard to read. I noticed there was a slight discrepancy between the English version and the Japanese, and pointed it out to them later.

There were actually quite a few differences from the US in the donation system itself:

  • Choice of 200mL or 400mL donation (US is always 1 pint, approximately 450 mL)
  • Questions about who you have had sex with and why are fewer
  • Asked to drink a sports beverage before the actual donation part (nothing given in the US)
  • Blood taken from the inside of both elbows. One for donation, one (much smaller) for testing. (In the US they test blood taken from a fingertip on the same arm)
  • After the donation you get a choice among juice boxes containing fruit juice, tea or coffee. Cookies also available. Then you are free to leave. (In the US it's only fruit juice and cookies, then a mandatory 20 minute rest)
  • No gloves on the nurses (this was the same when I had some bloodwork done in a hospital)

At least the nurse I had was quite skillful and it hurt only slightly.

Today I've got a practice ultimate frisbee game out in Chiba. Prep for next month's tournament in Fuji City. Gotta get going. Later.