Ellen McGivern

Pratt InstituteAccepted: Department of Japanese PaintingSeptember 2010 to January 2011

photo:Ellen McGivern

The chance to study Japanese painting in Japan has been invaluable to my artistic education. I have enjoyed learning to work with the sensitivity of the water- based inks and pigments of Japanese painting and printmaking. They seem to interact with the paper with a life of their own, a feeling that sharply contrasts that of the oil- based mediums of the west which are brutally pushed, pulled, and manipulated over the surface of the paper or canvas. I've learned to better intuit, to feel a wash of color or line rather than to overanalyze it with intellect and theory.

Most of all, I have found the importance of "kuukan" or what we in the west might call in a painting "negative space." In Japan however, the word means so much more than that, and its meanings, the feelings of its meanings have made their way, not only into my paintings but into my life as a whole.

I'd like to thank all of the wonderful people who have made me feel welcome here at Musabi, and I hope to return soon to this beautiful country!!!

Adrein Genty

Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-ArtsAccepted: Department of PaintingSeptember 2010 to January 2011

photo: Yokai, self-portrait in Shibuya, hunting down signs of phantoms in the ordinary objects through my point of view as a stranger in Japan

photo:Adrein Genty

Musabi is a modern and beautiful university, located in a studious environment where everything is done to make your living comfortable.

For instance, if I had to compare to my school I would say that Musabi has a very well patronized shop to buy your tools when you need it, and many places to eat, to meet each others, so It's convenient and easier to make links between all the students, which seems essential for a living space.

Something really new for me was to live in this so quiet daily life far from the center of Tokyo, which is gigantic and fascinating but very noisy and often crowded with people.

For cultural and familial reasons it was so important to make this travel and to discover Japan, being immersed in this specific atmosphere.

Most of my works were about my everyday life, the place I lived, beauty and unfamiliarity of the objects which were around.

By the way, except for the disorientation expected by such a trip, as a French person you cannot be homesick so easily in Tokyo, as you will find allusions to France everywhere, from the simple TV report to shop signs, you cannot miss it! And I think the admiration between these two countries is mutual.

Moreover, students I met here were very welcoming to me and my teacher, Akatsuka sensei was always paying attention to my request and my questions.

The only thing I may regret is not having been able to go through the different departments of the university, but I understand each school has its own system.

Imam Rezai

The Berlin University of the ArtsAccepted: Department of PaintingSeptember 2010 to January 2011

I want to thank you for everything, I didn't stay a long time in Tokyo , but I fell in love with Japan, Working in the university was very good, I painted a lot, so it was really a nice place for creation. At the same time I wanted to have the possibility to work longer time in Musabi. I was in Teheran, London, Berlin but your school is one of the best I've ever seen.

I was a bit disappointed not being able to work in the others sections of the school, but still Japan was an inspiring place, where I had unforgettable experiences. Maybe I didn't learn a lot Japanese, but I got to know the Japanese mentality very well! I really enjoyed meeting new people and discovering the Japanese way of life, nature and food, but unfortunately none of the exchange students ate Fugu, which I feel was the most important tragedy ever.

I had a great time here and I want to come back every two years in Japan, because I think I have hardly seen anything of your country; for example, I didn't go to Kyoto, which is an historical city. And I return in Berlin, I will keep practicing my judo.

I want to thank Professor Nagasawa Hideyuki, who welcomed me in his class and gave me the possibility to exhibit my work two times in Tokyo. I also want to thank Yamamoto sensei because he showed me the real martial art spirit, without aggressivity. Danke Japan!

Jaakko Kalsi

Aalto University School of Art and DesignAccepted: Department of Science of DesignSeptember 2010 to January 2011

Let's start from what everyone expects me to say: yes, the exchange in MAU has been wonderful and, let's say, eye-opening. It has been in many ways the best time of my life, and some ways it has been hard.

I was afraid that the language barrier would be too high to overcome. I noticed, however, that many people wanted to get to know an exchange student and practice a foreign language. Even though we didn't always share a common language, everyone were trying to, and that was enough. I have met here people that I want to stuff in my bag pack and take back to Finland and show them around as they have shown me around here.

I'm not saying that the cultural differences would be exaggerated. Sometimes Japanese politeness and carefulness were hard to understand. And sometimes hearing yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and knowing that no, no, no, no, no he doesn't understand made me frustrated.

Not knowing the language (and therefore not knowing what to do, where to do, how to do) made it hard for me to work. My tutor and my friends who were patient enough to translate for me most of the lessons were priceless help though. Even though I didn't understand the lessons word to word, I feel that I have learnt a lot. I feel that I have learnt something I can't learn anywhere else but MAU and KISODE.

Paola Fino

Politecnico di MilanoAccepted: Department of Industrial, Interior and Craft DesignApril 2010 to July 2010

photo:Paola Fino

My experience at Musabi has been one of the best things I ever tried in my life.

It was my first experience outside my country for a long time and outside my house where I live with my parents. The impact with a new culture, a new world was very strong but Musabi people (teachers, students and staff) were very able to make me feel at home. Musabi's students are very kind and generous. I spent a very good time with my new Japanese friends both within and outside the university.

Usually in Italy I work in a team and in Musabi I worked alone but my classmates were very kind and available to help me understand and assist me every moment. Everyday in Musabi you can live in a cultural melting pot with temporary exhibitions, parties, concerts and other exciting events.

University life is very exciting and interesting. Studying at Musabi was a big chance for me to understand a different approach to interior spaces and I feel stronger than before I left from Milan. My expectations were completely satisfied, or rather everything is better than I could expect and become better day by day. Arigato Musabi!

Swan Lefevre

Politecnico di MilanoAccepted: Department of Design InformaticsApril 2010 to July 2010

photo:Swan Lefevre

My experience at Musabi is wonderful.

Before I left Italy I was very very scared about all the differences between Japan and all the others countries. I was very worried because I thought that Japanese are shy and not so expressive, but from the moment that I arrived here, it wasn't so strange and so different to the West.

I met wonderful friends and very qualified professors that I respect completely, and I would like to stay in contact with them for new possibilities and collaborations.

Also the international staff and the department staff are very much available and they became like a little family.

I'm in the Dejo Department (Design Informatics) and the classes are very interesting; the language is not such a big problem because I was assigned a tutor that he helps me to understand the classes. He is one of my classmates and it's very fun to discover each other and our different cultures.

I advise everyone to take the extra classes on Saturdays (Interactive Innovation and Contextual Studies) because they are very interesting and they are a good opportunity to meet new friends from different departments, but the most important is that they are a new way to learn while having fun at the same time!

Musabi life is very exciting; there are always new parties, new exhibitions and events: everybody can express him or herself.

So, I recommend to all this experience and I hope like that this dream will never finish.

Thank you to all the people that I met in this dreamland walk and for all the things that I learn from you.