Friday, June 13, 2014


By: Philippine Delegates (AMSEP JAPAN)

May 16, 2014
Friday – Arrival

After travelling for 4 hours by plane to Fukuoka and more than 2hours by Shinkansen, the hi-speed railway of Japan to reach Kagoshima Chuo (station), we were finally welcomed by our hosts, headed by JumpeiUshikai (president of KIC - Kagoshima International Circle). It was a big relief to see the signboardJumpeiwas carrying which welcomed the Philippine delegation. After some briefintroductions, we were on our way to the welcoming party prepared for us. It was held in the student center of the Kagoshima University main campus. We were welcomed by the members of KIC wherein a simple program was prepared which included opening remarks, interaction with KICmembers, videos introducing each other’s country and a closing group picture was in order. 

Kagoshima University. Members of the Kagoshima International Circle (KIC) prepared a welcome party for the Filipino delegates.

With satisfied tummies from the opening party, we were then brought to the hostel where we’d be staying for the duration of the trip, a few minutes’ drive from the opening party venue.  It was actually a hostel for high school boys but the owner made special arrangements for us. It was nothing grand but it was complete plus the place was cozy and neat. We settled in for our first night and slept excited for the week that awaited us!

May 17, 2014
Saturday - Day 1

We started our first morning in Kagoshima with a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin breakfast readied for us by the caretaker of the hostel. We feltthat it was a simple gesture to make us feel at home and ease our adjustment to the Japanese type of breakfasts. We were picked-up by Jumpei and other KIC members for a day trip to see some sights around Kagoshima. We drove for around 2 hours to Kirishima Shrine, an important monument in Kagoshima where important cultural celebrations are held. There, we were taught how to properly wash our hands when entering the shrine and how to do the traditional way of praying.

Kirishima Shrine. The delegates are praying to the Japanese god Ninigi no Mikoto, grandson of the sun goddess Amaterasu. This shrine has been declared an important cultural property.

After visiting the shrine, we ate at a nice restaurant en route to Takachiho Farm, a big dairy farm that produces milk and milk products as well as other organic produce. We were able to meet some animal farm friends and we were also able to try the goodness of fresh milk straight from the farm. On the way back, we had a short stop-over and had our try at a foot onsen (hot spring)with matching hot-spring-boiled-hard-boiled eggs to go along with it. We headed back to our hostel to have our BBQ party prepared for us by our land lady, Hiruko-san. We hadfries and onigiri and we barbequed our own food such aschicken, shrimp, eggplant and other veggies. We played some Japanese games until it was time for us to retire for the night.

Takachiho Farm.  The goodness of nature, animal friends and fresh milk.

Kagoshima is famous for its hot springs. Here are the delegates enjoying an ashiyu (hot foot bath) before heading home.

Kampai! A barbecue party welcomed the delegates. Cheers to new friends and a great week ahead.

May 18, 2014
Sunday - Day 2

                The day was started by waking up at around 8 in the morning with a bowl of Japanese curry and rice for breakfast with Jumpei, Naruhiro and Yoshihiro, members of KIC. We left our accommodation at 9am to go to the traditional green tea ceremony at 10am in the Kagoshima Castle. To get to the venue, we rode one of the basic transportation of the local people in Kagoshima, the “tram”. It is a small train that goes around the city of Kagoshima, paying 170 yen per passenger.

Upon arriving at the castle, we were welcomed by other KIC members, Lilly and Takeshi. Proceeding to the registration area, we were divided into two groups with five (5) members each accompanied by two (2) KIC members for the ceremony. The ceremony lasted for 15-20 minutes which showed the traditional way of preparing and drinking green tea in Ancient Japan. We finished it with a picture taking with the organizers of the ceremony and we took pictures with the castle as well.

Japanese Tea Ceremony.  The delegates were invited to this important Japanese cultural activity involving the ritual of preparing and serving Matcha or green tea.

Around 11:30am we walked to another nearby shrine, “Terukunijinja” and prayedagain for good luck. It was another 15 minute walk to Tenkaippin Ramen House at Tenmonkan Street where we enjoyed the mouthwatering authentic ramen and learned the proper way of eating which they call “strawing”. It’s where you actually sip the noodles like how you do with a straw.
One cannot go to Japan and not eat authentic ramen. The delegates had their best ramen yet.

