The hardest part of the whole thing was making the appointment, which I needed a friend to do in the end. I was familiar with the hospital, having given birth there. As I walked up to the entrance I started to remember the layout. My name was on a list to gain entry out of hours (it was Sunday morning) and the security guard told me exactly where to go. You might have expected to encounter a bunch of disgruntled staff having to work on a Sunday, but no, they were extremely friendly, helpful, cheerful and reassuring.
The actual tests and examinations took no more than half an hour and were almost painless. It must vary by the person but in my case I really experienced no more than minor discomfort. Definitely nothing to fear nor any reason to put it off.
My results will be through in a few weeks but the doctor said there are no indicators of anything amiss based on her examination so I have nothing to worry about.
I am still so impressed that I was able to have this test done free of charge, by appointment, and at a modern hospital just five minutes drive from our home. There are some benefits to living in Japan.