Day 1 - Sunday, November 30
Two lecturers and three students have arrived at the Narita Airport in the early morning, very much excited about the 14-days Japan Study Program which will start soon. They are:
1/. Dr. Aye Pyai Pyai Phyo, Associate Professor of Technological University/Monywa
2/. Dr. Wint Thida Zaw, Lecturer of University of Computer Studies/Mandalay
3/. Ms. Aye Chan Myint, Student of Yangon Technological University
4/. Ms. May Phyo Khaing, Student of Technological University/Yadanarpon Cyber City
5/. Mr. Myat Lin Soe, Student of Technological University/Yadanarpon Cyber City
Upon arrival, the delegates of Myanmar have received a warm welcome by SEISA Group which organized this study program in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Myanmar Government. A very nice weather has welcomed them, too. On the way to SEISA’s guest house, they have had a short sightseeing tour through Asakusa (Tokyo’s down town area), visiting Sensoji (a famous temple with a big red lantern) and the Edo Tokyo Museum.
In the early afternoon they reached SEISA Takao Campus which offers them accommodations at its guest house. It is located in Tokyo, but about 50km away from the city center. So it has lots of nature. All the members have been very much impressed with the beautiful colorful autumn of Japan.
In the evening another surprise has waited for them. SEISA staff and students have arranged a nice, generous welcome dinner, with some entertainments. So, with lots of experiences, their 1st day has come to the end.
Day 2 - Monday, December 1
The weather has changed. It has rained all the day, but a big event has waited for them.
The delegates have been invited to SEISA Junior-High and High Schools/Yokohama. Upon arrival, they have seen hundreds of students warmly welcoming them with Myanmar’s flags in hands. They have also seen message papers and plates about Myanmar in every corner of the building. Prior to their visit, SEISA students obviously studied Myanmar intensively.
When coming into a meeting room, many residents of the area of the schools have waited for them. They have wanted to participate in the “Myanmar Day” organized by SEISA Group on the occasion of the delegates’ visit. The Myanmar Day has started with a welcome address by Mr. Hajime INOUE, COO of SEISA Group, followed by dances of SEISA students. After that, the lunch with typical Japanese foods, e.g. Mochi (sticky rice cake), Sushi, etc. has been served. Then, the delegates have experienced the Japanese style of tea ceremony, too, which has been served by Kimono-worn ladies.
After that, some residents have kindly shown traditional Japanese dances and also Hawaiian dances. To reciprocate such generous welcome, the delegates have made a presentation about their country, which has aroused a strong interest among the audience, witness the fact of the words of the school principal; “Now I really want to visit Myanmar, which is traditionally one of the countries emotionally very close to Japanese. I sincerely hope the tie between both nations will be further strengthened through citizen-driven activities like this.”
In the end of the event, they have also had a chance to see demonstrations of SEISA’s Dako-On, a Japanese drum player’s group which was awarded the national champion last year. It seems its strong sounds coming from the traditional drums have come into the delegates’ hearts as the “sign of friendship”.
Given heart-warming send-off by many students and lecturers, they have left the schools in the evening.
Day 3 - Tuesday, December 2
Actual training has started today, with technical visit to Meiki & Company LTD (located in Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture) specializing in the mold industry. Having its operations bases throughout the world including Southeast Asia, it is the company working hard in the background for the success of Japanese manufacturers. In the factory, a number of state-of-the-art machine tools are used. Despite them, according to the explanation by a manager, fine-tuning works by skilled people are still required in most cases since the top level of quality can be reached only by experienced people. It is not achievable with the machine tools only. All delegates have been very much impressed with it.
After that, they have met the founder/CEO of SEISA Group, Mr. Yasuo Miyazawa, moving to its head office/Oiso. He has encouraged them, saying among others: “After the World War II, Japan could achieve remarkable recovery thanks to all-out efforts of young generations. Similar to it, your country, Myanmar, now needs contributions also from young people like you. So I should be glad if you would make best use of experiences acquired here for the future.”
