Health Checkup

Today I had my annual health check up for work and I learned that I have gained a massive 3 kilos since last year. Not good. I really need to find a way to get some exercise into my schedule. I used to walk back and forth to work everyday, which ended up being about an hour in total, and it really did wonders. Now that my work is relocated, I am taking the trains. Besides rush hour just being a bitch in general (not the movie by the way, but that might arguably be considered a bitch as well), it has taken away the remaining physical activity that I had. I sit in front of a computer all day for gods sake.

Anyways, here is a potentially interesting fact: in Japan one of the standard tests they give you is for stomach cancer. First, they make you drink this suspicious, disgusting, white liquid. They call this something in Japanese that sounds exactly like “Valium.” I figure this is just very good marketing. Anyhow, this mystery substance supposedly fills up your stomach and makes you really want to belch, but the nurse being the cruel person that she is tells you that you cannot. And then, you get stripped down and attached to movable table that spins you every which way until you want to throw up. By the way, this account is all due to observation. You don’t have do go though this torture until your 30 — thankfully.

So, here comes the interesting part: I have never seen this in America before so I figured I would ask the nurse about it. She told me the following:

  • The test is for detecting stomach cancer
  • Japanese people are highly susceptibility (1 in 1000)
  • It was introduced somewhere around the early 80s
  • The fatality rate has dropped significantly since then

Update: I think I have unlocked the “Valium” secret. According to Wikipedia, the drink is a concoction containing barium salt. If you pronounce “barium” in Japanese, it sounds almost just like “Valium.” So next time you have upper gastrointestinal tract radiography preformed, be sure to impress your doctor with your knowledge of Japanese.

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