I noticed over the past few weeks that my right ear was becoming increasingly deaf, which had me slightly worried. Eventually the fact that I could hardly hear at all had me more worried than the thought of a trip to a Japanese Hospital, so I bit the bullet and rode my bike to the Kanazawa Municipal Hospital.
I don't know about you, but I've always found Hospitals a little bit intimidating. Yeah, sure they just want to help you, I know. It's just those wide open halls, that flourscent lighting and of course the faint smell of disinfectent in the air, it all adds up to a nice intimidation factor.
So take all that, and add in a healthy dose of Kanji in all the signs and the fact that English is an endangered species. Now, I'm not saying that I expect everybody to cater to my horrible Japanese skills, but for crying out loud the Karaoke places have forms in Japanese and English, but the Hospital doesn't?!?! Don't forget the fact that none of the reception staff spoke a lick of English, not a single word. Which I find strange because aside form the dozens of conversation schools around, everybody, EVERYBODY takes several years of the subject in Middle School and High School. Heck, they didn't even say "Hello how are you? I'm fine. Thank you." and I've had 5 year olds stop me in public to say that!
Well with my rudimentary skills, a phrase book, gestures and a LOT of patience I managed to get in to see the Ear Doctor. He was a very nice man, with excellent English. He cleared out my ear and then stuck one of those mini-video cameras in to look about. I got to watch on the monitor, which I actually found pretty neat. "Hey look, thats my EAR! Coool."
He found a minor infection, nothing too worry about too much. Some antibiotic ear drops are all that are required. Of course he gave me a rundown on how/when to take them, and good thing too because when the pharmacist tried to do it she kept bursting out laughing as she realized that I couldn't understand a thing she was saying. That didn't deter her high-spirited and rather loud attempts to explain just what I needed to do. Of course its not like applying ear drops is really all *that* hard.