"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MA)

Invitation in June 2014

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MA)

Period:June 9 - 19
Local Visit Destination:Gifu
Number of Participants:13

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation
Orientation
(Lecture demonstration of Japanese music by Mr. Sho Asano, Tsugaru-Jamisen player)

Photo taken at Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo taken in Asakusa
Asakusa
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of School exchange at Tokyo University of the Arts
School exchange at Tokyo University of the Arts

Photo taken at KORG Inc.
Company visit to KORG Inc.

Photo taken at the National Theatre of Japan
Kabuki performance at the National Theatre of Japan
(Learning about Japanese culture)

Photo of Makuwa Japanese puppet experience
Makuwa Japanese puppet experience
(Learning about Japanese local culture)

Photo taken at Gifu Shouhouji
Gifu Shouhouji Daibutsu (Great Buddha)
(Learning about Japanese local history and culture)

Photo taken on Udatsu street
The streets of Udatsu
(Learning about Japanese local history and culture)

Photo taken at Former Imai family residence
Former Imai family residence
(Learning about Japanese local history and culture)

Photo of Traditional Japanese papermaking experience at Mino Washi Japanese Traditional Paper Museum
Traditional Japanese papermaking experience at Mino Washi Japanese Traditional Paper Museum
(Learning about Japanese local culture)

Photo taken at Osu mechanical doll show
Osu mechanical doll
(Learning about Japanese local culture)

Photo of School exchange at Nagoya City University
School exchange at Nagoya City University

Photo taken at Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle
(Learning about Japanese local history and culture)

Group photo taken at Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station
(Learning about Japanese local history and culture)

Photo taken at Japan Institute of Design Promotion
Japan Institute of Design Promotion

Photo taken at The National Museum of Modern Art
The National Museum of Modern Art
(Learning about Japanese culture)

Photo taken at Meiji Jingu
Meiji Shrine
(Learning about Japanese culture and history)

Photo of Debriefing session
Debriefing session

Voices from Participants

1.Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • The people of Japan are very welcoming and motivated.  The people are very gracious, and have made me feel very comfortable.  The country’s ability to adopt makes it a global force to be noticed.  The landscapes that I have observed on my trip were beautiful and inspiring.  I was also mesmerized by the beauty of Japanese art and architecture.
  • Japanese people have been the most polite and gracious people I’ve met out of the many countries I’ve visited.  Everywhere we went, I was greeted with a kind attitude and I never felt like I wasn’t welcomed.  The Japanese also have an attention to craft and detail that is nothing like I’ve ever seen.

2.How do you change your perspective of Japan through the project?

  • I had envisioned much of Japan to be similar to cities in America. But one of the differences I noticed right away was in the design of the architecture and urban planning. Everything in Japan is so carefully considered and that really is exemplified in how the people care for the city.
  • I knew very little about Japanese culture before this. This amazing project has taught me more about Japan. I thought Tokyo would be a lot loud and condensed. But it is not. It’s beautiful and even though it is a big city its people all find their own space. These were more plants and trees than I anticipated, and I enjoyed that. In the U.S. buildings are built first, than the people find their place. In Japan people come first.

3.After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • After returning to the U.S., I would love to learn more of the language so that I can visit again soon, and as much of the culture as possible so that I will be as respectful as possible when I do get the chance to return.  As a designer, I would love to learn more about the art, design, thinking, and philosophies of Japan.
  • I enjoyed speaking the language while here and I would love to learn some more.  I would also love to learn more about the concept of mascots being used to promote a friendlier culture, especially mascots for government run departments such as the police department.  In America, we do not do this, and I find it very interesting.

4.It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • I intend to contest a traditional paper lamp, inspired by the designs that we found in the town of Mino.  I will create the lamp using traditional washi-paper and use décor wood for the support structure.  Also, I intend to create a gallery show at my school along with a video documentary to demonstrate the culture and experience that we have had to my fellow classmates.
  • I have gained so much here that will stay with me forever.  From just 10 days I have changed greatly.  After experiencing everyone’s kindness here, I will make sure to spread that same attitude everywhere else.  I will make sure to tell everyone about what I’ve experienced.  I want to encourage people to visit Japan and see what I have.  I also want to help making future exchange programs possible for others.

5.Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • My experience was deeply impacted by how well this program was planned and that it touched upon very cultural experiences.  From seeing the performance of the Shamisen to viewing the Kabuki play, I felt closeness to a culture not of my own.  I would love very much to come back to learn more…maybe apply for graduate school in Japan.
  • Thanks to the KAKEHASHI Project, I have finally visited a country I myself have been so culturally involved and inspired by.  While I could anticipate a lot, I can easily say a majority of it has been a surprise.  Especially doing the program as an American, alongside my peers in school.  I saw this experience through the eyes as a designer, which is something I would not have strongly done without this experience.

[Contact Us]

TEL: +81-(0)3-5369-6022
FAX: +81-(0)3-5369-6042
E-mail: infokakehashi@jpf.go.jp
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