Then they have also had a chance to interact with SEISA teachers/staff, taking a part in a TV meeting connected to its schools located throughout Japan. So the day full of programs has come to the end.
Day 4 - Wednesday, December 3
The group visits the Kawasaki area, the center of Keihin Industrial Region (the largest industrial concentration in Japan), today and tomorrow.
First they have visited the Ukishima Solar Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The mega-solar plant put into operation in August 2011 is a joint business between Kawasaki City (offered the land) and TEPCO (offering the facilities and operations). A member of the group has said: “In Myanmar electricity is generated mainly by hydroelectric power stations.
We have three seasons, i.e. rainy season, hot season and cold season. The amount of electricity generated usually goes down in hot and cold seasons. On the other hand, there are enough sunshines in both seasons, so expectation for solar power generation is big in our country.” So all the members have been very eager to get as much information as possible. Responding to their eagerness, TEPCO has exceptionally allowed them to enter the ground where solar panels are installed (it is usually not allowed for visitors).
After that, they have moved to TEPCO’s Thermal Power Station, and have learned the most advanced power generation technologies combining the usual gas turbine system with the steam turbine system to increase the efficiency remarkably. In addition, the rest of steam is supplied to neighboring factories via pipelines, which also contributes to reducing the use of boilers drastically. They have shown keen interest to all the technologies used there.
Then they have also participated in a night tour through the industrial area (its night operation arouses interests of many people thanks to its illusion-like view). Kawasaki City tries to use it as a resource of tourism.
The program of the 4th day has come to the end shortly after 21:00 accordingly.
Day 5 - Thursday, December 4
The first visit of this day is to the Photocatalyst Museum of Kanagawa Science Park (KSP). It has kindly prepared special demonstrations for the delegates in order to show how effectively photocatalyst can decompose dirty things sticked to outside house-walls and windows.
After that, they visited the mircro-measurement and analysis center established by Kanagawa Prefectural Government for small- and medium-sized companies which cannot invest in expensive, highly advanced measuring and analysis devices. The members have been surprised that a local government like Kanagawa Prefecture offers such services to private companies.
Today’s lunch has been taken together with the executives of Kawasaki Chamber & Commerce (KCC) including its president. Enjoying nice views from KCC’s panorama restaurant, they have had various talks about Myanmar and its further development and ecological actions required.
In the afternoon, they visited the Toshiba Science Museum, attending, among others, maglev, anti-static and sound-generating demonstrations.
When coming out of the museum, it has started raining with colder wind. However, they keep good health condition and are working very hard.
Day 6 - Friday, December 5
Today the delegates have made a trip to Yamanashi Prefecture next to Tokyo.
In the morning they have visited the Yamanashi Prefectural Magleve Exhibition Center, the internet link of which is attached:
Although they have arrived there before the opening, many people have already waited at the entrance; it shows strong interest in the new maglev technology. A trial course of the maglev train is installed close to the museum. So, having seeing the exhibits, they have waited to see it coming. It has come and passed through really in an instant, i.e. at the speed of 500km/h. Most people have missed a chance to take photos due to the high speed. Our delegates have also surprised at the speed of the future.
In the afternoon, they have visited the Kofu Plant of NEC, the internet link of which is attached:
It is located close to the place where a maglev train station will be built in the future. In the factory, they have seen how high-end computers like servers are built. In view of the nature of such computers, tailor-made production is required; each unit is customized to meet specific requirements of the customer. To make it such complicated production possible and also to avoid any mistake, both people and system are combined in an effective way. Through such collaboration between human being and sophisticated machines, the company aims at achieving the best quality of the world. Hearing such explanations, our delegates seem to have had some thoughts about their future.
Then in the evening they have returned to SEISA’s guest house/Takao. At the dinner we have had a funny thing. Tasty foods have been served with one dish. Members have taken them. In the end, one peace has remained. We, Japanese, have suggested to take it because in Japan there is a saying, “the last one will bring you happiness”. However, nobody has taken it since Myanmar has another saying, “you will not get married if you take the last one”.
After the dinner, they have enjoyed a relaxed time with SEISA’s theater group, singing, among others, Japanese songs. At the time of saying “good night”, they have promised that they will teach Myanmar’s songs next time.