After eating our delicious lunch we then proceed to a nearby anime/manga store to check some of the local past time hobbies of the Japanese teens. We also went to the “Maruya Gardens”, a nice shopping mall a few blocks away from the anime store, to look around.We also tried their famous “Mujyaki shaved ice” a type of dessert that is similar to our own “halo-halo” here in the Philippines.  After that, our hosts also let us experience what they call the “Purikura” a type of photo house where you can wear cosplay and have a pictures that will make your eyes appear bigger.

Tenmonkan Street. Tenmonkan is the largest shopping and entertainment arcade in Kagoshima.

Another thing that comes into mind when you say Japan is anime. What better way to savour that than to do cosplay.

To finish the day we had our dinner at a Karaoke house in Tenmonkan where we had good food and drinks while singing to most of the Japanese anime songs we knew and just enjoying the company of one another. Wewent back to our hostel by 11pm and had some chitchats about the day as we prepared to go to bed.

There’s one form of communication both Filipinos and Japanese share and love: singing.

19 May 2014
Monday -Day 3

In the cold morning of 19 May 2014, we all felt excitedas the first thing in the morning was the academic activity prepared for us by our hosts. We were divided into three groups, namely: Gene therapy and degenerative medicine, Center for chronic viral diseases and Neurosurgery. In the Gene therapy class, the Philippine delegates were Alexandra Ascalon, Vanessa Lasmarias and Jesser Serrano. Their topic was Adenovirus as a vector in gene therapy and somatic stem cell research. The delegates were entuasiastic because they were allowed to perform laboratory works after their lecture in the said topic. For Center for chronic viral diseases, the delegates assigned were Luisa Lagmay, Frances Danielle Sabulao and John Kenneth Gacula. The topic for the said lecture was about the new research conducted by Dr. Shuji Izumo regarding HIV. The delegates were eager to learn that the HIV wasevolving in that in recent studies,damage to the brain was already being documented early in the onset of the disease, surpassing even that of the inflammation stage in lymph nodes in the body. Also,they learned that HLTV 1, HAM was the most prevalent type of HIV in Kagoshima, Japan. Lastly, the neurosurgery group were Harroun Wong, Kristine Iraola and Margie Quitoy and Grace Pati. They were able to discuss with Dr. Kazunori Arita the health care system being used in Japan in relation to the benefits that the patients are able to get. Japanese citizens pay only a third of their hospital expenses and for ages 70 and above, they pay only a tenth of the expenses.  Other things they learned were that the leading cause of mortality in Japan was cancer and that old age isn’t an obstacle for doing surgeries. They also learned aboutthe treatment used in Epilepsy in Japan. The delegates were a bit surprised upon learning that in Japan, they place an electrode in the vagal nerve in the neck to regulate the impulses going in the brain thereby controlling the epileptic shocks manifested by the patient as compared to the oral medication being given in the Philippines. Lastly, they were also able to scrub-in and observe two on-going surgeries that day, an excision of an acoustic and an intra-orbital tumour.  

Department of Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Wang lectured on their research about cancer treatment using Adenovirus. The Modified-Controlled Replicating Adenovirus (m-cra) is injected to tumors to cause apoptosis. The delegates were also taught on harvesting and making subcultures of cancer cells.

Neurosurgery Department. The delegates discussed neurosurgery cases with Dr. Kazunori Arita.

In the afternoon, the delegates went to the Sagara Hospital which specializes in the palliative care of cancer patients, specifically in women and breast cancer. It was a private hospital that had 24 beds in 5th and 7th floor of the building. For patients staying in the hospital, in cases of 1 room with 4 beds, the payment is free while in cases of a private room with a single bed, an overnight stay would costs around 3,000- 7,000 yen. In Japan, majority of the cancer cases are Hepatoma and Lung cancer however, lung cancer was the leading cause of death of the people in Kagoshima because of eruptions and ash fall by the Sakurajima volcano nearby. It was also noted that opioids are the main treatment option for the cancer patients. The aim of PCU is to improve their quality of life and to support the patients so that they can live comfortably until the end.

In the hospital, team approach by the medical staff was implemented; home visits were allowed if the patient preferred it. This is an example that the health care system of Japan does not fail to give focus and benefits for the elderly since majority of the population is of the elderly age group.

Sagara Hospital. After lunch was the tour of Sagara Hospital. It is a hospital specializing in women’s health care, promoting  “comprehensive care for women”. It also offers hospice care for the terminally ill.

                After the hospital visit, we went to a bowling center for some fun and recreation. We played three rounds bowling with an addition of a frenzy round with matching fancy black lights by the center wherein persons who were able to get a strike within the time allotted would get prizes of biscuits and small snacks. After bowling, we headed in the upper floor of the center to try on the batting arcade for some baseball batting action.

