Health

without too much technical terms, let us talk about health issues

Pandemic - Personality and Coping Mechanism

Before I get into the subject of my article, I would like to mention that today is a public holiday in more than 80 countries that observe International Worker’s Day or May Day. Here in France, May 1st is known as “Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.”

As a freelance English language teacher, my livelihood was destroyed by COVID 19 on March 13. None in my family and social circles have asked me how I have been coping financially. It is most likely because they are concern more about my health than non-existing wealth. As well, money is a pet peeve for many of us.

There have been tens of thousands of deaths around the world, and I do not have words to describe the sorrow of their families and friends. I can only contribute to the discussion about this pandemic’s economic and psychological impacts, as I have lived it.

According to the United Nations (UN), the four sectors that have experienced the most “drastic” effects of the disease are: retail and wholesale (482 million workers); manufacturing (463 million); business services and administration (157 million); and food and accommodation (144 million). I belong to the third group. The UN ILO chief stated these four sectors “add up to 37.5 per cent of global employment, and these are where the ‘sharp end’ of the impact of the pandemic is being felt now (cf ''COVID-19: impact could cause equivalent of 195 million job losses, says ILO chief'' in UN News).

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (2)

Résident permanent

2) DIY : Réparer et recycler les choses

Cet objet non identifié a été sauvé par mon compagnon des poubelles de notre immeuble d’où il essayait de s’échapper... je parle bien du petit alien et pas de mon compagnon… :-) Après une bonne séance de nettoyage pour les deux (douche et lavage à la main… je vous laisse deviner qui a pris l’option douche), le nouveau venu est resté assis dans le salon pendant quelques mois en attendant les pièces pour le réparer.

Dans l’intervalle, mon bricoleur a fini de recoudre son sac-à-dos (que le cordonnier refusait de réparer), en utilisant des outils qu’il n’avait encore jamais vus (achetés sur Internet à un prix très modeste : 25 euros) et en apprenant les techniques de couture du cuir grâce à des vidéos trouvées en-ligne. Le sac est à présent plus solide qu’il ne l’a jamais été.

( Lire la suite 。。。)

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (1)

Magnifiques rhododendrons à deux pas en bas de chez moi

Il y a quelques années, alors que je profitais avec mon compagnon du fameux Happy Hour de la Brasserie Alfa, en face de la gare de Luxembourg, deux vétérans américains de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale étaient assis à côté de nous au comptoir. Je suis japonaise, expatriée depuis bien longtemps, et mon partenaire est belge. Ils nous ont raconté leur « pèlerinage des Grandes Guerres » commencé en Normandie, en passant par la Marne et Verdun, et qu’ils poursuivaient vers Bastogne. Avant de les quitter, je leur ai indiqué les endroits à visiter en ville en glissant malicieusement que la brasserie bordait le « quartier chaud », ce à quoi l’un d’eux a lancé d’un ton juvénile « Vous plaisantez ?! Par où y va-t-on ? » et nous nous sommes tous mis à rire.

Oui, nous vivons dans le quartier cosmopolite de la Gare de Luxembourg. Toutes sortes de cultures, langues, nationalités et classes sociales s’y côtoient, y compris des millionnaires, des artisans, des commerçants et d’autres types de travailleurs. On y croise également ceux qui gagnent leur vie par des voies moins louables. Et puis, nous y trouvons aussi nos perles rares. J’y reviendrai dans un de mes prochains billets. Bref, c'est un lieu de vie sociologiquement intéressant.

Dans ce billet, je veux partager avec vous mes astuces pour faire face au confinement sans sombrer dans la morosité, la névrose phobique voire la folie douce. Bien sûr, nous sommes biologiquement câblés pour marcher et, en l’occurrence, se promener en forêt ou faire du sport en plein air est ce qu’il y a de mieux. Mais est-ce envisageable en ce moment ?

( Lire la suite 。。。)

No kisses and handshakes, declaration needed

Last March 11 at 10 AM in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, I witnessed an irresponsible act, which at other times would have been normal or even impolite not to do so in France. On the bus for work, a middle-aged man showed his monthly ticket to the driver, leaned to the woman sitting on the front and gave her two kisses on the cheek. (In France, depending where you are, kisses can be two, three or four). That same day, I heard on the news that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then there have been measures to combat its spread, such as lockdown, quarantine, testing, self-isolation and social distancing.