In Japan it has suddenly become colder. But all the members are working on the study program very hard, with good health.
Day 7 - Saturday, December 6
Today it has marked the lowest temperature of this winter in the Takao area. Using a free time in the morning, they have visited Takao-san, a small mountain close to SEISA’s guest house. When getting off at the cable car station halfway up the mountain, they have shivered with the cold since it has been -1 degree Celsius. Most of them have never experienced such temperature.
Then they have had a 30 minutes walk to the top of the mountain, where a beautiful view with Mt. Fuji has welcomed them. After having paid a visit to Yakuoin, a shrine located there, they have taken the cable car again toward the foot of the mountain. On the way, they have enjoyed colorful nature of that area.
In the afternoon, another study program has waited for them; it is a visit to Kitahara International Hospital (KIH), the internet link is attached:http://www.kitaharahosp.com/honnin/
Industrial development only is not sufficient for realizing a happy society. Other factors like medical care should be considered, too. KIH organizes everything (facilities, operations, and patient treatments), always giving top priority to patients and their families. All the delegates have been very much impressed with its policy.
KHI also has a rehabilitation center located near the hospital (internet link is attached: http://www.kitaharareha.com/）
The delegates have had a chance to see the facilities, too. In a large area, it has a farm where patients can work as part of rehabilitation. They have seen there some volunteers working. KIH encourages family members of the patient to work for the hospital, so that they can see how doctors and nurses are treating the patient. By doing so, they can also learn by themselves how they should do when the patient comes back to home. In this conjunction, KIH offers such volunteers benefits by reducing hospital fees.
In the evening they have had a dinner, together with SEISA’s teachers and theater group members. A new funny thing has been found today, too; where the banana will be peeled is completely different between Japan and Myanmar. We have laughed about it very much.
After the dinner, we have jointly discussed the visits/experiences made so far in the first week, summarizing findings and thoughts, and have also considered how they can be used for Myanmar when they come back to the country.
Day 8 - Sunday, December 7
Despite the holiday, the delegates have not been free. In the morning, they have attended the lecture about “Inclusive Society” and “Health-Care System in Japan” given in English by Prof. Miwako HOSODA, Vice President of SEISA University. They already learned SEISA’s Three Promises (Leave nobody out, Understand each other and Make friends) from Mr. Inoue/ COO of SEISA Group, and also heard about the objectives of this program from Mr. Miyazawa/CEO of SEISA Group. Now they have been able to understand them more precisely under the key word of “Inclusive Society”. As to the health-care system of Japan, it has been explained in relation with the population development of recent years and future. They have been ordered to make a report as homework, comparing with Myanmar’s situation, and to send it back to Ms. HOSODA after their return.
After the 2-hour intensive lecture, they have jointly taken lunch, curry rice with Japanese pickles most loved here. It seems to be liked by the delegates, too. As dessert, donuts have been served.
In the afternoon, they have had a chance to wear Japanese beautiful native costume “Kimono” thanks to SEISA’s theater group, which has lots for stage purposes. Female delegates have also changed their hairstyles, curling hair. In the beginning, they have seemed to worry about it. In the end, however, all of them have stood before the camera, fully satisfied.
In the evening, May Phyo and Aye Chan have kindly demonstrated a national dance to SEISA people, accompanied by Ko Lin’s song. It is commonly danced in Myanmar to celebrate the New Year.
Day 9 - Monday, December 8
The 2nd half of the program has started with a visit to Konica Minolta Inc. There is its R&D Center located about 30 minutes drive away from SEISA’s guest house/Takao where the delegates are currently staying. It is a kind of “brain organization” of Konica Minolta Group. Even its employees are usually not allowed to enter the inside; only limited members may come in. The group has exceptionally been allowed to visit it.
