Part of the Human Comedy series
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Japan has one of the largest elderly populations in the world. It is estimated that up to one third of the country’s population is older than 60 years of age. While Japan is an affluent country, not every senior citizen is able to retire properly. Most Japanese retirees can’t afford the expensive travels or the luxury of opulent community living. They have to resort to creative ways to pass time. One of the more popular recreational activities for Japanese seniors is to visit the hospital, and it has nothing to do with medical care.
They visit the hospital daily to socialize. Day after day, the same people show up at the hospital to see their doctors. After their daily check-up, these seniors gather to talk and gossip. The health care workers at hospitals and medical clinics know the true reason behind these daily visits, but tend to play along. One of the main topics of gossip is with regards to those who missed their daily visit. People often speculate on why their social friends did not show up at the hospital on that day. Did they fall down the stairs? Did they pass away? The gossiping is a little mean, but it is a popular way to pass time.