[“ Exchange Program Report ”]
After I’ve practiced at Kao Yoi Hospital in
Petchaburee for a month, it was the time for me
to come back to Bangkok. I had been looking
forward to that for a long time because it was the
time to begin my exchange program in Japan.
On Friday the 23th, I had to go to present my
works at the faculty in the morning. After that, I
decided to go to MBK. I had many things to buy
and enjoyed my shopping so much that I almost
missed my flight that night. So that’s why I think
maybe it is better to finish preparing the luggage
That was the second chance for me to
attend the exchange program abroad after the
first one two years ago. Anyway, that time there
was a little bit difference. The first one was that I
had another friend who would go with me. Her
name is Ae. And of course, she is my friend from
the same faculty. And the second one was that
there would be no one who would pick up us at
the airport in Japan. We had to travel on our own.
Anyway, we had two days free in Tokyo before
began our practice at Kobe University on
For our flight, we took the Singapore Airline
directly to Tokyo. The airplane was quite good.
The food was delicious and there were many kinds
of available multimedia including
up-to-date music and new international movies
which we could enjoy along our trip.
We arrived Tokyo at about 7.00 am. We took
the private local train from Narita Airport to
Asakusa Station. And after walking for a while, we
arrived Khaosan Tokyo Smile, the youth hostel we
had booked from the internet. Surprisingly, we met
other two medical students from Thailand there.
They came from Faculty of Medicine, Songklar
University. Anyway, it was their last day in Japan so
that’s why we had no chance to travel together.
They told us about the story in their exchange
program including the recommended places we
should visit. And of course, we didn’t hesitate to
follow their advice since that afternoon.
Ae and I had already planed for our trip
since we was in Thailand. We read many guide
books including “Yokoso Japan”, the pocket
guide book we got from Japan Embassy.
Moreover, because Japanese people were very
nice. They were always willing to help us when we
asked them for the way to go to somewhere. And
that was why we had a chance to visit many
interesting places although we had only two days
free in Tokyo.
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan since 1603.
There are about 12 million people or 10% of
Japanese population living in Tokyo. The famous
places which we had a chance to visit includes
The Imperial Palace, Ginza, Tokyo Station,
Kabukiza Theater, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise,
Kokugikan, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and
The Imperial Palace is located at the center
of Tokyo and surely it is the residence of the
Japanese emperor. Ginza is one of the famous
places for shopping. Maybe it’s like Siam Paragon
in Thailand cause the goods there are brand
name products which are quite expensive.
Around Ginza, there are also many beautiful
buildings such as Tokyo Station and Kabukiza
Theater which are good places for taking photos,
Near our youth hostel, there is also the
famous temple which is called Sensoji Temple. The
big lantern there are very beautiful especially with
the night time and there are also many souvenir
shops along the road which is called Nakamise
which we can find many kinds of Japanese
traditional sweets there, too.
Kokugikan is the Sumo stadium. As you may
know, Sumo is the national sport of Japan. So
that’s why there were many foreign people at this
place as there are many tourists who would like to
visit Ratchadumnern Thai Boxing Stadium in
Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and Roppongi
are very famous places for the night life. There are
many shops, restaurants, department
stores and many teenagers there at night and it’s
not too difficulty to find the cosplay ones there,
About the transportation in Tokyo, the first
thing you should looking for is the Tokyo metro
map. Anyway, you can find it very easily at the
metro station. There are two types of 1-day pass
metro ticket there which cost 710 yen and 1000
yen. The difference of these two types is in the
numbers of metro lines you can use. But it doesn’t
mean that the more expensive one is better. I
think that it depends on the places you would like
to go to.
After enjoyed Tokyo life for two days, it was
the time for us to move to Kobe. We decided to
go their by sleeping bus and took the taxi from the
bus station to JICA Hyogo which was the
residence of us in Kobe.
Although we had known that JICA is the
residence for international trainees in Kobe, we
couldn’t bear feeling extremely surprised when
we arrived. It looked like the hotel so much. I had
my private room with bathroom insides. There
were also television, radio, potter and air-
condition in my room. I was really sorry that I
hadn’t brought my notebook to Japan because
the internet lan was available in my own room,
too. In the bathroom, there were two small and
one big towel which the housewife always
changed everyday when she cleaned the room.
Moreover, there were shampoo, bath soap and
hand soap which were all from Shiseido brand.
Anyway the most interesting thing for me is the
sanitary technology. We can set the temperature
of the seat and the rinsed water. Furthermore, we
can set the pressure of the rinsed water, too.
For washing our clothes, there is one washing
machine and one drier per one floor which
anyone can use for free. They also provided us
free breakfast in the morning. Sport center and
library are available inside and receptionists there
were very nice, too. All of that made me
extremely happy staying there.
On Monday February, the 26th Miss Miwa
came to meet us at JICA. She gave JR 1-month
pass for us to use for going to the faculty. From
JICA, we took a walk for about 20 minutes to JR
Nada Station. Then, we took the local JR train to
Kobe Station and walked for about 20 minutes
again until we arrived Kobe Hospital. I thought
that maybe because I had to exercise everyday
like that, that was why I wasn’t look fatter even if I
enjoyed eating so much there.
About our practice in Kobe Hospital, the first
week we were at Department of Plastic Surgery. In
fact, we were in the responsibility of Professor
Shinya Tahara. But in practical, we were
supervised by many doctors and residents there
including Dr.Sakakibara, Dr.Ichinose, Dr. Iwayama,
Dr. Oosaki, Dr. Nakayama, Dr. Ejiri, Dr.Kajita, and
They are all very kind and smart doctors.
