2014/12/02

"Ware Tada Taru (wo) Shiru"

Written on a tsukubai (stone water basin) at Ryoan-ji temple, Kyoto.    It means "one already has all one needs".

At Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

I am resuming posting to this blog...

2014/08/29

2014/08/11

Kumamon!

Kumamon is Japan's most popular mascot. 

Kumamon represents Kumamoto Prefecture which is located on the island of Kyushu, just across Shimabara Bay from Nagasaki Prefecture.   When the Kyushu Shinkansen was completed a few years ago, Kumamoto Prefecture decided to create a mascot to promote tourism and trade.  Kumamon was born.  Kuma is the Japanese word for "bear", so naturally, Kumamon is a bear.

The character has become very popular throughout Japan.   He has been such a success that he brought in over US$1.25 Billion in just two years! 

Here is a video song about Kumamon with English subtitles.  It was filmed at Kumamoto Castle - one of the three best castles in Japan.   Warning: possible "cute" overdose.   :)

2014/08/09

Hibakusha - Never Forget


A mother and daughter in Nagasaki three days after the bombing, their faces showing injuries from the attack.

Hibakusha means "explosion affected people" and is used to refer to survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Their numbers decline each year and before they are all gone, efforts are being made to record their stories so that future generations will not be without their unique insight.

Nagasaki was A-bombed on August 9, 1945.   The bomb exploded at 11:02 in the morning.    The true number of casualties will probably never be known, but conservatively 75,000 people died by the end of 1945 as a result of the Nagasaki A-bomb.

Here is the story of one of Nagasaki's hibakusha.  One reason that their testimony is so valuable is that there was an official blackout of information about the bombings by the US Government.   Even people who were against the bombings, such as General Douglas MacArthur,  participated in keeping photos, reports, and medical information from being disseminated.   This gave the government time to establish its fictional narrative of why the bombings were "justified" and allow them to continue to develop even more powerful weapons.   This was largely successful and it was not until many decades later that classified photos, reports, and government documents regarding the decision to use these weapons came to light.  By then, most Americans believed the official narrative and accepted it as fact and were not interested in hearing the bitter truth.

So let us listen to the hibakusha and may we never forget what happened nor ever stop working to bring an end to nuclear weapons and to learn to settle our differences without resorting to warfare of any kind.  We can chose peace if we want it.

One long time project seeking an end to nuclear weapons is from the UCLA School of Medicine and is called "Children of the Atomic Bomb". 





2014/07/30

Pacific Health Crisis

As many readers know, I had a nearly fatal health crisis of my own a little over two years ago.  Its cause was the same as that causing the health crisis in America, the Pacific, and every other place in the world where people are imitating the Standard American Diet (or SAD).   It is a food borne pandemic.  Food borne in the sense that it is being caused by what we eat.


In Japan, I spent 18 days in hospital and received excellent care (even the food was good) and thankfully the insurance system here kept my costs low.  But I got similar (bad) advice as I would have gotten in America, and that advice was partly responsible for my own crisis in the first place.  So this problem is not unique to America.

In the United States of America there is a financial and political crisis being brought about by the cost of dealing with the general health crisis.  Amazing as it seems, that is true.  None in politics dare actually face the situation squarely because -as with many other issues over there- powerful monied interests profit from it - from food producers to medical providers to insurance companies.  They in turn finance the legislators who are supposed to write new laws to deal with the issue.  Good luck.

Individually there is a simple solution to most of the problems such as I had.  The solution is to stop eating processed foods, any form of animal based food, along with oils, added salt, and sugars.  Simple.   Not always easy, mind you, but simple.   You don't need to write a congressman or even vote. 

On a national or regional or global level it is more difficult.   But one doctor who I have a lot of respect for is offering his solution.   Rather than provide money (that we don't have) to pay for all the standard medical responses (which only address symptoms) to disease , he proposes to focus on prevention.  What a concept!

Here is Dr. John McDougall, MD with his presentation on solving the health crisis.   If you are not familiar with his work you'll want to listen about what he learned practicing medicine at a sugar plantation on the Big Island of Hawaii.  If you know that background, you can skip to about 15 minutes in when he begins to define our problem and then enumerates his solutions.  Please give him your attention and consider carefully what he says.

We need to tackle this thing.  For our health, for our countries, for our finances, for our children.  This is big.  And WE do have the power!



Doubt it?  By following the recommendations of Dr. McDougall and the other doctors listed in the right hand collumn of this blog, I lost 40 lbs and lowered my blood pressure from over 160/110 to normal and my blood work numbers to optimal.  So have many others.  No meds required!  Just watch what you eat and exercise a bit everyday. 

Be well.  It's up to you.


2014/07/22

Suture Self

An episode of the cartoon series "Rocky and His Friends" is titled You've Got Me In Stitches - or - Suture Self.  The comic Frank and Earnest also used the joke:

Rocky and Bullwinkle and Frank and Earnest may be funny, but for Momo the Wonder Dog stitches are no longer a joking matter.

Last week it was hot and humid in Japan and Momo was having a tough time staying cool.  She started going on shorter walks and not eating as much.   We thought it was the heat.   Wednesday she stopped eating altogether and  walked slowly.  So slowly that I tried to get her to turn around and go home early on, even thought of carrying her, but she kept on going.   K and I decided to take her to the vet the next morning, but then it turned out the vet was closed.  We should have called him anyway, but we waited another day.  When we took her in first thing Friday a stand-in vet was there.  She took x-rays and did a blood work-up.   Momo's trouble was not the hot weather.

Her blood numbers were all fine except for one - a very high white blood cell count.  She had a bad infection in the uterus which even showed on the x-ray.  She was given a shot of antibiotics, a suppository as well, and sent home.  She responded very quickly to the anitbiotics and was soon wagging her tail and smiling.  But she still would not eat.

Saturday morning her regular vet called and told us to bring her in again.  We had planned to do that anyway, but it was nice that he was so on top of of Momo's health.   She's had the same doctor since 2006, so he knows her well.  He performed an ultrasound while we were there and it showed a lot of inflammation from either infection or perhaps cancer.  He advised removing her uterus. (Interestingly, her doctor had discussed this operation a month ago as her birth control implant had expired and she needed the surgery before getting too old to be able to recover from it.)   He would open her and see what it was then if it was cancer he would stitch her back up and we would have to decided what was best for Momo from there.  If he found it was an infection, he would remove it. 

The Day After Surgery
Fortunately it was the latter.  The operation took an hour and then Momo spent the night at the pet hospital.   She was very groggy when we saw her that evening.  Next day we brought her home.  She was much more responsive.  She had received some nutrition via IV in the hospital and we tried to feed her.  We used a chicken breast doggy treat as she really likes that.    (Unlike humans, dogs are omnivores and have a digestive system evolved to do fine on either plants or animal flesh.)    She ate the treat eagerly.

Yesterday she had another check up and doctor said she didn't need the "cone of silence" as we called it around her neck.  She could return to her usual routine.

Today she is almost back to normal!   She'll have stitches for perhaps several more days, but she's eating well, walking normally, and shows no signs of the infection.   This morning she even went on her usual walk and walked along at sprightly pace.   She's well on the road to a full recovery.



 We'll keep a closer eye on her in the future, to be sure, and not be shy about consulting her doctor if something seems even a little amiss.