After a day of lectures and hospital tour, our Japanese friends brought us to this really cool bowling place.

We went batting too. Baseball is one of the most famous sports in Japan.
We were joined by a few more members of KIC for dinnerin a Chinese Restobar sponsored by Hiruko-san, the owner of the hostel we were staying-in and also our generous landlady. We tried out different authentic Chinese dishesto which we all enjoyed. After dinner, Hiruko-san brought us to Hotel Shiroyama, located at the highest point in the city to listen to some jazz music and show us the captivating view of Kagoshima at night.

Dinner treat from Hiruko-san, the owner of the hostel where we stayed. Chinese cuisine at its best!

And to top off that lovely dinner was the captivating view of Kagoshima City at night. This is the spectacular view from Hotel Shiroyama, the highest spot in Kagoshima.

20 May 2014
Tuesday- Day 4

The day started with the tour around the Sengan-en Garden. The garden was said to be the former residence of successive heads during the Edo Era. We were welcomed by an iron cannon, the most powerful cannon at the end of the Edo period, near the entrance of the garden. We also visited the Jigen-ryu Martial Arts Exhibition Room and the Konan Bamboo Grove. We were also able to try the jambo-mochi, glutinous rice balls skewered on two bamboo sticks with warm, sweet sauce. Though it was raining that day, it didn’t stop us from enjoying the Japanese garden with its trees, plants, small ponds, and the spectacular view of Mt. Sakurajima that it providedwhile learning about the history of the place. It shows how Kagoshima is able to preserve its culture despite its modernization.

Sengan-en Garden. The rain did not stop us from enjoying this beautiful Japanese garden. The Senganen was home to one of the most powerful feudal clans, the Shimazu clan. They ruled Kagoshima for almost 700 years until 1868.

After touring the Sengan-en Garden and taking lots of pictures of the beautiful garden scenery, we went to Sushiro, a sushi train restaurant for lunch where empty sushi plates easily piled up on our tables.
When someone says Japanese, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Yep, Sushi. The guys are definitely enjoying lunch.

After a scrumptious lunch, we went to the Kagoshima University Hospital to take a look around the newly constructed part of the hospital. We visited the Clinical Training Center of the hospital where we were introduced and allowed to try the different training simulations. Among the simulations that we were able to try included the endotracheal intubation, venipuncture, laparoscopy, laparoscopic suturing, 2D Echo and endoscopy among others. They use the training facility to train graduating students and residents on various simulations before they do it on actual patients. We were alsoable to see other interesting things like a 3D printer and a napping room for the residents. Aside from state-of-the-art facilities the hospital invests for their students/residents, the hospital saw that their student and doctors were provided with a good environment that would encourage them to work harder and be more passionate about what they are doing.  We also had the privilege of going to the hospital’s helipad. Since Kagoshima consists of many islands, the hospital uses the helipad to transfer patients from parts of Kagoshima which are difficult to access. All throughout the hospital tour, the staff was very accommodating and willing to guide us through the different simulations. They were also ready to answer whatever questionswe had.
Kagoshima University Hospital. The University Hospital has its own clinical training center. The delegates learned about laparoscopic surgery and suturing, endoscopy, intubation and much much more.

Kagoshima University Hospital has its own helicopter ambulance service. The delegates at the helipad on top of the hospital building.

After touring the hospital, we had the opportunity to watch some of the university’s club activities which mostly consisted of different types of sports the students can choose from. Among the different sports offered in the university, we were given the chance to seeKyudo, Karate, Judo, and Kendo. In Kyudo, or Japanese archery, we were taught on the proper handling of the bow and the arrow. We also had the chance of shooting the target from a closer distance than where the members usually shoot from. In karate, we were taught the straight-punch technique. While in Judo, which was rooted from JuJitsu used by ancient Samurai, the Judo club members were kind enough to let us experience doing a take-down move. They were eager and willing to let us take them down by throwing them to the floor on their back. In Kendo, some of the delegates were able to try the sport with a club member as the opponent. They were able to do the basic footwork and striking technique of the sport. Through these club activities, the university is able to encourage their students to be well-rounded students. We saw that the university was able to provide good avenues for their students to release their academic stress. It is also a good thing that their traditional sports are among those offered in their club activities and, thus, another way of preserving their culture especially among the youth.

For the rest of the afternoon, the delegates attended four Japanese club activities namely archery, karate, judo and kendo.

