Sayonara to Japan

Have a look at Andrea and Gretchen’s third and final week in Japan!

It is hard to believe our time here at Wayo University has already come to an end. By our third week in Japan we were finally feeling like we had settled in. We were starting to use a little more Japanese and feel comfortable in our new environment. We would like to tell you about our final week in Japan.

Monday we had some free time in the morning so our Japanese friends took us to see Tokyo Tower. The view of the city from the top was outstanding! In the afternoon we attended a class called Practice in Therapeutic Diet. We learned how to make sushi, tempura and miso soup. We also learned how to adapt this meal to make it suitable for people with kidney disease. After school we joined the Ikebana club at Wayo University where we got to participate in some flower arranging. They told us that the arrangement is broken down into three sections to represent heaven, earth and man.

Tuesday morning we took a boat across the river to Tokyo to visit a temple. In the afternoon we had an interview with some people form Total Communications Inc. which is a marketing company that markets thickeners for older adults. We learned about the differences in long term care facilities between Canada and Japan. After we joined a gardening project and planted some flowers on Wayo Campus. The students who do this exchange program next year will be able to see our contribution!

Wednesday we traveled to Sosa City, a much smaller city located northeast of Ichikawa. Here we observed Reiko-sensei’s research. The goal of her research is to observe the effects of nutrition education on the health of elementary school-aged children. The students behaved in such an orderly fashion. They went to different stations where they got their blood pressure checked, their waist circumference measured, their blood taken and they completed a food frequency questionnaire. Later when we go back to Canada we will work on analysing the data that was collected.

Thursday was our last day at Wayo. They had a farewell lunch for us and all of the teachers and students we met over the three weeks came to wish us farewell. Saying goodbye was really hard and there were some tears but we are really excited for when the three Wayo students come to Brescia in September. We hope that they will enjoy their time in Canada as much as we enjoyed our experience in Japan.

Friday was departure day for Dr. Garcia and Andrea. There were more tears when Andrea said goodbye to her Japanese Family. Gretchen’s family came to meet her in Japan to do a couple more weeks of travelling.

We have learned and grown so much over the past three weeks and we have made friendships that will last a lifetime. We were definitely not ready to say goodbye. The culture here is so different and we found it to be very interesting and everyone we have met has been so welcoming and generous. We have also enjoyed learning about Japanese food systems and the history behind it all. We believe that this experience will help us as future dietitians as we have become more culturally competent. This is becoming more and more important as Canada continues to become even more culturally diverse.

In Closing, we would like to thank all those who made this exchange program the amazing experience that it was. The teachers at Wayo University, Jennifer Coghlin in the Registrar’s Office at Brescia and a big thank you to Dr. Garcia! We really appreciate everything you have done for us. 

Week Two in Japan

Take a look at Andrea Green and Gretchen Lee’s second week in Japan!

Monday was a day of cultural immersion. We visited Tsukiji fish market where we learned about Japan’s food supply. We also learned about government and politics at the National Diet Building and about religion and tradition at the Asakusa Kannon Temple. At the sky tree town and Soramachi we got to see the modern side of Tokyo which is influenced from other countries.

On Tuesday we went to Ichikawa elementary school. Here we enjoyed lunch with some grade 6 students and learned about Japan’s school lunch program. The program was implemented after World War Two with the goal of reducing the incidence of lactose intolerance. Today the program still exists and every school-aged child is provided with a hot lunch that is very reasonably priced. Through this program, the children are also taught about healthy eating.

Tuesday night for dinner Motoko Sensei treated us to an elaborate Japanese dinner at a traditional style restaurant. The chef was so kind and gave us antique Japanese dishes and Motoko-Sensei gave us some souvenirs as well. Japanese people are so kind and generous!

On Wednesday morning, we joined Kistler-sensei’s English class to participate in group discussions with Japanese students. The students were curious about topics such as fashion, dating, and tattoos in North America. We also learned a lot about the Japanese views on pop culture. After lunch, Andrea and Gretchen went with Izumi-san, Saki-san, and Satomi-san to Shibuya and Harajuku in Tokyo for some sight-seeing. Tokyo is full of tall buildings, shops, and people – just like how we imagined Japan to be!

Thursday morning was spent at a nutrition education class (known as shokuiku). We completed a food group crossword designed for children. In the afternoon, members from the Japanese dairy board came to do a bone mass check and to promote the consumption of 3 dairy servings per day. The students also prepared a health fair with nutrition education, physical activity promotion through pedometer rentals, and education about blood pressure through a pediatrician.

On Friday we observed students participate in a recipe standardizing lab. We tasted the food that they prepared and filled out a response sheet. It was delicious!

 On the weekend Andrea learned a lot about Japanese religion and culture. On Saturday she went with her host family to take the new family car to the temple. It is tradition in Japan that when you buy a new car to take it to the temple to ward off any evil spirits. For dinner Saturday night we had Basashi (raw horse meat). On Sunday Andrea’s host family took her to Kamakura to see a beautiful temple and a shrine. We also saw the Great Buddha which is a very large Buddha statue that was built in 1252. 

Gretchen spent Saturday morning and afternoon at the busy city Shibuya to look for souvenirs. She then met up with her host family at night for a tempura dinner in Roppongi. On Sunday, she went with her host mother to the same public bath that Andrea had visited last week. It was a very culturally shocking because most people are not clothed! However the baths were very relaxing.


Future Brescia Leaders in Barbados

Girls in Barbados have been chosen to LEAD at camp this summer! Students were selected based on their scores on their 11-plus/Common Entrance Exam, facilitated by the Ministry of Education. Twenty girls who scored on high on their exam were sent an invitation letter by the Ministry in mid-June and are now developing their potential at Brescia’s two-week Girls LEAD International Camp! Check out the Girls Lead Blog for updates.