It is an honour to be invited anywhere to teach but to be asked to return to teach in Japan was truly special and a 1st time trip to Tokyo. After a 20 hour flight via Dubai I was met by the wonderful Yuka who made my 8 day stay in Tokyo truly memorable from walking tours around the city seeing the Senso-Ji Temple to visiting hidden eateries to exploring Sushi , Tempura, Raman, post course drinking parties ( dinner but much more fun and sociable ) to the wonderful balance of old and new buildings around Tokyo station. Food beyond description, very patience chefs who posed for selfies with me, perfect beer and some Japanese whiskey. The best thing about Japan was spending a lot of time with all the physios who attended both courses and the conference. Finding out about life on the Southern island of Okinawa to meeting people from Kyoto, Hiroshima, the 5 prefectures of Tokyo and the colder climates of Northern Japan. On day 6 I was finally allowed by Yuka to take the Metro on my own and only got lost once but still made my 3pm appointment with Natsu. Punctuality is important in Japan and I was rewarded by a visit to Tokyo’s smallest bar (6 people limit) and a restaurant where you were given a fishing rod to catch your own dinner, only in Japan.
Alongside all the fun we delivered the 1st practical Men’s health physiotherapy course to be held in Japan and that will always be a career highlight for me as the feedback for the 3 days was excellent and people left the course really empowered to do much more to help the men of their Japanese communities. We focused on male pelvic pain, athletic pelvic pain and post prostate rehab. It was an added honour to have some of Japan’s leading physiotherapy tutors there and some of their esteemed university professors. As importantly we had about 50% male physios which was real progress getting men involved. Following that we taught a 2-day pregnancy and post-natal course looking at pelvic girdle pain, tummy gap post pregnancy, post-natal low back pain and getting women back to sport and exercise post Nataly. It was also interesting to find out about the lives of Japanese women and what pregnancy and maternity care is like there compared to the UK. Like in the UK there is a consensus that we can do more to help the mums in our communities. We also had a Typhoon, but the Japanese are resilient people and despite a significant one with winds of almost 150 miles an hour, flooding and massive power cuts we only started one hour late on the morning. All schools opened 2 hours late. In Japan people attend work and school no matter what and we can learn lessons from that. The “thought” of not going in does not exist.
My 2 days of rest were spent visiting the Imperial palace & gardens and managed a 5k run around the Moat that loops around the Royal residence and gardens. Tokyo has clean air, minimal traffic, lots of parks and lots of people jog and cycle in the city centre. Tokyo’s national museum had an exhibition of Samurai swords, armour and helmets some dating from 400 years ago.
The trip ended with presenting at an International Conference on manual therapy where I delivered a section on getting musculoskeletal physios more involved in pregnancy , post-natal and pelvic health physiotherapy and I also did a conference practical workshop on male pelvic health physio and go to meet some other fab physios from Korea and The Philippines. A great trip and brilliant to already have one of the super Japanese physios visit us in the clinic in Harborne.