Spring Seminar 2012

The seminar was opened by the Toholampi student orchestra.

The seminar was opened by the Toholampi student orchestra.

Hanako’s Spring Seminar Witnessed Growth and New Initiatives

As a host of Hanako’s spring seminar in 2012, the Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia had exciting news for the participants. Progress and new initiatives were shared by Ms. Katariina Lempinen, teacher at the Toholampi Unit of the Rural Institute.

The first exchange student was at that very moment in Japan to refine his silver smith skills. Ms. Sakata Rutsuko, a Japanese textile artist, had promised to take two interior decorator trainees to Japan, and, in addition, some more trainees to Fiskars, where he works every year for six months. Also, co-operation with the Tama Art University and with two Finnish companies operating in Japan – Honka Hirsitalot and Kannustalo – had started to take shape.

Fascinating Simulation Training

Yksikönjohtaja Aarne Törmänen toivotti vieraat tervetulleiksi.

Yksikönjohtaja Aarne Törmänen toivotti vieraat tervetulleiksi.

The seminar offered a diversified three-day programme for the network partners: presentations, college and company visits, workshops and Ostrobothnian culture and music. As the manager of the Toholampi unit, Mr. Aarne Törmänen stated in his opening speech, Toholampi appreciates its music traditions and started therefore the event at the town hall with the performance of the student orchestra.

During the first seminar day, participants visited the Kokkola Institute of Social Services and Health Care, where they had an opportunity to monitor a simulation training. Especially the Japanese partners were excited about the patient simulator. As a learning environment, simulation allows the students to react to the changes in the patient’s condition, f.ex. change in the skin colour which signifies oxygen deficit.

Other visited places were Jussinpirtti, which organises wellfare services for the aged, the old Vicarage of Toholampi and Actilies, which manufactures rehabilitation devices exported to Japan as well.

Quality Comes First

Pleased with the expansion of the network, which means more partners and participants as well as new fields like environmental design, Ms. Sirje Hassinen, Hanako’s project manager stressed the importance of quality also in the future.

“Quality is more important than quantity. Exchange students are required at least one year of preparation, which means familiarity with language, culture and the work they are going to do in Japan.”

As an example of a well motivated student, Ms. Hassinen told about Ms. Sanni Simonen, who got a training place in a Japanese company on her own initiative. “Sanni gave a push to Hanako and had an influence on the project name. Hanako is a typical female name in Japan.”

According to Ms. Hassinen, the future of Hanako looked bright. “Co-operation with Japan continues. We have applied for new funding and our focus in the future is on new co-operative innovations like Japanese sauna made of Finnish wood.”

Ms. Hassinen wished that all Hanako partners would participate in the development of the Hanako website which was introduced at the seminar. As one possibility she mentioned web pages in Japanese.

Customer Service and Sense of Community


Ms. Päivi Marjeta, a Japanese born artisan teacher wished that the Finns would learn to serve customers as well as the Japanese and with the same enthusiasm. For Ms. Marjeta who had spent also most of her adult life in Japan, the Finnish outspoken communication style was still something unpleasant. “If there is nothing positive to say, it is better to keep silent”.

Also Ms. Tuula Laulaja, director of the Dementia Home of Villa Tapiola, praised the Japanese’ trainees positive attitude and willingness to serve. In addition, she wanted to introduce a more activating approach to therapies. “At Villa Tapiola residents sing together folk songs, but in Japan, they make the music themselves. They have badges of different colours and each colour performs music in its turn according to the instructions of the therapy leader.”

Ms. Laulaja was enthusiastic about the co-operation. “Next week, two persons from Villa Tapiola leave for Japan. I believe that also this visit is very rewarding.”