Summer Festival and last few days in Japan……

Summer started here, in Japan, with a `Bang`, quite literally! It started on the 1st day of August every year with a huge firework show, and the biggest in Japan is in Tondabayashi, east part of Sayama city. I watched the fireworks show from the hospital area together with all the patients that the doctors and nurses dragged out from the wards ūüôā Unfortunately my camera was a cheap one, so the quality of the pictures were not good. Nevertheless, I got the chance to go and see for myself a summer festival event at one of the village in Tondabayashi. It was made possible by the excellent hospitality shown by my Japanese teacher (although¬†i have ¬†quit her class, susah ma….), Mrs. Kakimoto. We went there with her mother and Mrs. Kakimoto also joined the show!


The entrance into the summer festival event - it says `Welcome doktoraji` ūüôā


This stage was the centre of attraction - the singer is singing old traditional summer Japanese songs....


...while the people of different ages and sizes danced around it in their traditional summer Kimono dresses


Old, young, men and women dancing the traditional Japanese dance with their own group and style of its own


Another group of veterans....


Not forgetting the children.....behind the mother with baby is Mrs. Kakimoto, joining the parteyy!


There were a lot of stalls selling foods - here is how Takiyaki are being made - truely Japanese style

Summer is hot and dry here. The temperature has been constantly high up to 34-36 celcius for the past few weeks. Surprisingly, last two days have been raining… has been raining all over Japan, in what suppose to be the peak of summer. I think she knows that i am leaving her tomorrow….as the song goes `Don`t cry for me Japan….` ūüôā
Anyhow, the last few days here have been eventful. The department has organized one farewell dinner and the endoscopy team had also organized a night out at a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Summer is when we could find stalls selling grapes by the road side - lots of them!


I told you it was raining didn`t I - no, not in Congo, Africa - Kongo - the nearest big train station.


Farewell dinner with the endoscopy teamWith Prof. Hiroshi Kashida outside the restaurant


The gifts from the Prof. Kashida, Dr. Matsui and the endoscopy team. Thanks!


The farewell dinner with the department, Prof. Kudo awarding me the certificate, some mementos and stipend. We ate `changkong` - a food eaten by Sumo wrestler.


Had to give my appreciation and gratitude speech


The memento from Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Kinki University School of Medicine.

It has been an `experience` the last three months. Thank you to JSGE for this opportunity. Thank you to Prof. Kudo and his team for the hospitality and accepting me as a guest. Thank you to all of you that prayed for me here. And thank you the most to my beloved wife and children, without their sacrifices and patientce I will not be able to go on this adventure.
The next adventure……..Adelaide? Melbourne? Sydney? or just Singapore? Just wait and see…..¬†ūüėČ

Endoscopy Hands-On Seminar

Last Sunday I had the chance to attend an endoscopy hands-on seminar, organized by the endoscopy unit of Kinki University. It was a seminar to learn and practice¬†the ESD and EMR technique. ESD and EMR stands for endoscopic submucosal dissection and endoscopic mucosal resection respectively. I think I’ve already mentioned about it earlier. Just to re-cap; the main 3 layers of our digestive system (stomach and intestine) consists of mucosa, submucosa and muscle layers. Mocosa is the part that is exposed to our food and where our enzymes digest the foods. Sub-mucosa is the¬†layer underneath it and below it is the muscle layer (smooth muscle). All¬†these layers are very thin, maybe less than 1-2mm.¬†ESD and EMR¬†are the techniques that I wanted to learn and the ones that I’ve been observing for the last 12 weeks or so.¬†The procedure are useful¬†to treat early cancer, either in the oesophagus, stomach¬†and¬†large intestine (colon).

Right, back to the¬†seminar. The seminar was a one day thingy and we¬†were given animal models.¬†When I asked ¬†what are the animals that are going to be¬†used, they told me that it was going to be the stomach and intestine of the cows and pigs! Hmmm….I think it should be ‘safe’ since I’ll be wearing gloves…..but could I really scope a pig’s stomach? I was imagining that there will be the whole big fat pig on the table/bed and I have to insert the scope through¬†its mouth! Watching its big nose staring at me while I’m inserting the scope…….now I’m a bit freaking out!

In reality, since I’ve never been to any hands-on seminar before, it was only the stomach and intestine that were on the table…………how¬†relieved was I.


Prof. Kashida (blue tops) is marking the area in the intestine to be resected by the students.


Dr. Matsui (green tops) facilitating the student for stomach ESD.


The pig's stomach that we had to scope and removed the 'lesion'. Could you see the light at the bottom part of the stomach? That's where the end of the scope is.


