This year YIA winners represented the ECSS at the 65th annual meeting of the Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine (JSPFSM) between 16th and 18th September 2010 in Chiba, Japan. In their report, Stuart Goodall from the Brunel University (GBR) and Stephen Bailey from the University of Exeter (GBR) share their experiences and memories.

"We arrived in Japan early to mid afternoon on September 15th, which was the time either of us had visited this beautiful country. During our first evening in Japan we were able to explore the Ueno district of Tokyo, in which our hotel was located, which provided us with our first exposure to the Japanese culture. On the morning of our second day, the first day of the JSPFSM conference, we were met by Dr. Masashi Miyashita and we both agree that, from this point onwards, our experience of Japan really began. We left for the conference venue at 9 am and, after a very efficient Japanese train journey and a short walk, we arrived at the conference venue, Chiba University of Commerce. After registering we attended the morning poster session, which contained work of the highest quality. We attended a luncheon lecture where 2 students were awarded prizes for their research endeavours.  We were then treated to presentations by the awardees and even though spoken in Japanese, they were easy to follow and it was clear that once again it was work of the highest quality. During the lecture we were given a lunch box, allowing us to try our first Japanese dish, eaten of course with chopsticks.  After the luncheon lecture we attended a very interesting session on sarcopenia, a session containing two international speakers.  After two talks however, Dr Miyashita realised that we were looking worse for wear due to jetlag setting in. We left and made our way back to Ueno, where we had later been invited for a dinner with Professor Katsumura with his past and present students. We both agree that we have never have had such an amazing dining experience.  Whilst admiring the private seating area containing long tables low to the floor, we were asked if we liked raw fish. We tentatively said yes but there was really no need to worry, as the food presented in front of us was of exquisite presentation and great flavours. As the 2 hour all you can drink session progressed, Professor Katsumura’s colleagues were very interested to hear the areas of our research. Everyone was extremely welcoming and business cards were collected from professors, applied sport scientists, medical doctors and students. After the consumption of more food and drink the dinner came to a close where we thanked Professor Katsumura for an excellent time. There was enough time for us to grab our last beer of the evening and that is where we met a very drunk Japanese train driver… 
The next day at the conference included the International Session where the ECSS – JSPFSM exchange took place.  Five presentations were given in the 2 hour session. We both received positive feedback about our investigations and had the opportunity to carry on discussions after the session had finished. This was another great opportunity to meet a great variety of people. During the evening we were lucky enough to be invited to another meal, but this time with Dr Miyashita’s current boss and students and staff on an exchange programme between Waseda University, Japan and a university in South Korea. The venue was traditionally Japanese and based on sumo wrestling.  We were treated to traditional food that is apparently eaten everyday by sumo wrestlers, which contained a mixture of fish, vegetables and mushrooms.  Once again the venue was spectacular; the food was presented immaculately and tasted excellent. After this meal Dr Miyashita said goodbye, having provided us with the necessary skills to get by in Japan, and left us to explore Tokyo for 2-3 days.  
The exchange programme between the ECSS and the JSPFSM provides students in our position with a fantastic and rewarding experience.  Selected winners of this year’s young investigator awards, you should certainly look forward to the unique experience you will be provided with, you will embrace the Japanese culture and be hosted by such a welcoming group of people from the JSPFSM.  The hospitality, assistance and welcome we received from Dr. Miyashita, Professor Katsumura and their colleagues was truly phenomenal and really facilitated our experience of the Japanese culture and academia. As members of ECSS please can we make sure that the JSPFSM students here at Liverpool are welcomed like we were in Japan.
Long may the very successful relationship between the ECSS and the JSPFSM continue… Kanpai!!!"

YIA winners, Stephen Bailey and Stuart Goodall, at the JSPFSM meeting 2010.

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Tobias Vogt
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