Monday, March 23, 2009

Hayfever Battle and The Helpful Japanese

I never had a problem with Hayfever until I started living in Japan. I do not know exactly why, but I am suffering pretty bad. There must be some tree or flower which does not grow in America which is beating the crap out of my immune system. It all started a few days ago when I woke up with a sore throat. I did not pay it much mind and on with my day. Well, after a enjoyable evening of drinking in Asakusa I woke up the next morning feeling as if I was going to kill over. I knew it was not a hangover. A hangover does not cause blockage of the noise and mass itching of the teeth,eyes, and mouth. Yeah, I got a case of hayfever pretty bad.

No matter if I feel like crap or not, I still have to go to work. This is hard when I feel run down. I made myself go to work despite my condition. My plan was to pick up some hayfever meds from the local drug store. Well, due to the fact I leave for work damn early on the weekends, the fucking drug store had not opened yet. I suffered until I got to my current base school. I went around the corner to the drug store, and as luck would have it, the damn place was actually open. I paid for some over priced meds and made my way to work.

The office lady noticed that I was struggling right away. As usual she just rolled her eyes and assumed I was hung over or something. I explained to her that I was suffering from Hayfever. Her attitude towards me quickly became much lighter. I took the meds and prepared for the days work. Well, on Sundays there is this one student who usually takes the early morning class. He shows up early for his lesson and we usually chat a bit. He also noticed that I was having a hard time. He said to me, `You must be suffering from the Hayfever. I feel sorry for you dear teacher.` He is a stern but gentle man. He even showed me how to correctly take the meds I had bought. He knows that I hate socialized medical care. Despite this knowledge he says, `I know you no want to go but hospital can help you. You pay too much for medication. Drug store no good I think.`

Anyway, on Sunday`s he returns in the evenings with his kids so they can have lessons. Yeah, I have to teach both regular and kids lessons. To my surprise, he says that he says a little gift for me. He introduces his gift in a joking manner by saying, `Ryan-san I went to commie hospital and got something for you.` He laughs as he says this as a way of getting me to accept the gift. He goes on to explain that he got the meds for free(on my and everyone else`s dime of course). He said that his son also suffers from Hayfever; so he understands my pain. He gave me two types of meds. One type is to make my immune system stronger while the second type is for the constant itching. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I found myself at a lose for words. I could only keep saying, `How nice of you` and `Thank you so much.` I made sure to give his kids extra good lessons as a way to show how thankful I was for his kind gesture.

I will really miss the students at my current base school when I am reassigned in the middle of April. I have only told a few students the sad news. Some have said they will transfer to my new base school if they are able. Dammit, it is really hard to not like the Japanese sometimes. They can be stubborn, uptight, racist bastards sometimes, yet there is a gentle caring nature about them which must be noted as a rare value in this twisted post modern world.

As a side note: Hayfever is so bad this year that even the god damn monkeys are having a hard time. Read about the suffering of the Japanese monkeys here