I had the hotel’s breakfast again, then went straight to the front desk to take care of two things:
- my eyes, which now hurt like hell
- and finding someone who can do something about the stink in the bathroom. Seriously, what is that? It’s not me. It was like that when I got there.
A nice young woman at the desk told me to go to the JR Hospital down the street a block from the hotel, and she helped me write a short paragraph in Japanese, explaining just what the heck is wrong with my eyes.
Yeah, I know, I’m lame. But I haven’t studied medical Japanese at all. I did learn the word 眼科 がんか ganka, which means ophthalmology.
Anyway, I had to hustle, because they stopped seeing patients at 11 a.m., and it was already 10. So I rushed over there, and started working my way through the Japanese Health Care Delivery System. And it IS a system.
A Hospital Is Approaching, Please Stand Behind the Yellow Line
First things first– it is the JR Hosptial. Yes, that JR, as in Japan Rail. Well, I’ve seen stranger things, I guess. But I can’t complain. The treatment I got was first-rate, just like pretty much everything Japan Rail does. (Except maybe some of the train station bathrooms… some of those can be kind of on the icky side.)
First I had to ask around to find the non-emergency clinics. Clinics found, I got handed around by a bunch of nice women, some of whom spoke English, some of whom did not. Eventually, they found a medical translator, and she helped me get through most of the forms, and helped me get my hospital card… which had my name spelled wrong in both English *and* in Japanese. Quite a feat, but not surprising. My last name isn’t easy for native English speakers, either. They always screw it up. Can’t say I was surprised.
The translator led me to the ophthalmology clinic, then I got a number, and got down to some serious waiting. And waiting. About 40 minutes of waiting.
I finally saw an ophthalmologist who spoke near perfect English, and she told me that my eyes were inflamed. (Which I kind of knew.) She gave me some prescriptions for some medication, answered my questions, and sent me on my merry way.
Then it was off to the cashier to pay, and then to the pharmacy department to pick up my meds. And I was done.
From “I’m coming to your hospital with my sick eyes,” to “Here are your eye drops, now get out,” it took about 2 hours, and cost about 11,000 yen.
That’s pretty good, considering that it usually takes me anywhere from 7-10 days to see my eye doctor in the US. By then, my eyeballs are trying to explode in my head. Maybe they can fit me in that day, maybe they can see me next week, or the week after. It’s not a sure thing.
To be honest, I like the Japanese system of coming in early, taking a number, and seeing the doctor that way, but I don’t think it would work in the US. It would be a mess. The doctors would just get totally swamped.
Oh wait, we already have that sort of thing, it’s called the Emergency Room. But it’s ridiculously expensive.
From the Eyes to the Nose
After I got my eyes fixed, I went back to the hotel to see what was up with my room. They were cleaning it.
So I goofed off in the lobby for a while.
I went back to check, and they couldn’t fix the bathroom, so they offered another room.
Hmm. I’m leaving in the morning. Is it really worth it to move all of my crap?
Yes. Yes, it is. The bathroom smells funky. It’s as if someone has peed on the ceiling, walls, and places I don’t even know about, with a musky kind of pee that is just awful.
Yes, I will take your new room!
So I moved to a room on the 6th floor, 639, away from room 1326. (I didn’t like being on the 13th floor anyway.)
Senso-ji, I Have Returned!
After a short break, it was time to head to Asakusa, to Senso-ji, for a little photography break, and to see the Kakminarimon again, among other things.
If you want more information or to see the photos from the first trip, they’re here.
The Kaminarimon is always interesting:
Nakamise Dori is still busy:
No lanterns at the Houzoumon this time:
Back side of the Houzoumon:
The Chouchin is still impressive, although the paint is starting to crack:
The Tokyo Sky Tree dominates the scenery:
Houzoumon and Sky Tree, Combine!
The Honden is still busy:
Heading out–Nakimise Dori:
Kaminarimon on the way out:
I like Asakusa a lot. It’s a neat neighborhood, and I really like the temple there. Granted, it’s usually choked with tourists, but it’s still fun.
I wandered around there for about an hour or so, and took all sorts of pictures. I thought about heading to the new Tokyo Sky Tree under construction, but it was too close to closing time and… to be honest, it was too much of a pain to get there.
So I headed to Ueno, with no particular destination in mind, and wound up in Ameyoko-cho. (I think that’s right… could be wrong about that.)
Ameyoko-cho is in all of the guide books as someplace to see “great street life” or whatever. It’s interesting, and kind of useful, if you want to buy fish or $10 watches, or maybe a T-Shirt with some weird English on it, or maybe a random piece of luggage.
See, it’s really hard to pin down what you’d want there. It’s just stuff that people would buy if they live in Tokyo, not necessarily if they’re tourists.
“Hey, Mr. Tourist, I have a really big smelly fish for you! It just fell off of a truck! $5 okay?”
No, that just doesn’t work if you’re staying in a hotel as a tourist, you see?
Now, if you’re local, things change. “Oooo, just *how* smelly is it? Is it ‘peel the paint off the walls’ smelly, or ‘send me to the hosptial again’ smelly? Because I’m thinking sashimi if the worms aren’t too big!”
I wandered. I didn’t buy the fish, nor did buy the watches that were amazingly reduced from 10,000 yen to 1,000 yen for the next 10 minutes ONLY! What a coincidence!
Then it was back to the hotel for some dinner. But first, it was time to hit Takashimaya Times Square’s basement for dinner. Half-price basement food. Yum. Then back to the room to scarf it down.
After that, it was time for a trip to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, to check out some nighttime scenery.
The scenery is very pretty, but I forgot my circular polarizer again… doh.
I tried pressing the camera closer, but it still didn’t work:
One decent shot from pressing the lens right up against the glass, but I didn’t want to risk damaging anything (and you can still see reflections in the shot, even with the lens up against the glass!):
Then it was back to the hotel room.
Tomorrow it’s off to Okazaki. I hope they have a bed for me instead of a futon plank. I never heard anything either way.