Staying home from work in Japan

You may have heard that it’s impossible to take sick day in Japan. Employers often expect their employees to be at work through the thick and thin. This might be true for Japanese employees in Japan, but it doesn’t appear to be true for foreigners working in Japan, at least not for me.

Yesterday morning I wasn’t feeling great, but I figured I was just tired. During work I started to feel achy, developed a cough, and began having the chills. I stuck it out through the day, which I felt a bit guilty about on one hand (was I infecting people??), but on the other hand I would have felt guilty leaving without knowing for certain I was sick. (To me, puking=knowing you are sick.)

Today when I woke up I felt so weak I had a hard time getting out of bed. I figured I shouldn’t go to work. The flu has been going around, and after I looked up the symptoms, I realized I had almost all of them. I called my supervisor at the Board of Education. She told me not to worry, and called my school for me to let them know I wasn’t coming in. A few hours later she called me again and told me she would take me to the doctor.

Including total wait time, we were there for over three hours. It was not fun. I just feel so grateful that she waited with me that entire time. And the results of it are: I don’t have the flu. I have all the symptoms, but my results came back negative. So the doctor isn’t positive what I have, he just thinks I have some kind of virus. (He did mention that the flu test is not 100% accurate, so it is possible that it was wrong…) Oh well.

Anyway, not to worry. I spent the day sleeping and watching TV, which is always a good day in my book! But the best part of the day was when my supervisor showed up at my apartment to make me dinner. She brought me a ton of groceries (which she refused my money for) and did my dishes as well.

The idea of being sick in a foreign country is a little terrifying, but thankfully I’ve got lots of support!

Anyway, as I am sick, I’m keeping this short. Hopefully I’ll post some more interesting updates soon, when I’m feeling a bit more lively!

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