My best friend lives in Japan. He introduced me to my wife, actually; he was trying to hook up with her friend. Across the sweep of my life, I’ve known him longer than I’ve not known him, which is still an odd thought to contemplate.

We’re both in our 40s, which is a magical time when things start going wrong with your body for no apparent reason. I remember thinking when I was younger that people in their 40s should just be in their 40s and stop complaining about it. Then you turn 40 and you’re like, wait… didn’t I just turn 30? And why does everything give me heartburn all of a sudden?

Anyway, he had to go for a colonoscopy recently. Thankfully, nothing appears out of place, but the Japanese doctor who examined him was very surprised. She told him that he had a nice long intestine, like the Japanese do, versus the shorter ones that foreigners usually have. And I thought, “You have a nice, long colon” is a compliment you would only get in Japan.

Woodblock Print by Hokusai