Both physical and mental health are a priority of your contracting organizations, CLAIR, and the community at large. We have established support structures to maintain a happy and healthy community.
In Japan appointments for doctor's visits are usually not necessary, with the exception of dental clinics. All large hospitals and smaller clinics accept patients on a walk-in basis. If you get sick, just go to the nearest hospital, a general hospital if you can. If you are seriously ill, seek advice from a Japanese friend, or again, just go to a nearby general hospital. Even if a doctor speaks English, be aware of the cultural differences. For this reason, some JETs strongly recommend taking a Japanese friend or somebody that speaks good Japanese with you on your first visit to a hospital and in any emergencies. In Japan doctors are not known to be very open with their patients and, in some cases, do not think that it is important for the patient to be fully aware of their condition and its treatment.
Don’t be afraid to ask, although you might not get an answer. Some doctors may think you are rude if you want to know about the drugs prescribed, because it questions their “superior knowledge”. Some JETs have been told that the reason why doctors don’t tell you about drugs is because they don’t know what the drugs are either! By the way, doctors here have a reputation for prescribing lots of medicine. Don’t take it if you think you don’t need it or are unsure of its effects. Japanese doctors may tell you very little about your condition, treatment, whether you should come back or not, and if so why etc. So don’t be afraid to ask even if there are a hundred patients waiting outside and you have to look through dictionaries and use up half an hour of the doctor’s time. Hospital admission in Japan is not a light issue and may be longer than you think is necessary. Second opinions in Japan can be considered very offensive and can potentially ruin your relationship with a doctor or even with an entire hospital or clinic. A good book on general information is: “Japan Health Handbook” by Meredith Enman Maruyama, Louise Picon Shimizu and Nancy Smith Tsurumaki. Kodansha 1995 ISBN 4-7700-1838-X
Like in all medical care, visiting a dentist in Japan may take some getting use to. For example, gloves are for the staff's benefit not the patients, and they touch papers, pens, chairs and tools, as well as your mouth. Most patient's rooms do not have doors and people can see the chair from outside the room. Procedural information for a treatment may not be enough to satisfy you because most Japanese don't ask too many questions, so you may find yourself asking a lot to the practitioner.
Hospitals, Doctors & Dentists
Because doctors change locations, offices and hours often - IFIE has compiled a listing of available doctor's offices where English-language assitance MAY BE available. Please follow this link to the listing. 
If you find an English-friendly doctor that is not in the listing, let us know! We are always looking to keep the information up-to-date. Please contact your prefectural advisors for specific information and recommendations on health care professionals.
Mandatory Health Checks
JETs employed by the Prefectural government are required to follow the same regulations as other Prefectural employees. These regulations include mandatory medical check-ups. While most of these check ups are relatively straight forward and cause no problem many JETs object to the yearly chest X-ray for screening Tuberculosis.
The check ups may be carried out by school nurses or by visiting medical teams. Generally they include height, weight, screening for various diseases such as tuberculosis, blood pressure, blood type, some kind of urine test, heart rate etc. Generally, all the staff from a school will be required to take the tests on the same day or within the same week. Usually you will be asked to go with other staff members to have your medical check, which will proceed quickly and efficiently with little privacy or explanation.
The chest X-ray is a screening for tuberculosis. In many countries immunization programs have controlled and virtually eradicated the disease. In Japan, however, screening is used rather than immunization. Although there are other methods to screen for this disease, the regulations stipulate that a chest X-ray be done each year. Non-compliance with the regulation can cause legal problems. JETs in their first year may avoid the chest X-ray on the basis that they submitted an X-ray as part of their medical prior to coming to Japan. JETs in their second year have a more difficult task. They may, if they are strongly opposed to the X-ray attempt to postpone it until their contract expires. JETs in their third year have no legal way to avoid the chest X-ray, however it has been avoided by some. If you do try to avoid this test it will create a difficult situation for your host institution. Most Japanese do not see any reason for avoiding this test. It is regarded as safe, and as avoiding it causes major complications, your school/office may not be understanding.
Giving Blood in Japan
(This section was submitted by a fellow JET)
I wanted to give blood when I was in Sapporo in the summer and was told that unless I could read a page littered with very technical kanji, I couldn't. There was no translation available and nobody willing to read the kanji for me so that I could look up the words in my dictionary. The reason given was that the form changes on a regular basis and so they would have to change the form regularly too. I'm not sure whether this is an adequate reason. I asked to take a form away to translate and begrudgingly I was allowed. Maybe there is a particular xenophobia when it comes to blood donation and for this reason there is no translation available at blood donation clinics. This is the translation I have made. I hope it isn't too difficult to follow. I had a few difficulties with some of the medical terminology; I asked a colleague what "Ringobyou" was. Her reply was "Apple sick" which didn't help much. Finally I got a technical translation of the word which means in English, "infectious erythema" which leaves me as confused as ever. I'm fairly certain that I don't have that particular disease anyway.
