By Cameron Schauer | Posted: Saturday November 2, 2019
Cameron Schauer was awarded this fellowship and has provided his report from Tokyo. Applications close 30 November for the 2020 JSGE award.
I was lucky enough to be awarded this opportunity this year, and am currently half way through
a 4-month placement at NTT Medical Centre in Tokyo, Japan. I have been asked to write a
brief report to give you an idea of what things have been like for me and to help you decide if
you may want to apply for yourself!
The application process does require assembly of paperwork/work records, but is not too
cumbersome. Once awarded, the Japanese Society sort everything out – accommodation,
flights, airport pickup, placement and licence. This is incredibly helpful and necessary, as
navigating any of these in Japan by yourself would be difficult.
You can request what you are interested in and the Society will place you based on this. Of
course, Japan leads the world in Endoscopy and ESD, but many previous awardees have
done work in hepatology and manometry (and POEM) as well.
My accommodation is a 40-minute train ride from work, and is a self-contained apartment.
They got me a bigger place so my wife and baby could stay. The hospital performs over 900
ESD per year, including over 30 pharyngeal cases and an epiglottis case last week. I have
spent a long time observing, being retaught basic principles and practices including pathology,
magnification endoscopy, chromoendoscopy and lesion detection, particularly UGI but also
LGI. At this hospital, they all have an identical colonoscopy insertion technique and other
esoteric things like no-glove on the left hand, no shoe on right foot (to increase wheel/pedal
sensitivity - might leave that technique in Japan!) Some principles will not currently be
applicable to a NZ setting, but I will definitely add, amend and remove aspects of my
endoscopy practice. It has truly been a transformative experience so far from this standpoint,
and my recognition of subtle early dysplastic lesions has improved greatly under their
expertise and guidance.
Many of the doctors speak some English, and try very hard to explain things, also to improve
their language. They do expect you to show up and observe and learn (even in a typhoon),
and sometimes the days can be long.
Outside of work there is an enormous amount to see, do and eat – it is actually quite
overwhelming. My workmates have also taken me out to non-Trip-Advisor places which has
been really great too.
This is an experience I would highly recommend, and would be happy to answer any further
Cheers, (Kanpai 乾杯!) Cam
NB: you want to apply please contact NZSG for all documentation required