Listen Closely to My Heart

May 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

My friend brought an interesting little book back from Japan last week. It’s one of those book-and-toy kits ― this one with a stethoscope. Most people without a medical degree have probably never handled one of these things, but as I found out they’re lots of fun.


Of course if you put it against your chest you can hear the ba-Dum, ba-Dum of your heart. It helps to be in a quiet place like a bedroom, then you can hear everything inside better. The book shows diagrams of the two heart ventricles and explains exactly what you’re hearing. Depending on where you place the stethoscope, the ba-DUM, ba-DUMs will turn into BA-dum, BA-dum, though for some people it might constantly sound like badum-badum-badum-badum (in which case you should probably consult your doctor).

And if you slide the stethoscope down to your stomach you’ll be able to hear things you’d never figure would come out from there. I’d just eaten a hamburger so I heard things that sounded like a leaky faucet, a purring kitten and maybe even a lawnmower. It makes you realize just how much goes on in there. The book goes on to explain the importance of monitoring your heart rate and keeping your body in check. Exercise regularly, it advises.

Japanese consumers love these sort of “info-tainment” health products which sells for around 3,500 yen (~$29) retail from NIPPON JITSUGYO PUBLISHING. It seems like a steep price to pay, but when I was living in Japan I found that most of my disposable income was going toward stuff like this. Once I bought a book that came with a pair of dark plastic glasses punched in holes. The book advised me to practice looking near and far in order to strengthen my weakening eye muscles. Whether this product was really doctor-approved or not I really don’t know. But just like my Nintendo Wii, products like these get me excited. Becoming health conscious and having fun doing it – what more can one ask for?


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Entry filed under: Japanese Business, Japanese Culture.

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May 2007


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