You Are What You Bleed

Welcome to the weird world of Japanese Blood Typing. I would never have come across this fascinating subject had I not given blood today. I really enjoy giving blood – an altruistic activity that makes me feel good without demanding huge sacrifices. This time I was given a wee thank-you card, and a heart badge with my type on it (B+).

The card has this to say about the Japanese:

In Japan blood groups are a national obsession as it’s believed they influence everything from personality to choice of career and partner.You may be interested to know that people with Group B blood are thought to be attractive, emphatic but selfish. They are credited with intuition and are thought to be balanced and flexible. Another interesting fact is that around 40% are thought to be millionaires!

I heartily concur in that judgement. Inexplicably, I seem to have missed out on the millionaire thing, but perhaps that’s in my future. Nonsense on stilts, obviously, but apparently taken seriously by the Japanese. From the Wikipedia article:

Blood type harassment, called “bura-hara” (wasei-eigo-a portmanteau of “blood” and “harassment”), has been blamed for bullying of children in playgrounds, loss of job opportunities, and ending of happy relationships.[15]

Many people have been discriminated against because of their blood type. Employers have been asking blood types during interviews despite the warnings they have been given. Children at schools have been split up according to their blood type. The national softball team has customized training to fit each player’s blood type. Companies have given work assignments according to their employee’s blood type.[16]

Facebook in many Asian countries allows users to include their blood type in their profile.[citation needed]

Jaw-dropping stuff, so I dug out this infographic to explain it all at a glance. If you can work your way through that, I’ve added the classic Tony Hancock episode, The Blood Donor, at the end as a reward.

Japanese Blood Type Infographic

Eyeless in Glasgow *

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from

At least for 20 minutes, as a surgeon hoovered out the cataracted lens of my right eye and popped in a shiny, new, artificial jobby, which should last a lifetime. They use local anaesthetic for these procedures, so I experienced it as someone excavating the moon, which also happened to be my eye. Fortunately, a nurse held my hand throughout the procedure, to squeeze if I needed to cough or sneeze. Immobility being quite critical. More than that, it’s wonderfully comforting to have someone holding your hand when something like this is going on, and you’re completely aware it’s happening.

That was yesterday, at the New Victoria Hospital in Glasgow. I stayed overnight, not having someone to travel back with. I’m gobsmacked at just how good the National Health Service is at providing efficient, thorough, humane care, as a right to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. There are well-publicised lapses, of course, but most of the time it seems they quietly get on with doing something understated and quite brilliant.

Leaving this morning, I felt utterly happy just to be alive, a mote of humanity among all the others on the bus into the city centre. I could see with a new mind’s eye that was part and parcel of the new depth vision I’ve never had before without glasses. It will take a while for the left and right eyes to balance properly, and for the new lens to heal so I don’t feel there’s a piece of grit there. Plus I really can give someone the Evil bloodshot Eye. But it’s great not to have to wear glasses. I wonder how many years I’ve spent since the age of 11, pushing them back onto the bridge of my nose, a feature clearly not designed for glasses.

This last month or so has been horrible, a slide down a slope, scrabbling for a handhold, then climbing up and falling down again. Snakes and Ladders is the game of life. It feels now that I’ve reached somewhere level, can see where I am, and enjoy the place and its people. Gratitude for the fact of being alive is something I’m not familiar with.

I’ll stop now before you start reaching for your sick bags. Suffice it to say that I’m aiming for daily posts and will backfill. And I will get to your comments and blogs again.

Eyeless in Gaza When I deliberately mangled the quote for the sake of a catchy title, I had no idea what it meant. Here’s an Eighties band of the same name, who seem worth investigating. But then, everything pleases me right now,