The stomach is bloated by the continuous air being pumped - that's how your stomach looks like after iftar ūüėČ


I¬†think I did pretty well for the EMR since I’ve been doing them a lot in Malaysia, but ESD was definitely not as easy as the experts made it to look. That’s why they are called experts, I guess.¬†Anyway, I’ve received a certificate at the end of the seminar. More importantly, I got the trust from the experts and I was given the chance to do stomach ESD¬†on¬†real person/patient¬†after the seminar. I’m eager to perform some more ESDs during the short time that’s left. Hopefully no complications on the patients, Amin!¬†

The remains of the day…..

Have you seen the movie above? I think I have but could not really recalled it. It was¬†based upon a novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese man who has lived in Britain since 1960’s. I came across one of his novel, When We Were Orphans, ¬†and bought it after my wife went back to Malaysia. I knew that after she left it will be a long lonely days here in Japan.¬†I was actually intrigued by his works because accidentally I’ve watched another movie, Never Let Me Go, which was also adapted from his novel. It was not my wife’s cup of tea,¬†but it was really a ‘different’ sort of movie,¬†not the typical hollywood movies, that’s for sure.
Anyway, below are the the pictures that my wife and I went, around Osaka city, during the remains of her days…… Japan ūüôā

One of the entrance to the castle gate - West Outer Moat


You could see the castle from afar....I have no idea what she's doing ūüėČ


The famous Osaka Castle - must go places in Osaka


The entry to the gate, still had to walk another 10-20 minutes to get to the castle!


The tram that we took to go back......its a classic!


Then we went to one of the tallest ferries wheel in Osaka - the Hep5 Ferries wheel. We are the peak of the wheel! Itu senyuman berani-berani takut tu, ūüôā


You could see the whole city of Osaka from here - that is the biggest train station - Osaka-Umeda Train Station


Another view of the city.......


and another....


Alhamdulillah....safely on the ground at last - double V for victorious!


Night time at Osaka - Namba area - southern part of Osaka


Walking around the famous Dotombori river - waiting for the Dotombori River Cruise - river cruising at night


On the boat, enjoying the lights and observing night life in Osaka


The river cruise is famous for its 9 bridges that we have to go through - very, very close to your head some of them


One of the big octopus that was made into Takoyaki - cekodok sotong as my wife called them.

Jalan-jalan terjumpa dengan ‘kucing’ Jepun, ūüôā tengah bagi flyer untuk restoran. Yang mana satu impian kalbu? Mine is already in my heart ūüėČ

We end the day by eating ebiyaki - cucur udang - by the foodstall.

Sayonara, mata ashita!

New staff Kinki University

At last I’ve got¬†my ‘staff card’, although I’m going back in two weeks time. This will be my souvenir from Japan ūüėČ FYI this staff card will be my 4 different staff cards at 4 different hospitals for the last 2 years. When I first started my training two years ago, I was¬†working at Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah,¬†Kuala Terengganu then was¬†‘involuntarily’ moved further away from Kuantan, to Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Kota Bharu before going to UMMC, KL. So, I am¬†now able to speak ‘ganu kite’, ‘bahase kelate sokmo’ and of course now, Japanese….otsukare samadeshita [which means ‘good job’ –¬†we said this after successfully doing an endoscopic procedure ;-)]¬†

The new kid on the block ūüėČ

If you can read Japanese, then that is my name, heh heh. I’ve purposely deleted my name in Roman. The Japanese letters has 3 forms, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hiragana is the basic letters that allows its user to spell simple words (used mainly by children). For ‘alien’ words such as English or Malay and more advance letters (usually used by adult), then they used Katakana. Hence my name shown is in Katakana. Every Japanese will have in their staff card, their names in Hiragana and Katakana, but mine is in Roman and Katakana since they could not spell my name in Hiragana.¬† What about Kanji? Kanji is basically letters with Chinese characters. They have up to 1,000 to 5,000 Kanji words or maybe more. I think the chinese themselves have more than 5,000 caharacters. Some of my Chinese friends could understand a bit of Japanese book because of the Kanji words. Confused? Hmmm, that’s why I’ve quit my Japanese class now….so difficult ma!¬†Ok, enough of language class. Just to show you another of my ‘souvenir’ from Japan. My Japanese medical licence, or ACT (advanced clinical training). It is only valid for a month. What I found is that the Katakana letters that they used to spell my name are exactly the same as the one used in my staff card. It shows that their letters are consistent¬†to¬†whatever ‘sound’ or foreign sentences. You know, like in¬†bahasa, if I ask you to spell Zubayr,¬†I’m sure we will have many sorts of different answers – Zubair, Zubyr, Zubaiyr – betul tak?
Anyway, ¬†its only less than 2 weeks before doktoraji is in the house! ūüôā¬†

