What’s Katakori

ShoulderHand made playing cards of body parts; it will be nice to learn Japanese. Actually I am so weak in such English words, it’s difficult to remember because I don’t use those types of words in regular conversation. And the more difficult part is the verbal description of how do I feel when I’m sick. For example, when I have a stomach ache, I say "My stomach hurts Shiku-Shiku" (しくしく). I checked a dictionary, and they say it’s a "griping pain." When I say "My stomach hurts Kiri-Kiri"(きりきり) in Japanese, maybe it will be close to say "it’s a sharp pain" in English. A throbbing toothache will be "Zuki-Zuki" pain in Japanese. Well, like I wrote here, Japanese express our pain in "Gitaigo". And it will be harder for foreign people to learn those words in Japanese. (I wrote about onomatopoeias before and Brian pointed out I mixed Gitaigo and onomatopoeias (Giongo) Arigato Brian!)

And a very interesting part is not only the difference of words but also real disease presentation and symptoms. The famous one is "Katakori." In English, it should be translated as "shoulder tension" or "neck stiffness," but our Katakori may be different from what you imagine from those English words. Here is an interesting document on Harvard Univ about "Our pains are a reflection of our cultural and historical circumstances."

Since last week I have a bad Katakori and use a cold patch all day. It might come from such physical reasons as my gym training or bad sitting position at work, but Katakori may also happen from such psychological reasons as stress or depression. Here is a post "Comparison of symptoms in Japanese and American depressed primary care patients" on Oxford Journals. If we Japanese are suffering from "Katakori," does it relate to our society being so stressful? Well, I can agree with that.

I wrote that the director of "Shall we dance?" Masayuki Suo, made a new film "I just didn’t do that". He had a press conference in the foreign correspondents club of Japan a few days ago. I read the article and I was impressed by what he said. In Japan, there are women’s only train cars in the morning as an action against molesters, but Suo said basically, "Crowded trains are unreasonable. If this happened in a foreign country, foreign women might sue train companies to get rid of such crowded trains." Hm, Indeed. I must say I accept crowded trains because I just have to accept them, but actually it is very stressful. My American friend can’t ride it without a book or PSP or such things to which he can pay attention. I accept many stresses and since they are regular things for me, I don’t care much. Many Japanese will do the same. But our bodies sense it and Katakori will be a typical sign.

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