Japanese Visitors Were Pleased with the Progress in Co-operation
Ms. Kayoko Fujimoto, director of the Ryusei Fukushikai Group, expressed her contentment with the progress in co-operation with the Finnish partners of the Hanako projects. During their visit of one week, the representatives of Ryusei Fukushikai participated in the Hanako seminar hosted by the Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia in April 2012.
Impressions for the New Kindergarten
Ms. Fujimoto made her first field trip to Finland to study the Finnish day care system in autumn 2009 before the Hanako project started. “We were about to establish a day care centre for children and wanted to learn from the systems of other countries. Finland interested us because its success in the PISA assessments. We wanted to know what is behind this success”, she recalled.
Coordinated by the OECD, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance organised every three years. PISA aims at testing literacy in three competence fields: reading, mathematics, science.
During her first study trip, Ms. Fujimoto visited the day care centre in Viikki. “For me the most impressive experience was the kindergarten’s closeness to nature. Located in a spot of natural beauty it allowed excursions to the surrounding forest where children spent much of their time”.
Small Units and Spacious Rooms
Mr. Masato Kato, general manager of the Ryusei Fukushikai Homes for the Elderly, admired the small size of the units and modern technology. “In Osaka the homes for the elderly are much larger. Most of them have at least hundred residents, whereas the Dementia Home of Villa Tapiola had only some 30 residents. Also, the nursing devices are more advanced here.”
During her visit at the old-age homes of the Itäkeskus Service Centre Ms. Fujimoto paid attention to the spaciousness of the rooms. “Compared to Japan, residents had spacious rooms. There was enough space for own belongings brought by the residents. Osaka is such an expensive area that we cannot afford large rooms.”
Many Small Plates
During their visit, representatives of the Ryusei Fukushikai Group wanted to familiarize themselves with the dining services of vocational institutes and old-age homes. Mr. Yasuaki Matsumoto, chef, and Ms. Kaori Suma, nutritional counsellor, considered the tasting of Finnish food as an interesting experience.
For them, the most notable difference compared to Japan was the composition of meals. “Here the main course is composed of one portion, which can be a soup, liver casserole etc. We in Japan serve a number of small plates of fish, meat, vegetables, seaweed etc”, Matsumoto told.
In Ms. Suma’s opinion, serving many small plates allows to take into consideration personal likings. “Our aim is a personal meal. For instance, securing an adequate protein intake is important, but depending on personal likings, we can vary the amount of meat and fish. Most residents prefer fish, but they like also meat as long as it is prepared in a pleasing way.”
Residents of Villa Tapiola and customers of the restaurant Henricus in Omnia had an opportunity to taste Japanese food made by Mr. Matsumoto. In both places, the meals were well received. The menu of Henricus got a new item, Espoo-roll. For the students of Omnia, monitoring the preparation of Japanese food by a Japanese chef was a unique experience.
Co-operative Problem Solving
yusei Fukushikai Group became partner of Hanako through Ms. Kumiko Hiltunen who served as an interpreter during Ms. Fujimoto’s first visit in Finland. “When Kumiko asked me on behalf of the international office of Omnia to join Hanako, I said yes without hesitation, Ms. Fujimoto laughed.
“Now the third year of co-operation is going on. I am very pleased with the results and hope that we can intensify our work together. We have had time to get to know each other and have found a common ground. In the future, we could tackle the problems of our systems, which have many differences as well. I believe that we can learn from each other and develop new ways to improve the functionality of our systems”, Ms. Fujimoto summarized.