Have to ask them what is doktoraji in Japanese words ūüėČ


Jalan-Jalan Kobe Mosque

Last Friday, there was no cases for me to see and do in the endoscopy room, so I took the chance to go to Kobe. Primarily to do my first ever Friday prayer at a mosque in Japan (previously I only had them at a¬†Malaysian student’s house near Nagase). I’ve been planning to go to the mosque since the first few¬†weeks I¬†arrived. I was told that Kobe mosque is the first ever mosque in Japan and¬†there are a sizeable muslim community around the area as well.¬†This mosque was said to be the only structure remained intact after the¬†great¬†Kobe earthquake¬†in January 17, 1995 that nearly flattened the city of Kobe. There were more than 6,000 death (> 4,000 in Kobe) and collapse of more than 200,000 buildings. The mosque was also intact despite the bombing during world war¬†II in 1945.

The journey took me about 2 hours by bus and train. The mosque is about 10 minutes walking from the main train station (Sannomiya train station).


One of the halal shop around the area - Japanese ladies were at the cashier, not sure Muslims or not but they did say "Terima kasih, sila datang lagi."


Restoran halal pun ada....macam-macam ada!


The majestic (for Japan standard) Kobe Mosque


The main entrance


Masjid kobeh ke kubah? ūüėČ


Inside the mosque - Turkish influence and architecture


No fancy mimbar, simple as it should be


Next and adjoining to the mosque is the Islamic Centre. This was where they cook and I had my iftar for the day, Pakistan style - nasi beryani basmati original!

Later in the evening, after Asr prayer and waiting for iftar, I was very fortunate to witness a couple, a Japanese¬†lady and a Pakistani man getting maried in the mosque. It started with the saying of shahaadah by the lady and the nikah was performed. I was waiting to take the picture of the bridegroom to shake¬†the hand of the imam, but then it never happened as the nikah was already completed. Then I remembered, when I was one of the¬†witness (saksi) for the nikah¬†in the UK,¬†it was so simple and easy. The bride and the bridegroom were just required to say ‘yes’ or ‘I do’ when the imam asked. In this aspect, I think Malaysian men (or any men marrrying Malaysian girls) are ‘victimised’, not¬†just¬†they have to memorize¬†their wife’s¬†complete name¬†[I was lucky my wife’s name is easy :-)]¬†plus the dowry,¬†they also have to say it in one single breath……..and nowadays its a trend to use the microphone with a big loud-speaker! So, to¬†my younger sister who is getting married soon……..don’t worry, your brother here will provide 3-5 microphones during the wedding ceremony ūüėČ

The bride saying the Syahaadah


Nikah started with the presence of the witnesses


Alhamdulillah....Barakallahulak, wabarakallahualaik, wa jama'a bainakuma fi khair......



Weekends have always felt long here, especially when you are alone and doesn’t know what to do. Since I’ve started this blog, might as well download some more pictures here. I think, here in Japan, FB has not been well established (correct me if I’m wrong), hence my difficulty in uploading my pictures in FB.

Anyway, the highlight of my wife’s visit was the USJ – Universal Studio Japan! I’ve been to Universal Studio Florida, some years ago (1996, during the Atlanta Olympics), when I was still single and available….;-) ¬†This time will be different,¬†it was go with my lovely wife! And after this, maybe we will bring the kids to Universal Studio Singapore. Apparently there are 4 Universal Studio in the world, 2 in the states and 2 in Asia. ¬†It was a good experienced, lots of rides and shows. The only problem about USJ was that, most of the shows were being played in Japanese. So I had a tough job of translating them to my wife ¬†ūüėČ

10th anniversary of USJ, also 'honeymooning' to celebrate our 13th anniversary ūüôā

Inside Universal Studio Japan


After the Jurassic Park ride - wet, wet, wet!


One of the best ride and show - only 10 minutes wait!


Spiderman city - true building or a painting?


Help Spidey! A lady is pulling me down and throwing away my lunch bag!


The main stage in the middle of the theme park Thank you Spidey for helping me, look there she is again!


We met woody woodpecker....


Had a handshake and balloon from Elmo....


And also playing some bouncy balls..... ūüėČ


The day is not complete without the night parade show

Had to bring my children there too……..insya-Allah.

