The other day I took Stella to the Pediatrician's office for a vaccine. One of the great things about visiting the doctor's office in Japan is that you don't typically require an appointment; you just rock up at any time you like, and wait till the doctor is free. For me, this is even better than unicorns, rainbows, and puppy dogs. For I find NOTHING in life more difficult than being asked to be a specific place at a specific time.  

We arrived at the office, totally unstressed, and feeling great, and Stella was doing her usual routine: Look at me! I'm so cute! Hey, you. Over there. Look at me! See, I can smile, and flap my arms! Loooooooookkkk at MEEEEEE! And of course the nurses were eating it up, because it is an eternal truth that wherever you are in the world, foreign babies are cuter than domestic babies. That is just the way the universe works.   

Finally, after much arm-flapping and attention seeking, we met the doctor, exchanged usual greetings, lifted up the baby's shirt for him to do some doctoring, and then I mentioned in passing that Stella's voice sounded funny.

"Funny," he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "You know, like she's been staying up too late drinking too much whiskey and smoking too many cigarettes."

Slowly, a look of pure horror crept across his face, and he sat looking at me, mouth agape, in stunned silence.  

"Umm....I mean, it just sounds a little hoarse, like maybe she has a sore throat or something."

The lesson here is simple, friends. Do not employ amusing similes when seeking medical care in a foreign country.