The good news is that I managed to give blood a few weeks ago here in Wajima. The nurses and auxiliaries seemed very welcoming and practiced their English while taking my blood. More importantly, when you give blood in Japan you receive omiage (presents) for your trouble. So I walked away 400ml of blood lighter, but weighed down with 20 eggs, a toothbrush and toothpaste set, towels and a host of other bits.
The most accessible centre for most people to donate blood is in Labro on Katamachi (5th floor) or the Blood centre across the street from Kanazawa Chuo Byouin. Again, there is no translation available so please take this copy along with you so that you can fill out the forms correctly. If you can't make it to Labro or Chuo Byouin, find out when the mobile unit will be in your town - it comes about twice a year. The whole ordeal from form filling to gift-laden exit takes a mere 20 minutes. You'll be told your blood group so can answer now when your students/colleagues ask, and a complete breakdown of your blood analysis will be sent through to your home address within about a week.
So, please put my hard work to good use and go and donate your blood, (if only for the eggs). Unfortunately, if you are a British citizen or spent more than six months in the UK between 1980 and 1996, you will not be allowed to donate blood in Japan, due to concerns that CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), the human variant of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, popularly known as mad cow disease), could be transmitted by blood transfusions.
The common cold - Generally a visit to the hospital will result in getting some kind of medication and lots of it. In some cases, the doctor may put a patient on an I.V. drip to re-hydrate the fluids in the body. This is a common procedure here.
Diarrhea - This nasty condition seems to affect many JETs, particularly those in their first year. While it may be related to the body's adjustment to simple things such as water, it may also be related to certain foods. For example, that innocuous little dish, miso soup, can result in diarrhea for some people. Miso is fermented soybean paste and for those who have not grown up eating it there may be a period of adjustment, however over time the body will get used to it.
Menstruation ceases and hair loss - Some female JETs find that during the first few months in Japan they cease to menstruate or experience hair loss. It is always wise to have a medical check to rule out any serious problem but the frequency with which this problem occurs indicates that it is usually related to the sudden changes in diet and environment and stress.
You might consider getting some immunization shots–予防接種, yobō sesshu–before your travel to some parts of Asia and Africa. Immunization is not covered by your health care plan. American and Japanese shots differ. For more information on vaccinations visit www.forth.go.jp. If you go here you'll get the precise details, frequency of shots, duration of effectiveness...
Immunization shots for yellow fever (mandatory before entering some African countries) and meningitis are unavailable within Ishikawa. They are available at major quarantine offices (ken-eki sho 検疫所).
Offices near Ishikawa include: Nagoya Quarantine Office (052)661-4131 Niigata Quarantine Office (025)244-6569 Osaka Quarantine Office (06)571-3522 Tokyo Quarantine Office (03)3471-7922 Yokohama Quarantine Office (045)201-4456 Narita Airport (Terminal 2 Bldg.) (0476)34-2310 Kansai Airport (CIQ Bldg.) (0724)55-1283
Within Ishikawa, the Ishikawa Prefectural Health Center (across from the Kencho) has many of the vaccination on hand. Many hospitals in you area can order the vaccines and administer them to you, but you will need to make arrangements far in advance, as it make take serveral weeks for the paperwork to be completed and shots to be sent to your local hospital.
With the exception of ones in Narita and Kansai Airports, the above offices are located near or at Port Authority buildings. Appointment for shots is necessary. Malaria tablets (Mararia Jozai マラリア錠剤)
Malaria tablets are not easily obtained in Japan. It is cheaper and easier to purchase them from Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, etc. Apparently from some countries you can get someone to send you tablets along with a doctor’s prescription.
A place you can get malaria tablets in Japan is: Akadama Yakkyoku (Akadama Pharmacy) - you must have a prescription from a doctor 〒141 Tokyo-to Shinagawa-Ku Nishi-Shinagawa 2-13-18; tel (03)3491-1256 Cholera (Korera コレラ)
You can get cholera shots at the Internal Medicine Section (内科 Naika )of most hospitals and clinics, including Komatsu Shimin Hospital, Togi Hospital and Noto General Hospital, listed on the previous pages. You will have to take two shots, about a week apart, for the vaccine. Your second shot should be taken about 10 days before you travel. It is effective for six months. Some of the other hospitals that give cholera shots are listed below. The average price for two cholera shots is about 1500 yen.
