Saturday, July 28, 2007
As the report mentions, eating habits are getting worse. But smoking rates are also falling.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The life expectancy of male smokers at age 40 is 3 1/2 years shorter than that of nonsmokers, according to a health ministry study released Tuesday.
The heavier a man smokes, the shorter his life expectancy. The figure was 0.9 years shorter for men smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day than for those smoking less than a pack a day, the study by a group at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry showed.
Fortunately, attitudes towards smoking are changing rapidly here. When we first arrived, no-smoking areas were few and far between (and pretty meaningless, given the absence of any sort of separation from smoking areas). Now they are more and more common, and there are increasingly restrictions on smoking in public. It's been quite a turnaround, in fact. Who says the Japanese are conservative and cannot change?
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
OECD report indicates serious physician shortage in Japan
I've heard some horror stories about the Japanese healthcare system, but there are of course horror stories everywhere. The Japanese problems seem mostly to spring from authoritarian and old-fashioned attitudes among the medical profession, together with a large dose of cover-up and closing ranks after malpractice. In contrast, UK horror stories tend to be about people who cannot get treatment until it is too late.
My own limited experience is that the facilities are excellent and there does not appear to be any shortage of staff. When I had a slipped disk a few years ago and eventually went to see a doctor, he apologised for the wait for the MRI scan...because it was being used for hips that day, I would have to come back next week to get my back scanned. Seriously.
(Pause for UK residents to pick their jaws up off the floor).
Anyway, Japan has the highest life expectancy, and just about the fewest doctors and the lowest spend on health care. Obviously we can clearly see in these figures the malign influence of the medical profession on human health. OK, maybe I exaggerate - it is merely useless.
Oddly, Japan has the highest number of doctor consultations per capita, more than one per person per month! How on earth do people find the time? But obviously the doctors are too busy consulting to actually do any treatment, so that's ok. Anyway, I don't hear of people unable to get doctors' appointments.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Most of southern and western Japan has been thoroughly soaked over the weekend, which should go some way to allaying the recent fears about water shortages. Closing swimming pools may be sensible, but the decision of some schools to switch to bread rather than rice smacks of gesture politics rather than serious policy. The proportion of water used in steaming some rice is utterly trivial, but what better way to persuade people that there is a problem than by preventing their precious children from having their daily entitlement of rice, which holds a quite religious place as the centrepiece of every Japanese meal.
Not that long ago, we were being told that water supply was too high relative to consumption. There's no pleasing some people.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Jules is always complaining that I take her ideas without attribution, so I'll credit her for this one: they might as well be having an orgy to promote AIDS awareness.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Just joking, guys and girls. There's a lot of interesting reading there, even if it does sometimes veer too much towards the politically-correct anti-Repuglicanism and evolution wars stuff (yawn) for my tastes.
So, the question du jour is: To blorg, or not to blorg? Lining up on the Pro side, there is the promise of more readers (probably). Lining up on the Con side, there is the promise of more readers (probably) :-) It's all very well having a select few discerning readers who pop by occasionally, but I'm not sure I want too many people to stumble across this drivel by accident, or even worse, get pointed this way in expectation of thoughtful, provocative analysis...I happen to be a scientist, and it influences what I write about, but I'm not really a "science blogger".
They also promise to pay me. Well, as a Japanese public servant subject to a strict ethics policy, I would have to apologise humbly to my boss for the embarrassment I have caused, fly over to the USA and return the "gift" in person, on my knees. No, that's a joke. I wouldn't really have to kneel.
You can probably guess I'm presently minded to come down on the side of not joining any club that would have me as a member. There are some other advantages of shifting: I would like to be able to edit comments properly (eg reply in-line, and selectively edit the critical ones to make them look silly) and although the Blogger approach to trackbacks seems better than the standard approach to me, the incompatibility is a little tedious. OTOH I could have got that by moving to wordpress.com and I never bothered (in fact I never even bothered to check that I really could have got that, I'm just guessing).
Any advice (especially from those who have been there and done that) is welcome.