Amy Arnett

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since Oct 21, 2016
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Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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Recent posts by Amy Arnett

To avoid pasting in the wrong place, you can also highlight any text you have already written or pasted into the reply window and hit the quote button. This will put the highlighted text in quotes like this:

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The advantage of using the quote button above someone else's (or your own) post is that it automatically adds the name of the person you are quoting. Like this:

Chris Sturgeon wrote:Thanks Mike. At least I know that I'm technically doing it right.
When I cut and paste into the 'quote' boxes, somehow everything after the last parenthesis are in the pale coloured field too, as happened in the original post on this thread. It's always done this for me.  huh.

Mike Haasl wrote:Hello team!  Dave Burton is currently cranking out BBs like it's going out of style.  Thanks Dave!!!   We just had some questions about a Sand level Animal Care BB that hasn't got a thread yet.  So if anyone is looking for an area to focus on, feel free to stake a claim to some portion of Animal Care.

Hi Everyone, I've been a little distracted this week. Looks like Dave finished homestead.straw. Yay!.

My daughter's summer vacation started today, so I will be distracted for another week and a half. Plus I have to renew my visa. I'll see if I can sneak in a BB or two.
1 week ago
Snapdragon seed pods upside down are a bit creepy.
1 week ago
Hi Tom,

In general an older animal will have larger testicles and more tissues in the area. More surface area probably increases the risk of infection. Larger size could also make for a higher failure rate due to poor fit.

Pain is another concern. I think it is pain and welfare concerns that make banding illegal in some places past certain ages.
I wonder if you have a large animal vet in your area you could ask about it.

This publication has some mention of banding in general and research in other animals.

This publication is specifically about alpacas. It mainly recommends surgery performed by a veterinarian and covers some research on pain relief after surgery. 
"Castration methods and welfare of alpacas."   

These documents are pretty big, but you should be able to search them by hitting Ctrl and F on most PCs. 

Sarah Koster wrote:
So maybe the documentary I watched was outdated or just incorrect? It stated that therapy is not covered by health insurance, is very expensive and that there are not enough therapists or doctors trained in psychiatry to be able to treat most of the people who need it. Maybe my source of information is just incorrect?

Do you remember the name of the documentary?

Ok, I had to look up if therapy was covered, because I have only gone to the psychiatrist at a hospital (which is a whole different vibe than a US hospital). So you are correct that talk therapy and counseling or NOT covered by national insurance. Although, "expensive" in Japan is about $100 per hour with sliding scales offered based on income and need. Google says that is about the national average an insured American would pay in the US, with a lot of variation I'm sure. Most of the Psychiatry clinics I looked into in my area had same day openings. First time patients might need to schedule a new patient session, which might require waiting for an opening. The first time I went some years ago, I waited three days for new patient eval., and more recently (living in a less populated area) I waited three weeks. I was advised to go to ER if I couldn't wait. The ER has always been a pleasant experience as well (aside from whatever injury put me there), but I haven't gone to ER for Psych symptoms so don't know how they would handle it. I know it is very hard to involuntarily hospitalize patients. To summarize: Psychiatry is covered, like evaluations, assessments, diagnoses, medication. Psychology is not covered, like counseling, talk therapy, CBT, mindfulness sessions etc. "Covered" means the patient pays one third of the cost up to the monthly cap which varies by income. For me that is about $25 per month for a twice a day med, and about $20 a visit (now every 3 mos.) to check in with the psychiatrist.

That would be very encouraging. I actually want to go WWOOFing in Japan (I got my degree in Japanese, but I'm still not fluent, how lame is that?) but my concerns about persistent depression and PTSD and potentially being unable to cope have held me back. (And now the virus and such.) I assumed I would just frighten people. My teachers never gave me that impression, in fact I felt a lot of warmth from them and a very deep connection with them, but they were Japanese expats living in the United States.

Not lame, it's hard to become fluent without immersion!

