Ymane Chabi-Gara

École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts Accepted: Department of Japanese Painting April to July 2018

Ymane Chabi-Gara

I am a fourth year painting student from Beaux-Arts de Paris, in France.

I came to Musabi to study traditional painting and wood printmaking techniques. Having reached a point where I felt a bit bored and tired of my own artistic works, I wanted to challenge myself and see how learning ancient techniques, albeit completely new to me, would refresh my practice as a painter.

What I found at Musabi exceeded my expectations: the classes here are articulated around modules that last a few weeks each and give an in-depth introduction to each technique. I learned how to make my colors from scratch, how to prepare the paper I would paint on, explored the world of ink painting. The pace can be hectic, but this is an opportunity to learn a wide range of things in record time.

Through these modules, I also got to learn more about Japanese culture and mentality. For example, during one of the courses, we had Butoh performers posing for us. They moved their bodies in ways I had never seen before. They also explained the meaning behind what they were doing. It sparked a vivid interest in this form of dance/theater in me, and I already know that it will have a lasting effect on how I see the world.

Another thing that I like about Musabi is the fact that I am completely immersed in the Japanese language. After having studied it on my own for years, I had neglected the oral part. Being in an environment where I have to express myself and be understood by the students and teachers forced me to get out of my shell and try. I am learning new words and sentence structures every day.

Tokyo is a fantastic city to explore while studying here. The school dormitory is not too far from the center of this bubbling, fascinating city. The fantastic alternative music scene and art exhibitions, but also the traditional festivals and temples at every corner make this place a never-ending source of inspiration.

I am really happy to study here, and I encourage everyone to come to Musabi.

Sini Henttu

Aalto University Accepted: Department of Industrial, Interior and Craft Design April to July 2018

Sini Henttu

Hi there, my name is Sini. I am based in Helsinki and study Design at Aalto University.
In Aalto University I felt a bit lost in my studies, and I did not know which way I want to go as a designer. So it was a really good idea to go abroad for exchange studies and step out from my comfort zone and start to find out who I am as a person and also as a designer. I think that exchange studies are a great way to find out who you truly are. When one is far away from home and friends, and you suddenly need to break your daily routine, you start to think differently about life. You begin to notice what you really like and what gives you satisfaction. Also, on the other hand, you will see what you do not want and what is unnecessary in your life.

Musabi has thought me a great deal. I am studying glass at the Department of Industrial, Interior and Craft Design and Media Art at the Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences. I am now in the middle of my exchange studies, and I already feel that I have learned more than I could have wished for. Quality of the teaching is outstanding here. Everything begins from scratch, so it teaches you a lot about the materials and techniques. I have also felt that the teaching methods here are a bit different from my homeschool Aalto, so it has richened my way of thinking during the work process.

I can speak Japanese only in a basic level, and the language barrier can be frustrating on some days. However, usually, it does not matter when everyone is so kind and willing to help when you have something to ask.

So far it has been inspirational to live in Tokyo. I love my apartment in Koenji and the campus in Musabi. I have met so many talented and kind people, and my mind is full of ideas. I have realized that the real happiness can be found outside from the comfort zone, and also I think that I know myself so much better now. I feel really lucky that life threw me to this adventure called Japan.

Mi Jeong Cho

Hongik University Accepted: Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences April to July 2018

Mi Jeong Cho

I was planning to graduate without taking any leave of absence from Hongik University, but when I learned that there was a major (specifically Imaging Arts and Sciences major) that provides video courses, which I am studying, I applied for the opportunity to become an exchange student. Arriving with mixed feelings, I was relieved to feel the warmth and kindness of people of Japan, starting from the dormitory. I was surprised by the atmosphere, where they took individual care of each resident here. I was not used to this, being completely different from South Korean dormitories, but because of it, I was able to adjust well to my new environment and surroundings. Apart from the dormitory, MAU has helped me in many ways: planning my course schedule, introducing me to Korean classmates, and treating me with kindness. I think because of all this, I was able to lighten any worries that came from experiencing everything for the first time.

All of the classes were conducted in Japanese and utilized programs I had never used before, so I was lost from time to time, but I am in glee as there were many things I have gained from this experience. Beginning of the semester, many worries have crossed my mind. But as of now, I am studying with the goal of finishing my semester properly. Now that I looked back--as I pass the middle of the semester--I am glad that I came here to MAU.

