In Part 6 of his report, Fraser gives a talk at the JSCP conference and spends his last day exploring mountain villages in the Fukuoka region.

On Friday morning I attended the Japanese Society of Coloproctology conference and gave my talk about 'watch and wait' for rectal cancer incorporating contact x-ray brachytherapy (Papillon). I discussed data that I am working with Prof Sun Myint who is based just outside of Liverpool and has treated over 1000 patients with an organ preserving approach using this technique with very good results. There was a lot of interest in my talk which was really nice. I then had the opportunity to listen to many other talks in English by experts on ESD for rectal lesions and also the topic of rectal cancer and radiotherapy. I was delighted because these are my main topics of interest right now.

That afternoon the conference was in Japanese so I went to a fantastic temple just outside Fukuoka famed for its huge statue of a reclining Bhudda which is apparently the largest bronze statue of the world. This was a really lovely place. I then returned and met my host Dr Akiyoshi who had arranged a dinner with some of his team in a traditional Japanese broth/hotpot restaurant. Apparently Fukuoka is very famous for pork intestine hotpots but after reading my facial expression whilst suggesting that, Dr Akiyoshi had changed the venue to one that served skeletal muscle of chickens! This was not only delicious, but a lot of fun because I had to sit on Tatami mats and it was a very authentic feeling experience. What was also nice was that I had the opportunity to speak with more Japanese surgeons in an informal setting.

Vast bronze statue of the Buddha reclining
The largest bronze statue in the world

Saturday was my last full day in Japan and my host Dr Akiyoshi had to go back to Tokyo so I had the day to myself. As the meeting was all in Japanese that day I set out on a further cultural mission. I had found out that the Fukuoka region is very famous for pottery and porcelain. I therefore visited several pottery villages by little trains that went through the mountains. This was a lovely experience as I got to see the Japanese coastline, countryside and mountains with rice-fields etc. There was a huge array of beautiful porcelain items but I was amazed actually how expensive most of the items were… some even being hundreds of thousands of pounds. Despite most things being way out of my price range, I enjoyed window shopping and bought a teacup as a souvenir! I returned to the hotel and packed.

I was very sad to leave on Sunday, although happy that I had been so enriched in so many ways by my experiences both personally and professionally. I will take back so much from what I saw and aim to apply it to my clinical practice.

Read the final part of Fraser's report here >

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