Before heading to dinner, we attended the Kagoshima International Circle’s (KIC) meeting where they presented their two recent exchange programs in the United Kingdom and Indonesia. The Philippine delegation also had the chance to present to the KIC an overview of AMSA-Philippines. They noted that our organization has come a long way since it was founded way back and they too hoped that they can someday achieve the complexity and capability to grow as big as our organization.

The delegates got to meet other members of the Kagoshima International Circle at their report meeting. Chief delegate Harroun Wong also presented about AMSA-Philippines during the said meeting.

We all headed to the United Café (UC) after the meeting to have dinner. There, we were able to meet and bond with a lot ofother KIC members. Also, since some of the KIC members do not know their fellow members, that night was also an opportunity for them to meet and get to know each other. Despite the language barrier and that most of the Japanese were having difficulty in communicating in English, they still tried to initiate the conversation. It was indeed a night full of shared stories and new friendships formed.

21 May 2014
Wednesday- Day 5

Our 5th day in Japan can only be described as very light and warm. It started to become sunny after heavy rainfalls and breezy cold weather for the past few days.
In the morning, we were again divided into groups for our academic activity at Kagoshima University, Faculty of Medicine. Jesser, Alexi, Vanessa and Kenneth were assigned in the Neurosurgery department wherein they were able to observe a few surgical operations including an infant with a calcified hematoma. Along with opportunity to observe major neurological operations, the group was also joined by a neurosurgical resident who discussed the operations and also talked about the present health care system in Kagoshima prefecture and in Japan as a whole. Like the first group who rotated in the department, the four learned of the benefits that the patients get from the good health insurance policy of their country. Among the good practice of the hospital is the strict policy on informed consent. All operating rooms have cameras that are able to record the operations and at the same time, allow the consultant to oversee the procedure in the office even when not present in the OR field. The recorded videos are even kept and filed after which a copy is provided for the patient as part of their policy.

At the pulmonary medicine department, Harroun and Tin together with Emi, a senior KIC member, had a small group discussion with Dr. Takahiko Yamaguchi on how students and doctors manage their assigned patients through their own closed circuit network in the hospital where one can access their patient’s data regarding their histories, lab and imaging results, charts, etc. Besides having a discussion on the facilities and equipment used in diagnosing or managing pulmonary cases in the hospital, they also had the chance to auscultate and do bedside PE in the wards. 

Pulmunary Medicine group, Harroun and Tin with Dr. Yamaguchi at the Pulmunary Department of Kagoshima Hospital.

The 3rd group, Margie, Grace, Frances and Luisa were assigned in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department where Dr. Kobayashi,a Gynecologist,discussed a 1-hour lecture on the different process of birth delivery including the normal transvaginal, caesarean and the latest technology in this field, the da Vinci robot. This robotic technology is now being used in the gynecologic field especially in major operations such as hysterectomy, tumor removal and the like. It consists of a surgical console, patients cart and an imaging processing equipment. The main concept of this technology is a more invasive but more precise operative skill without the contact on the main surgical field by the surgeon. Patient’s benefits are as follows: shorter hospital stays, less post-operative pain, less scarring, less blood loss and transfusion and less post-operative complications.

After the different sessions, we were able to experience eating at the university’s cafeteria like most of the university students. We were able to learn more about the different programs offered by the faculty of medicine in the university and at the same time share our culture and history.

The rest of the afternoon, along with a few KIC members, we went to Kinko bay and visited SakurajimaIsland. Along the Kinko bay is the dolphin port, which is a 30-minute travel from the university by bus. Appealing to foreigners are restaurants and local specialty shops and the footbath with a close view of Kinko Bay. Nearby are ferry lines that connect Kagoshima and Sakurajima ports. Each cruise takes about 15 minutes and ferries are available 24 hours a day. We rode a ferry and went to Sakurajima to take a closer look on the volcano where hardened igneous rocks were scattered around the island. We visited the visitor’s information center wherein a short video was shown documenting the history of the mighty Sakurajima Volcano. We learned that it is active almost all year round. The volcano has two craters, one of which was actively releasing ashes during our stay in Kagoshima. Before going back to dolphin port, we indulged ourselves to afootonsen overlooking the Kinko bay and we also took pictures of the beautiful bay scenery throughout our trip on the island.

Sakurajima. The delegates at the foot of Sakurajima volcano. Kagoshima is famous for one of Japan’s most active volcanoes.

