From Epidemiology to Etiquette

Posted on June 24th, by Joni Montgomery in Trading Cultures. No Comments

Konnichiwa! (Hello!)

Our week began in a classroom with the Epidemiology veterinary students. In a nutshell, Epidemiology is the study of diseases, disease distribution and disease control. Each of the students had researched a disease, and one by one, they shared their findings with us. It was fascinating to hear what they were working on and learn about some of the common diseases in the world. Many of them had even traveled to other countries in order to collect data! I have always been passionate about zoonotic diseases (diseases which are transferrable between animals and people) so some of their topics really spiked my interest!

In the afternoon, Professor Kitazawa, who came to Findlay this past spring, taught us about animal pharmacology. He even showed us how certain drugs can speed up and/or slow down heart rate by using a mouse heart hooked up to a machine. It was fascinating to watch how the heart reacted with the various drugs.


Me with the group of veterinary technician students


The blood sample in the very middle of the tray is the match.

On Tuesday, we joined up with Masa (an exchange student who came to Findlay for the 2014-15 school year) and the other veterinary technician students to learn about blood cross matching. We used dog blood samples and performed a cross match experiment to see if any of them were a “match.” By that, I mean that they share the same blood type and can donate/receive blood from each other. Through multiple steps, we collected just the red blood cells. We then combined the various blood samples into little wells and placed them in an incubator. While we waited for our blood samples to incubate, we went around to the various rooms and met the vet techs’ dogs. It was so refreshing to see dogs again and bury our hands into their fur! After about thirty minutes, we headed back into the classroom and examined our test results. My group found that there was a match between two of the dogs: Maple – a border collie, and Bentley – a beagle.


A peaceful snow leopard at the zoo.


The tiger practice target.

On Wednesday, we left campus and went on a field trip to the Maruyama zoo. We met with one of the zoo veterinarians and had a behind the scenes tour of the veterinary hospital and the reptile house. One of the interesting things we learned is how they use blow darts to sedate animals for transportation or examination. They even have a practice board in the hospital and let us try our hand at sedating the wood tiger cutout. I missed the target, but Megan and Monica got the dart into the bag!


Megan, Maria, Rob, Monica, Grace, and Me.

That night back at campus, we attended a tea ceremony hosted by the Rakuno Gakuen Tea Club. The Japanese Tea Club takes everything very seriously and protocol must be followed to the letter. While being served, you are not allowed to talk to the person serving the tea. Although the wood tea stirrer costs about $40 USD, it is used only one time; and 100 grams of the tea costs about $40 USD. Apparently, according to Japanese custom, the first seat is “big important person seat” and the second seat is the “second most important person seat.” People in these positions receive their tea first and have to say and do certain things according to custom and tradition. Because I was placed in the first seat, I had to struggle through a Japanese sentence of tea acceptance (with Aimi’s aid). The specific tea ceremony we conducted was 400-500 years old. I enjoyed dressing up and learning how to make the special tea. The matcha tea is bitter, so before you drink it, you eat a sweet dessert made from sweet red beans and flour – it was delicious!

We did so much this week that I have to stop here, but the next post will include the rest of our week – which you won’t want to miss! See you again soon.

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