Thursday, June 23, 2011


Hey, guess what! It didn't rain yesterday OR today! I saw the sun, blue sky and I could hang some laundry outside! What a great two days.

It's rainy season in Japan and Nagasaki has one of the highest yearly rainfall averages in the country at 2 meters. I haven't seen the sun in weeks and have stopped checking the weather, assuming I need my umbrella whenever I leave the house. These last couple of days, however, are somewhat of an anomaly if you couldn't judge my excitement. While I did see the sun, it was still hidden by 70% cloud cover or more and not to mention the humidity, OH, THE HUMIDITY! When it's not raining it's still around 90+% humidity, and don't let me forget, it's been in the high 80s/ low 90s the past few days. Personally, I don't mind the humidity so much, at least when I'm outside. But I've come across a new sworn enemy: MOLD. I hate mold.

There really is no escaping it. It's not just in my kitchen. It's not just in the shower. It's on the hard wood, it's on the spot on the rug where something spilled months ago (and was apparently not properly cleaned up...), it's all over the tatami mats. Tatami is notoriously troublesome when it comes to cleaning, because... you need to clean it and they get moldy. Not that my tatami rooms were dirty, I'd vacuum fairly regularly, I never spilled liquid on it, I made sure the rain doesn't get on it. But the mold is there. Well, it's not there currently, I've spent at least an hour in my house the past few days cleaning the tatami, the hardwood floors, the bathroom walls, you name it, with vinegar-water to kill the mold. I've been turning on my dehumidifier on the air-conditioner everyday and stocked-up on little air-vapor-collecting- boxes to try to keep things under control but just when I think I've killed it all... I find more.

Some people are lucky and don't have much mold, but I'm an not one of those people. Maybe it has to do with my wallpaper that soaks up water so it's a little sticky and smelly if you touch it, maybe it's because I live next to a forest. I don't know, but it sucks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A hole in my foot and other firsts

If you haven't heard (or seen) by now, I recently found myself in a terribly mess... of blood.

While attending a birthday party for a couple friends at a club, I was stepped on by a girl in high-heels. I've been stepped on by heels before and have found it to be quite painful with occasional bruising. However, this time, the weapon-donning woman was stepping down from a foot-high step and descended squarely into the center of my foot. The pain initially caused teeth-clenching and wincing, but quickly proceeded into uncontrollable tears. The severity of the incident revealed itself in the form of blood, not necessarily the stream running down my foot, but more so the puddle that formed under and around my foot in only a matter of seconds. One of my heroes of the night picked me up and carried me out of the club, yelling for people to move, as I sobbed in his arms, getting blood on anybody who wasn't paying attention or was unable to move in time.

Sitting on a stool outside the bar I was attended to by several friends and an employee of the club who teamed together to apply compression and ice to the wound. Regaining my composure miraculously quickly, I started taking pictures of the scene with my phone and was already laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation. Eventually, the gushing stopped and the employee insisted I go to the hospital, in an ambulance nonetheless (all expenses paid). So Hero #1, carried me into the very slow elevator, down 4 floors and to my awaiting chariot. Hero #2 carried my things and joined me on the trip to the hospital.

*The photo of the foot with the shoe is my OTHER foot, onto which the injured foot had bled. The middle photo is my attendees treating me. The third photo is just a mess of bloody paper towels.

Having thankfully never needed to be in an ambulance or emergency room in the US, I cannot offer any comparison on the matter. The ambulance was pretty much all I could expect from an ambulance and the hospital was some kind of emergency clinic, but other than the exam room and the exit, I didn't see much.

Explaining what happened to the medics and the doctor at the hospital (and everyone else since then) was pretty entertaining, because it seems like such a freak event. But being the middle of the night and having a foreigner with a gaping wound, everyone proceeded very seriously (I'm not complaining, but I think they did find my spirited mood reassuring, in the least). The doctor took x-rays and by some chance nothing was broken. He proceeded to anesthetize and clean the area with needles and cut around the edges of the wound to get rid of the ragged rim. Up to here I was sitting up on my stretcher watching (again, baffling to the staff) and I found it interesting. I don't know if it was the loss of blood or some inner disgust at seeing my own blood (I'm thinking the former), but I started getting queasy and light-headed so I had to lay down and couldn't watch him put in the 4 stitches. They wrapped me up, gave me drugs and sent me back to my hostel at 4 am. Unfortunately, the adrenalin took some time to wear off and by the time I was calmed enough to sleep the pain kicked in, so sleeping was not an option. But that was okay, because there was no way I would being going into work the next day.

If the story were to end here, I would be comfortable calling it a pretty good story. But it gets better. The next day I go to a doctor in my town and before the bandages were completely off, he noticed how red and swollen my foot was- sure signs of infection. He gave me stronger antibiotics, more pain medicine and a tetanus shot, then sent me home for 2-3 more days of bed rest. The pain continued to be tear-jerking for a few days, but the doctor gave me crutches and I moved some bedding to the first-floor so I wouldn't have to deal with walking up and down stairs. Today seems to have been a good day, while the swelling hasn't decreased much, the pain is much more tolerable and I can almost walk on a flat foot, almost.

The End (hopefully).

Probably my favorite picture from the event: Can you guess which foot was gushing blood??