It was almost sunset when we got back to the dolphin port. We had a quick shopping at the souvenir shop and headed to another authentic Japanese restaurant nearby for dinner. The restaurant’s specialties wereYakiudon ramen where they also eat it as cold noodles. We were able to meet more KIC members comprising not just medical students but of those studying in other health science courses like nursing, pharmacy and life sciences.

Soba and Udon for dinner with our Japanese friends.

After the dinner, our local friends took us to a nearby Bic Camera, a huge electronics store where some of us bought some gadgets before heading back to our dormitory to call it a night.

22 May 2014
Thursday -Day 6

On Thursday, we were scheduled to visit an elementary school to teach English and acquaint the children with Filipino culture.  Before going to the said school, the group met in Kagoshima University library to rehearse the activity we had prepared for the children. We paired up to form five groups and we were accompanied by a KIC member to act as our translators. After making sure that everything was ready, the delegates walked their way to the school which was just beside the university. The principal warmly welcomed us and briefed us about the rules and regulations of the school.  Each pair facilitated a game entitled “Filipino 101”. The aim of the game was to introduce the Filipino counterpart of certain Japanese nouns. It was a charades game followed by showing a picture of the answer and its Filipino counterpart. We described the nouns presented and explained the similarities and differences of each counterpart. The children were also asked to repeat the English words that they learned through the descriptions pertaining to each answer. It was a fun-filled and informative game. The children were allowed to ask questions after and they were all very cooperative throughout the activity. The winning team received prizes consisting of Filipino delicacies like pastilias and yema. After our activity and some bonding with the adorable Japanese grade schoolers, we went back to the principal’s office and there, the principal expressed his appreciation for our visit. Likewise, we also expressed our gratitude for allowing us to experience the set-up in a Japanese elementary classroom. After chatting with the school head and some photos, we were on our way to our next destination.

Kagoshima Elementary School. The delegates taught Grade 5 and 6 students about Philippine culture through a game of charades.

The next stop was the Aeon Shopping Centre. After eating lunch at the food court, we were given 3 hours to shop for pasalubong. After the given hours of shopping, we wereall very happy and satisfied with the many things that we were able to purchase.

The delegates spent the afternoon shopping for pasalubongs at Aeon mall.

Afterwards, we went to Kagoshima Hospital to experience performing a 2D echocardiogram. We were divided into 3 groups and each group had an instructor who explained the features of the machine and the procedure. Three-dimensional heart models were even provided to facilitate teaching of the various views seen in the monitor. Some of our Japanese friends were kind enough to agree to act patients for the said procedure. It was very commendable that evenas students, they were able to properly explain to us how the echocardiogram was done and they were patient enough to let each delegate practice handling the machine. The group who finished earlier was even given the chance to experience the angiogram simulation in the training center of the hospital.

We had dinner at the house of our land lady, Hiruko-san. A variety of foods were served and sheespecially prepared a famous Filipino dish, adobo, since she knew how, but mostly because she was concerned that we might already be missing Filipino food. A lot of KIC members were present during the dinner. It was very hospitable of them to once again provide us with abundant delicious foods and friendly company. After eating, we were shown the traditional dance of Kagoshima by one Hiruko-san’s students. We and the KIC members were pulled in to join in the succeeding dances. Afterwards, we offered the song “harana” for our very kind and generous host, Hiruko-san. We also gave her simple tokens of gratitude from the Philippines. Everyone was very happy during that night. We were able to take lots of photos, meet new friends and eat inexhaustible delicious foods. The girls in our delegation even had the bonus of being able to experience wearing a kimono that night.

Some delegates got their dream come true of wearing this lovely kimono.

The delegates with their Japanese mother Hiroko-san.

The dinner party ended at around 11 and everyone went home exhausted but very happy. The hosts made sure that we arrived safely at the hostel. It was a day of fun-filled activities, learning opportunities, cultural sharing and bonding moments.

23 May 2014
Friday -Day 7

Our day started at 10am. The ten of us were divided into two groups so we can fit in two cars. Our destination for the whole afternoon and the remaining of the morning was Ibusuki. It was a two-hour drive from Kagoshima City and is famous for its sand onsenand sandy beaches. For our first stop, we visited a park/beach. The place started out as a grassy park but as we got farther down, the ground slowly became sandy and the grass became scarce until all were sand and seashells. The original plan was that we were to go across the land bridge that connects the mainland to a small island but the caretaker on duty told us that we should only go halfway since the tide was coming in and the land bridge would soon disappear beneath the sea. Nevertheless, trekked the land-bridge until halfway and we took lots of photos, did jump shots and whatever pose we can think of. At past noon, we drove to an authentic Japanese diner where we got to make our own okonomiyaki, savory Japanese pancakes. Everyone enjoyed lunch because it was all our first time to cook our own okonomiyaki. After lunch, we had our try at a sand onsenwherein we were covered sand for a good 10 minutes. The sand was naturally hot since the ground was heated from the geothermal activity of the Sakurajima Volcano. Going beyond the time allotted was not advised since one could get burns already. The experience was rejuvenating and we felt like we were closer than ever once again.