All praise to Allah – Ramadan Mubarak

Dome of the beautiful Turkish mosque in Tokyo

Alhamdulillah, Ramadan is approaching. In Japan, most probably we will follow the saudi for the date of 1st Ramadan, which is going to be Monday, August 1st 2011. Currently its the peak of summer, where the hottest of summer here is at the end of July and beginning of August. It has been a long time since I’ve fasted in a minority Muslims country.¬†Maybe 12 or 13 years ago. I wish all of you Ramadan Mubarak, may we achieved At-Taqwa as that is what we’re trying to achieve in this month of rahmah and forgiveness.

During my wife visit, last week, there have been a lot of good news that I’ve received as well. Allah has been very kind to me, not just bringing my wife here in Japan, but also all the things that I’ve been working for and prayed for has been granted, All Praise to Allah.

Entrance door to the mosque

First of all, I’ve been confirmed¬†as the¬†recipient of¬†the APAGE/JGH Foundation Fellowship Training Award for this year. If you want to know what its all about, you guys could have a look at its website, you’ll see a photo of me with receding hair line and a short CV. What this award means is that¬†I’ll be getting some funds for my research which hopefully could help me and my family in Australia when we go there, hopefully by the end of this year. I would like to thank all of you, who have prayed for me getting this award. I would also like to record my gratitude to my previous consultant, Prof KL Goh, wihtout whom I shall not even think of applying for this award.

Secondly, my application for¬†medical practice in Australia has been approved by the relevant board and now, its pretty sure, by Allah’s grace, my family and I shall go to Adelaide by the end of this year. It has taken me precious time, effort and money just to hand-in the application, which was ages ago, and now it only¬†take us for the visa application. Before that, I have to wait for the¬†Australia hospital to apply first. It was a loborious exercise with all the forms,¬†procedures and mailings, but hopefully this last hurdle could be dealt with ease. Amin.

Thirdly, my long awaited Japanese medical licence has been approved, albeit 2 months late, and I could beginning next week perform some endoscopies. My hands has been itching to do some scopes and the time has come for me to show some of my skills…;-) and¬†its also time¬†to brush-up my Japanese…. Anata no kuchi o shite kudasai hiraku koto ga dekimasu (could you open your mouth please) heh heh

All in all, Alhamdulillah, Allah has made my path relatively easy in pursuing my dream of becoming a gastroenterologist, although this period of my time in Japan is on its own a struggle. Hopefully it will be a reminder to me of the importance of my family, not just ‘my family’ but also¬†my parents,¬†siblings and¬†relatives.¬† Though we may be apart at different corners of the world, you will always be in my heart and my prayers….love¬†all of you and Ramadan Kareem…..

Tokyo Camii and Turkish Cultural Centre


Main door - but the actual entrance is at the first floor


View on the first floor, into the prayer hall. Its located at Shibuya-ku district in Tokyo.


Inside the prayer hall - upper level is for the sisters. Beautifully decorated mainly from traditional Turkish tiles. I was told that this centre is fully funded by the Turkish government.



Kaiyukan and Kyoto

After coming back from Nara, the next day was still raining. So we decided to visit places where we could enjoy them indoor. Off we went to the Bay Area in Osaka, where the Tempozan Market (basically a shopping complex with lots of restaurants), the giant ferries wheel and the Kaiyukan (the biggest aquarium in Japan!) are located. We did not get the chance to get into the¬†ferries wheel since¬†my other half¬†is apparently afraid of the heights, and yet have no problem coming to Japan on the airplane…jangan marah, nanti kena jual ūüėČ

Before that, we head to the Turkish restaurant in the Tempozan Market. Very nice restaurant with good food. Had our brunch here. Lunch buffet was 1380 yen per person! Maximum stay in this restaurant - 80 minutes


Inside the market are also some entertainment and games areas for the kids. This is the ninja place - I think you become a ninja and explore the place. Macam masuk rumah hantu kot....


Kaiyukan, the biggest aquarium in Japan - have I told you that?


Next to the Kaiyukan is the Tempozan Market and the giant Ferries wheel.


One of the 'star' of this place is this huge seal - the alpha male of the seals here. The signature of Kaiyukan is the shark whale, unfortunately my camera ran out of battery. Can you believe that, of all the places and time!

 The day after, the weather was much better, so we decided to go to Kyoto, the Imperial capital of Japan. After Nara, the capital was moved to Kyoto, it was the capital of Japan from  the year 796 until 1868. There a bit of history for you. I was expecting kyoto to be a small city like Nara, to my surprise, Kyoto is a big city and there are so many places to go to. It has its own subway and train network, much like Osaka, a bit smaller. The good thing about Kyoto, you could travel around the city and the tourists attraction places by bus and it is cheap. Just buy the 500 yen one day bus ticket. Anyway, since we could not cover the whole places of attractions and we have sort of tired of seeing all the temples, so we decided to go to Arasiyama. The eastern part of Kyoto where you could take the tram and travel on it whilst experiencing the beautiful scenery of the mountains, river and forrest (plus the bamboo forrest as well).  

