Nov 9, 2017

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies!

I️ don’t think people realize how much they take their health for granted until they’re sick somewhere that isn't their home country. Sure, it sucks being sick anytime and anywhere - but when you’re living somewhere where you’re not familiar with the medications that can help you (and language barriers get in the way too!) then it proves all the more difficult.

Basically my entire household have had colds this week - the sore throat that makes you feel like you’re swallowing razor blades, runny noses, aches and pains - you name it. In my own quest to feel 100% again, these are some of the remedies I’ve tried.


Efficacy: 3/5

Everyone tells you to hydrate when you’re sick, and ginger is always touted as having a million health benefits. I️ saw this apple and ginger juice at my local Lawson, and figured it was worth a shot. Heavy on the ginger, it definitely made me feel like I️ was doing something good for my body - perhaps just a placebo, but it was a tasty one.

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies! photo

Face Masks

Efficacy: 1/5

If your entire household has already been exposed to the germs before you get full-blown sick, then these things are nothing more than decoration in my opinion. Didn't help. Made me feel more like a local, though!

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies! photo


Efficacy: 3/5

Another beverage based treatment - having something hot to drink made me feel like I was scalding those bacteria away. Clever, no? Anyway, it probably had more to do with the hydration than the temperature, but it helped me feel a bit more human.

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies! photo

Fresh Air

Efficacy: 4/5

Perhaps the dark horse of the bunch, but it was surprisingly effective. If you're like me, you might find that if you stay indoors when you feel sick it just perpetuates the "I feel like I'm dying!" mindset. Getting out and going for a walk on the days that the weather allowed it definitely helped in making me feel more human and less deathly.

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies! photo

Over the counter medicine

Efficacy: 1/5 when I️ didn’t know the right dosage to take

5/5 when I️ figured it out

One of the hardest things about medicine in Japan is finding it - but then you’ve got the struggle of perhaps reading the dosage details wrong if you don’t know Japanese! I have to admit that I was pretty proud of myself when I picked up these tablets at my local drugstore that were meant to combat all the cold symptoms - runny nose, sore throat, and aches and pains. I wondered why the heck they weren't doing their job though...until I realized I'd taken only one tablet, when I was supposed to take three. I guess better to under-dose than the opposite, but hey. I'm almost back to normal!

Colds be gone...my trial of Japan's remedies! photo

Got any favorite cold remedies, or medicines that always seem to do the trick when you're feeling under the weather? 



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!