Sunday, January 18, 2009

A new way to check the temperature

Keiko has figured out a good way to see how cold it is outside. We have one new window and one old one in our house. The old one is in the bathroom. It tends to freeze, including on the inside. on a day like today, in the 20's, we'll get maybe 1/2 inch or so on the perimeter. Last week we had some -20's weather. Then it comes close to freezing the whole window unless we have shower going for a while to thaw it out. Who needs the weather channel?

Pediatrics might just be for me

I am now 2 full weeks into my pediatrics rotation. I have completed psychiatry, neurology, family medicine, and internal medicine. I came into my 3rd year thinking internal medicine vs pediatrics as my future career.

I spent 12 weeks in internal medicine thinking "ehhhhh, I was hoping for a little more." I'm not sure what it was about it, but I didn't just love every minute of it. I know a big part of that is the fact that I am being evaluated every second of every day for my grade. Grading in med school is really frustrating. It depends a lot on how your resident or attending physician is feeling at the time as it is 100% subjective. I was told at one point I was too shy and at another point that I asked too many questions and talked too much. I probably wasn't acting much different at either time. There are some objective tests, but they are worth only a fraction of the grade.

Another part of internal medicine that puts me off a bit is this competitive edge it has. I mean that people are always trying to show that they know more medicine than each other. Everyone is nice, is trying to learn all the time, and there is no malice in it, but it gets tiring pretty quick.

Things I like about pediatrics:
-It's never the kids fault. They aren't the ones choosing to eat themselves to obesity and get heart attacks and diabetes. if they are obese, it is more the parent's fault.
-So many cute kids. I find myself liking kids more all the time.
-The residents and the whole atmosphere is just more relaxed. People joke more and don't seem nearly as judgmental.
-It might be because my expectations fell after my internal medicine rotation, but this is the first time I find myself feeling like this is a fit. People say you just know when you find the right specialty.

It's also the first time I have overnight call. Every 3rd or 4th night I stay the night at the hospital. I have had 1-2 hours sleep, and I've had more like 6. It depends on how busy the hospital is. I've had to change my pager to a more obnoxious tone because I've slept through pages already.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas in Japan: Riding home in Luxury

I stole these images from Keiko's Japanese blog. I woke up extra early today due to the time differences as Keiko sleeps the night away so I figured I would do my last blog entry for a while.

Our last day in Japan was a 10 hour layover in Tokyo. My closest companion from my mission was able to come over and visit in the morning and one of Keiko's good friends visited in the afternoon. We got through security and thought we were all good when our names were called. I was imagining they had oversold the plane and were going to tell us our seats had been taken or something. I was half right.
"It's you lucky day, you've been upgraded to business." This was pretty funny because it has happened to me once before and I told Keiko about it and she talked about dreaming of being able to fly business class.
The seats are huge and comfy. You can lay down nearly 180 degrees, completely flast, a foot rest comes out, your own personal monitor that pops out.

I suppose the biggest thing is the service. "How are you doing, Mr. Jones?" "Can I get anything for you Mr. Jones" "How was your sleep, Mr. Jones?" I felt like I was in a hotel. Our first meal was a 3-4 course deluxe. We had all you can eat ramen and some other snacks (and alcohol was also included) the rest of the way. We got nice cloth placemats with real dishes.

Here is all our freebies: extra ramen, slippers, toothbrush/paste, lotion, facemask, ear plugs, and some other stuff I can't remember.

It's time to head off to my first day of pediatrics and back to real life... sigh, I miss Japan already.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas in Japan: Okonomiyaki

Since Keiko's dad has work all the day before we left, we had our last blast with him 2 night before our departure. We went to a popular okonomiyaki restaurant.
Family surrounding the table

You get all the raw ingredients for the okonimiyaki and you cook it yourself. The middle of the table is one big grill, a teppan grill. It takes up about 80% of the table.

I ended up taking Keiko hostage with my spatula.

The final products

We are enjoying an after-dinner... lollypop.
New Years: a nice long delicious Japanese celebration!!

Christmas in Japan: Cont of New Years

The day after New Years, we did celebration #2, we moved from the most famous shrine in Hiroshima to one of the most famous in the country, in Miyajima. It's on an island a little southwest of Hiroshima.

Us on the ferry over to Miyajima

You can see the famous gate sticking out of water from afar.

Close up pictures with the gate.

Of course, we came for the food more than anything. This is a food even many japanese people don't like, but Keiko loves: raw oyster, but I joined her as I try to join her in everything.
I liked this version a little better and is probably the most popular version of the oyster: Grilled oyster.
Cooking of the oysters

It took some courage to get the raw oyster down.

Keiko's favorite: eel

I ordered oyster udon noodles.

But Keiko decided she wanted both eel and kaki udon.

Us on the ferry on the way back.

And that wasn't all.

Christmas in Japan: New Years Day

New Years Day was a different experience. On the 31st, at night we have Toshi-Koshi soba, or "Passing to the next year soba".
There is also a show called Kouhaku that has been going on for years and years ( I think about 50). It seems that it is all the famous people in Japan, at least pop stars and such, and they all performs songs, and then the audience votes for either the red team or white team (men and women). Although Keiko fell asleep at about 8pm, she woke up at 11:30 to eat soba together. At 12pm, there is a countdown but not fireworks or too much of a big "bang" kind of celebration.

Us on new years

On Jan 1st, we went to the most famous Hiroshima Shinto shrine for hatsu-moude, or first worship. That seems to be the biggest event of New Years. There is TONS of people. At this shrine, an estimated 600,000 people came. It has a bit of a festival feel to it, with all the little food shops around. In fact, our main purpose in going was to eat and just see the whole atmosphere.

The temple where everyone throws some coins, claps there hands, and prays is in the background.

We are digging in to some tako-yaki (octopus balls)

Here are some of the more traditi0nal things that are done at hatsu-moude.

This is called mokuji. You pay about $1 and get your fortune for the year. Keiko got a good fortune and I got a bad. In order to avoid the bad fortune you tie it in a knot on the wall.

This is called a Hamaya. It means an arrow that shoots the devil. It gets rid of the bad fortune for the year. This seemed to be the most popular item.

This is called an ema. It's a wooden plank that you buy and write your hopes and desires for the year. You hang it on the shrine wall. When it happens / comes true, you buy another one to thank the Gods.

These are commonly bought throught the year. They are Japanese looking bags, that are for specific things like for helping to get pregnant, or get good grades, or help at work, etc.

Osechi ryori, this is the traditional new years food. There are tons of different dishes, mostly seafood. I heard they usually ate it for all meals for like the first 4-5 days of the year. Now we had it for lunch on New Years. It takes a lot of time to make, I think.