A week before the mandatory social distancing, business premises where I worked had already “no handshake” signs. If handshake was discouraged, obviously “kisses” too. It’s so obvious that they didn’t think there would be a need for “no kisses” signs, but there should have been because, pre-coronavirus pandemic, kissing was a form of greeting in many European workplaces, particularly in France.

We’ve all experienced the “accidental” handshakes, hugs or cheek kisses during these times of the coronavirus. Politicians, such as the US President Donald Trump, were seen shaking hands with several people during their press conferences and hospital visits. Mr Trump was reported to have said, “People come up to me, they shake hands, they put their hand out. It’s sort of a natural reflex, and we’re all getting out of it. All of us have that problem.” (see ''How the new coronavirus could change our behaviour'' on Euronews). There’s no excuse for social irresponsibility.

Dancing at home!

This is so cool! soooo Luxembourgish! This nice little song reminds us that we are not “separate islands,” but a part of the larger society! Solidarity!

「コロナウイルスは今やここに」「外に出ないで、家で踊りましょう」「2メール距離をおいて、手洗い励行」「病人、虚弱な人、お年寄り、そして彼らをケアする人たちのことを私は想ってますよ」という手作り感のある連帯のビデオです。ルクセンブルク社会が、一瞥できると思います。

Danzt doheem

Si soten : « O mei, de Virus ass elo hei
a Schutzmoossname gëtt et eng ganz Rei.
Beim Schwätze respektéiert zwee Meter Distanz
a wäsch deng Fanger sou oft s de kanns. »

ルクセンブルクの春陽

Eglise St Jean - Neumunster

目覚めた時に、フランスに住む友人からメッセージがあった。「天災無情、人間互愛。做苦難人的後盾、讓災難的背後仍有溫情、在溫情中看見希望」

さすが台湾の国際人。「コロナ禍を乗り切ろうね」という彼女の温かさが伝わってくる ――――――

13日の金曜日。あわてて美容院に電話をして、髪を短く切ってもらった。その夕方、ベルギーの学校、飲食店、劇場などが一斉封鎖になった。翌日、国境沿いのレストランで美酒美食を堪能した後、15キロほど森の中を歩いた。そして日曜日の深夜、ルクセンブルクでも封鎖措置がはじまった。ベッテル首相が3ヶ月間の非常事態宣言を発表した。つまり夏頃に、非常事態は一旦終息するであろうという見通しが示されたことになる。感染第二・三波が出現すれば、非常事態はさらに延びるだろう。

3月21日現在のルクセンブルクのコロナウイルス感染者数は670人、死者8人。感染者数が一日で40%増加している。政府は急遽、新しく病院を建設することを発表した。あわせて中国政府から約17億円相当のマスクや人工呼吸器などの医療品が、届けられた。

。。。下につづく

What have you been dreaming?

It was a cold and rainy Monday; right after I got out of my residence, I realised I was underdressed but couldn’t go back because I was running late for work and didn’t want to miss my bus. I thought of buying a jumper, then again, didn’t manage to find time to do it. Tuesday was also cold and raining; my bus was late by 40 minutes; moreover, I had to walk for more than a kilometre because there was no tram due to technical problems. When Wednesday came, I needed a shopping therapy and my purchases included polenta. I still felt the soreness of my legs on Thursday. On Friday at 7 AM, I was woken up by my husband’s hug and a narration of his dream. I giggled as I, too, had just dreamt. In my dream, it was raining hard and I was in an open market covered with plastics and parasols looking at clothes. I passed by a food stand of Italian products where it was selling the same polenta I bought on Tuesday. Next to the Italian food stall was a table of jumpers. While browsing, I felt a hand on my shoulder; when I turned around, it was my husband. Why did I dream about things that really happened?

A fortnight ago, my Irish friend told me that she dreamt about having difficulty breathing. The day after that, she received worrying news about her long-time colleague’s ill health.

Dreams can be happy, funny, scary or sad. Nightmares, which are frightening dreams that awake us from sleep sweating, moaning or crying, are rare (statistics put it at around 5% only).

