This past week, I got to meet some people from the US embassy/consulate/State department as they visited our hospital. It was very interesting for me to learn that the US government still tries to take care of its citizens while in a foreign country. For example, if any US citizens encounter any medical problems, the US embassy has a list of hospitals that they recommend. Our particular hospital is on this list, but the US government has to make sure that the hospitals on the list have the appropriate services, i.e. orthopedics (in case some American decides that skiing is great but ends up with a broken bone), pediatrics, OB/GYN, etc.
We toured the hospital, and I even visited some places that I have never been before, such as the decontamination room and helipad. They even offered to take us up on the helicopter, but we deferred for the time being. Perhaps I will ask to go up on it another time, but given that I am prone to motion sickness, I am a bit hesitant. (Nothing ruins the day more than vomiting on your coworkers a la George Bush senior.)
Later in the evening, I had dinner with them and found out more about what they do (and had more soup curry 🙂 I am so happy and grateful for my time in Japan as it has allowed me to meet and learn from people with whom I would otherwise not have a chance to encounter.