A couple of minutes ago a few employees and I drove down the road to the local government compound (nicely-laid brick roads within). There was a government-mandated blood drive going on; some employees were there to give blood, others to provide moral support. Citizens that give blood here usually go straight to the hospitals who in turn pay them a tidy sum. But once a year, the local government requires all businesses to ‘volunteer’ three employees per 100 employed. On our end, we had to provide eight employees for the drive. Two of our ladies were turned away because of low blood pressure, fortunately we were so close it wasn’t much of a hassle bringing in replacements.

When I whipped out my U.S. passport for identification purposes it caused quite a stir and at times I felt like a circus animal. As many of you know, people here don’t believe in lines so every station had a crowd surrounding the tables. After they drew my blood, one of the local officials heard that I was an American citizen and made me return to the last station so that we could stage the blood draw again for a photo shoot. Uncomfortable to say the least.

When I got back to the hotel I told my father and the manager about my experience. They shared additional details about the blood drives, each donor was compensated with ¥300, dinner and a day off by the company. Seems as though all companies do the same and the government heavily encourages the companies to compensate the donors in this manner. ¥300, think that’s about a day’s wage? Not bad, I think I’ll buy a bike with my ¥300.