Places to get it include: Prefectural Gov’t Infirmary Kanazawa-shi Hirosaka 2-1(within Pref. Gov't Bldg) tel 076-261-1111 Mon to Fri: 9am-12pm, 1- 4pm Hakui Hospital Hakui-shi Matsuzakite tel 0767-22-1220 Mon-Fri: 8:30-11:30am Mukai Hospital Togi-machi Ryoketel (0767-42-1151) Mon-Fri:8:30am-5pm,Sat: 8:30am-12pm Enyama Hospital Nanao-shi Fuchu-machi 68-3 tel(0767)52-3400 Mon-Sat: 8:30am-12pm, 1:20-5:30pm Jokachi Clinic Monzen-machi Tsurugijitel (0768)45-1351 Mon-Sat: 9am-12pm Miyamaru Clinic Monzen-machi Toge(0768)43-1331 Mon-Sat: 7:00am-8:30am, 5pm-6pm
Hepatitis A (Kan-en Ei-gata 肝炎 Ａ型) - The Prefectural Government Infirmary also offers Hepatitis A shots for ¥6,300 per shot (2 shots=\12,600). First of all, you must go and have a blood test at a hospital to attain your resistance to the illness. After the results have come through you can go and have your first shot. Four weeks after the first shot you must have a second shot. The vaccine is good for three months. Please give at least a week between the hepatitis and cholera shots. Other clinics and hospitals may offer this immunization. Please contact them for more info.
After some persuasion, the staff at my local hospital (Suzu General Hospital) ordered both Hep. A&B for me and another JET in the area. For people like us, living far away from Kanazawa, it is nearly impossible to travel to the city each time we need a vaccine. In addition, a blood sample was taken to see whether Hep. A anti-bodies were still present since my last injections (12 months ago), and they were. www.cdc.gov also says that the American vaccine for Hep.A lasts for at least 20 years. Is the Japanese one that different?
Tetanus (Hashofu 破傷風) - Tetanus shots should be available at most clinics and hospitals.
Typhoid (Cho Chifusu 腸チフス) - Typhoid shots are largely unavailable in Japan. People who are planning to travel to places such as India might consider getting shots when they go home or go to another industrialized country. You might find a hospital or doctor that is willing, but it is exceedingly unlikely as the government restriction for Typhoid are so that it is impossible for them to administer the vaccination.
About the PA system
The PA (Prefectural Advisor) system provides JETs with support and advocacy. There are currently four PAs in Ishikawa, two for ALTs (both prefectural and municipal) - Anri Simpson and Charles Fliss, one for CIRs –Victor Chuah and one Japanese PA – Ichie Nakade. We are here to help people with problems they cannot resolve with the help of their supervisor. From workplace-related issues to more personal problems, and to provide support to help make JET a positive and rewarding experience.
Who are the PAs?
They are members from the JET community, who have taken the extra responsibility of being a PA. It is not a paid responsibility and there is no special contract for their work. They are essentially a JET with extra work duties on top of being a CIR or ALT. PAs are recognized by CLAIR and coordinated at the local level by the Ishikawa International Affairs Division. http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/current/support/pa.html
Contact Information for your Ishikawa PAs
Prefectural ALT PA
Location: Ishikawa Prefectural Education Center
Ishikawa-ken, Kanazawa-shi Takao-machi U 31-1, 921-8153
Office: 076 298 1705
Mobile: 090 8099-7381
Fax: 076 298 3518
Municipal ALT PA
Location: Nanao City Board of Education
Email: cmjfliss @ gmail dot com
'Location:' Ishikawa Foundation for International Exchange, Kanazawa (IFIE) 
〒920-0853 石川県金沢市本町1丁目5番3号 リファーレ3階
3/F, Rifare Bldg., 1-5-3, Hon-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan 〒920-0853
'Office:' 076 262 5931
'Fax:' 076 222 5932
Ichie Nakade (中出)
Location: Ishikawa Prefectural Foreign Affairs Division, Prefectural Administration Center 
1-1 Kuratsuki, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-8580
Office: 076 225 1381
Available: 8:00am to 4:30 at the office. Please no calls after 9:00pm on the mobile. Crisis response only after 9pm!
A PA’s Professional Duties
Your PA can provide mediation if you find yourself facing a dispute, disagreement, deadlock or misunderstanding between yourself and another JET-related party. PAs can mediate in person or over the phone. Our main aims during mediation are to identify the underlying unmet needs that are creating the problem and to work towards a solution that keeps harmony between all parties.