They treated us so good that I think this is the
department I like best in my exchange program
this time. They showed us in every aspects of
plastic surgery including the out-patient clinic, the
ward round , the conferences and many types of
operation in the operation room both in the
propose of reconstructive surgery and cosmetic
surgery. Moreover, they also gave us the private
lecture in their own speciality, too. Of course,
some events are in Japanese language. But they
also tried to translate and explained us. And if we
had any questions, they were all willing to answer
our questions until we understood clearly.
Along our week staying there, we always
went to have lunch with them and they also
showed us many kinds of famous Japanese food.
After noticed their life style for one week, I had to
say that they are all the hard working doctors.
On our first weekend, Ae and I went to
Kyoto. We visited many famous places there such
as Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Toji
Temple, Nijo Castle, Arashiyama, Ryoanji Temple,
Gion, Kiyomizudera and Byodoin.
Kyoto is very famous for the beautiful
architecture of many world cultural heritage sites.
Natural scenery, temples, shrines, towns and
homes intermingle with a poignant historical
beauty. Over a period of 1200 years, dating from
the decision to move the capital to Kyoto in 794,
it nurtured a splendid, delicate and unique kind of
culture, and over the course of history came to be
considered the mother of culture within Japan.
For this reason, Kyoto is often called quot;Japan's
heartlandquot;, and it is said that it is impossible to
know the real Japan without knowing Kyoto.
On the other hand, Kyoto is not simply
protecting its old traditions and culture, but is
rather building upon the rich traditions of
predecessors as a foundation for open domestic
and international exchange. It is a city which
maintains a revolutionary spirit, a city of ideas and
the cultural capital of Japan, constantly creating
new traditions. In a partnership of trust with the
people, efforts are made to create a quot;relaxing
lifestyle in a vibrant cityquot;, as a positive response
towards the new era, while simultaneously
protecting and developing traditional culture.
Moreover Kyoto is a true jewel - Japan's asset and
the world's treasure itself, too.
On the second week in Kobe Medical
Faculty, we were moved to Gastroenterology
Department and had an opportunity to practice
in the endoscopy room there. Although the
doctors and the residents were quite busy, they
were very kind and always tried to find some free
time to answer our questions, too. I think that we
were very lucky. Because we met one doctor
there who could speak English very fluently. She
always explained and taught us about the
technique of each procedures every time we met
her. There were many kinds of endoscopic
procedure performed there. They told us that GI
diseases are one of the most common health
problems in Japan especially with the gastric
cancer. And their department is also famous for
performing the endoscopy, too. That was why
there were many patients in a day.
We also met one Thai doctors from
Chiengmai Medical Faculty there, too. Actually,
she is the surgeon in Thailand but she always went
there every year for doing her research. She was
very kind to both of us. She showed us her
laboratory and taught us how to study PHD there.
Furthermore, she also brought us to have lunch
and dinner with her and her friend, too. When we
left there, she also gave me her business card and
told me that if I’m interested to attend the
elective program at her department in the future,
please let her know. And of course, I’m very
interested to be her student again because she is
one of the kind and active professors I’ve ever
On that week, there were other two Thai
medical students who came to practice at Kobe
Medical Faculty, too. They came from
Ramathipbordee Medical Faculty. One of them
came to Cardiology Department and the other
one came to Pediatrics Department. They were
my nice friends there. So our group was much
bigger and funnier.
On the second weekend, Ae and I went to
see the Snow Festival at Supporo and traveled at
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's
largest winter events, attracts a growing number
of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to
Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow
statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,
the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and
the main street in Susukino. For seven days in
February, these statues and sculptures turn
Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice
and white snow. There were many shops along
that road and also many events such as the
skateboard and ski competition there, too.
About Hakodate, it is Hokkaido's third largest
city, located at the island's southern tip. Hakodate
is best known for the spectacular views to be
enjoyed from Mount Hakodate and its delicious,
As one of the first Japanese harbor cities to
be opened to international trade after the
country's era of isolation, Hakodate has
experienced notable influence from overseas,
and the foreign population's former residential
district and a Western style fort are among its main
Although the weather in Hokkaido was much
colder when compared to Kobe, we enjoyed
visiting there so much because there was very
good natural scenery for taking photos and the
seafood there are also very fresh and delicious.
On our third week in Kobe Medical Faculty,
we were moved again to the Endocrinology
Department. Although it was quite hard to
understand the communication between doctors
and patients which were all in Japanese
language and the doctors there had too many
patients to have free time to translate for us, we
could gained some more knowledge from
noticing their physical examination and their
investigation such as the thyroid scan procedure.
One thing I was really surprised is that they spent
so much time for each patients’ visit maybe about
30 minutes per one case. They explained the
interpretation of laboratory results for all patients in
details and also advice all patients about their
lifestyle modification in the practical ways.
Moreover, there were many types of group
education for both in and out patients there, too.
Finally, we went back to Tokyo for our flight
back to Bangkok. But before our fight on
Saturday, we had an opportunity to visit Tokyo
Disney Sea. Inside there, it is separated into seven
exciting ports filled with adventure, discovery,
romance and fun. There are many kinds of
amusement and show there. I enjoyed playing
and taking photos there so much as if I was back
to the childhood again. And that was the last
place we had a chance to visit in our exchange
program in Japan.