Filloreta Alitaj, Shiyu Gu & Linh My Hoang Thi, students of BA in Fashion at Pforzheim University currently do a study abroad in Nagoya, Japan, at the Nagoya University of Arts, School of Design, Textile Design Course.
Lovely welcoming at the airport
After we landed at the airport in Nagoya, two really friendly people from NUAS were already waiting for us. They welcomed us with wide smiles on their faces. It felt like a family reuniting after not having seen each other for a long time. Surprised by the location As we got nearer to our destination, we realized how far outside town the university was located. Although you could say it’s like Japanese Pforzheim. At a first glance, it’s quite an industrial area and kind of boring, but after a while you’ll know your favourite places to go. One must admit that Nisshin, (where NUAS is located and also the dormitory) has a lot to offer.
Not so lovely weather
We had a lot of rain in the first few days, but it was quickly followed by sunshine and temperatures of around 20 degrees. What we didn’t expect was the strong wind blowing in Japan, which makes 20 degrees feel more like 10 degrees. After longing for warmer days and sunshine, we learned that you only get one extreme or the other. After a cold and wet week, a very hot week came. So our lesson was, never to complain about the weather again.
Lost in translation
The next thing we learned the hard way, was that almost nobody in Japan speaks English! An attempted conversation with a Japanese stranger would go as follows. You would ask something in English, they wouldn't understand at all and ask back in Japanese. At the end both parties end up being confused. We're trying to study the language now so hopefully in a month or longer it will be better. But we still have a lot of fun with the Japanese students who we’ve made friends with here. It’s a good thing we all have translation apps on our phones. Or just the body language which is international!
Manners and stuff
It’s really interesting how different the culture is in Japan in comparison the some other countries. There are so many unwritten rules that we still don't know yet. It's unfamiliar at the beginning but you get the used to it. Even though it’s different and hard to adjust to, it's nice to see how polite and respectful people can be to each other and to their surroundings!
ONSEN - 温泉
Our personal highlight so far was going to take a long relaxing bath at the onsen which is located only 10 minutes away from our dormitory. Another cultural difference is the women only or men only sections. We experienced a completely different bathing culture than you might have in a german “Therme“. You must go for yourself to really understand it.
Variety of skills
Most of our classmates are around 19-20 years old. There are some classes like drawing, draping, weaving and knitting, where you get to learn things from the beginning. Then there are other classes where you can work with different materials like leather or metal. We also had the chance to visit the family business of our teacher. He has a small factory for leather goods. We were glad that we got a chance to look into their factory and work process.