Jun 25, 2017

Policy and procedure

Policy and procedure photo The absolute most frustrating thing in Japan that I have had to learn to just deal with is procedure and policy. Now mind, I realize that this is in every country, but Japan has a special degree of just how finicky bureaucracy and policy can be played into daily life. Like with the anecdote about my doctors visit here, assumed policy played a big role in deciding wether my children got to go to school or not. One went to the doctor, so could go to school, the other had not therefore had to stay home. A doctor's note permitting either of them wasn't required, I'm guessing because the rule saying that the doctor was needed wasn't really something that the school or the government had set, it was just what the school nurse had assumed. The key word here is assumed. Policy is held higher than actual safety comfort and efficiency, even if that policy is only just an assumed rule or guideline. There are many other occasions in Japan that I've encountered frustration and dismay because things are just done a certain way because that's how they have been done.  

At work.

There is some unwritten rule that no one uses their paid leave at school unless it's outside of the class time .The only exception is if they are sick, then they will use their paid leave. This is strange because teachers are given sick leave, however they will automatically assume you want to deduct from your paid leave to take a day off to go to the doctor unless specifically told otherwise. Why? Because that's what everyone does. This one is strange because technically it's against policy. You should be using vacation time for vacation and sick leave for sickness. 



Giving birth

My hospital didn't let me physically touch my son for the first 24 hours of life. Why? It's policy. When I argued with the first nurse , she told me the policy was there so that mother's could rest and let their bodies prepare for the baby. The second nurse told me it's because they have to make sure the baby doesn't become too cold. The doctor told me that it's just the way it is and to go back to bed. Policy and procedure photo This would be me not physically touching my child because he is wrapped in a disposable blanket. He was promptly whisked away after the photo.

(Just for everyone who has never had a baby, the first few hours of a baby's life are critical and numerous studies show that a mother's touch can improve an infant's body temperature. Also stimulation is required for breastfeeding and if the body doesn't get that stimulation, it will assume there is no need to produce milk.) Why is there really a policy? Probably n because the staff are already over-worked and overbooked at this small clinic to have time to cater to new mother s and care for the children. 


At school

Sickness prevention

 The Japanese ministry of health recently published new guidelines that recommend against gargling to prevent the spread of disease. It's been shown that gargling with only water will instead make viruses more likely to spread because they become aerosol in an area most often used as a public space; sinks and water fountains. The notice was passed around my teachers office, but over the p.a. system before lunch everyone still got the daily reminder to gargle after coming inside from recess. Why? I was told the daily announcement always says to gargle. Did it ever change even with the information about how gargling was a hazard? No. Policy and procedure photo


I have an entire rant about the post office but just to add to the list of things that are frustrating when dealing with the postal service and having a foreign name, offering a credit card. On the card, there is only space for two names, your first and last. However the postal department refused to deliver three card to me because I have a middle name. There seemed to be no way around it and I ended up just canceling the card. Later I tried again but through a different post office and there were no bumps. No problem. 


Most of the things on this list really are just annoyances or things that are just the way they are, including other countries.I mean who likes going to the post office? And I could certainly add a billion more things on here.  Any time I encounter something like these though, I just have to shrug and not let it bother me. Doesn't stop me from speaking my mind, especially if a doctor tells me to gargle however. There are good things that come from all the procedure. Children learn proper hygiene(and some improper) , the post office is very thorough and prompt and the hospital I gave birth has a very low mortality rate. 




American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • genkidesu

    on Jun 25

    That sounds really tough! I have 2 kids and had them here in Japan, but it was while my husband was in the military so it was at a US military base hospital. I don't know what I would have done with that kind of procedure of them taking the baby away - definitely not what I am used to!

  • Ooray2775

    on Jul 1

    My opinion, taking care of the mothers is really great but taking a baby away from a mother on first day of newborns lives is not what I am aware of. This sounds terrible. I became a mother in a different country, sure there was a lot to know and understand and get adjusted to but, not this. If this procedure is unavoidable, the doctors must start to ask mothers whether they want their babies away on the first day or they want to keep the babies close to them. What about skin to skin care?

  • edthethe

    on Jul 4

    @genkidesu I really should have gone to a different hospital be i just didn't know how to look for options and severely regret not trying harder for a different place.

  • edthethe

    on Jul 4

    @Ooray2775 I'm really not sure they were trying to take care of mothers wellbeing by taking the child. It only stressed me out and made me not be able to sleep, so when they did hand over the baby I was so strung out I had health problems. I've talked to many others who have given birth here though that this didn't happen to them. They even had a c-section and the baby was brought to their chest for an hour while they were stitched up and everything.