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.