"Would you like to donate your organs? If yes, please tick which ones you are willing to donate." That was the very first question in my doctor's registration package. It threw me for a loop. I've always been pro organ donation, had told myself that I didn't care if people picked over my body scraps after I was dead and gone. And it didn't matter whether they took my eyes and heart or my lungs and kidneys. All just organs and tissues of equal rank - unusable - when I'm dead. But when confronted with a tickbox labled corneas, it became so much harder. Seems I do subscribe to the notion that some organs are more "me" than others, and that even though I'm gone I don't like the notion of people cutting out my entire chest and throwing my heart into someone else, someone else who is potentially a huge douchebag. I tried to tell myself that even if my organs were given to a jackass, that only brought the next nice person on the transplant list closer to receiving a donation. Didn't work. I tried to read some information online to make a decision, but I found nothing particularly useful and cannot shake the sentence "You can contact us to make the special donation of your face" out of mind.
I thought of talking it over with my parents, but I have no idea what their reaction might be. They could be all for it, but my mother could just as easily break down into tears or my dad might have some religious objection I don't know about. You can't just bring up organ donation into casual conversation - they'd know something was up. I can't say anything to them.
I ticked the box yes in pen, banking on a certain psychological principle that we more fully support decisions once we've made them. Didn't work. The next question was if I'd like to be contacted to donate blood. I wondered if they'd put that question immediately after a question on organ donation on purpose. People are generally prepared to make a sacrifice if they've just refused to make a big sacrifice. But anyways, I ticked no because I always feel quite ill and ready to faint when I've gone for routine blood tests. My answers to those two questions looked strange side by side. I feel comfortable with my decision on the blood donation. I still don't feel comfortable with organ donation. But I know I have to just suck it up.
The next uncomfortable thing I have to do is edit a paper about the Japanese earthquake last year. It's something I try to put out of mind, because it's basically connected to all sorts of horrible things. Entire cities were wiped out just 400 km away from me. My very kind landlord who owned the coffee shop on the first floor of our apartment building waited for contact from his friend in Tohoku. I watched him get sadder and sadder until he realized his friend was dead. I couldn't watch Western media because it was terrifying, telling me I was doomed to die from radiation poisoning. The very small trembles we felt were blown out of proportion by my fellow teachers. "The chandeliers were swaying like pendulums". "I was crouching on the floor terrified". No. The chandeliers were moving slightly and you were taking smiling photos with your students. They're on facebook. They acted like they'd survived Auschwitz or something, which annoyed the fuck out of me for some reason I don't really understand. A friend found a pineapple a few months after the earthquake that was listed as being grown in the Fukushima area, with a notice to support the farmers. I couldn't read kanji and wondered if I was buying radioactive produce ever day after that. I wondered if I could get help in an emergency in Japan - as nice as Japanese people are, I'm pretty certain that they'd choose a fellow Japanese person over myself. How would I communicate if I needed help immediately? The creepily empty shelves for about a month afterwards, picked over by stockpilers and people shipping stuff to friends up north. The earthquake wasn't devastating, and I'm not emotionally scarred, it's just something I'd prefer not to relive or think about. I just did it here and it makes me depressed. But I guess I have to.