I looked around a little for therapy services in English. There are some based in Tokyo that offer phone or online sessions geared toward helping foreigners living in Japan. As far as I know, the border is still closed, but when it opens again, as long as you wear a mask, you aren't scary. If you mean scary because you aren't Japanese, they are generally more scared of having to speak English than of you as a person. You'll notice our very chill workstay, which needs updating, linked in my signature, wink wink ;). I'm happy to talk about parts of life in Japan that you're worried about or just want to know more about!

Like you I just lie on certain questions whenever I'm getting any kind of medical care. If I tell them I have to talk myself down on a daily basis, or that I fantasize about my death and bodily decay in order to stop panic attacks, they'll invariably put me on a useless 36 or 48 hour hold, which means I'll be in a strange place with lights on and strangers milling about and I won't sleep, which lack of sleep will cause me to become psychotic. So it's better to just lie because they don't know how to differentiate between ideation and intention. "No no doctor it's okay, I don't want to kill myself, I just don't want to be alive." But I refuse any meds because they make my symptoms worse so they give up and let me out eventually.

I told my Japanese psychiatrist basically this, and how I was uncomfortable asking for help in the US and that I had symptoms since puberty. He was noticeably sad for a second. He acknowledged my symptoms were of severe depression and anxiety, but thankfully picked up on the root cause being ADHD, which never would have occurred to me. So for me, treating the ADHD reduced the depression and anxiety symptoms to almost zero. He never considered or mentioned hospitalization, and neither did the other one some years before who only treated my depressive symptoms.
2 weeks ago
I'd been curious about this. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Koster wrote:
Dude, one time I went to the hospital because I was having a severe asthma attack and it wouldn't calm down on its own. I had taken a shower hoping the water vapor would soothe my lungs, and then not brushed my hair. I hadn't been able to sleep so eventually just went to the hospital to get a breathing treatment. Not only did they NOT treat my asthma attack, they pink slipped me (labeled me as a danger to myself and forcibly kept me in the hospital to be "observed") because I "looked disheveled" after almost dying and not being able to sleep.


But... at least in America we have and ATTEMPT at mental health treatment. Things are changing. We no longer lock people up permanently in glorified prison wards for having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (Although we do lock a lot of people in actual prisons because of substance abuse related behavioral problems.) Electrocuting peoples' brains is no longer standard treatment. Some doctors are realizing that our minds are an integral part of our bodies, and vis versa. Something that the medicine men and women and shamans have known all along.
So as much as we are in an age of burgeoning new knowledge, we are also in a dark age of medicine, having lost most of the knowledge and wisdom that was preserved for thousands of years through oral tradition. Thankfully we still are able to preserve some of that knowledge. But I guess in a sense we humans are victims of our own species' success. Not the only victims, heh.

Some places like Japan for example, there's little to no mental health treatment available for most people. There are a lot of suicides and people who lock themselves up in their rooms or apartments and don't come out for years. If they ask for therapy or to see a doctor about these issues, there's a tendency for their family to discourage them ("Don't embarrass us!") and they may be ostracized by classmates, co-workers etc. They still have the cultural assumption that mental health problems are a problem of will or character, and emphasize the importance of not causing trouble for others, to the point that people suffer so much on an individual basis that it very negatively affects their society as a whole. I think it's a holdover from the period of fascist military rule that culminated in Japan's involvement in WWII; anyone dissident was killed in the years leading up to that (and there were many fantastic scholars that were dissident!) so even now the emphasis is on tow the line or be totally ostracized. Anyone who struggles or stands out tends to be psychologically abused by basically everyone else.

I just want to share my experience living in both countries. Sarah, it's because of stories like yours of involuntary hospitalization that I never could admit psych symptoms to an American doctor. Even all my postpartum depression screening questionnaires, I filled out "correctly" to avoid conflict with medical staff. Not to mention the potential cost of seeking psych treatment.

