“I am a physiotherapist working as a JICA volunteer at the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck Mother and Child Hospital (GJPMCH) in Thimphu. My journey to this role was inspired by my parents, who fell in love as JICA volunteers themselves. Before arriving in Bhutan, I spent six years working 3 years in rehabilitation and 3 years in comprehensive hospital in Japan.
Interestingly, during my kindergarten years, I dreamt of becoming a taxi driver, a childhood fascination without a clear reason. My path led me to Bhutan, a country I knew little about until I was selected as a volunteer. To prepare, I immersed myself in research about Bhutan and even attended online sessions organized by Japanese professors who were researchers.
Thanks to these preparations, I arrived in Bhutan without significant worries. My father’s previous visit to Bhutan assured me of the country’s safety and goodness. To my surprise, Bhutan was more developed than I had imagined, with a lot of imported goods and cozy cafes.
While Bhutanese colleagues and residents warmly welcomed me, the language posed a challenge. I had learned everything in Japanese, so understanding medical vocabulary in English was tough. To communicate effectively with patients, I also learned basic Dzongkha phrases, such as “Gatay naw may?” (Where is the pain?).
I even had the privilege of teaching final-year medical students of Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB), a challenging task as I had to teach in English when my knowledge was primarily in Japanese. When people speak to me in Dzongkha, I respond with, “Dzongkha meshay la” (I don’t know Dzongkha).
As part of my current outreach program, I am researching how maternal services are provided in regional and district hospitals. I have visited all the BHUs in Thimphu, aiming to extend this program to districts with less comprehensive services. Recognizing the importance of father involvement, I designed a simulation suit to help them understand the experience of pregnancy.
Outside of work, I indulge my time in hiking and visiting sacred places. The Tango Monastery stands out as the most beautiful place I’ve explored. I have also visited Haa, Paro, and Punakha Tsechu (festival). I was amazed when I saw the ‘Thongdrel’ for the first time in Paro. During my time in Bhutan, I aim to travel extensively, immersing myself in exploring all cultures and traditions.
One remarkable aspect of Bhutan is its use of outdated equipment, which I find astonishing. I have been actively seeking donations from Japan to provide much-needed equipment to enhance the quality of public services.
Being a physiotherapist brings me great joy. We improve patients’ lives through hands-on treatment, rather than medication. When patients express their gratitude, it fills my heart with happiness.”

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