Last weekend, I somehow found myself with a new pair of "kawaii" frames, courtesy of a special promotion at the Kawaii Matsuri I covered. The whole deal was free of charge, so I decided to take the plunge and get an eye exam. I was a bit worried as any kind of medical procedure makes me nervous, but this was much, much easier than I thought.
In case you're wondering, turns out you only need the ability to read hiragana in order to successfully complete an eye exam (unless you go to an English-speaking eye doctor in say, Roppongi, but there's no excuse to not read hiragana if you've been in Japan for over six months). A few basic Japanese expressions like 'up' and 'down', 'left' and 'right' won't hurt to know either. I recommend the eyeglass chain shop Zoff- where you can get an exam and leave with prescription glasses or contact lenses in less than one hour. It's the only one I've tried, but I was happy with the service and efficiency.
Prescription eye glasses and contact lenses are extremely cheap in Japan- finally something that is more affordable than back home, so stock up on cool frames and contacts while you're here. I haven't worn glasses for nearly five years, but they're a welcome break from itchy contact lenses, even though they make me look extra serious. I guess it's a good thing- maybe I look more like a writer.