My Recent Trip to Asia
At the meeting
Lecturing in Korea
Lecturing in Tokyo
I have had the pleasure and honor to lecture on 6 continents. My prior trip to Asia was lecturing in Istanbul, Turkey. Several weeks ago April and I departed for South Korea and Japan. I have to say that going to Korea several weeks ago came with some trepidation as Mr. Kim up north was severely rattling his sabers. The people in South Korea laughed when I asked if it was safe to come. They view him as a big talker who is always threatening and they seem pretty complacent about the entire spectacle.
The plane ride to Seoul was about 14 hours which is hard for someone as hyper as me. Plus I left my mouse on my meal tray and the flight attendant threw it away, making it more difficult to work on my lectures!
Arriving in Seoul is much like being in Manhattan but with 26 million people. There is definitely not a square inch of unused space. Koreans have a very technically advanced culture with some of the world’s largest corporations based there including Hyundai, LG, and Samsung. The downtown skyline is adorned with beautifully designed glass skyscrapers. We went to the Gangnam district (remember the song Gangnam Style). This is much like Beverly Hills, but there are over 500 plastic and cosmetic surgeons in an extremely small area, a neighborhood really. I was unaware that South Korea is the cosmetic surgery capitol of the world and by the number of the population that undergo cosmetic procedures, it reigns supreme.
We drove 3 hours to a resort town in the mountains for the first meeting. This was also a historic site with 1,000 year old temples and settlements and was fascinating. In Korea I was the featured invited speaker for the 58th Annual Meeting of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. My talks included Asian Blepharoplasty, Facelift, Facial Implants, Brow and Forehead lift, Botox and Fillers and Cosmetic Lip Surgery. The quality of surgery and education in Korea is very similar to the USA. The Korean people are so ingratiating and polite, it was truly an awesome experience. We left the conference via bullet train and traveling over 200 mph on a train was wild and efficient.
After 5 days in South Korea we flew to Tokyo where I spoke at Tokyo Medical and Dental University to the plastic surgery, ENT and oral and maxillofacial surgery residents. My talks in Japan were on Facelift and Blepharoplasty. Tokyo was also an awesome city. Again, friendly and polite people (everyone bows) and very clean (as was Korea). Also much like being in Manhattan, but clean and friendly. Neither Korea nor Japan are tipping cultures and it was refreshing to be on vacation and not handing out tips to everyone you encounter. Downtown Tokyo is like Times Square on every block, it is amazingly lit up. The Ginza shopping district (more designer stores than anywhere I have ever seen) and the Samurai museum were awesome. At 8 PM on a weeknight the streets are flooded with young people leaving the high rise office buildings. The Japanese work 10 and sometimes 12 hours a day!
Korea and Japan were truly some of the best academic and social experiences I have had and if they invite me back, I will go in a heartbeat.
Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Cosmetic Facial Surgery