The US is a big place and varies by state and even by hospital of course. While Japan is not as big, there is still huge variation even by neighborhood in the culture surrounding mental health. While some families still care more about what their neighbors think than the health of their own family, I would say it's getting more and more rare. Most people younger than say 40 are happy to break from tradition. Mental health care is pretty normalized. It's commonly mentioned positively in the media. Most people I know don't hesitate to mention their mental health visits. They aren't embarrassed to talk about the time they got depressed and quit their job etc.

Doctors are held in very high regard. If a doctor says you are depressed and need x time off of work or other accommodations, most people and businesses are happy to comply. The younger generation is totally on board. Older folk are more like you describe, but I would say they are likely to change their minds based on a doctor's advice or a documentary on NHK.

Toxic work environments are technically illegal, but it's hard to get people to actually stand up for themselves and report. It becoming more and more common to change workplaces and even careers. Harassment in the workplace is a hot topic in the media as well. It's more and more common to keep kids out of school if they don't want to go. Alternative schools are popping up here and there. I think it's actually easier to keep kids out of school in Japan because there is no attendance requirement, no truancy consequences. As far as I know, the US requires attendance or an approved homeschooling curriculum and such. Correct me if that's changed.

Mental health treatment is available to anyone, anywhere. *EDIT: Seeing a psychiatrist is covered, but talk therapy, counseling, CBT, etc. is not covered by national health insurance. See a couple posts down for details.*  They just have to go. Some clinics will pick you up if you need. If you are embarrassed, you can go to the next town where no one knows you. National health insurance is available to everyone and accepted anywhere in the country. All medication is covered. There is a monthly cap on how much you have to pay. Cost is not a barrier for anyone. No referral is necessary, just go to the doctor you think you need. You don't need to convince a primary care physician that you need a specialist, you just go to the specialist.

My experience with Japanese doctors has mostly been positive. They have listened compassionately and never dismissed anything I've said. Of course, I read up on the doctors I choose, so of course there will be some doctors who are not so great...There is no in-network bullshit, I can go to the qualified doctor that's 50 miles away without any insurance problems. And I could likely get there without a car using pubic transportation.

Suicides and hikikomori (staying inside) are issues for sure and complicated. I don't think it's for lack of access anymore. There is still some stigma depending on where you are or who you are with. But if families were found to deny medical treatment, they would be charged with abuse and neglect. I have seen it on the news a couple times, but it's not the general culture anymore.

I am correctly diagnosed and treated thanks to a Japanese doctor. I never have to worry about the cost of medication for the rest of my life. I, even as a foreigner (granted I speak japanese), have experienced less barriers and more compassion in Japan than I ever did in the US. Sorry to jump on your post, Sarah, I just didn't want anyone reading to be put off Japan.

I'm fortunate to have found a very open minded village with new residents coming from all over with new ideas. We kind of joke that our village attracts people who couldn't take the mainstream culture and want to live in peace and heal the earth. The only difference to consider would be that sometimes drugs that are approved in the US take some years to then be approved in Japan, so anyone coming to Japan with medication should check on that.

2 weeks ago
This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP Curiculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the straw badge in Homesteading 

In this Badge Bit you will set up an equipment file for owner’s manuals and other equipment information.

What does that blinking light mean? If only I had kept my owner's manual in an easy to access file like the one you're about to make.

Some inspirational media:  
All about organizing manuals 


To complete this BB minimum requirements are:
-Set up a file system that accommodates at least ten owner's manuals.
-Must implement some system for easy reference i.e. alphabetized or by category

To document your completion of the BB, provide proof of the following as pics or video (less than two minutes): 
-your disorganized manuals
-materials you will use
-filing system midway through construction
-new filing system in place with room for at least ten manuals
-show your reference system
2 weeks ago
Hi Fabio,

When I had aquarium fish, I used dechlorinator drops also called water conditioner. Not sure what the biproducts are, but sensitive fish lived in the water just fine. Your local pet store or aquarium supply store should have it. Something like this:

Other ways to get chloramines out of water seem to be:
Special activated carbon filter
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Boiling for a long time, more than 20mins.
Using the water for tea or adding citrus slices.

