A visit to the Tokiwa Foundation in Iwaki, Fukushima

Author: Deepika Shrestha

Editor: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., Asaka Higuchi R.N.

On December 6, 2017, I visited Iwaki city, which is located in the southeastern coastal area of the Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The visit to Iwaki was memorable to me. I was lucky to visit multiple facilities belonging to the Tokiwa Foundation, the big healthcare group located in this area. Coming from Nepal, a lot of things looked new to me, and I would like to thank the entire staff at the Tokiwa Foundation for this opportunity.

This trip was kindly coordinated by my friend, Asaka Higuchi, a researcher at the Medical Governance Research Institute (MEGRI) in Tokyo. We boarded the Super Hitachi, a bullet train that connects Iwaki and Tokyo, for a two-and-a-half-hour ride. This experience was really exciting to me, as I have never used such a fast-public-transportation system. At Yushima Station, our destination, we were welcomed by Mr. Kazuyuki Sugiyama, who works in the General Administration Division of the Jyoban Hospital, a core institution in the Tokiwa Foundation group. Mr. Sugiyama belonged to the Kendo Club when he was a student of the University of Tokyo. Kendo is a modern-Japanese martial art that uses bamboo swords (shinai), Asaka’s boss at the MEGRI, Dr. Kami, also belonged to this club a couple of decades ago and has known Mr. Sugiyama since their university days. Mr. Sugiyama has been a friend of Asaka’s for a long time. He took us for lunch and explained that he majored in architecture for his master’s degree at the University of Tokyo. He was fascinated by the atmosphere at the Tokiwa Foundation, where the staff works in a good and cheerful atmosphere. Now, his ambition is to improve the care and hospitality for hospital patients by using his expertise in architecture.

Image 1. The entrance to the Jyoban Hospital, part of the Tokiwa Foundation group, with Mr. Kazuyuki Sugiyama

Image 2. The dialysis and PET center, with Ms. Asaka Higuchi

Image 1. The entrance to the Jyoban Hospital, part of the Tokiwa Foundation group, with Mr. Kazuyuki Sugiyama

Image 2. The dialysis and PET center, with Ms. Asaka Higuchi

On the same day, I had a chance to visit the nursing headquarters at the Jyoban Hospital. Ms. Fukiko Takagi, the head nurse at the hospital, kindly took time to see me, and we talked about the differences in nursing care between our two countries. I also met three nurses from Vietnam who were working and studying hard for the Japanese license examination. I was surprised to find that the Tokiwa Foundation helps foreign nurses learn nursing skills and the Ja