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  1. 1. [“ Exchange Program Report ”] Prakarn Tovichien 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 in advanced. 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 Monday. 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
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. The Imperial Palace, Ginza, Tokyo Station, Kabukiza Theater, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise, Kokugikan, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and Roppongi 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, too. 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 Thailand. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and Roppongi are very famous places for the night life. There are many shops, restaurants, department
  4. 4. stores and many teenagers there at night and it’s not too difficulty to find the cosplay ones there, too. 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.
  5. 5. 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 Dr. Tsukamoto.
  6. 6. 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,
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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 known. 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
  9. 9. 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 Hakodate. 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, fresh seafood. 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 tourist attractions.
  10. 10. 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.