Uni exchange has started!

It’s now been 5 weeks since I arrived in Tokyo, and 4 weeks since I started school at my exchange university, Joshibi (女子美)!

“Main” campus building (housing the cafeteria, hence very important…)

Joshibi (Joshibi University of Art and Design, or 女子美術大学 in Japanese, meaning women’s art university) is a private women’s art university located in Sagamihara, within the Tokyo metropolis. We also have a campus at Suginami in Tokyo, but only a few programs are taught there. My program, Design and Crafts / Concentration in Textiles is taught on the Sagamihara campus.

I’m studying in the Weaving program, which I chose from the three concentrations within the Textiles program: weaving, dyeing and embroidery. While 2nd year students take courses across all three concentrations, 3rd year students (whom I study with) choose one and follow that concentration for the 3rd and 4th years. As I’m really interested in weaving I always felt like the two weaving courses in my Finnish degree was too little, and so the opportunity to be able to really concentrate on weaving for a full year and to learn different techniques really appealed to me. And, luckily, I was admitted to exactly the program I had applied for!

(I did not really get a specific confirmation on that until I came to Japan and started school though, so it was a little nerve-wracking…)

Statues of the university’s founders. Joshibi was founded in 1900, making it the oldest art school for women in Japan.

In Joshibi, the first semester of the academic year starts in early April and runs until the end of July. Then, there’s a month-long summer holiday, after which classes resume in early September and run until the end of January, with about two weeks off during Christmas/New Year’s. As my exchange is for two semesters, I’m already planning to do some travelling during those holiday periods!

Classes are held Monday through Friday 1:30-4:30pm as I’m studying with the 3rd year students (2nd and 4th year students have their class in the morning). After the 3 hours of class, there’s usually about as much independent work to be done, so I usually don’t leave school until around 6-7pm. The weaving program told me I was to expect a lot of work while studying here, and it’s really so true.

View from my dorm’s 6th floor entrance at dusk

While there are no regular classes on the weekend, it’s not unusual for students (in my program, at least) to come to campus on Saturday to do coursework. The thing with weaving is that if we have work to do on the weekend, it’s almost certainly something we quite simply cannot do at home because all the equipment is on campus, and so we have to come in. But hey, I picked my program myself, and it’s really really fun, so I should not complain!

To view video snapshots of my stay here, check out my Vimeo account !

 Shinjuku (Tokyo) by night

 © 2019 Elisa Penttilä

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