It seems like I’m in the wrong line of work. I spotted an advertisement at the station for the M_____ Skin Clinic in Takatsuki. Opening hours are from 10am to 12pm and 5pm to 7pm. However, they shut on Sundays, and Wednesdays, and public holidays. And they are closed in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

That’s what—sixteen hours a week? In order to work so little and still be able to afford rent, equipment, and all the other overheads—including, apparently, advertising—they must make a whole stack of money off those sixteen hours.

I must admit, I’m somewhat impressed. At the same time, however, I can only wonder how much they charge. After all, why work when you can gouge? As I discovered when I tried to get some contact lenses here, most people rely on the infinitely deep pockets of their comprehensive health insurance, so there’s no price pressure on the medical service providers. Five minute eye test? That’ll be JPY 7000. If anyone is under any illusions about the efficiency of free market principles in medical care, I suggest Japan as a counter-example.