Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sashimi chicken liver, anyone?

While training as a cadet pilot in Manila in 1980, I experienced my first bout with food poisoning.
I had no clue what happened and what caused it, until some days later.
All I knew was, I was immobile, wriggling in pain, bedridden for two or three days.

Fast forward to 2010...
Here at my university, I established two student clubs, with plenty of help from the students themselves,of course.
One is a club for international students and the other is for Japanese students.
It has been more than a decade since... and with much honor and pleasure, I remain as advisor to the two clubs.
The Japanese students are very organized, and they work very well as a team.
The international students are, well, independent, and rather weak as a team.

Each year, the Japanese student club holds a welcome event for new members.
This year was no different, as they proceeded to a Japanese pub.
A few days after the event, the president of the club came to me and reported that many of the members are suffering from food poisoning.
They suspected it was chicken liver sashimi... ooh, can you imagine eating raw chicken liver?
Not me... never have, never will...
Forty of them went, and twenty-five fell ill...
We reported to the health authorities in city hall and man, they immediately sprang to action...
I was planning to go home early that day to have dinner with my wife but how can I abandon my obligations as advisor?
So, the officials came... interviewed the club members and have them filled up the necessary details on what they ate, when the pain started, what medicine they took, and what food they ate days before and after the event...
They were asked to take samples of their stools...
Ten days after the event, the same germs(?) were found in the stools of eight of them... Helicobacter Pylori?
So, sashimi chicken liver it was, they confirmed...
The following day, the officials were at the Japanese pub, with a 'close-shop' order for five days.
Each day, once during lunch time and another time in the evening, the officials went to the shop to check that it remained close.
Plus, the shop was ordered to do a thorough cleanup of the premise.
Last week, we went to the shop to negotiate for compensation... for medical bills, for lost income in part time jobs, for transport costs to the hospital...
The shop people were very apologetic throughout the negotiation...
Luckily, they had insurance, so we were negotaiting mostly with the insurance man.
Pooh, what an experience this is turning out to be...
We are still in the midst of the compensation process and I shall have to oversee that all goes well, for the boys and girls of the club...