Friday, July 20, 2007

Same sky: Where do you keep your medicines?

This issue came up in my class of English learners last week, and it was one of those cultural quirks that took me by surprise. During a vocabulary sorting activity, my Europeans and South Americans thought it completely natural to keep aspirin in the bathroom, but my Asian students gave me a weird look.
"Do you put medicine in the bathroom?" Megumi asked me.
"Don't you?" I replied.
Turns out that the Japanese and Koreans all agreed medicines should be kept in a box in the living room, and they were quite astounded that we'd call the cupboard in the bathroom a medicine cabinet. We all laughed together and I told them they wouldn't lose a point in the test if they put the aspirin in the living room.

Just for the record, I did find an American expert who would agree with them. Dr Robert Michocki said:
You really shouldn't keep your medicines in the bathroom. That's probably the worst place to keep it. The high humidity and the changes in temperature can affect the tablets and (cause) loss of potency. It should be kept in a secure, child-proof area out of the light and at room temperature.

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