Japan Travel – Rotary Group Study Exchange Goes to Japan, Article Eight

The international organization known as Rotary promotes yearly travel that all people between the ages of 26 and 40, male and female, and of all backgrounds – should know about – because it is a Rotary-funded six week study aboard and anyone can apply to be a part of this significant life experience. If you are this age group – you could enjoy the kind of experience that is described in my notes in this article. To find out more about the program go to and search for GSE – Group Study Exchange – and contact your local Rotary Club for more information.

Our adventures continued:

April 24th – Sunday:

Revolt today – crash day and naps were in order. We woke to the mountain vistas – and Harry, Julia, Monica and Antonio walked down to the other cabin to snooze again. Not wanting to miss an opportunity – the rest of us headed to the best hot springs – up in the mountains, called Muso-en – phone #0977-84-2171. This was a big hot springs that took in the majesty of the valley below – the water was hot, the air smelled good, the sky was blue and a thatched canopy sheltered some Japanese women and I from the sun’s rays. I stayed long – and the rest were through with lunch – but they languished on the tatami mats while I ate. It was a very relaxed day for everyone – and much needed from our busy schedule. We woke the rest of the crew – piled in cars – and started the drive back to Kitakyushu City.

Interesting – at lunch was the first person that I have met in Japan that irritated me. At first I thought that it was just that I was tired that day. She was with us for lunch – and I didn’t understand the conversation – she just talked and talked in Japanese, and as I watched the scene like a movie – I thought that the five guys were nodding politely for what seemed like an hour. The point of my story is that when Kenji and I talked about it later we saw the same thing – she talked too much and was not aware of her affect on the guys at the table. What I thought was interesting – is that even though I didn’t understand the language, and am not as familiar with the culture – there was a common understanding (regardless of culture, language etc.) of how we perceive people and the reaction that we have to them. Interesting – we are all the same, and at the same time, we are all different.

April 25th – Monday:

The food at lunch is much better in Japanese Rotary Clubs – today it was served like a fine restaurant. Harry and I had a fun day – while the others were off in other directions – Monica at the Yahata Central Rotary Club, Antonio at ATEC in Kagoshima, and Julia at Mr. Asagazmi’s office in Kokura.

Ah….today, Harry and I went to the Kokura Central Rotary Club – it’s in Kitakyushu City. Forty years ago five “wards” as they call them where put together to form the City – and Kokura is one of them, as well as Yahata. This is another Club that meets at the Station Hotel – lovely if you come here to visit – and we all like Kitakyushu City (maybe better than Fukuoka). Anyway – big news. This Rotary Club has 12 women members – the Club was founded by five women – its membership is 65 – and the incoming President is a women. Her name is Mariko Fujioka – and she will be the second female president in the District. Another young woman, Asami Yoshiko introduced herself to me as well – she’s in a Club in Fukuoka – with 24 members, 13 of which are women, and the average age is 38 – with 26 as their youngest member. Both were excited about the additions that they are making to the Rotary world.

Harry and I were in for a treat in the afternoon – we went to Mr. Takamoto’s business – TMSUK – and saw the T63 and other versions of the robots that they are building. Japan is a leader in robots – and Mr. Takamoto’s company is the leader in Japan, and his son runs the company. One robot looks like a dog – it can circle your house, squat and shake hands – and don’t be mistaken – it can see and alert its owner by cell phone if you are intruding. The T63 looks like a sweet woman – but she can stun you – push an elevator button – see – and be operated from another country – she goes where you won’t want to, in what might be a dangerous situation. The company also has built the largest robot in the world – and it’s 5 tons – and is used to move heavy objects (like in earthquake damage) and help in fire fighting and rescue operations. We learn that Mr. Takamoto just can’t sell his product – it’s considered a weapon and needs approval by Japanese and foreign governments in a sale – but he hopes that it saves human lives in war and disaster situations. He says that the government watches his robot development very closely – and understands that there are lots of uses. He took us to a “secret” location – unmarked – where they are working on robot development under patents that the company holds here and in America. Harry is really looking forward to seeing the firefighting robot when it comes back from Tokyo on Wednesday – me too – and we’ll see how it is operated.

We have new host families today – I’m staying with the Takamoto’s – and I’ve enjoyed home stay. My first family was traditional Japanese (less formal though) – my second was new Japanese in lifestyle – and third is traditional Japanese (much more formal). When Kenji, Harry and I arrived – Mrs. Takamoto did a formal tea ceremony, with traditional Japanese cake, in the living room. In this house you even take your house slippers off before you go into the bedroom – where there are tatami mats. Mrs. Takamoto instructs me in the proper way – I miss a few beats – and she’s obviously the keeper of the Japanese way. Mr. Takamoto was a Rotary District Governor, a prestigious position.

Joan Perry

President/CEO of Take Charge Financial! | Joan’s Blog and http//

Joan Perry has developed her expertise ホームページ制作 福岡  over twenty-five years, beginning as an Investment Banker working on Wall Street and continuing as a Money Manager and Owner of a Securities Brokerage Firm. As President of Take Charge Financial!™, Joan initially founded one of the first female-owned Municipal Investment Banking firms in the United States known as Perry Investments Inc. in 1985, which then began retail and brokerage services to individuals in the mid-90s. She has in-depth trading and market experience from managing institutional and retail investment dollars in the securities markets, and throughout her career has managed billions of dollars in the bond, stock and options markets. Joan combined her personal and professional background in her book A GIRL NEEDS CASH© published by Random House in 2000 – a story of money in women’s lives and the transition to taking charge of it. She received her MBA from Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management and undergraduate degree from Denison University. She was the founding President of the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club and currently the Co-Chair of the Los Gatos, CA ‘Jazz on the Plazz’ Summer Concert Series.



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