The R&D Center is a future-oriented modern building with 7 stories and 40K ㎡ of floor space; it has an atrium in the center to fill the inside with external light. Working spaces are allocated around the atrium without any wall. The design concept, “Remove Walls among Divisions”, is realized in it. In this conjunction, there are many common-use areas in each floor/corner, so that staff members can communicate/discuss each other freely regardless of which division they belong to. It aims at “inventing creative new technologies” and “leading them to marketable products quickly” by providing such working environment. All the delegates have shown keen interest in the explanations since they are also students/lecturers involved in technical/scientific studies.
After that, they have also visited a showroom/demonstration room with technologies newly developed; they are Advanced Copier with server function, Digital Printer and Wearable IT Terminal (eyeglasses-type) which have been materialized with Konica Minolta’s mainstream technologies related to “color/image management” , and Organic EL and Healthcare-related products which have been developed with technologies derived from them.
Day 10 - Tuesday, December 9
Today the group has visited the Kodaira Factory of Bridgestone Inc., the world-leading tire manufacturer, which is located in a north-western part of Tokyo. Mr. Baba of its Head Office, Public Relations Dept., has kindly welcomed them and has accompanied during the factory tour.
In the beginning, with DVD used, they have received outlined information about history, corporate mission, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) and production. All the members have been impressed with the fact that:
- the mission statement of the founder is valued the most and actually practiced in the current business, too;
- the most importance is put on employees, and a clinic and school are set up in each base location of the company in the world, so that employees can live together with their families regardless of where they work;
- the company has valued CSR activities even during the period of severe competition for market share as well as drastic change of market players.
After that, the delegates have been invited to the rooms which are usually not allowed to come in, and have seen various tire patterns generated with 3DCADs and also their performances simulated with precious CG devices. In addition, they have been able to see their actual images by using 3D glasses.
Then some photos have been take before the world largest tire, followed by lunch. On that occasion, they have also heard that the company is honored to be one of the official partners of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the afternoon, they have seen the recycling process at the Retread Learning Center, receiving detailed information about how to put new gum on the worn-out surface of the tire and then make tire pattern on it (it means “retread”). They are all surprised how quickly a used tire can be changed to a new one.
In the end, they have learned about a F1 test car and various products including environment-friendly tires in the museum, “Bridgestone TODAY”.
Bridgestone is well known in Myanmar, too. All the members have tried to take the opportunity and get as much information as possible from this visit, while taking pictures and memos in each visiting place.
Day 11 - Wednesday, December 10
Although December has just started, Japan is already placed in the middle of winter. SEISA’s guest house was surrounded with beautiful colorful leaves until some days ago. But they have meanwhile shed the leaves due to recent strong winds.
Program for today morning is to attend a lecture about the social welfare of Japan given by Prof. Munehiro TOYODA/SEISA University. After the high growth of the economy, Japan has entered the aging society rapidly, i.e. at the speed no other nation in the world has experienced so far. What Japan is experiencing may, more or less, possibly happen also in other countries which will develop very quickly; Myanmar may not be an exception. It the lecturer it has been explained with statistics
- how the number of households has increased;
- how the number of members per household has decreased;
- the development of population shows completely different curves between major urban areas and rural areas;
- how drastically Japan’s social welfare budget has increased and will possibly go up further;
- what social welfare systems are available in Japan and what facilities
After that, lunch has been taken, together with professors of SEISA University. The food served is the curry rice cooked/served by a welfare organization located in the neighborhood. The professors are members of the Ethics Committee, so they have exchanged views and opinions concerning ethics guideline with the delegates.
In the afternoon, they have been invited to a special elderly nursing home and a rehabilitation center. The former is “Yuyuen” where about 100 aged people are living, the internet link is attached:
It is equipped with clean personnel rooms and wide common spaces, and advanced care system is practiced there. On that day, volunteers have happened to have a meeting there. So the delegates have had a chance to shortly participate in it.
Then they have moved to Yuyuen’s rehabilitation center where aged people can train their leg muscles to avoid them from falling down. They have been given DVD introducing anti-fall-down exercises to be done while siting on the chair.
In the end, they have had a chance to have discussions with Yuyuen’s director, Mr. Suyama, and care worker, Mr. Miyazawa, concerning the situation of Myanmar. According to them, most of welfare-related things are done by volunteers for free.
