Nakajima Dental Clinic
As bold as a lion, I proceed to the building and open the door. I stand at the “genkan,” to remove my shoes first. (A “genkan” is a traditional Japanese entryway area or entrance hall for a house, having the same level to the outside, something of a combination of a porch and doormat.) I step up onto the raised floor, and again bend down to face my shoes to the door, as the custom is, and perhaps for a quick exit later, if necessary. Adjacent to the wall on my right, there is a shelf called a “getabako,” a small cabinet in which slippers are placed for the patients to wear inside the clinic instead of their own shoes. I took a pair, and off I go. Once inside I can smell the mixture of disinfectant liquid and bleach out in the hall even before I go into Dr Nakajima’s office. It is quite hot, but as I open the middle door, the blow of cool breeze from the air conditioner turns my skin into goose pimples. I walk straight to the front desk and see just the top of the black hair of the receptionist hidden behind the right-angled desk, like a soldier dug in a trench watching for the incoming of an enemy. I pause for a few seconds, but then somewhat reluctantly drop my patient registration card in the transparent plastic box to sign in, and sigh, “That’s it. I’ve reached the point of no-return.” All of a sudden as if she hears me, the black-haired lady looks at me, “Good morning. The doctor will be ready in a minute.” While I sit in the waiting room waiting for the nurse in her sharp pointed cap and crisp white uniform to appear for me I look round and wonder what a poltroon I am as I see those toddlers with happy, bubbly faces looking at me. Yet my face by now is already the color of red balloon ready to burst. Just at that time, the neatly dressed in white uniform nurse shows up and calls my name. She “drags” me to the empty black leather chair right at the far end corner, with no exit door anywhere near. While I comfortably...
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