Charlotte Hornung

Universität der Künste Berlin Accepted: Department of Painting (Printmaking Course) April to July 2018

Charlotte Hornung

Tokyo for living.

When I arrived in Japan, it was right before the Sakura season. The ground was covered with white cherry blossom as if it was snow. Now, the rainy season has begun. I love the reflection of different lights in the puddles during the night. Tokyo changes a lot throughout the year.

Even after being in Japan for four months, many things present a mystery to me. I love to stay on the streets to observe and talk with the people. The urban area of Tokyo seems endless. The diversity of live surprises me every day. Often my day ends somewhere unexpected, and I have seen and learnt many new and abstract things.

My life and studies at Musashino Art University are a perfect addition to my design studies in Berlin. I changed to the fine arts departments, focusing deeply on printmaking. There is no use for the computer, and every step is done manually. With the Japanese calmness and patience, I am printing during the day. I often take a break at a small place, from where you can see the Mount Fuji. In the evening after washing the ink from my hands, I drive back home with the subway and am confronted endlessly with lights, people, smartphones, advertisements, speaker announcements, rushing cars and noise. My life in Tokyo turns from one extreme to another.

That is what made me come here. I do not miss Berlin. It is good to be abroad. It is good to see and feel how differently people deal with their own lives in such a big city. It is interesting to slowly get to know personal joys and worries of people around me, to see how they struggle and make it up again. My works got more experimental and at the same time more specific. I have learnt a lot, and I want to come back.

Claudia Tranti

Polytechnic University of Milan Accepted: Department of Visual Communication Design April to July 2018

Charlotte Hornung

I am Claudia from Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

At my home university, I am a master student in the Communication Design degree, and here I am in the Visual Communication department.

Here at Musabi, I am focusing on the artistic side of design: that is why I chose to attend illustration class and typography class, in which we also study calligraphy. I find it useful because I have the chance to practice and to discover new techniques. The teachers are really friendly and willing to help, and so are the fellow students.

I also attend the Interactive Innovation class and the International Design class: in both cases, I found an interesting environment, in which we exchange ideas and opinions between Japanese and foreign students. Thanks to the teachers’ help we can create new projects that we enjoy and learn something new and interesting.

The MAU dorm is really comfortable, I feel like I have all the facilities I need just in my room! The dorm-keepers are very friendly and kind, they always help me when I need it. Even if we cannot speak the same language! All the useful shops for everyday life are located around the dorm so that I never run out of food or other essential products – and it only takes 15 minutes to reach the Campus by bike.

Life in Tokyo is exciting: the temples, the shops, the parks and the streets are very interesting to visit. Everything is really different from my home country: that’s why I find the international exchange a really important experience for my life. I would recommend my friends to come here because it is an opportunity to change the way we see the World, but also a chance to grow up and go out of the comfort zone.

When I first arrived at MAU at the end of March, the cherry blossoms were still in full bloom. My adventure has started in an unknown place with unfamiliar people and now, it is already heading towards the second half of the semester.

Nicolas Attolico

Polytechnic University of Milan Accepted: Department of Science of Design April to July 2018

Nicolas Attolico


I am Nicolas, Communication Designer from Polytechnic of Milan, Italy.

I always looked at Japanese design and culture with admiration, so, when I found out that my university had several partners in Japan, I knew that it was an opportunity I was not willing to pass.

I had been to Tokyo three times before I could finally come here to study, and I will always remember how it amazed me the first time I set foot in Japan. It was a completely different world, and I was not used to it, but I was willing to learn how to fit into that beautiful and profound culture.

This is my fourth time here in Tokyo, and it almost feels like home (except for the weather, I still prefer the Italian one!), and Musashino Art University is a truly amazing university.
I found a lot of extra caring and interesting people in the Science of Design department. Moreover, I have had the pleasure of being able to collaborate with some of them for some projects, and being able to work with people from completely different backgrounds was very stimulating.

Classes here are incredibly different from my university. Here I had the opportunity to “get my hands dirty” into art/design related subjects, since I attended Screen Printing (where you are going to work on your own project, with almost no restrictions!) and Synergetic class (where you can explore how physics and nature are intertwined and how you can make it work for design), and I really fell in love with this different approach to design.

Even if I already spent three months here, and there is still one month left, I need to get back home for I have to think about my graduation project, but I know I am going to come back as soon as possible!