By Patrick Twisdale, senior EC Scholar
The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, or as the Japanese call it Nihon (日本国), was the country that I went to for a study abroad over the summer. A group of us flew there on June 3rd and then departed on June 27th. The trip was guided by Dr. Daniel Goldberg of the Honors College and Brody School of Medicine, who instructed us in Bioethics and in a Healthcare Comparison of the United States and Japanese healthcare systems. For most of the trip, we stayed in an apartment in Tokyo, in between the Akihabara and Ueno districts, but we also took trips to Nikko, Hakone, and Kyoto.
Let me go on record to state that it was a truly invigorating experience. Absolutely, hands down one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. Everything I had ever fantasied about Japan was true and more…from the wild monkeys of Nikko, to the hot springs of Hakone, to the temples of Kyoto, and to the bustling metros beneath Tokyo. This trip was absolutely fantastic!
Everyone seemed to be friendly and welcoming no matter where I traveled in Japan. On the first night of our Tokyo adventure, my fellow travelers and I explored the Ueno district’s restaurants looking for dinner. We stumbled upon a random Ramen shop, where we experienced our first taste of true Japanese ‘cuisine’ and etiquette. In these ramen shops, instead of a waitress or waiter questioning us about our order, we had to operate a vending machine that would dispense a slip for us to hand to the chef. Of course, having never seen one like it, we had absolutely no idea what to do. In hindsight, it was pretty obvious, however, we were unaccustomed to the procedure. The ramen that night was delicious and nothing like the ramen you find in the states.
Along with daily classes, we also had a total of seven academic visits while we stayed in Japan. These included lectures at the University of Tsukuba, visits to multiple historical and medical museums, and the opportunity to conduct presentations on bioethical issues at The University of Tokyo. Our class split up into three groups and presented at The University of Tokyo to various professors, doctors, and graduate students on issues such as ‘Placebo Usage’, ‘Brain Death’, and ‘Euthanasia’. Our presentations were well received by the staff and we all received diversified input from these professionals in Japan. It was truly an exciting experience.
To wrap up, Japan was the perfect place to go to for a study abroad. I am forever thankful that I received the chance to travel abroad to the Land of the Rising Sun. Thank you Honors College for allowing this trip to happen. I am eternally grateful.