The Beginning of My Japan Tour

Trip Start Dec 18, 2005
Trip End Dec 30, 2005

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm on the tour bus in Japan right now. I haven't written since the other night, so I guess I ought to catch up. I never made it to the beach yesterday. Whatever I had eaten on the plane rides the day before seriously made me sick. Must have been all the new exotic foods and tastes... I can deal with odd mixes of foods, but when it comes to "high class cuisine" my stomach just doesn't agree with it.

So all day yesterday, I spent my time between sleeping in bed and throwing up at the toilet. It didn't start off that bad in the morning. My stomach was feeling uncomfortable in the morning before breakfast. I figured I'd be fine though, and we went to the Regency hotel for their buffet breakfast. Had I not felt so sick, I would have really enjoyed it. But I limited myself to a small amount of fruit and liquids instead. On the taxi ride back to my grandma's, I felt sicker, and when we got back, my parents recommended me to lie down and rest before it was time to go. I didn't feel any better at all, and I heard my parents on the phone. It sounded like they were cancelling their trip. Later when my mom came in to check on me, I found out that they were about to cancel, but then my dad ended up going anyway because he really wanted to meet the monk. Apparently that monk was famous for some of his music or singing, and my dad really respected him. I felt bad that my mom didn't get to go, but she said it was okay and that she wasn't as interested in going as my dad had been.

Being sick was awful. I threw up just after my dad had left, and felt a lot better afterwards. But then I was tired and my stomach still felt a little queasy, so I lay down and slept. The rest of the day I would sleep about 30 minutes, wake up and go throw up whatever there might have been to throw up, or I'd drink some warm water and then throw that up, just to make my stomach feel better. There really wasn't anything else for my system to heave after the first bout that morning.

My mom kept asking me if I wanted to go to the doctor, and it eventually became a plea of "Can I please take you to the doctor?" I didn't want to go, because I didn't think it was anything so serious that my body couldn't handle, and even if I wanted to go, I didn't hardly have the energy to stand up, get down to the ground floor to wait for the taxi, and walk from the taxi into the hospital once I got there. Not to mention, I didn't know if I could take another taxi ride without making a mess of the cab...

At one point, my grandma's caretaker, Xiang A-yi, went to get some medicine for me. She's been taking care of my grand parents ever since I was a child, and most likely much longer than that. I finally started to feel a little better around 4 PM, I think. So my mom filled up the bathtub and I took a bath. After that, I went back to sleep. I felt so weak from throwing up and not having any nourishment. At some points during the day I had been dizzy, and my hands or feet would feel fuzzy because of the lack of energy. I think after my bath I went back to bed, and got up maybe once to throw up, but didn't really throw up much except a little bit of water.

By then, my dad came home, and he came to see how I was doing. He told me how he used to suffer a similar sickness every year when he was young. He said it was due to a lack of potassium, and his muscles would cramp up and make him throw up. I just listened to the story and didn't make a remark. I think he told me the story to encourage me that what I was going through wasn't anything terrible, and that I'd be better soon enough. I went back to bed afterwards and didn't wake up to go throw up again after. My mom came in later in the night to feed me a light dinner of xi-fan (in English it's called congee, but I just explain it as over boiled rice), and woke me up in the morning to see how I was doing.

My poor grandmother kept worrying that I wouldn't be well enough to make the trip to Japan today. When I woke up in the morning, I felt okay. I could tell I was still weak, and my stomach felt so empty. I didn't feel hungry, but I could tell my stomach and system were very empty. I ate a little bit of xi-fan and a few slices of apple. I don't think I should have eaten the apple though, because later I felt sick. I think it was too solid for my stomach to handle. I packed and got ready anyway. I put on my best face for my grandma on the way out the door so she wouldn't worry. I knew I would feel better after eating some more and getting some more energy. It was just a matter of working into it.