OUNI ルクセンブルグのお店

OUNI shop front door

うちから歩いて3分。ほぼ毎日行く有機食品のお店。名前はウニという。See OUNI's Official Website (in English)

ルクセンブルグ語の ouni ウニは、ドイツ語の ohne、 フランス語の sans 、 英語の without にあたる。日本語で[・・・]なしに [・・・の]ない、を示す。野菜や果物やたまごがバラ売りされていて、プラスティック容器やビニール袋や廃棄物など要らざるものをできる限り、すべからくなくす。 「なし」がウニの名前の由来だ。

小麦粉やお茶も、オリーブオイルやバターも、お菓子やナッツ類も、洗剤もはかり売り。客は容器を持参し、自由に品物を選んでレジで払う。お店の棚に置かれた空き瓶に、入れてもよい。私の場合は・・・くるみチーズを切ってもらってから、容器を忘れたことに気づき、そのまま手持ちのネット編み袋に入れて持ち帰ったこともある。最初はまごついたが、2回目からは過剰包装がなく、すずやかな感じがした。

夕方たちよるのが楽しみで、お目当てはオーガニックのクロワッサンとパン。季節のくだものと野菜。秋にでまわるミラベル(飴色のが一般的だが、ブルーベリー色のもある)が好きで、reine-claude というスモモ種を見つけて毎日通うようになった。

。。。下につづく

OUNI championing the organic packaging-free trend

OUNI front desk and team representatives

This is a little blog about OUNI, Luxembourg’s first packaging-free organic grocery store. Visit OUNI's Official Website. We eat their croissants nearly everyday (or at least 300 croissants a year), though we hardly get tired of eating them… their croissants are simply natural, yet profoundly tasty.

OUNI is a self-service shop, but also a social vision of making community a sustainable better place. I believe that the secret of OUNI’s popularity lies not merely in their concept and their fresh/environmentally friendly products. But also it lies in their positive atmosphere created via face-to-face interactions; the store generates a spirit of connectivity, trust, and shared responsibility for sustainability in the course of community life.

Thoughts on Jujitsu and defense

This blog is about training sessions of Belgian jujitsu club (30th anniversary) in Bastogne last June. More than 50 participants came from Swiss, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Japan (only two Japanese: Sensei and myself as a cultural facilitator/interpreter.)

護身術とディフェンス

護身術とディフェンス

6月の週末。日本から武術の先生がベルギーのバストーニュにいらっしゃった。先生にとっては、3泊5日!?という強行日程セミナー。会場に着くまでは5〜6人の集まりかと思いきや。スイス、フランス、ルクセンブルグ、ベルギーそして日本(日本人は先生と私のみ)の5カ国から50人強の武道家が集い、さらにその家族がとり巻き見守るという盛会ぶりだった。

(海外に誇れる良きものが日本にはあるのですね。こういう指導力こそ、クール・ジャパン戦略にすればよろしいのでは)

予定は半年前に知らされていた。先生は「英語」を話されるので、技の説明は大丈夫だけれども、会食時などになかつぎが要るようだった。つまりは「要通訳」という無言のプレッシャーを感じた。とりあえず、ほうじ茶だけ淹れて早朝ベルギーへ向かった。

普段は「畳の上ででんぐり返りして、何が面白い」などと思っているが、いざ目撃してみると……。かなり興味深い。廻転にも洗練を感じる。

師範の友人(写真下・地方テレビ局にインタビューを受ける彼)は、畳の上にあがると水を得た魚のようだった。技を教える横顔にも、満面におさえきれない笑みがひろがる。畳をかかえて、広々とした体育館の中をひょいひょいと弾んで歩く後ろ姿は、まさに少年のようである。いつもは、やや神経質な人だと思ってたのですがね。しかも子どもたちに慕われる先生でもあるようだ。「彼の説明は本当にわかりやすい。痛くもなくってね」「へえ〜。そうなの。私、あの人の友だちなの」と自慢したくなった。

。。。下につづく

Health and Well-being

Last June 19 - 22 was Well-Being Week at the European Parliament and there were exhibitions and information sessions held to inspire and help people to be healthy and happy. June 21 was Music Festival not only in France and Luxembourg but in many parts of the world, and it made many people joyful. June 22 was UN International Yoga Day and it highlighted the useful contribution of yoga to humankind's healthy lifestyle that is harmonious with nature. In Luxembourg, the 23rd was a public holiday as it was the country's national day filled with festivities, food stalls, concerts, fireworks and merrymaking.