Examples of things that we can mediate on: disputes over nenkyu; problems at work that have arisen over cultural differences; differences of opinion over work practices; misunderstandings that have arisen over incidents, communication breakdowns.
- Though mediation can improve communication between JET and workplace, it is imperative the JET makes an effort to maintain good relations with their CO (Contracting Organization) as everything comes back to the CO, not to CLAIR or the PAs.
(We request the following consultation support be used only as necessary.)
PAs will field calls from people who have already taken steps to resolve problems with the help of their supervisor.) Consultation is similar to counseling but consultation is more about finding solutions to day-to-day problems whereas counseling involves emotional issues. The PAs have many resources at hand and experience in sorting things out, so if you would like to consult with one of us, drop us a line. Examples of things that you can consult on: problems with nenkyu (yearly paid leave); cultural misunderstandings; team-teaching problems; issues with people at work; medical issues; contract issues; communication difficulties, information distribution.
Your PAs are a focal-point for information distribution. We receive information from many different sources and forward it on or post it here if it's useful. We send out: information on JET and non-JET events; CLAIR updates; consulate and embassy notices; changes in policies or laws that affect JETs; info from JETs to JETs Orientations and training conferences. Orientations aim at preparing JETs for work and helping JETs and the Ishikawa community work better together. We advocate cross-cultural understanding between JETs and their Japanese colleagues and provide classroom and cultural advice through (prefectural) seminars and workshops. Examples of conferences we organize: new-JET orientations; August - (new ALT) Seminar; November - Mid-year ALT Conference (largely organized by the Conference Coordinator at the Prefectural Education Center and the ALT PA) Projects
Depending on the PAs own workload in any particular year and the activity of Ishikawa AJET, PAs may run social nights or projects which get JETs together outside work.
In case of crisis response (only), PAs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you find yourself involved in an emergency or crisis situation, contact one of us immediately. But please understand that we are volunteers. Being a PA is not our full-time job, therefore we may be unavailable at certain times due to work or private commitments etc. Please also respect our private time (and sleeping hours!) and only call after hours if it is a crisis that cannot wait until the next day.
Examples of crisis response situations: emergency hospital visits; crime-related incidents (break-ins etc); vehicle accidents; loss (bereavement etc.); physical or mental trauma; natural disaster.
Counseling is one of the most important things PAs do as they are one of the links in your support network. Living in Japan can be stressful at times. Don't bottle the stress up inside, just talking about it can help resolve things. PAs also provide referrals to professional counselors and psychiatrists.
Examples of things that you can talk to us about: culture shock; day-to-day issues that are causing you stress; depression; problems that you are having with people at your workplace; re-contracting etc. Further counseling support in English
Don't hesitate to make use of these support lines. You don't need to have an emergency to call them.
The JET Line: 03-3591-5489 (Based at CLAIR, Tokyo, 9am-5:45pm, weekdays)
AJET Peer Support: 050-5534-5566 8pm-8am, 365 days a year! An open ear for all JETs.
TELL Lifeline : 03-5774-0992 9am-11pm, 365 days a year. Free, anonymous telephone counseling and support for all types of emotional issues based in Tokyo.
TELL Counseling : 03-4550-1146, by appointment only. TELL Counseling is the only professional psychotherapy and counseling center in Japan staffed by licensed professionals
Ishikawa JET Area Leader System is designed to give new JETs day-to-day living support, especially in the first few weeks of their stay. AL Support System aims to help you smoothly integrate into your community so you can start to feel at home here before you even arrive. It aims to help you quickly and effectively resolving day-to-day living problems so you can spend more time enjoying the JET experience and this incredible place in which we live!
We've divided Ishikawa into regions, each with various Area Leaders. Area Leaders are volunteers from the JET community who help orientate new JETs to their surroundings. To locate your Area Leader, contact email@example.com or see the Area Leader list (forthcoming).
Area Leaders and PAs: What's the difference? Area Leaders help orientate you in your community, and Prefectural Advisors (PA) help resolve personal and/or work related problems.
While your Area Leader can help you with locating places to buy things when setting up your apartment, finding good places to eat out, showing you around the area and helping you with other information about where you live, they are not responsible for counseling, helping you with workplace-related issues, advising you on problem resolution or similar matters. If you experience any problems while you are on the JET Programme, that you cannot resolve by yourself or with the help of your supervisor, please contact your PA. They are trained to help resolve issues or to refer you to professional counselors.