Health and safety

Health

Keeping healthy is very important; nobody likes to get sick. So before you even get here, start reading about health issues. Here is a quick rundown of what you should do before you depart for Japan and suggestions of how to stay healthy and have fun after you get here.

Required vaccinations

  • Diphtheria: No.
  • Hepatitis A: No.
  • Malaria: No.
  • Rabies: No.
  • Tetanus: Yes.
  • Typhoid: No.
  • Yellow Fever: No.

Discuss vaccinations with your doctor at home several months before you come to Japan, because there are many considerations. For instance, the Hepatitis A+B vaccine is good for life, so even though it's not required, you might want it anyway. Ask your doctor. Also, inoculation regulations can change at short notice.

If you plan on traveling outside Japan to countries where vaccinations are required consider getting vaccinated before coming to Japan. Some vaccinations like Yellow Fever are not available in Akita.

Other risks

Tuberculosis and hepatitis can be encountered. Typhus sometimes exists in river valleys. Japanese encephalitis is rare but serious. Vaccination is recommended for long term travel (greater than one month) in rural areas. Outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu) were reported in January and February 2007, but travelers are at very low risk. Most human cases in other countries involved direct contact with live and infected poultry.

Health Reference Guide

This Health and Safety Handbook was created by Prefectural Advisors and was presented at Akita's 2010 Orientation. It includes health related information related to living in Akita.

2010 Men's Health and Safety Handbook.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise cannot be understated. If you stay physically active, even just for 30 minutes a day, you will get sick less often and are likely to feel happier. Though your schedule can be unpredictable, if you make the effort to get even just a little bit of exercise on a regular basis, you will appreciate being in good physical condition when winter comes and your social schedule slows down. Winter can be a relatively difficult time, because it's darker and colder, and being in good condition can lessen frustration or stress.

If you are living in a rural community, you might have to commute to the next town to get involved into something fun (for example, kendo, kyudo, judo, swimming, rowing, etc.). Ask many locals about these things -- some of them will have the information you need. Most towns have a local gymnasium which may have volleyball, basketball, tennis, ping pong, and other community sports or classes. Joining a local club is a great way to make Japanese friends.

Flu

HIV and JET

Natural Disasters

How and What to Prepare

  • Know Your Evacuation Area You should make at least one trip to your closest evacuation area near your home to familiarize yourself on how to get there. You might need to know two evacuation sites. One on high ground in case of a tsunami and a separate refugee shelter. Sometimes these are in the same place. Your local phone book most likely has a map (防災マップ&避難場所リスト).
  • Emergency Kit Kits can be purchased or you can prepare your own. But you want to have everything you might need in one easy to carry travel bag.

Earthquakes

  • Earthquakes are an unavoidable part of life here in Japan. About 1,500 earthquakes occur yearly. Minor tremors occur almost daily somewhere in Japan which may cause slight swaying of buildings.
  • 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami During the earthquake on March 11, strong shaking was felt here in Akita. But luckily very little (if any) damage was done. A power outage was experienced immediately after the earthquake until the following day. In the proceeding days, fresh food supplies in shops and supermarkets ran low and gasoline was being rationed.
  • Keitai notification Many Japanese mobile phones get alerts when an earthquake is just about to happen. This gives you a few precious seconds to turn off gas and get under a desk and holding onto the leg. Enable notifications.

Crisis and Weather Information

See also

Health Issues
Medical Doctor/Dentist Recommendations • Ladies' Health Clinic
Other JET Health Insurance from Official JET Website • PA/Support System • Being a Vegetarian in Akita