Yesterday I began my final day of sharing HUG Your Baby with Japanese professionals. Though a shorter visit than I had at Kagawa University or St. Luke's International University, the time I spent at Tokyo University (with faculty and graduate students in Midwifery and Women's Health) was equally enjoyable and stimulating.
Tokyo University, referred to by some as the "Harvard of Japan," has been well known as a center of teaching and research since its inception in 1877. Our time here begins as midwives and Ph.D. graduate students, Sayaka Ashida and Kaori Yonezawa, give us a tour of their beloved campus.
The other thing I notice and wonder about is bowing. I have grown to LOVE bowing when greeting another. It seems like such a kind and respectful way to connect without physical touch. (Unlike the sometimes vigorous handshake of ladies in America, a bow is often followed by a gentle, almost vanishing, handshake with the women I meet here.) The woman and man who load our luggage into the shuttle bus bow low as the bus takes off. I observe an electrician speaking to a plumber at a construction site; both men bow, hard hat to hard hat. Nurses bow when we met, when I complete a presentation, and before they ask a follow-up question one-on-one. I like the feeling a bow communicates. It relaxes me and makes me feel accepted here.
Though Tokyo University, like the other two universities I visited in Japan, has sophisticated lecture hall audio-visual equipment, I experience the same lack of success when I try to get my Macintosh presentation to "talk to" to the PC systems used by Japanese academics. Undeterred, I turned to my 3 inch by 3 inch Brownstone projector and tiny speakers to make my presentation here as I have done in other locations.
Questions following my presentation focus quickly around issues of research, as many nurses describe their work and how HUG Your Baby might be used and studied.
One nurse is researching interventions used in postpartum depression. Do I think The HUG might be useful here? ("Yes, I think so!"). Another faculty member is taken with the research that is underway with undergraduate nursing students at University of North Carolina. Do I think Japanese undergraduate students might benefit from HUG Your Baby training? ("Please try, and let me know.") A Community nurse and lecturer wonders about the possible use of the translated HUG DVD with a group of new mothers. ("Wouldn't it be fun to collect feedback from mothers watching The HUG DVD for the first time?") Another member of the midwifery faculty is interested in how The HUG was used in a NICU setting. ("I will put you in touch with the author of that research.") [CLICK HERE for a link to HUG Your Baby research both completed and underway.]
You've heard it said that something looks "too good to eat." So I take a picture, and then eat, eat, eat it ALL at the remarkable restaurant where Tokyo University faculty and students have generously taken us to dinner. Conversations with Jim and me continue around various research projects and HUG concepts.
But, numerous other conversations among our Tokyo hosts are energetically underway on subjects Jim and I can only guess about as we try (and enjoy!) "brown sake" for the first time ever!