I’m probably the only person in the world who enjoys going to the dentist. But you know, between running for trains, dashing to the bathroom between English lessons, and constantly being pressured to sing Bowie at karaoke, it’s the only time I can get any rest. Hey, Japan’s an extraordinarily busy place, especially if you do an extraordinary rendition of “Starman.”
I’ve been to the dentist in Japan a total of three times. The first was just to see Thirty-four, who’s this dental assistant in Ueno. She has amazingly nice teeth, which is what attracted me to her. We originally met in a really loud wine bar, and I entered her number into my phone, along with her age, as a note. Then the next morning when I woke up with a massive red-wine hangover, it seemed I’d forgotten to enter her name, so I just called her Thirty-four from then on.
Anyway, I stopped by to pick her up at work, on the way to our date at this upscale kushiyaki place. That’s what the Japanese call a restaurant that charges you two dollars for a tiny bit of fried chicken and onion on a stick. “Come on up,” she texted.
I took the elevator to the fourth floor. No way Ken Seeroi’s doing any exercise before dinner, especially in a purple shirt. Those really show the sweat, let me tell you. When the doors opened, surprise! there was the dentist, with Thirty-four behind him.
“How’re your teeth?” he asked.
“Like two rows of glittery Chicklets,” I replied.
“Let’s just take a look,” he said, and proceeded to give me a full exam, plus x-rays. Then Thirty-four did her thing. I mean the dental thing. I was getting pretty hungry. Who cleans their teeth before dinner. The Japanese, apparently. That’s a rhetorical question.
The second time I went was a bit of an emergency, which Tokyo Weekender was kind enough to publish here:
So you can read that the next time your shinkansen‘s delayed and you’ve got a few minutes. And the third time was to fix the shoddy work the second guy did. All in all though, I’ve been pretty happy with the service here. They’re not great dentists, but they’re fast and cheap, and hey, you gotta pick your priorities. I figure just patch me up so I can inhale a few chickens on sticks and rush off to the karaoke booth. I’m starving, there’s people waiting, and “Changes” ain’t gonna sing itself.