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兵庫医科大学医学会
海外研修報告

Japanese-Croatian friendship

● Domagoj Vučić (University of Rijeka)

saita01.jpg Well, I was asked to write an essay about my clerkship, or better to say my adventure in Japan. I still remember the mail I got in March this year (2014.) that my application was accepted and that I am going to Japan. Certainly, I was thrilled. Scared? Well of course, who wouldn't be? We are talking about the country which is well known for the high technology development, perfectly functioning health care system, rich culture and very polite people. Of course Japan is much more than that. My biggest worry was; Will I fit in?

We arrived to Japan on the 23d of August, after 17 hours of travel, and the adventure officially started. On the 24th of August, we met three lovely Japanese students, Yuka, Kunika and Hirona, and with them first things first, we had to learn how to get to the hospital, where should we buy some food, where we can jog and we ended the day by going to Osaka for a nice, and tradicional Japanese food. Oh my, what a lovely day that was!

kanemoto02.jpg Monday came, we put on our hospital unifroms and introduced ourselves to the president of the hospital Kenji Nakanishi, and to our mentors. I remember, speaking infront all those people, who are recognized and well known in their fields. That was very stressful. My mentor was the chief of the department of hematology (and with high contribute to the field) professor Ogawa. My second mentor who worked with me on the department was dr. Kaida, not to forget mentioning a tehnician assistent Ms Aki, Sato-kun the intern and two 5th year medical students. I could say they were my family for the 4 weeks that I spent on the department, and there are not enough words which I could use to describe my gratitude. Every Wednesday I participated in the round that professor Ogawa leads, and after that I joined other doctors for the table briefing. During my time in Japan every table briefing was in English only that I could understand, and I must say, everyone was speaking nicely in English, especially professor Ogawa and dr. Kaida.

One day, doctor Kaida proposed that I should have my own patient, who I will present every week infront of the professor on the table briefing. At first, I was shocked by this news and very stressed about my future presentation, but now when everything is over, I see how much that helped me and I am very grateful for the experience, and for the trust which I certainly got. On the department I have learned a lot and seen a lot. I enjoyed spending my time in Hyogo college hospital. Also, I had the opportunity to participate in a special seminar with Israel, and with dr. Yair Reisner, professor Ogawa and doctor Kaida.

saita01.jpgTime was running so fast, each day faster than the last one so weekends came pretty much fast each week. During weekends we mostly were exploring nearby cities, including Osaka (Namba, Umeda downtown), Kobe, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto. Well yes, some of this cities are not that near to Nishinomiya but I am still glad I visited them. One of the most fond memories are those from Kyoto when we were wearing traditional Japanese clothes, yukata. When we were in yukatas people were taking photos of us and that was such an experience.

saita01.jpgThe food was delightful. I had no problems in finding food to eat even though I am a vegetarian for years now. Maybe now I understand better why Japanese people have the highest life span in the world. I was shocked that the half a kilo of tofu was so cheap, that people prefer to drink green tea instead of coffee, that sweets are usually made of sweet potato and sweet beans. Also we tried some traditional food which is very common for the Kansai region, like takoyaki and okonomiyaki.

We were fascinated by Japanese culture, which is well preserved. Especially the combination of traditional culture with nature, like the one in Nara. There are no other places in the world where you can see deers walking freely around the city in perfect harmony with everything and everyone. Such a unique place. During our clerkship we also managed to visit many Japanese shrines (like the ones in Nishinomiya, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, Kyoto, Tokyo).

Now I'm back to my daily basis in Rijeka, Croatia, and only now I see how much I miss Japan and my newly made friends. I will take this opportunity to say THANK YOU for everything. To the professor Ogawa and doctor Kaida for mentoring me and for all the knowledge you gave me, which is priceless. To Yuka, Kunika and Hirona for being with us each day and for explaining every confusing fact about Japanese lifestyle. To Tomoko, Rina, Minako, Ruriko, Ryota, Hiroko, Yuki, Wakana, Sachiyo, Kenji, Mayuu, Yuka, Hirona, Kunika and all those who I forgot to mention, for showing us different places and for hanging out with us. And the last but not least, to Ms Kyoko Torii for taking good care of us and for helping us with our adjustment. And of course big thank you to all the people I forgot to mention by accident. I hope you won't forget me, because I certainly won't forget you. Please remember you are always welcome in Croatia. Best regards and gambatte. :D

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