How can you find a good English-speaking doctor in Japan? This week, we answer this question! For more questions on moving to Japan, surviving daily life in Japan, and more, Guidable is here to help. Submit your own questions at the bottom of this post!
Question: How Can I Find a Good English-Speaking Doctor in Japan?
I’m a foreigner living in Japan, and my Japanese language skills aren’t good enough to discuss medical issues. But I can’t find many English-speaking doctors in Japan either. Some say they speak English, but communication is still a struggle. Even when I’ve gone to clinics with doctors who speak fluent English, they often rush me, hardly listen to me and my health problems, or don’t really treat my issues and concerns. How can I find a good English-speaking doctor in Japan?
Being a foreign national in Japan can be stressful at times, and this is especially true when it comes to caring for your body and health. Taking care of your health and medical concerns is important, so it’s understandable that you prioritize finding a trustworthy doctor!
Japanese Culture and Healthcare
It’s important to remember that living in a different country means facing a different culture and way of life. We usually expect that things like manners, cuisine, and religion will be different in a new country. But we might forget that this extends to areas such as healthcare too.
In other words, healthcare culture can vary greatly depending on where you are. You may have grown accustomed to the way that doctors and clinics worked in your home country, and it can be a culture shock to find that it may be very different in Japan. Once you learn to expect that a visit to the doctor in Japan will be unlike what you experienced back home, you may find that some of your disappointment and frustration subsides.
You mentioned feeling rushed when you visit doctors in Japan. This is concerning, though it makes sense somewhat with the healthcare culture here. In Japan, it’s common to visit a doctor more frequently, with each individual visit being relatively quick. This also allows doctors to see as many patients as possible. And in a way, this reflects a positive point about healthcare in Japan: everyone has access to it.
Dealing With Language Barriers
You also mentioned that the language barrier is frustrating when searching for English-speaking doctors in Japan. Though learning Japanese can be a challenge, as your Japanese language skills improve, you will find many of your frustrations about living in Japan disappearing. This is also likely to be true for your stress related to visiting the doctor in Japan.
As you gradually learn more Japanese, you will have more options for which doctors, clinics, and hospitals to choose from. When limited by language, you can only try a small fraction of doctors in Japan. But once you can speak more Japanese, you’ll have a greater number of clinicians to choose from, and you’ll be more likely to find the one who listens and gives you the time you deserve.
Trial and Error
Finally, remember that finding a doctor that fits your needs may require some trial and error. In other words, be prepared to visit multiple doctors before finding one you like. Even in your home country, you likely didn’t find the perfect doctor on your first try. This can happen in Japan too.
It can also help to reach out to foreign friends for their recommendations for English-speaking doctors in Japan. You can also try searching online expat communities in Japan for advice.
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