San fransisco water supply lists in more detail in this document:,by%20boiling%20in%20SFPUC%20tests.

From the above link:

Q: Can chlorine and chloramine be removed by boiling?
A: Boiling the water for 20 minutes will remove chloramine and ammonia. SFPUC does not
recommend for customers to boil water for such long periods of time because it is not necessary
from a public health perspective and poses risk of scalding. However, such tests demonstrate
that chloramine is not a persistent chemical, which does not remain in the water after cooking.
Additionally, many foods and drinks rapidly neutralize chloramine without the necessity of boiling
(e.g., tea, coffee, chicken stock, orange juice, etc.)

Q: Can charcoal filters remove chloramine?
A: Charcoal or granular activated carbon (GAC) filter can reduce chloramine concentrations of 1
to 2 mg/L to less than 0.1 mg/L. The GAC filter may be followed by a reverse osmosis (RO) filter
to remove the carbon fines. RO should not be used alone as chloramine will pass through the
membrane and may damage the RO membrane elements (some RO units are resistant to
chlorine and chloramine). A GAC filter will remove chloramine, allowing RO to effectively remove
other constituents.

Q: Can Vitamin C be used to remove chlorine and chloramine for bathing purposes?
A: Exposures via respiration do not occur from use of chloraminated drinking water. Based on
personal preference, some individuals may choose to reduce exposure to chlorine or chloramine.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has recently been included in AWWA Standard (AWWA, 2005b) as one
of the methods for dechlorination of disinfected water mains. SFPUC and other utilities have used
Vitamin C for dechlorination prior to environmental discharges of chlorinated and chloraminated
water. Since ascorbic acid is weakly acidic, the pH of water may decrease slightly (Tikkanen et
al., 2001). Ascorbic acid has been used for a long time as one of the dechlorinating agents for
preservation of chlorinated or chloraminated water samples for laboratory analysis.
The removal of chloramine is not necessary from a public health perspective; however, some
customers may choose to remove either chlorine or chloramine for bathing purposes. There are
no NSF International certified point of use devices utilizing Vitamin C; however SFPUC
determined that 1000 mg of Vitamin C (tablets purchased in a grocery store, crushed and mixed
in with the bath water) remove chloramine completely in a medium size bathtub without
significantly depressing pH. Shower attachments containing Vitamin C can be purchased on the
Internet, as well as effervescent Vitamin C bath tablets. The 1000 mg effervescent Vitamin C
tablets dissolved readily without residue but may depress pH more than regular Vitamin C tablets
purchased in grocery stores. Some shower attachments with Vitamin C marketed on the Internet
are effective in removing chloramine; however, the claims posted on the Internet as to their
replacement frequency appear to overestimate the duration when the shower attachment is
effective. There are reports of the benefits of Vitamin C for skin care (Griffith, 1998) and various
cosmetics are available in stores that contain Vitamin C. SFPUC does not recommend for
customers to use Vitamin C for bathing purposes and anyone desiring to do that should consult
with their physician.

Q: What are other simple methods to remove chloramine for drinking water purposes?
A: The removal of chloramine is not necessary from a public health perspective; however, some
customers may choose to remove chloramine for aesthetic reasons. Placing a few slices of fruit
(e.g., orange, lime, lemon, mango, strawberries) or vegetable (cucumber) in a water pitcher will
effectively dechlorinate the water within a few hours. A peeled and sliced medium size orange
can be used for a 1-gal water pitcher and will completely dechlorinate the water in 30 minutes.

The fruit can then be removed from the water. The water pH will become closer to neutral or
acidic (if lime or lemon is used). The ammonia will not be removed but most of the fruits
contribute some or more ammonia than the drinking water.
Preparing a cup of tea (black, green, caffeinated, decaffeinated, and herbal) also removes
chloramine, as does coffee prepared in a common coffee maker.

2 weeks ago