• 2015.08.28
  • Health Management for Avoiding Hospitals
Even in Japan, it’s a well-known fact that “going to a hospital in the US leads to massive medical bills”. I’ve also been made intently aware of this myself, as I’ve been visiting the dentist recently. Especially with regard to the dentist, it’s not like it is in Japan, where you can easily get treatment of any sort because you have comprehensive insurance. This leads many people to put a lot of routine effort into building a healthy body, in order to avoid going to the hospital.


This might be the same in major cities in any country, but when compared against my husband’s birthplace in a small town, or our former residence in Hawaii, or even Japan (or perhaps I should say “Kansai”), it seems like the number of both men and women who work out for their physical health is quite high. The differences in degree between “obesity” in the US and Japan are so extreme as to be beyond comparison, but whether they are slender or a little chubby, my impression is that everyone here is quite well-muscled. Many people work out in the evening, while the sun is still out; while they can probably manage this because daily overtime is not a given here, it’s enough to make me worry about heat stroke just watching.

Many apartments here feature a free gym for residents, and the city is dotted with major chain gyms and yoga studios. The monthly fees for a typical gym are less than half of those for the gym I belonged to in Japan. I remember that at the time I joined I thought, “I might go since the fees are so high”, but I ended up just paying the fees for nothing. So it’s appealing to be able to join one cheaply, without thinking much about it. All of these gyms are open from the early morning through to late at night, so it’s great to have one within walking distance to visit before you go to work for the day, or before you go to sleep for the night.


In this environment, many – or perhaps even most – people go to the gym regularly. Those who don’t work out at a gym usually belong to an intramural sports team, or run, or work out otherwise almost every day. Regardless of how they exercise, there are still a lot of issues that strike me as inconsistent in this approach: most barely eat any vegetables, or drink lots of carbonated drinks, or just seem to know far too little about nutrition. Even so, I’m exploring managing my own health too, through a balanced diet and exercise that fits my lifestyle. I want to be prepared in order to avoid the shock of massive medical expenses, and in order to avoid going to the hospital.



  • Ritsuko Derickson
  • JobStay-at-home mom

Moved to Washington, D.C., in 2012 after getting married. Due to her husband’s work, shortly thereafter they moved to Oahu, Hawaii, then returned to Washington, D.C., in 2015. She lives together with her husband, their son born near the end of 2014 and one Shiba dog.

View a list of Ritsuko Derickson's

What's New


What's New