Written by Lily Zhou, Maryland Institute College of Art, Spring 2019 student at AICAD in Japan
After CET I returned to the States and finished college in May 2020, and I decided to return to Japan. However, because of the COVID, I returned to China first and stayed there for a while. I didn’t have the opportunity to enter Japan until January 2021.
2019 AICAD Memories
Japanese language study at OGU and art at OUA!
At Osaka University of Art (OUA), there were many classes for us to choose from. If you don’t have any basic knowledge of Japanese, you can take printmaking and glass blowing classes. These two classes are bilingual (though I heard that Hara Sensei, the English-speaking printmaking teacher is about to retire this year). Of course, if your Japanese is good, you can choose any class from all fields! I took the printmaking and character design 101 class.
In the printmaking class, there were 4 sophomore Japanese students, 7 MICA students, and 2 ArtCenter students. The teacher spoke English with us, we spoke English or simple Japanese with the teacher and other Japanese students. In this class, we transfer our drawings or photos onto metal plates and print them in layers of different colors. At the end of the semester, the printmaking department let us participate in the student show together.
My character design class was full of Japanese freshmen, there were around 30 of them I guess? Nemoto-Sensei was very funny and patient, she was very kind to international students. The class was mainly about learning facial/body proportions, drawing figure movements, and creating your original characters, which I thought was a little bit too basic for me (I was in junior year at that time.) My classmates were very shy, but they were super kind and supportive if you talk to them. They wrote me a whole page of Shikishi (greeting card) before I go.
2021: The New Start
Probably because the CET program was here, I feel that I have a deeper attachment to Osaka. And also, all my friends are here, so I chose to come back to Osaka again. Even though I am no longer a CET student, my previous connection at CET has really helped me a lot!
My original plan was to apply to an art grad school in Japan, and I took classes at the J International Language School while preparing my portfolio for the application.
Experience in J International Language School
Because I have taken Japanese class at CET, I got into the advanced course as soon as I enrolled. There were about 20 students in the class at that time. There are 3 months in each semester at this language school. Because of COVID, the old students graduated while new students could not enter the country. There were fewer and fewer students in my class.
The end of March is the major graduation season in Japan. Most of my classmates graduated at that time, some of them went back to their home countries, some of them went to specialized schools/universities or got job offers.
There were only four people left in my super-advanced class by July. But because there were so few students, we had plenty of time and opportunity to practice Japanese with the teachers. We had reading, speaking, writing, listening, kanji and grammar, and discussion classes. (The school sometimes switches to online class when COVID gets serious.) And I passed the JLPT N1 exam with a score of 143/180 in the summer.
Art School Graduation Exhibition
During the time I was preparing to apply to grad schools, I visited many graduation exhibitions of famous Japanese art schools to do my research. (Tama Art University, Joshibi University of Art, Musashino Art University, Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto University of the Arts).
Phantom by Daigo Kuramoto
! Diversity ! by Sayuri Toyoura