The chilly autumn morning air in Tsukuba City was filled with anticipation as one of the most prestigious conventions on acupuncture and moxibustion was opened with a taiko drum performance and speeches by some of the officers and organizers of the 2016 WFAS convention in Tsukuba/Tokyo, Japan.
I've been to Japan only one other time in my life and that was more than 28 years ago. Back then, only Tokyo Disneyland mattered to us and the rest of the tour was a blur. I did remember throngs of people in business suits, carrying briefcases, getting on buses on their way to work. At the end of the day, even more people gathered along the streets of Ginza for a brief unwinding before going home. That was almost three decades ago and I have been procrastinating my plans to visit again. I never thought that my uncommon medical specialty would give me the reason to fulfill that plan. When WFAS announced that the 2016 convention was going to be held in Tsukuba and Tokyo, I booked a ticket for me and my wife in a heartbeat and booked a hotel without a second thought.
The first and only other WFAS convention I attended was in 2012 in Bandung, Indonesia. I was there with a friend and colleague. The following years were filled with concerns in my homeland which discouraged me from joining the conventions. After having successfully set up the new clinic and upgrading some aspects of the practice, I believed it was time to experience an international convention again. Thus, our journey into Japan, that fascinating land and its rich culture began.
I will skip the first few parts of my travelogue and go directly to the morning of the first day of the convention. Tsukuba is a city of learning. The Tsukuba Expo Center that features the Tsukuba Science City, an interactive science museum and a large planetarium that has some unique features. The location of the convention is in the 4 storey Tsukuba International Congress Center. For a non-major city in Japan, this convention center was truly impressive and larger than even the largest we have in Manila.
The hallway also featured ancient medical texts and images that traces Japan's knowledge of oriental medicine and its adaptation of Traditional Chinese Medicine through the Koreans who visited the country sometime before the Warring States Period.
Following the luncheon sessions were a series of over 15 technical sessions in a series on using acupuncture to address diseases during the various stages of human development and aging. I found this a logical and realistic approach as it tackled almost all aspects of healthcare. From non-penetrative methods for young children to combined moxibustion techniques for chronic diseases of the elderly, the sheer amount of knowledge was a bit too much for my brain capacity and a hurting backside from all the sitting sure didn't help but I finished the lectures in the main hall before I had to stretch my legs while looking at the product exhibits in another area of the building.
The gala dinner was held in the Okura Hotel near the congress center and I was treated to good food and that renowned Japanese hospitality. I met a number of prominent people including Shudo sensei and Okada sensei with whom I had an opportunity for pictures and an exchange of business cards. I got to meet other proponents of Oriental medicine as well. Then I had to be on my way back to the hotel which required nearly 2 hours of travel by train. It was a very inspiring if not overwhelming first day but it promised a productive several days during and after the official activities of the convention.
I will continue this report and travelogue on the next entry.