I’m writing this blog from the harbor city of Fukuoka, Japan. One of the most populous cities in this beautiful country, Fukuoka is located in the southern part of Japan, positioned across from mainland Asia and closer to Seoul than Tokyo. This is the 3rd largest city in Japan and I was struck by the effectiveness of all the elevated pedestrian walkways in the city, eliminating the need to compete with traffic or brave the elements.  Overall, I have found Japan to be a very pleasant blend of old tradition (even the toll booth attendant bowed before taking the toll!) and new technology.

 An aerial view of Fukuoka  Elevated pedestrian walkways

The occasion for my visit is to represent ASE at the 26th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Society of Echocardiography.  The theme of their meeting is “Bridging Echocardiography Across Friends.”  That theme speaks so well for the ASE-JSE relationship as well.  ASE has enjoyed a strong friendship with JSE for many years.  Just as JSE is currently observing their 26th annual meeting, ASE will have our 26th annual meeting in Boston this June.  We are very similar in our maturity as societies, and have both benefited from the vision of early leaders.  JSE has around 5300 members and was founded in 1989 by Dr. Junichi Yoshikawa, who envisioned JSE as a society which promotes human health by supporting cardiovascular ultrasound science.

 Friends gather to
commemorate the occasion with group photos

There is nothing like sharing a meal and a relaxed conversation with sister society peers to remind us how much we have in common and how many of the same challenges we all face, no matter where we’re located in the world.  Our annual exchange of thought leadership proves we have much to share and learn from each other. And the experience of trying new foods with old and new friends (while experiencing jet lag) creates a bond that will build trust and make us more receptive to future collaborations.

 ​A shared meal  After-dinner entertainment


We have long respected many of the echocardiography leaders and innovators from Japan, many influencing the practice of echocardiography worldwide through their innovations. ASE has recognized and honored several as Honorary Fellows of the American Society of Echocardiography (Honorary FASE) in recent years, including Shintaro Beppu, MD, FASE, Chuwa Tei, MD, FASE, Kiyoshi Yoshida, MD, FASE, Junichi Yoshikawa, MD, FASE, and most recently Hiroshi Ito, MD, FASE.

It has been my honor to share time this week with leaders of the Japanese Society of Echocardiography, as well as the other societies I have visited around the world during my term as President.

 Bridging Echocardiography
Across Friends at JSE Meeting:
Neil Weissman (ASE), Bogdan Popescu (EACVI),
Yutaka Otsuji (JSE), and Chuwa Tei (JSE)