Monthly Archives: June 2012

Wait? My Bill is HOW MUCH?!

I’ve been meaning to write about this one since late May but here it goes!

I finally made the leap many foriegners fear when it comes to serious medical attention in a different country. Mine was extracting my last wisdom tooth.

My experience with wisdom tooth extraction in America has been pretty straightforward: Sleep during the surgery, feel like a zombie afterwards, and eat like a baby for the next week. Plus, me and the dentist visits have enjoyed our put-it-off-till-the-end relationship since my very first visit. So you can imagine coming to Japan with a wisdom tooth growing in already, meant it was going to stay there for a while.

Not such a wise idea and the issue needed to be dealt with promptly…in Japan. On my first visit I walked out already feeling nervous. My oh-so-happy dentist informed me of Japan’s is strict about anesthetics meaning I wasn’t going to be under when he planned to take it out. On the day of, I really wished I was asleep. The technic my dentist used required a lot of pressure on the tooth forcing me to hear – and feel – a lot of crunching and cracking noises. I have a pretty interesting imagination so having the erie sound effects wasn’t helping my nerves at all. In the end, I actually missed the whole thing. He’d already extracted the tooth! I guess you could say, it was sort of painless. ヽ(´▽`)ノ

But that wasn’t the real kicker of this story. Nope. The grand total of having a $200 per tooth job done in Japan is approximately $30 per tooth. Of course I have health insurance that covers both medical and dental services. But even with dental insurance in the States, dental jobs still have expensive out-of-pocket fees. I went back three additional times just to get my teeth cleaned and looked at. Getting my teeth cleaned was about $10 and getting my teeth looked at was around $14. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to the dentist more times in one month than I have the entire time I’ve been in college.

I read around for other wisdom tooth extract stories and many are a bit scarier. I may have just lucked out due to the location of the tooth. Many foreigners avoid it all together because of the no-anesthetic policy. It’s both a personal choice of getting it done or waiting a while til it gets to a certain position. That’s what I did. Whatever happens whether you’re in your home country or not, I recommend getting it removed in a timely.

Useful terms I learned from going to the dentist four times this month:

  • Dentist: Haisha (歯医者)
  • Dental Clinic: Shika (歯科)
  • Gargle: kuchisusugu (漱ぐ)
  • Cavity: Mushiba (虫歯) (Yeah they found ONE small one)
  • Take out: Nuku (ぬく)
  • Anesthetic: Masui (ますい)
  • Wisdom Tooth: Oyashirazu (親知らず)
  • To brush teeth: ha wo migaku (歯を磨く)

Comments, Questions welcomed! (^_^)


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Social Media Put to Work


I was reading this story on Jezebel on how Downtown Sports Bar located in Raleigh creates ways to deny minorities in its institution. Then I digitally rubbernecked my way to their Yelp page and wasn’t disappointed with the plethora of negative reviews. But the most interesting thing I found going down this rabbit hole was this website, Chirpstory, which lets users create stories using the tweets sent out by others relating to the topic. Juxtaposing the Raleigh Downtown Chirpstory with the Jezebel one made it a pretty exciting read. The linked tweets were not just the NCCU student that raised the issue but from just well, EVERYONE! Kudos to Jezebel’s headline: Black Man Kicked Out of Racist Bar; Cops don’t help, but Social Media Does.

It’s amazing how social media has become an effective platform for the disenfranchised. Just look at how powerful Reddit, YouTube, and 4chan have become? It’s powerful enough to make even a humble bus monitor half a million dollars richer.
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Shout Outs!


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