Ibusuki City. Enjoying sun, sea and company.

If there’s one thing you have to try while you’re in Kagoshima, it’s onsen. Here are the delegates trying Ibusuki’s famous sand onsen.

Next stop was the Medipolis. It is a hospital specializing in proton therapy, a form of radiotherapy, in treating certain kinds of cancers (such as early stage breast cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer and even pancreatic cancer). A beam of protons targeted at tumors that are easily localized and isolated. The radiation from the protons damage cellular DNA of the cancer cells only thus destroying the tumor only. The advantages of this therapeutic regimen include shorter hospital stay, non-invasive approach, no side effects and one can return to work in just a matter of days. The only disadvantage to this is the cost (approximately 50, 000 USD). After the Medipolis tour, we went for a 20-minute drive to a lake overlooking the beautiful outline of the mountains and witness the magnificent sunset. We took a lot of photos, individual and group shots. We headed home at 4pm and finally reached our hostel at past 6pm.

Medipolis Medical Research Institute. The delegates had a tour of this proton beam cancer therapy center in Ibusuki City.

Photoshoot at Ikeda Lake.

From 6pm until 7pm, we prepared for the closing party. We changed into our traditional costumes and did a run-through of our presentation. The farewell party was held at a local restaurant where university students hang out. The place was classy and the food was a fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisine. We were able to arrive at the venue at around 8pm. The party started off with dinner and cheers all around. Afterwards, we presented our short program that we had prepared. Dressed in our traditional costume, we did a song and dance number (Paru-parongBukid and Magtanim ay Di’ Biro) and played a quiz game with our Japanese friends. Then, we performed a dance number to the tune of “PinoyAko”. For the finale, we invited our Japanese friends to dance with us. As our “official” party came to an end, we swapped contacts with our Japanese friends, took photos, gave away tokens and exchanged hugs. Since our reservation for the venue was only good for two hours, everyone decided the party had to go on so we decided to transfer to another diner. At around 10pm, we settled in a quaint little diner nearby. We ate, laughed, and exchanged stories until past midnight. Our last destination for the night, we visited the Kagoshima University -Kumamoto Campus, the main campus and took some last minute pictures. Then at around midnight, we went back to our hostel which officially ending our final night in Kagoshima.

The delegates wearing the Philippine costume during the farewell party and the Japanese learning the Filipino counterpart of the “peace” pose.

24 May 2014
Saturday -Departure

The whole day started out as a rush as everyone ran around the hostel doing last minute packing and getting ready to go to the train station and leave Kagoshima. Hiruko-san came to the dorm to bidus farewell. She was like our Japanese mother throughout our stay in Japan. Jumpei, Ayako, Youko,and Khaki came early even when we finished late the night before. Ayako even brought her traditional yakatato let the male delegates have a chance to wear the traditional Japanese attire. As 9:30am approached, we formally said our goodbyes to Hiruko-san and thanked her for herkindness and never-ending generosity. 

We arrived at the Shinkansen-Chuo station and saw a more of our Japanese friends there to bid us farewell.  They gave each of us tokens as a remembrance of our time in Kagoshima with them.  They gave us a card where each KIC member had written special messages to us. Eventually, time had run out and it was time to board our train headed for Fukuoka. We rushed to the train platform and before we knew it, we had already arrived at Fukuoka. There, we shared our last meal in Japan as delegates before heading to the airport to catch our flight back home.Throughout our stay, we were able to have a once in a lifetime experience. The bonds of friendships that were made whether with our Japanese counterparts or with each other as delegates, learning and sharing each other’s culture, experiencing everyday life with KIC was something we would never forget. We have been given opportunities to enlighten our minds with knowledge and experience something that we could never get if it not because of AMSEP JAPAN 2014.  None of us wanted to leave Kagoshima, especially to leave our new-found friends there.  Each one of us isvery happy and thankful for the days spent in Kagoshima. It was truly a remarkable experience. KIC and Kagoshima City will always be etched in our hearts.

The delegates pose with KIC members for the last time as they bid each other farewell.

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