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兵庫医科大学医学会
海外研修報告

My Experience in Japan

● Adrian Toplak (University of Rijeka)

saita01.jpg Once again, I want to sincerely thank you for the warm welcoming, for taking me in as a member of your team as well as for the whole time spent in Japan. Not for a second did I feel uncomfortable or isolated – something truly unique that I have not experienced anywhere else before. Everyone welcomed me so warmly. They were always very friendly and helpful to me. I was impressed by the technology in your hospital, as it was the most advanced that I have ever seen until then. Given the opportunity to see some of the equipment, which I previously have only been able to read about, or even being able test the Da Vinci Simulator, I was genuinely impressed. But what I was particularly struck by, was your kindness and politeness. Even though working more than I ever have when I was in your hospital, I never felt more relaxed in my whole life. It is not easy for me to put these feelings down on paper, but I can assure you being in your department was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

The concept of your culture, your sense of teamwork, having deep interpersonal relationships as well as having a clear understanding of society – these are the points the rest of the world can, or better said should, learn from you.

kanemoto02.jpg As a European citizen, the things I knew about Japan were basically the advanced technology being developed, such as consoles, mobile phones or computers, your Anime and Manga as well as Japanese Martial Arts like Karate or Judo. But now, after seeing Japan with my very own eyes and experiencing the atmosphere, I only have to hear a word related to “Japan”, and a thousand memories will appear in my mind. And every single time, it makes me smile happily. All the vast cities, the temples and shrines, the airplanes and trains, the tasty food, especially the sweets, how you live, how you work, how you spend your free time, the smell and the sounds – I was able to live in your culture and take it all in and let it sink into me. The result was that it left all but positive marks on me.

One of the things I enjoyed in particular was spending time with Dr Kageyama. Besides you, he was the person who left the most impact on me. He would always take me to surgeries and allow me to assist him. He also taught me how to punctuate the spinal chord and where the catch about it is. I always got along with him very well and I am certain that I will never forget him. Aside from the spinal surgery, I also enjoyed the endovascular surgery. The results you get with an endovascular surgery are truly magnificent!

saita01.jpgI think that by now you may probably guess what impressions your surgical skills left on me. It was really amazing seeing how you perform surgeries with such ease – everything seemed so smooth and professional. Your stories that you told me and the way in which you perceive, were and still are a big inspiration for me. I will never forget how you told me that you have been practicing suturing in Zürich. At that point in time, you could not imagine how useful that skill of yours should become in the future. Your story triggered something inside my, the will to not let any opportunity go to waste and to take every chance to learn something new.

saita01.jpgEven if one does not see the purpose at that time, eventually it will all lead to a bigger picture, which then will make perfect sense. The first step I took was to use the time in between surgeries as well as my spare time to practice suturing. Although not having mastered the anastomosis of vessels, I have still improved my skills significantly.

Another important matter I wish to point out would be the endoscopic surgeries with Dr. Shirakawa Of all the things, this is what I liked the most. In fact, I liked it so much, that I consider doing endoscopic surgeries either in neurosurgery or in plastic surgery. Holding an endoscope and using it to go through the nose into the brain, is what I enjoyed most. I hope that one day, I will be able to use an endoscope and to perform endoscopic surgeries as part of my job.

This report could continue like this for another dozen of pages or so, with more detail and even more personal impressions – but I believe that you get the picture and that by now, you understand how much I truthfully enjoyed my stay in Japan. I do not know how I should thank you enough for all the things that you showed and taught me. It opened my eyes in so many ways, left such a big impact on me, in a positive way of course.

I wish I could write about something that I didn't like or what I missed in Japan, only so that I could provide you an improvement proposal in order to make the experience for the next student, that will visit you, even better.

But considering the fact that your nice secretaries made fresh coffee for me every morning, I do not know what negative point I could complain about. The only thing that crossed my mind is your absence at the end of the ceremony where I was holding a speech. I believe that I gave a reasonably good speech and at that time, I was a bit sad that nobody was there to hear it. I really do believe that you had a good reason for not being able to participate. It is not like I am blaming you for being absent or something like that.

saita01.jpgI have to admit that writing this report gives me a nostalgic feeling, and thinking about the beautiful days that lie in the past now, makes me want to travel back in time so that I would be able to experience everything from anew. As I stated earlier, now I work here in Varaždin, and a new chapter in my life has begun. Right now it is not like I am not having a good time – but what I know is that it is fairly different form my experience in Japan. Even though I have been working so much in Japan, even more than I have ever been in Croatia, I still wish I could go back to Nishinomya. If I ever get the chance to visit Japan again, I would love to stay for a longer period. It does not necessarily have to be an internship; coming as a guest or rather a friend would be enough for me. Now you know how I have felt during my internship and how I feel about it now. If you do not mind, I would appreciate staying in touch with you so as to keep these new friendships the both of use made. Who knows, maybe one day we might be collaborating somewhere around the globe? Should you have interest in visiting Croatia, Switzerland, Germany or whatever place it may be that I will live, please be my guest – you are always welcome!

Once again, thank you so much for everything.

兵庫医科大学 〒663-8501 兵庫県西宮市武庫川町1番1号 TEL:0798-45-6111 (代)

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