Funny story: malaria had been in my bodily system for the past four months without me knowing it until its symptoms of death scratched at my soul. I guess I remember feeling tired and feverish but not full out sick for the past month or so. It came full force with a pounding headache, fever (104.9 F temperature), shaking chills, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations - the works during our family trip to Hiroshima and Tokyo. Since the symptoms are expressed at 48-hour intervals, I suppose at least I was able to enjoy exactly half of the trip. Once my dad said that I probably had malaria, my brother looked it up online, I cried and said that I would probably be dead by the morning, and my mom looked up doctors in the phone book. Another funny thing is that everywhere you check online, websites advise to seek help immediately if one is expressing the symptoms of malaria, yet the doctors of Japan were telling me “Oh no, we don’t deal with malaria.” So once back in Niigata, my grandmother came up with the plan to call an ambulance the next time the parasites exploded out of my liver (ambulances are free in Japan – another positive to what some people would call socialistic health insurance). They drove me around, found a hospital that would take me, and told me that I probably had the pig flu. They tested me for that by sticking long q-tips up both my nostrils and into my brain, only to find out that I didn’t have it. Next they took a blood sample and realized that I did indeed have malaria. After what seemed like at least a century, they got me wicked strong anti-malaria pills and I felt almost immediately cured. I ended up spending two nights in the hospital, missed my last three days of work, and was prescribed three weeks of medicine. I once said that Papua New Guinea was the greatest place on earth. I’m rethinking that statement a bit right now.