Is that a Meerkat?

Round about every August in Japan, people with medical insurance at their work (or maybe anybody with insurance) get a full medical once over.

I had mine just the other week, and a most interesting experience it was too. I’ve never actually had a lot of the tests they conducted, so it was a new experience in many ways, especially as the instructions
were in Japanese although thankfully my wife came along to translate or it would have been a much less pleasant day out.

Amongst all the basic tests (weight, height, eyes, hearing, etc), there were also a few “special” ones. For example I was attached to some electronic device at my ankles and various places on my chest while some readings were taken – not sure what that was for, possibly pulse??

I also had one of those sonograph things where they smear your stomach with jelly and try to find a baby. I was a little bit surprised to see an alert and attentive meercat where my left kidney was supposed to be, but the nurse didn’t seem bothered by it. I stopped looking at the monitor after that.

Also had a CAT scan for my stomach which seemed to be called a FAT scan on the medical sheet. Came back with a nice picture of my fat. Which I don’t think I’ll post here.

The one most people had warned me about was the delightful Barium test. Where you drink some radioactive barium, and stand on a “vertical” table that rotates to a horizontal position and beyond and while a man shouts through a microphone unintelligible instructions in English (at least he was trying, so I’m not complaining, just couldn’t understand his accent).

Then some mechanical arm extends out and presses your stomach. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as everyone made out it to be, although the powder you take before the barium made me retch.

Afterwards they give you a laxative as apparently it’s very bad to keep this white goop (tastes like plain yoghurt) in you as it solidifies. Nice.

There was some blood tests, some other measurements were taken and a very brief chat with a grumpy doctor :

Doc: How are you?
Me: Fine.
Doc: No problems?
Me: No.
Doc: Goodbye.

Then we left to stuff ourselves full of KFC – Deep fried chicken, perfect after a health check up đŸ™‚

Got the results back about 2 weeks later…surprise, surprise, I’m fat! The big thing in Japan this year is Metabolic Syndrome or Metabo as they like to call it.

It seems to be the biggest threat for Japanese people at the moment, and especially for Japanese business as apparently if your employee is “Metabo” a year after he’s warned about it, the company gets fined!
Now that’s a diet incentive! (Not sure if that is true but have heard it from two sources)

I, apparently, don’t have Metabo – mainly because I’m less than 40, and my blood pressure is hunky dory. However my (bad) cholesterol is bad, and I have too much Purine in my diet – which is odd, as I don’t remember eating any. Turns out, there’s lots in beer. Doh!

Now on my new low cholesterol low purine diet, which in itself is tricky as the 2 seem to be at odds with each other.
High cholesterol food has low purine, and vice versa. Doh! and Doh!
Switched to brown bread, less deep fried food, more vegetables (I keep finding raw cabbage in my bento each day, thanks Aki đŸ™‚ ), and the biggest shock of all….low purine beer!

This purine thing is obviously a problem in Japan as recently Kirin launched a 99% free Purine and 60% free calorie “beer”.

Having almost got used to Happoshu (the fake beer), I’m now drinking this….drink.

Turns out the thing that puts the mmmm, beer in beer, is purine. Bugger.
Oh, well, wish me luck…


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