1. Why I decided to attend Kyoto Seika University:
As my high school, Taibei High School, was connected to Kyoto Seika University, I could enter the university through admission by recommendation. I first visited Japan participating in an organized tour to SEIKA, and was strongly attracted to the environment and facilities of the university. I had imagined that Japan was very conservative country, but actually I found freedom in the atmosphere of the university and the way professors teach students. As the university is located in Kyoto, the old capital of Japan, surrounded by full of nature with mountains, forests and river, and with many animals on campus such as deer, cranes and peacocks, I thought it is an ideal environment for students. I had never thought of studying abroad and was not good at Japanese either then. However as the university supported us thoroughly in life and necessary procedures, etc., I did not worry about anything at all.
2. What I learned in Kyoto Seika University:
My most memorable class is the drawing class which I took at the very beginning.
Without looking at a mirror, we were required to draw our own ear by feeling it with our own fingers. At the end of the drawing session, I saw other students’ works. There were a variety of shapes and ways of drawing. I was impressed with their strong creativity. In Taiwan, all students only do as the teachers tell them. However after this drawing class, I started thinking that there is more than one way and exploring other possibilities. I think I learned that there is no single correct answer.
While I was in Taiwan, looking at Japanese picture books and other works, I had been fascinated with the way how color is used. Neutral colors, which are ordinary for Japanese people, do not exist in Taiwan as we have only summer and winter. Even in winter, plants remain green. When I made presentations of my works, people were often surprised because I only use primary colors. As I could discover differences in cultures and customs between Taiwan and Japan, I think I could learn twice as much as other people.
3. The attractiveness of Seika:
Both the people and environment were fantastic. There were many international students, and I often visited the international office after class to work on assignments together and talk a lot with them. In those days, international students were from many countries, such as Taiwan, China, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. We became like a family, including the professors. Quite a few of them returned home after graduation, but we are still connected and see each other when they come to Japan for business trips, etc. I also often visited my friends in other departments, seeing Ceramics students firing their works in the kiln and Architecture students making models, experiencing Japanese papermaking, etc. Studio space for Japanese Painting course and Oil Painting course were also wonderful.
4. Life in Japan:
Taiwan is very lively, but it is more relaxing in Japan. The toilets are clean everywhere and services are very good. When we ask for Nikuman (steamed bun with meat fillings) at a convenience store in Taiwan, the salesperson only points at where it is. I was surprised by the difference when I returned home after becoming accustomed to Japan. I live in Osaka now, but I like Iwakura more, where the university is located.
Taiwanese people directly say what they think. If they think the taste is not good or they dislike something, they clearly state their opinion. On the other hand, Japanese people tend to respond according to their surrounding situation. At the beginning, I was bewildered by this custom. However after I found out one of my classmate from Hokkaido is very optimistic, I understand that there is a wide variety of people even in Japan.
5. The impression of working in Japan:
I learned a lot especially in recording the process, management with computer and keeping things tidy and in order. In Taiwan, as the speed to complete design has more priority, the process is not very important. However in my current office, every day we record and manage our ideas and data that we produce. When we need to refer to a previous trial design model in a meeting, we can find it right away. In fact, even works from 20 years ago are managed properly, and even if the person in charge is not able to come to the meeting all of a sudden, a colleague can take over the work. Through my work, I have come to understand the Japanese spirit and strength.
6. Future prospects:
I would like to make designs that remain in people’s minds. In 2009, I worked designing a symbol mark for Osaka Pavilion in Expo 2010 Shianghai China and it was selected as Grand Award. Having focused on the Chinese character “大” in 大阪 (Osaka), I imagined it as the wake behind a ship moving straight forward and designed it into that shape. In 2013, I was in charge of renewing design of the shopping bag and wrapping paper of Kintetsu Department Store upon the opening of its flagship store, Abeno Harukasu. With a single brushstroke based on “K”, the initial of its name, I expressed an “emotional connection” between customers and Kintetsu Department Store. It had been 18 years since the last renewal, in 1995. I am eager to continue engaging in these kinds of meaningful works. I also would like to play a role as a bridge between Asian countries to broaden many people’s horizons through conveying what I have experienced and learned in Japan.
7. A message for prospective students:
Even now, I am very happy to remember my days spent at Seika. You would love Kyoto Seika University and Iwakura, a town full of nature, more and more, the longer you spend there. I hope you actually visit the campus to feel the attractiveness of the environment with your own senses. Through studying at the university, you can develop your skills, have more opportunities to find work, and step up in your life.
Friends and professors I met in the university have continued supporting me as if they were my real family. I hope many of you will join the Kyoto Seika University family. I think it would greatly expand your possibilities.