Day 12 - Thursday, December 11
Today it has rained after some dried weather days. Thanks to it, temperature has come up a little bit. In Japan there are many sayings related to the rain. For example, “Yarazu no Ame” means “it starts raining, and now I have a good reason for persuading him (or her) to stay with me for more time.” This may be a good expression for today’s SEISA’s guest house since Myanmar delegates will leave tomorrow morning for return to the country.
Mr. Yusuke WATANABE, Secretary General of the Japan Myanmar Association, has kindly come to Takao in order to take lunch with the delegates.
In the afternoon, the closing ceremony of the program has been held in SEISA’s Takao Campus. Congratulated by SEISA students, each delegate has received the Certificate of Recognition from Mr. Hajime INOUE, COO of SEISA Group (in the Japanese way of this kind; all the members have been done very well).
Mr. INOUE has congratulated and encouraged them to make good use of experiences gained from the program for their future. After that, they have sung SEISA’s school song, together with other students. They learned it hard yesterday evening, so they have been able to sing very well. In the end of the ceremony, we have taken joint photos to commemorate their stay in Takao.
Then they have moved to SEISA’s theater hall. What has waited for them there are several performances made by SEISA students, e.g. guitar concert of “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” by Ryuichi SAKAMOTO (famous Japanese composer), “RPG”, other songs, dances and so on.
All SEISA members who have taken care of the delegates so far have got together at the time of dinner. They have talked and exchanged gifts, followed by songs and dances. Ko Lin has sung several Myanmar songs, while female members have shown the New Year dance again. Pleasant time has passed very quickly, and the last day in Takao has come to the end in the late evening.
Day 13 - Friday, December 12
In the early morning, the delegates have checked out at SEISA’s guest house/Takao to move to a hotel close to Narita Airport since they are scheduled to leave for Yangon tomorrow morning.
They have taken a train for the first time in Japan by using an electric deposit card, SUICA, which can be used for trains without purchasing a ticket each time.
Today’s first appointment is a courtesy visit to the governor of Kanagawa Prefecture. On the way to the Prefectural Government of Kanagawa, they have experienced a rush-hour congestion. Contrary to our expectation, they have not surprised since they are reportedly used to such congestion in Myanmar.
After arrival at the governmental building, they have been invited to a guest room. They have been welcomed there by Mr. Yuji KUROIWA/Governor and executives of Industry- and Tourism-related departments.
Although they seem to be nervous, each member has well reported what they have learned and experienced in Japan. Then they have received encouraging words and a token, “Hakone Zaiki” (famous wooden handcraft) from the governor. In return Dr. Aye Pyai Pyai Phyo has presented him with Myanmar’s picture, representing the delegation. A report is announced also in the governor’s home page, the link of which is attached:
After that, they have a short walk through the Yokohama port area, and have taken lunch there. Then they have moved to the next appointment at the Myanmar Embassy/Tokyo. There they have also reported U Win Aung, Minister Counsellor about their activities in Japan, and have received warm encouraging words from him. The Myanmar Embassy is currently under expansion to respond to increasing visitors, which reflects the fast development of the country.
In the evening they have quickly visited the illumination event held in the neighborhood of the Imperial Palace/Tokyo Main Station. Then they have moved to the hotel close to Narita Airport, where they will stay in the last night of Japan.
Day 14 - Saturday, December 13
The delegates have waked up at a hotel close to Narita Airport on the last day. The weather is super fine.
May Phyo san has said with a smiling face; “we arrived here two weeks ago under a fine weather, and today’s weather is also beautiful, because we are going to leave” .
Then other members have responded, saying “we have really had nice experiences for these two weeks”, “I am already missing SEISA’s people in Takao, and will never forget them”, “What I learned from Mr. Miyazawa and Mr. Inoue will remain in myself for ever and continue encouraging me toward the future”, and so on. Those have mainly been related to their appreciation and what they experienced here.
As scheduled, they have left for Myanmar shortly before noon, with lots of literature/documents received at the time of technical visits and also with lots of invaluable memories …….