Medicine

Dear, Journal
I had the same thing happen to me in Japan and I was equally enraged by the inability to get what I needed. Mr. Sears told me how health is a very personal matter and culturally can be all over the place depending on the country. Chinese medicine is filled with magic herbs, African medicine has smoke and witchcraft, and Japanese medicine was too particular for its own good.
I remember walking to a drug stores and trying to read the Chinese characters an a bottle of medicine and having trouble. I actually remember the first time I ever “read” Japanese and not deciphered it was when I was sick in that drug store. My sister told me, just before I went to Japan, just like when she went to Turkey I will get sick for a very long time. And I did, I think you picked up on this warning some how and expected this.
On the confusion, I was sent to doctor after doctor and nothing was making me better. I remember being angry at Japan, because this was an area of culture shock that affected me much more directly. This culture shock was my health not a sociological observation far removed from my daily life. I wanted the charade to end and for me to get better. That was just not possible and over time I got used to it.
In between my anger and accepting the situation I made a mistake. My host family did not understand how I felt about my illness, how could they? They could never imagine a CVS or medicine that “works”. However, my attitude with my illness created some tension with my second family who not understanding (or even possessing the ability to understand) the problem blamed my other family for letting me be sick.  I am aware that my illness created tension in Japan. I remember Michael saying about his own illness “I feel like they are mad at me for being sick”.  Japan is weird. This was a specific part of Japanese health that shocked me.
My final note is what I learned from my own experience. Your reaction to your own illness could flabbergast your family who naturally see no injustice. They will not truly understand what it is you are upset about and what it is you are missing. You could actually give them culture shock. You already know what that shock feels like and I am sure you would not wish it on them. Just be mindful that you could create tension with a reaction that they see as “unwarranted” or “ out of the blue”
I am sorry that this happened to you, sleep and water are natural medicines. Also coffee will help you cough up phlegm. If there are any medicines from our lot that you want you know where to ask.

– Deren

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One Response to Medicine

  1. Brandon says:

    That is strange but you know them Japs. That’re always mad. Culture shock through medicine. Were you sick the whole time or just for a long period within a small portion of your stay?

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