Entrance to the tram station at Saga


Map showing the tram track. We could also take the boat through the river on the way back, but we did not have enough time for it...;-(


The tram is here! Its called The Romantic Train ūüėČ


Across the bridge, into the tunnel


The tram stopped at the bridge for photo taking session


Inside the air. The passengers are looking out, there are people waiting to board the tram!


Sorry guys......not enough room for all of you ūüėČ


Really nice view. They said its nicer during autumn and spring. The train that you see is the 'normal' Japan railway train going back to city centre.


Sampai akhirnya ke Kampung Santan, Kyoto, Japan

After coming back to the city centre, we went to the Kyoto Imperial Garden, where the Imperial Palace is located.¬†The garden was really huge and well maintained. We¬†did our prayer¬†under of the trees there.¬† I think there are too many photos in this entry. You guys must be bored. So, just two picture around the palace and its garden…..cheers!¬†

One of the entrance to the Imperial Palace


This is one of the gate into the garden. You could 'park' your horses here ūüėČ


From Kansai With Love

It has been a busy week last week. The moment that I’ve been waiting for has arrived! The thing that kept me going through the day here in Osaka-sayama has finally arrived! Yes, the ‘thing’ was my wife visit. Although I would like to just stay in my room with her the whole week…;-)¬†it seemed a waste to come all ¬†the way from M’sia without visiting Osaka. So we went to several places around Osaka city and few other places around its vicinity. One good thing about Osaka is that, it is in the middle – you could go around Kansai area which have a lot of historical and beautiful cities within 30 – 60 minutes. Unfortunately, despite being summer, Japan was hit by a typhoon last week, resulting in raining for most of the days last week. Despite that we managed to visit some places like Nara¬†and Kyoto, and not to forget the Universal Studio Japan (USJ as the students here call it).

Nara, Japan's first permanent capital, in the year 710


One of the lake in Nara - Pretty eh. The lady or the lake? ūüėČ


Posing with one the many deers around. Behind is one of the temple - 5 storey high


I'm sure this deer is male.


The gate into one of the largest wooden temple in the world - Todai-ji, also under UNESCO world heritage monument. so many of them in Nara!


Things you should not do in the park full of deers - 1,000 years already!


Japanese Garden - one of them the entrance was free for foreigners. Traditional Japanese houses with its garden.


Beatiful garden.....boleh amik idea for your dream house

We had a good time in Nara, albeit occasional shower…….will continue with other places soon.¬†¬†

Tokyo Part 2

JR bas yang dinaiki on the way to Tokyo
JR stands for Japan Railway. Yes, walaupun railway, dia ada jugak perkhidmatan bas. BTW kat Jepun walaupun JR ni macam KTM kat Malaysia, they did not monopolised the market. Ada banyak line keretapi private yang beroperasi around Japan at a competitive price. So, people can choose the service that they want.

At Shinjuku Station, Tokyo, 6.00 am local time

After arriving, we went to the mosque for our morning bath and a bit more sleep. Then we had some breakfast….Taiyaki….macam-2 perisa ada!

Taiyaki (Tai=fish, yaki=fried), nama aje ikan sebenarnya tepung berbentuk ikan, no ikan in it.

I chose the taiyaki with ‘kacang merah’ inside it. Ok la, rasa macam apa ye? Macam kuih kat Malaysia yang bulat and ada inti kacang dalam tu….bukan pau….i don’t know the name, tapi lebih kurang la. Then we had a stroll around city centre and came across one of the market in Tokyo….

Magic foods....tak jatuh beb....this is unique in Japan, most of the restaurants have this on display. Kalau kat hospital cafe siap ada tulis how much is the calories in them.


The market....


Tangan 'Tako' (sotong) - famous food in Osaka, and most probably it came from Osaka


Satu lagi yang unik - one of the lady dress in an anime character

There were a lot of this ‘anime’ characters around, offering brochures for their shops. Most are young girls…ooppps, most are ¬†dvd, toy¬†and comic shops. I don’t know why but the people here really like comics and toys, even amongst adults. They even que-up to buy certain¬†toy characters and in the train¬†you will always see them reading comic books.

One of the electrical shops - it should read 'anu den' - heheheh

I think I will continue uploading more pictures later – Tokyo part 3 – definitely much more ‘happening’ than osaka-sayama…;-)


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