Japan is an amazing and wonderful country. The people are so polite and welcoming and we can learn a lot from their service-oriented and respectful culture. There is not a speck of garbage anywhere, not a cigarette butt or a wrapper of any kind. There are no garbage cans on any street as people consider it rude to eat or drink while walking on the street. Smoking is prohibited except for designated smoking areas. Always well dressed, the men will almost always wear a suit and tie, no matter how hot the weather. The polite bow when greeting someone is a testiment of the mutual respect and concept of Shemui..."thinking of others."
I arrived in Tokyo after a 27-hour journey from Toronto. Passing the international dateline in the air, we celebrated my wife Ricki's birthday with a cake provided by ANA, Air Japan. Wow, what service! After landing in Tokyo (very hot and humid) we checked into the hotel and grabbed a quick nap before having dinner with the two chief researchers at GC Corporation. The next day was spent with the executives and researchers at GC reviewing their product line and discussing new materials in the developemental stages. We talked about how to solidify a more meaningful corporate bond between the AACD and their support of the Annual Scientific Session.
The next day, I was off to Sapporo to lecture to the joint Asian Academy and Japanese Academy of Esthetic Dentistry convention. I met up with our CEO, Ed Simeone, and we had many meetings with the groups from the various Asian countries. Our sister relationship with Korea and Japan Academies of Esthetic Dentistry is strong and moving forward with new initiatives beyond sharing of speakers and articles, but to include poster sessions and now a joint taskforce reviewing the accreditation processes used by the JAED and KAED and how we can help create a standard of care that will be a stepping stone to more international members being able to achieve the AACD credential in future.
Dr. Wynn Okuda and I both gave different lectures during the 3-day conference and they were very well attended. The official language of the conference was English, so fortunately it was not necessary for me to learn Japanese, although by the end of the trip I had mastered hello, goodbye, and thank you! (The word for good morning is Ohio...I kept thinking of Cleveland, Ricki got confused and kept saying Oahu, but being cute has its advantges and nobody seemed to mind at all.)
After the conference concluded in Sapporo, I jumped onto a flight to Kyoto where I gave a lecture to the executives of Shofu Corporation about the AACD and the state of dentistry in North America. They were keenly interested in the Canadian market and so I was able to clarify the issues of insurance, dentistry, and Canadian population demographics for them. I was treated to a tour of the research facilities and factory wthere they make denture teeth, burrs, and abrasive polishers, composites, and their new Giomer technology, which is very exciting as it releases antibacterial ions that also reduce the acid levels in the oraal environment. We promised to create a stronger corporate partnership between the AACD and Shofu corporation. It was a very successful meeting.
The Japanese have a strong focus on prevention and regeneration, their science is very strong and the research that is ongoing is very impressive and of great benefit to all of us in dentistry.
As AACD representatives, we were able to help with sharing clinical techniques that the AACD is famous for and the promise of continuing strong relations is a testament to the groundwork that has been the foundation we have created with our sister academies in Asia.
I look forward to being of help to continue a strong relationship that will be of mutual benefit to us all.