As you can tell, this trip has an Asian flavor. For the past three weeks I have been traveling in Japan and Korea. Two events took me out here: 1) Presenting the Flourishing Approach to 20 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, people with diabetes and staff of the Yamada clinic and education center in Sendai, Japan. The second was the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) World Congress in Busan, Korea.
The presentation in Sendai was the result of meeting two Japanese health professionals four years ago at the IDF World Congress in Vancouver after receiving the Lecture Award and lecturing about the Flourishing Approach who said to me, “If you ever come to Japan we would love for you to present your Flourishing Approach to our colleagues.” The World Congress in Busan asked me to share the approach in their Education stream this year.
So, the husband and I embarked on this trip with changes of clothes for three countries and three climates. Next week we will be capping the trip with a stay with friends in Sydney – provided the wildfires die down and the air quality rises. Still unknown. But it’s been a joyful and hugely rewarding experience thus far.
Arriving late at night in Sendai, we were whisked to our hotel by our hosts, the Yamadas, Dr. Kenichi Yamada and his wife Itsuko, who arranged everything to make our stay comfortable and successful. Now the Flourishing Approach has officially debuted in Japan, a country where illness is often hidden, let alone embraced by a flourishing attitude. But the Yamadas embrace it. Their clinic and education center is leading edge.
Then we flew to Seoul on our way to the conference in Busan. We found ourselves unexpectedly caught up in a major protest one afternoon that brought out at least 20 police vans, and I was surprised how little English was spoken and understood, how everything has sugar in it, including plain yogurt, and I so sorely missed cream for my coffee and found my blood sugars reeling not being able to decipher what I was eating or its carb content. Oy….We soon realized Indian food was our best choice of fare and enjoyed out throughout most of Korea.
This, our sixth conference since we began going to the every other year World Congress was enormous fun. I had two posters in the poster hall and met, for the first time, the doctor who co-authored one of the posters, Trent Brookshier. Trent lives in California, so of course we’d meet in Busan. We both believe in the merit of renaming “pre-diabetes” stage 1 of type 2 diabetes to prompt greater action and less complacency.
I presented the Flourishing Approach in the Education and Care stream and got to see and spend time with a great many of my fellow diabetes advocates, particularly those I only tend to see at these global conferences. After my session, I was approach by a doctor from Pakistan and nurse from China who are eager to bring the approach to their home countries.
After a week in Korea, the husband and I flew back to Japan via Osaka where we spent time with a friend and are now in Tokyo to see friends and visit as many fountain pen shops in a week as is humanly possible. Yes, we both have the bug and Japan is a Mecca for pens and paper.
Admittedly, this is my first post since I left home because I was just having too much fun to stop and record it. Also, I am just giving you the top note as this trip has been so rich I can’t possibly put it into a few words here, so let me finish with two photos. On the top on the left is Wataru Shoji, the health psychologist/professor who was instrumental in bringing me to Sendai and on the right the husband who supports my work in every way. The photo beneath is the traditional foods market in Seoul.
I am truly blessed to do work I love, that takes me around the world, where I meet friends and colleagues and have one heck of an adventure. I am posting photos of the trip regularly on Facebook so forgive me for not putting them here, but please have a look there.