At the airport I felt horrible and so drained. I could barely stand up in line for whatever I had to go through line for. Happily, we were early at the airport, so when we got to the gate, I lay down for a bit to rest about 20 minutes before we had to board the plane. The plane wasn't full either, so I was able to stretch out over 3 seats and lie down to rest during part of the flight. They served lunch on the flight. I was hesitant to take the meal, but I was feeling so hungry, I decided I'd get something and eat what I felt okay about eating. The choices: Chicken or pork with noodles. The chicken looked spicy, so I chose pork instead. I never ended up eating the meat anyway. I decided only the noodles were safe to ingest. Not to mention, anything with strong scents or flavors were very unappealing to me at the time. That reminds me; I saw a shop in the airport for beef noodles, and I whimpered to my mom and pointed at it as we passed it. Yes. Beef noodles. I wanted beef noodles. It's one of the things on my list to eat while I'm here. But as we passed the shop, it smelled so strongly I had to turn away because it made me sick. Hopefully I'll be able to stomach it by the time I get back from Japan.
We just stopped at a rest stop. Good thing too since I REALLY needed to go! The tour guide said I type so fast it looks like I'm just typing haphazardly and not paying attention because I'll be looking around at other things and keep typing without really looking at what I'm typing. He's a nice guy. When we met up with him at the airport in Taipei, he was concerned about how sick I was. He also asks me every so often how I'm feeling and if I've eaten my medicine. The same medicine that I decided to stop taking this afternoon because I didn't think I needed it anymore. I took it this morning when I was started feeling dizzy, and then I started feeling terrible, so I decided part of my sick feeling was the medicine itself. But I just tell him I had my medicine anyway :p Then he doesn't have to worry.

Anyway, so I ate the noodles from my meal on the plane and zoned out for the rest of the ride. When we got off the plane, I could really feel how empty my system was. Sometimes, when I haven't been feeding myself properly, I get stomach cramps, and my system feels really empty, and this was a feeling like that. So by then, I figured all I needed to do was to feed myself, and I'd start getting my energy back. I kept the rolls from the meal on the plane, and ate that on the bus when we first got on. It helped settle my stomach for a bit.

When we got off at the rest stop, I stopped by their convenience store. They sold meals and such there. I ordered a miso soup, and then found out they don't have containers to go. So, my mom comes over and asks them for coffee cups to pour it into. I must say, it was rather amusing, simply because my mom doesn't know Japanese, and the attendants at the stand didn't really know English, and here I am, with mediocre Japanese skills saying, I need to take my soup to go. So, we get the cups, and my mom pours my soup into three cups, and we leave. The poor station attendants were probably bewildered by the whirlwind event. The break was supposed to be quick, so we were in a hurry. Yes, I drank my hot salty soup out of my 3 coffee cups. It felt good to have something in my system. I think my system is going to need a little more time to work into solid food. Hopefully, dinner will have some aqueous options...

So, on the note of interesting things I've passed since I got here, there have been several things. Most recently, I've seen a monkey sign on the side of the road. It's like those deer signs we see in America, or kangaroo signs in Australia. I thought it was pretty interesting. I keep meaning to take a picture of one, but by the time I notice it every time, we've passed it by the time I get the camera. We also passed this cool tower on the outskirts of Ichinomiya City. Another thing I saw was a Denny's in Komaki City. Although I've been in Japan before, I've never seen a Denny's. But then again, this is my first time being in this prefecture. It just goes to show that even if you've been to a country before, you don't necessarily know everything about it!

I saw a few other interesting things earlier, but I can't remember them. That's part of the detriment of observing while in the mental stupor of sickness. I'm sure I'll be much better tomorrow though. I need to charge my laptop though. The battery is running low. I hope the electric plugs in the hotel are compatible with my laptop. The guide is currently telling us how to bathe in the hot spring right now. Apparently, there's a health matter involved. I have no problem taking a bath that will help my health at this point. Also, he mentioned there's a certain way to wrap the robe. Left over right is for going to the bath. Right over left is for if you're mourning the dead! :x Interesting stuff. It's too bad my mandarin isn't so fluent that I understand all that he says.

The country side we're going through is pretty. It's fairly mountainous now. I think a lot of our time will be spent in the more rural areas. This will probably be a great opportunity to see some of the more traditional cultures in Japan. If the sun wasn't already down or obscured by the clouds, I'd take some more pictures. But my terrible camera quality won't tolerate the lack of light. I'm sure there will be more opportunities tomorrow to take pictures of the mountains though. It's definitely pretty.
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