Day out in Japan

As we all know, a day off from the clinic doesn’t always mean a day off from work.  But today, Dr. Kimata and I decided to get away.  Head out of town, and see some sites.  What a time we had.

Japan has such long standing culture from such early history, it is hard to fathom the extent of knowledge and traditions that these people have passed down from generation to generation.  America is 500 years old.  Our history can be learned in a short course by comparison.  Japanese history remains alive today blended with the modern world in both traditions, and physical structures.  For this reason we headed off from Hamamatsu City to Osaka, and Kyoto by bullet train.

The train system in Japan is like that of New York.  Confusing maps, multiple lines, crowded, fast paced, and only moderate signage that is not friendly to foreigners.  Dr. Kimata navigated our way to tickets, to the platform and off we went to see some history, talk and spend a few hours discussing our practices and how we see them in our views.  With an hour and a half of high speed rail time to kill, Dr. Kimata and I discussed our management practices, opinions and views on the differences we have as societies, and how these become relevant to how we have developed our individual practices.What a great discussion.  I love the management side of practice, and to discuss strategies with another owner about how to survive in today’s internet and high expectation world, I’m all ears.  Come to find out we are no different.  Same issues, same client perception, same pricing structures,  same personnel discussions, same problems, just two different practices half a world apart.  Good to know we can commiserate with vets everywhere.

As we arrive in Osaka, Dr. Kimata and I make our way through the streets and down narrow alleys to finally come to a quick detour we had decided to make on our journey to see the temples and shrines of Kyoto.  This was the Osaka Peppy  Veterinary Nursing College, and the Osaka Veterinary Referral Center.  Wow, what a facility.  As we were given a tour by the Director of the facility and was introduced to the managing doctors, I couldn’t help but notice the underlying tradition of veterinarians and their support of their teaching colleges and how well the work to support each other.  In this case, they are adjacent to each other and students can become exposed to a variety of case load.  Ct, MRI, nuclear and radiation treatments, soft tissue and Orthopedic referral surgery, opthamology, and more.  Up to date equipment that would make any human or veterinary practice jealous, and clean as a whistle. The standard of care here was the utmost importance, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put my animal in their care.

We made our way back to a local train and headed to Kyoto, the temple city, the past capital, and home to the greatest number of temples and shrines of Japan to get a glimpse of the way it used to be.

Amongst the modern city buildings we came upon old structures shouldered on either side, shrines that were still in use by traditional japanese, and show pieces of temples of a bygone era that would make your jaw drop.  Each one designed by masterful architects and built on the backs of the people, they stood for strength, deep religious believe, and power.  Only special and powerful people gained access to the inner sanctums of such holy places, but all were revered as sacred by commoners.  We talked about this nations past, its conquests, its wars, its ups and downs, and its current state of affairs.  We briefly touched on politics and what is happening around the world with terrorism, and we both enjoyed our security and freedom we have in our countries.    We had an incredible day.  We walked, ate lunch, saw amazing temples including the Shogun temple of a hundred warriors, and the Golden Temple, and ended it by shopping in a local market to bring back presents.  A bullet train ride and we were back in Hamamatsu.  I couldn’t have had a more delightful day with a colleague I respect and have come to know as a friend.

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