This year YIA winners represented the ECSS at the 64th annual meeting of the Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine (JSPFSM) between 18th and 20th September 2010 in Niigata, Japan. In their report, Cheryl Waring from the Liverpool John Moores University (GBR), Harri Piitulainen from the University of Jyväskylä (FIN) and Joachim Nielsen from University of Southern Denmark (DEN) share their experiences and memories.

"Following our success at the 14th annual ECSS Congress in Oslo, we were invited to represent the ECSS at the Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine (JSPFSM) held this year in Niigata, Japan. For all three of us, this was to be the first time we had visited Japan, but hopefully not the last. On arriving in Japan, the first thing that we noticed was how friendly and helpful the Japanese people are, this was something that we were going to get used to during our time in Niigata.
On our first night, we were taken out for dinner with our host for the week Professor Katsmura and some of his colleagues. It was on this evening we met Bee Tian Teng, a Malaysian student studying in Hong Kong, who was going to become a good companion for us during our trip. Bee had been invited to present at the European session of JSPFSM by Professor Katsumura after she had won an award for an oral presentation that she gave earlier this year at the Hong Kong Association of Sports Medicine and Sports Science (HKASMSS). We were all taken to a very nice Japanese restaurant where we sampled delicious Japanese food and Sake and tried to master the art of eating with chop sticks. Our first course consisted of large sea snails and green peas in their pods; this was followed by many other courses including Miso soup, sashimi (a large selection of raw fish) and a large selection of sushi. A night full of delicious food and Sake was something that we were to get used to during our trip.
On the second day, after registering, the 3 of us and our new friend Bee started to explore Niigata. We first took a walk around the local markets and shops and it was here that we experienced just how friendly and hospitable the local people of Niigata can be. While looking in a delightful little sweet shop/cafe, we were approached by a very smartly dressed man. After ushering us all to a table at the back of the shop, he asked the waitress for something in Japanese and then introduced himself. Mr Shigeru Ueda was the president of Niigata Optik, a camera company in Niigata. The waitress returned with a cup of green tea for each of us and plates of sweets. While eating our sweets and drinking our tea, Mr Ueda asked about the reason we were visiting Niigata and where each of us was from. Once we had finished our sweets and tea, Mr Ueda opened his suitcase and took out a selection of cloths for cleaning the lenses of our cameras and gave one to each of us, he then paid for the tea and sweets, wished us a good time in Japan and then left. Following this we walked towards the coast until we reached an aquarium, where we watched a very impressive dolphin show and saw a beautiful selection of fish and aquatic mammals.
Then came the third day, the day of the ECSS-JSPFSM exchange program. In the afternoon we attended the European session of the conference, during which we heard some excellent presentations. After this we got the chance to present again ourselves. Although the hall was large and the audience was not very small, our hosts made us feel very welcome and the experience proved to be quite enjoyable. We all received a lot of interest from our Japanese colleagues during the session and at the reception that followed. The JSPFSM- ECSS exchange provided us all with a great opportunity to present our research to an international audience and an unforgettable visit to Japan. Therefore, we would like to thank ECSS, JSPFSM and especially Professor Katsumura for the great experience in Japan.

Domo arigato!"

YIA winners, Cheryl Waring, Harri Piitulainen and Joachim Nielsen, at the JSPFSM meeting 2009.

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