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A month in Nagoya, A lifetime of lessons

International Design Center NAGOYA (IdcN) and National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, had partnered on this internship program for the past three years. This year I was very lucky to intern for one month. I was nervous and excited about the trip, because learning in Japan was a completely new experience.


When I first arrived, I was unfamiliar with the city. Fortunately, IdcN provided me with a list of interesting places to visit. I started with famous places: Nagoya Castle, Tokugukawa garden and other tourist spots. Later, I visited industry-related sites: the Toyota plant, the Toyota Museum of Industry and Technology and the Toyota automobile museum. At the Design Museum, I acquired a brief knowledge of post-1940’s development of Japanese industry. Because of Nagoya’s major role in Japanese industry, this historical aspect is especially important here. It was surprising how quickly this country grew and improved, making great strides within decades. These tours gave me a foundation for understanding Nagoya.
 Working at IdcN, I mainly helped prepare the Design Workshop and DO! award exhibition: making manuals and tools, setting up exhibitions, etc. I tried my best at tasks that did not require the Japanese language. I am grateful to my coworkers for being patient with me; often they had to explain a lot.  Everything here has to be done in a very organized and neat fashion, creating a constant sense of comfort in the office, which I really like. In my free time, IdcN provided me with various resources, like information about design-related activities, museums and exhibitions, and also granted me access to its collection of design books and documents. From these, I got a glimpse of current design trends in Nagoya and around the world and recognized IdcN’s deep cooperation with individuals and organizations involved in design around the world. It was interesting and exciting to get to know people around the world who share a passion for design and humanity.


I participated in the New Designers Workshop 2010 between November 25th and December 2nd. I worked with a group of six students and three directors on a public design project. We split four days between field research and idea development. On the last day, we gave a final presentation to the public of Nagoya. It was exciting to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures (Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Argentinean). We worked hard to communicate with one another, but managed to come up with a design proposal in three days. Many people came to witness the final presentations. I was impressed with their attentiveness and practical questions, which were important to our design. We learned a lot from their opinions.
To me, exchanging ideas, discussing them with my team members and presenting them to the public were the best parts of this workshop. This was a unique experience I will never forget.


During these four weeks, I experienced Japanese culture in many ways. Every day I lived like a Japanese: taking the subway, eating Japanese food, watching Japanese TV and even speaking a few words of Japanese. I also took time to tour around the city whenever I could. Nagoya City alone is worth a visit of a month or more. Here, the culture is so rich in context that I didn’t pass a single day without making a new discovery.

All the things I encountered here provided me with an enlightened view of on the role of design in society. Witnessing IdcN’s activities behind the scenes also gave me insight on how such an organization works. After this month, I have come to think that working in such a place may be a good career choice.
 To conclude, the language barrier sometimes led to frustration, but this didn’t stop me at all from experiencing wonderful things in Nagoya, and I hope that one day I will have the chance to visit again.。

Thank you, IdcN!

(First appearance: IdcN Annual Report 2010/June, 2011)

Yuchi, Chang