These were different events, but had similar goals, which were to inform, entertain and encourage people to relax and be peaceful -- important for our well-being. When we are happy and peaceful, we are stressed-resistant and our immune system functions favourably maintaining a healthy body and mind. My adult students recently did a class project on health and well-being, and concluded that “Healthy workplaces are positive and positive workplaces are healthy.”

You may argue that achieving a work-life balance isn’t easy as it doesn’t only involve you and there are issues beyond your control, such as a demanding job and/or boss. Rightly so, however, this one person (YOU) has choices. We can have positive daily work experience in the midst of deadlines, not-so-caring supervisor and uncooperative or annoying colleagues. At home, relationships can be improved by having open communication, by being honest and respectful, and by showing more empathy and understanding. We have different levels of optimism, but even a half-empty glass has a space that can be filled. If everyone contributes to filling this, it does not take long for it to be full again.

On the global level, The World Economic Forum (Matthieu Ricard) has identified 5 ways to improve health and well-being: (... Read more ...)

二週間でみた日本(3)最終回

年内に済ませておきたいことは、山ほどある。日曜の元日まで、いくら指を折って数えても、あと三日しかない。が~ん。

なので。ブログに書きたいことは山ほどあるのですが。またの機会にします。

写真はわが家のオーガニック蜂蜜。私の咳どめ用自然薬です。味わいはアカシア、オレンジ、タイム、フュメといろいろ。国籍もイタリア、ドイツ、フランス、マルタ、スロベニアといろいろ(残念ながら、ルクセンブルグと日本のは写ってない)。蜂蜜にそそぐお湯の温度も、一緒に添えるものもいろいろ(有機のレモン、しょうが、片栗粉など)。山のものは、熱いお湯に溶かしても大丈夫です。

ヨーロッパでも日本でも、風邪が流行っているようです。皆さん、お大事に。

よいお年をお迎えください。

。。。下につづく

Healthy and wise

It was a rainy day in the morning of November 5, and there was already a queue at our local theatre hall. A young lady opened the door and helped me find the umbrella rack. She said, “I’ve never seen these many people eager to donate blood, especially on a gloomy day like this.” I remarked, “It might be the warmth and dryness that have brought them here.”

After over an hour of waiting and filling in the 4-page questionnaire, the doctor told me politely that I could not donate blood because I’m less than 50kg. I was surprised and disappointed thus as soon as I got home, I checked online to make sure that it had nothing to do with reasons other than weight.

Yes, it’s true that donors are required to have the minimum weight of 50kg for a minimum of 400ml of blood for the blood bag to contain the sufficient therapeutic dose (as the doctor had explained to me).

I was really looking forward to it that I had ample breakfast to help me avoid feeling unwell or fainting; consequently, I had to delay lunch.

The Etablissement Français du Sang – EFS (French National Blood Service) is responsible for the collection of all types of blood donation and takes all precautions to ensure that donations (whether they be whole blood, platelet, plasma, and bone marrow or cord blood) are done in high quality and safety conditions for both donors and receivers.

While queuing I heard that about 14% of the French population donate blood annually. People between the ages of 18 and 70 can donate blood. After the age of 60, however, all donations require the approval of an EFS doctor.

Expired Medication

There were more rainy than sunny days in my region last month. As in previous spring months, I took the pleasure organising not only my wardrobe but cabinets and cupboards. I was heartbroken putting outdated medicines in a paper bag. I thought of bringing these to the chemist (UK)/pharmacy (US) on my way to work, but the queue was half a kilometre long and my bus was about 5 minutes from departing, so I ended up bringing this with me to a nearby country (where I work) that does not legally obliged chemists to take unwanted or expired medicines.

Arriving in the classroom, the first thing I did was to ask my students if they knew of the nearby chemist that accept expired drugs. Co-incidentally, one of them actually took an expired aspirin that morning and she said that she had done this before and it was effective in getting rid of her headache.
The other two students asked me if we can still consume drugs after their use-by date. The Harvard Medical School has reported Psychopharmacology Today’s advice that a drug is absolutely 100% effective even when the expiration date has passed a few years.

According to Psychopharmacology Today, most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration for the military, and this study found that 90% of more than 100 drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) were perfectly good to use even after 15 years of its expiration date (except nitro-glycerine, insulin and liquid antibiotics), and placing a medication in a cool place (such as a refrigerator) will help drugs remain potent for many years.

(Do you wonder about the role of manufacturers and those in the market chain regarding the use-by or expiration date?)

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