It can be daunting to visit a hospital or clinic in your home country. Getting medical treatment in a foreign country, especially a non-English speaking country, can be even more so. Do not fear; there is always someone available to help you. The first person you can turn to is your supervisor at work, he or she may be happy to accompany you to a hospital or clinic if need be. If you don't feel comfortable asking your supervisor, the advisors and CIRs can definitely help you out, whether it's accompanying you, or just referring you to a competent English speaking doctor who has been recommended by other Sendai JETs. There are a surprisingly large number of hospitals and clinics with English speaking staff in Sendai. The Sendai International Relations Association (SIRA) and the Miyagi International Association (MIA) each publish comprehensive lists.
If you want to make an appointment by phone, remember that you can call the English hotline for assistance on 022-224-1919.
Advice on Staying Healthy
＊Your lifestyle can really help your body be in the best health to fight illness＊
Get Enough Sleep
Try not to burn the candle at both ends too often. Sure, you may have gotten away with partying hard at university, but chances are you didn't have to be at work by 8am then. Aim for a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night for optimum health.
Do Aerobic Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps increase the body's natural virus-killing cells. Walking for half an hour, four times a week is a good target to aim for as a minimum. If running by the river isn't your thing, ask other ALTs to recommend a gym, or check out the listings here. Or hit the slopes once the snow arrives. Of course, over-exercising isn’t good for your body either. Super-athletes get more colds than normal.
Eat a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables
Aim for six portions a day or more for maximum health. Phytochemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. So eat plenty of dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits. Fruit and veg may be expensive in Japan, but your health is worth it.
Get plenty of vitamins
Eating a balance diet should provide all the vitamins and minerals you need. But if you want to take a supplement, they are widely available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Just get a Japanese speaker to check the dosage for you first. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, and will linger in your body, causing damage if you overdose.
Eat Japanese food
No doubt you've heard how wonderfully healthy a traditional Japanese diet can be. Well, it's true. Of course, there are plenty of popular foods that aren't so great for you, like ramen, tonkatsu, etc. But there are also some gems out there. Click here for one source for nutritional information.
Heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones. Even being around smoke profoundly zaps the immune system. Smoke dries out your nasal passages and paralyzes the delicate hairs lining your nose and lungs (cilia) which sweep cold and flu viruses out of the nasal passages. Experts contend that one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes.
Cut Alcohol Consumption
Heavy alcohol use destroys the liver, the body's primary filtering system, which means that germs of all kinds won't leave your body as fast. Heavier drinkers are more prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications. Alcohol also dehydrates the body - it actually takes more fluids from your system than it puts in. Tempting though it is to "get your money's worth" at nomihodais, try not to go overboard too often!
Being under stress can double your chance of catching a cold. Remember that if you are feeling stressed there are lots of people you can turn to - talk to friends, drop by Shidoka, call the Peer Support Group. Ask for help when you need it, and try not to become isolated when the cold, dark days set in! Of course, although there are lots of fun things going on, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to relax when you need it. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest.
An excellent resource to have at hand is the Japan Health Handbook by Maruyama, Shimizu & Tsurumaki, published by Kodansha. It’s available in English bookstores, or from Amazon Japan: www.amazon.co.jp