Destinations Magazine

The Mom Factor

By Jugglingtam

According to the common stereotype, I live in the world’s healthiest country. That all of this skinniness and long lifespans are attributed to something as simple as the diet. That all Japanese people delightfully nibble on just tofu, raw fish, and fermented this and that until anorexia sets in. Therefore, it always comes as a shock when I bitch to the universe about how unhealthy the majority of my choices really are. I am not living in Okinawa. I live on mainland Japan, where the lack of choices have left me packing my lunches everyday and spending $3 on a single apple just to get in the necessary dose of nutrients. No, my friends. The average Japanese person also partakes in a healthy diet of fried meat products mixed in with lots of starch (bread and rice). I honestly don’t think food is the sole reason for a nation full of genetically inclined individuals.

However, among such obvious factors as the necessity to walk or bike most places in Japanland, is what I like to think as of the Mom Factor. The Mom Factor refers to the tendency for Japanese people to make a big crazy deal out of any

The Mom Factor
 ailment, injury, or ”happening.” Whereas in my culture, people are told to simply shake it off. To tough it out. That it is only a flesh wound. That unless your leg is dangling lifeless and bloody, then pay it no attention and keep in movin’.  Japan, on the other hand, takes no such precaution. At the slighest whimper or ill twinge, you are immediatly surrounded by 50 nurses and rushed to the emergency room.  Just the other night I over stretched my foot during a rigorous Zumba number at the gym. This minor setback merely represents one of say number of foot/ankle related injuries in my past, inclduing several sprains and a pinched nerve. The gym practically shut down as I was ordered to sit, lay back, and have ice applied by the hunky desk receptionist. Then there was the blood giving incident where nurses and doctors from all over Chiba materialized and brought out a stretcher, an unlimited supply of drinks and snacks, and an unlimited number of panicked tales of caution (“One 99 year-old bulimic man DIED from giving blood!”). Der.

I don’t really like a big fuss. Nevertheless, sometimes I wonder if it has a point. Mayhaps all the hubbub lends itself to this nation’s health. Mayhaps they actually catch things before they manifest into bigger problems. Mayhaps being acutely aware of all the harmless, miniscule little worries erupting inside of you makes for a healthy, albeit suicidal, population. It is nice to be coddled once in a while anyway


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