Category Archives: health


From dollhouses to…meat houses!

Since mom wanted another post, here goes!  😀

Came across this site earlier today – and (disturbingly enough) it looks real: a “Build it Yourself Meat House Kit”!  Dollhouses?  Boring.  Lincoln Logs? Utterly passé.  What you need these days is something that combines creativity with fun – and is good enough to eat!  With this kit, you get over 10lbs of meat that you can use to sculpt the mansion of your dreams!

Now, who wants one?? 😀

My very own meat house!
My very own meat house!

What’s extra disturbing is that they state that the meat will remain edible for up to THREE weeks without refrigeration – can you imagine the amount of preservatives in this thing?


Would you eat this?

Deep fried Mars Bar
Deep fried Mars Bar

When I’m on early shifts I usually have time in the morning to browse the news briefly and today came across an article on how the swine flu appears to be affecting the overweight in particular.  That article mentioned a dish called the “deep fried Mars bar“, offered as an example of unhealthy food, and I went on to read up on it at Wikipedia.

This…sounds rather gross to be honest.  Deep friend chocolate candy bars?  Who thought about this in the first place??  Not only that, but I read that there’s also deep fried Twix, deep friend Snickers, deep fried pizza, deep friend Skittles… the list goes on.

To be honest, I have a somewhat morbid curiosity as to how it tastes, but… it’s somewhat worrisome to read that this is a popular item with young children.  It’s probably no worse than a lot of the other junk food out there these days, but seriously…people just keep on finding more and more ways to eat unhealthily…

Experiences health

I’m illegal!

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Sorry for the lack of updates recently.

It’s been somewhat stressful at work (not the work itself which is busy but nothing I can’t handle – rather… the “environment”) and in between that and still going to look for furnishings during my spare time has meant that I’m pretty wiped out when I get home.  I often just get home, change, start to do some cleaning… and wake up around 2-3AM wondering why all the lights are on.

I’ve even stopped exercising for the past month or – no running, no taichi… 🙁

But – I ran 10km last Friday!  I’m sure that wasn’t the wisest of ideas, but… heck, when have I ever claimed to be wise? 😛

The run was actually the Odaiba summer marathon – a yearly event where people can apply to run in a 10km run around the Odaiba dock area.  Since it’s a fairly “easy” run, and it’s in a fairly accessible spot, the Odaiba marathon is quite popular and there’s a lottery that people have to sign up for in order to see if they can get in.

I lost.

Actually, I lost last year as well, but that didn’t stop me from joining both this year and last.  Last year, 1 colleague won the lottery and this year that same colleague plus 2 more won.  (you probably understand why I never buy lottery tickets – I’ve been fortunate enough in very many areas, but gambling/lottery is not one of them. (not that I’m complaining mind you – while it would be nice to win a bajillion yen, life could also be so much worse!)

Anyway, to get back to my story – last year both myself and another colleague decided to participate “unofficially” to encourage/support the 1 colleague that did get in.  What we did was mingle amongst the official participants and use them as cover so that officials wouldn’t see that we didn’t have any running numbers pinned to our shirts.  We joined in the 3 laps, then veered off to the side just before reaching the finish line.

Last Friday I did the same and participated again as an “illegal runner”. 😛  To be honest though, I don’t think that officials would do much even if they did catch us.  It’s not like they would halt the entire race to kick us out, and of course we don’t get any official time records or the Odaiba marathon T-shirt.

I’m happy to say that even though I hadn’t run for a month, I made pretty good time, coming in just under 56 minutes.  But BOY HOWDY did I feel it.  The run consists of 3 laps and by the end of the first lap my lungs and chest were already burning.  By the second lap my legs were dying on me, and by the end of the third lap, it was all I could do to just keep up a semblance of jogging.  I did it though – didn’t stop once, but kept on moving the whole time.  So a thumbs up for me. 🙂

After the run, 3 of us went to a nearby onsen – it’s a really nice one (at 2,000 yen entrance fee it better be!) and after about 40 minutes of soaking, a bowl of miso ramen, and 2 bottles of whole milk the self-inflicted torture I had just imposed on myself was already already fading.

Needless to say, I slept well that night!
(though I did have to get up after only 5hrs of sleep to go back into work – but let’s not talk about that)


And here we go again.. HAKUCHON*!

As the days lengthen and signs of spring start showing themselves in the form of the odd flower bud here, and the less lovely occasional mosquito there, it’s also time for that bane of millions of Japanese – kafunshou or “hay fever”.

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Simply put kafunsho (kafun=pollen, sho=disease/ailment) refers to the apparently bountiful cedar pollen floating about, triggering allergic reactions in roughly 20% of the Japanese population.  I have less than joyously joined the ranks of the sufferers.

I’m not sure exactly why or when I started suffering from an allergic reaction to pollen (heck, I’m not even sure if it is pollen-related!), but I do know that I seriously started feeling it about 2 years back and  it’s gotten progressively worse since.  In my case, it’s characterized by itchiness/wateriness in the eyes throughout the day, random and agressive bursts of sneezing, and overall miserableness.  Last year was the worst period to date (I would wake up in the morning with eyes watering furiously and the whites of my eyes completely red), but though I had a blood test in an effort to isolate whatever was triggering my allergic reactions, nothing in particular came up save a small reaction to house dust mites – apparently I had no reaction to sugi (Japanese cedar, traditionally blamed for the majority of allergic reactions in Japan).  This makes no sense because if this were purely due to house dust, then I would suffer all year-round.  My theory at the moment is that somehow cedar pollen combines with house dust, transforming into a super powerful mutant allergen whose sole purpose is to make Jeff feel wretched.

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There are plenty of items available on the Japanese market for sufferers, primarily face masks and medicines.  However, a) I’m not fond of drugs and avoid them whenever I can, and b) masks are an especial PITA to wear if one has glasses.  Though there are some masks that are supposedly made especially for glasses wearers, another factor is that my nose constantly runs (thanks to all the sneezing) and there’s no point wearing a mask if I’ll be constantly be taking it off to blow my nose. (apologies for any gross imagery)

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Last year I started taking flaxseed oil and that did seem to ease the symptoms quite a bit.  The primary downside to taking them is that they are huge honking capsules – and recommended dosage is 3 capsules 3 times daily!  However, I’ve already started taking them, and we’ll see how it goes – so far at least my eyes are watering less, but then again, the kafunshou season has just started…

Mom has also mentioned that she will be sending some eyebright – I’ll try taking that in conjunction with the flaxseed oil and see how it goes.

At the moment, I’m fighting a double battle with a full-blown head cold as well as the onset of kafunshou season and I’m definitely not at my best… thank goodness tomorrow is a holiday…


 * “Hakuchon” or “Hakushon” is apparently the onomatopoeic word for a sneeze in Japanese (ie, the equivalent of “achoo!” in English)