Going for a medical test in Japan is rather extreme. To join the local gym and be able to access the pool I had to go through a rigorous medical test, several medical tests actually.
There was an intense question session where I had to recount everything I had eaten for the past week, how many snacks I ate, how often I pooped, my sleep patterns, what time I went to bed and woke up, did I dream?, how often and for how long did I exercise, when I wake up what is my pulse (do they actually do that? take their pulse every morning?) the teacher laughed along with me so I think most of the questions he found bizarre too. Then he whipped out a very odd question out of the blue, do you have pictures of your breast? I got such a fright and really just could not answer for a while until I asked him to repeat and he said, to check your lungs? …An x-ray, not a picture of my breasts but a chest x-ray is what he was looking for.
So then part two was medical number one, you go to a special centre, get into a robe and shuffle around each station with your chart, weight, height, (both standard), then you give blood, get an ESG done. You also go into a little cubicle to pee in a bottle and a tiny shutter in the wall opens with a gloved hand waiting for your pee. Very funny handing it over but never seeing the face of the gloved hand. The doctor gives you the once over and you await your results for a week before step three of medical comes around.
Turns out I was Anaemic. Noda Sensei tried to bring me straight to the hospital when we got the results, but settled for sending me home for lunch to eat some spinach, as I refused to go to the hospital.
Step three was a physical test followed by three specialists advising you about all the combined results. This is all just so I could swim in the pool.
The physical test was a similar set up with loads of small stations. Each was testing a different physical element. Strength, durability, balance, flexibility, reaction etc. Some very odd ones where you had to stand on a small platform, close your eyes and lift a foot off the ground whenever music stopped playing, others made you watch the wall for a light and you had to jump when you saw it. I felt a bit like a guinea pig especially because all the staff kept ooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiing at any of my results, both good and bad. A ten minute cycle where you where hooked up to various computers and monitors finished it all off.
Then they told me three things 1) I was fat. 2) I needed to eat more carbs in my diet. 3) I excercised more than sufficiently. Too ME these all contradicted each other, I’m fat but eat more and don’t do any more excercise? Funny Funny Japanese. They laughed when I repeated this back thinking I was making a joke, but for once I wasn’t, how did it make any sense?
Part four was my gym tutorial where they gave me a plan which I must take around each time I go there (they make sure I do this and that I never leave it behind by accident). The staff showed my every single nut and bolt on every single machine, recording all the levels I needed to change the machines to when I use them. I feel thoroughly prepped and examined and eventually after almost two months of testing I am free to roam the fitness centre!