Back in 1994 I had to visit a country hospital in a small town west of Tokyo where I used to live. I was having probelms with a pain in my abdomen. The doctor poked around with his fingers for about 5 minutes then announced, “You have cancer of the pancreas. You have about a month to live.” I was, naturally, speechless. (what exactly do you say when someone you hope knows what they’re doing, tells you that you are going to die?).