Have you ever gone to the doctor or hospital in a foreign country? I've lived here three years and it's still an uncomfortable experience. Recently, I had some symptoms I was uneasy with and having four little ones and husband depending on me, I decided to be proactive and get stuff checked out. One nice thing about Japan, is you don't have to wait months to get an appointment, I called Thursday, I was in for Monday.
First of all, I totally winged it getting there, my neighbor roughly gave me directions, I turned on my navi, and let the bread crumb trail left on it to be my guide home. We made it okay, but once we got to the point on the highway where many of the signs were only in kanji, I began to get scared. We get there, and then there's the whole which entrance do we use and once we're in, which check in do we go to? Sometimes playing the fair haired foreigner who doesn't know what they are doing doesn't always work.
Finally, we are in the hallway of 20 numbered doors, sitting waiting to see which door we would be called. You know you're in a foreign country when you're scared you're not even going to recognize your own name being called. A nurse luckily has seen a few of my neighbors there before and knew what she was up against. She came and took my info/symptoms, then I went in to see the dr. YES! NO! It was just more info, in fact the same info she just took (I feel like Larry David right now). Back to the waiting room, where the nurse approaches to ask if I am wanting artificial insemination (are you for real????) Do you see the three kids with me??? I don't think it's not lunch in the bag I'm carrying. Anyways, somehow lower abdominal pain turned into that: another delight of living in a foreign country, the misinterpretation of what you're saying (or the embarrassment of the japanese person to admit they have no idea what you just said).
The room we were in was literally about 100', all of our faces were bright red, meanwhile the nurse and doctors are dressed for the Arctic, could be contributed to their 0% bodyfat. Three hours later, we are finally ready to leave and you have to sit while they process your paper work to leave (I've done this before so I was prepared for the additional 20 minute wait). I was expecting to pay about 300 dollars for all the tests/doctors I saw, but I checked out for a mere $70!!!! All in all a good day at the foreign hospital that looks like it hasn't been updated since the 70's, they definately aren't charging a facility fee in that bill.