Internships, Students, Workshop

Mitsubishi FUSO Workshop with iCLA Students

by Chloe Ramirez



Being able to work with successful and important companies is a goal for many college graduates. As companies aim to employ competent and efficient personnel in order to come up with quality results, it is vital for students to interact with company representatives and be exposed to workplace values, expectations, and cultures prior to graduation.

An integral part of Daimler AG (DAI), the Mitsubishi FUSO Truck and Bus Corporation, a center for light-duty truck and hybrid technology development, represents the unique combination of a German-style workplace, an international workforce, and a Japanese location.

Recently, Mitsubishi FUSO held a team building workshop at iCLA, together with a few iCLA students and led by iCLA Professor William Reed. The workshop was separated into four sections, which combined team building exercises in the classroom with lessons from Japanese culture through Shodo and Nanba:

  1. Team Profile and Communication
  2. Team Strategy, Vision, and Mission

  3. Shodo—Meet Musashi, Meet Your Mission

  4. Nanba—Head, Heart, and Hara

Before the workshop began, we took a simple online test that produced a profile of our personalities and the make up of the team. The results of these tests were then examined and analyzed by Professor Reed. These results helped us understand how each of us can contribute to the team. We used these results to see how the team can effectively communicate and implement our vision and mission, which the team had already written in advance of the workshop.


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Halfway through, we had the opportunity to practice Shodo, learning the basics of how to use the brush, then copying a masterwork by Miyamoto Musashi to absorb the samurai spirit. Lastly, we painted a phrase often used by Musashi reflecting how to see the whole as a distant mountain, but also to be able to see detail and how everything is connected, linking all the themes we discussed in the first part of the workshop.


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Finishing up the workshop, we moved to the Dojo on the third floor and were introduced to Nanba. In this Japanese art form, we were taught how to find and maintain posture with good alignment and centering, as well as how to maintain a calm center in walking and sitting. This training can be used in ones studies and work in order to maximize one’s skills.


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Throughout the workshop, we frequently reviewed what we had learned and how it could be applied in work or academics. Everyone came away with new insights and inspirations about how to work well as a team towards a common mission, while developing  awareness of one’s strengths and contributions as an individual.

It was a great opportunity for everyone to learn from people of different generations and degrees of experience. The program was coordinated by one of our iCLA students, Kaho Tanaka, who is currently finishing up her internship at Mitsubishi FUSO, and no doubt will come back to iCLA with wonderful things to share from her internship experience.

This is the first workshop which we have conducted at iCLA with one of our partner corporations. These partners have already seen what the students of iCLA can do, as a number of interns have gone through the full experience. No doubt, all in the university look forward to doing similar trainings with other partner companies.

For more information on Mitsubishi FUSO, please visit their website.

Arts, japan studies, Students, Workshop

Judo (柔道) at iCLA

In iCLA, not only academics are important to students. Experiencing Japanese culture is also an indispensable component of their education. iCLA offers a variety of hands-on workshops, including one in the modern martial art Judo (柔道). In 1882, Judo was created as a form of physical, mental, and moral pedagogy in Japan.

The coach (先生) and the seniors (先輩) are patient teachers, even to students who knew nothing about Judo before the workshop. Thanks to their earnest instruction and attentive observation, we learn from our mistakes and have improved our skills. Our coach and seniors are top athletes in Japan. It is such a precious opportunity to learn from them.
Calvin Chan, exchange student from Lingnan University (Hong Kong)


This class is special! We can wear judo-gi and our sensei is funny!
                   Moe, second year student at iCLA

P.S.: Our coach, Mr. Takahiro Nishida, is the head coach at Yamanashi Gakuin University and father of Yuka Nishida, World Champion in Tokyo in 2010.

japan studies, Students, Workshop

Bendik and Stephen: experiences in Japan

Former iCLA exchange students Bendik Aarsæther and Stephen Kissick have produced a series of videos sharing their experiences of their year abroad in Japan.

Let’s take a look at Stephen experiencing Shugendo (修験道), a highly syncretic religion that originated in Heian Japan:


A time-lapse video of Bendik’s showing the beauty of Japan (including stellar shots of Kofu & iCLA):


Created by: Bendik Aarsæther: &
Presented by: Stephen Kissick:

For more of their videos, please visit: BA Productions

Arts, japan studies, Students

Donna: The Art of a Cineaste

by Chloe Ramirez



Semesters later, students and professors alike still bring to light the amazing work done by Donna Rey, a Visual Communication student from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. On her semester abroad at iCLA, she was able to come up with a beautiful collection of videos and photos for the world to see, and they do not disappoint.

Donna took the time to meet with the students of iCLA in order to take their photos and videos. She admits that she started the whole project in order to pass the time.

I was always in my room for the first few weeks. But since I already love taking photos and videos, I said, why not start with my classmates? But the ultimate goal of my project was to get to know more people. I wanted to reach out to others. I am an only child, I keep to a close set of friends, and it was my first time in a foreign country. Meeting people through my passion was amazing.”

It was all very natural, the whole process. Donna wanted to exhibit authenticity and truth, and she in turn admits that much was learned from the whole project. The experiences were so unique because they were all such different people. Different personalities and attitudes sprout from each photoshoot, proving the diversity in and liberal air of iCLA.

Of course, just as in many projects, hardships occur.

There was a time in November when I’d conduct three photoshoots in a day, before, in between, and after class. It was difficult to shoot, but these were all minor setbacks. The feeling is really different when you know you can make someone happy with what you can do, and so I don’t mind the setbacks at all. It’s very fulfilling as a photographer, if I can call myself that.”

All in all, she admits that her little stint in iCLA was life-changing in a way, because she grew not just as a person, but also as an artist.

I used to be so dependent on friends, but here in iCLA, and after conducting the shoot, I was able to become more independent, mature, and responsible. Plus, I gained so many friends in the process.”

You can check out her videos here:

To see more of Donna’s work, check out her Facebook page:


Arts, Concert, Music, Students, Workshop



A concert night inspired by outer space and the stars 

On December 7, 2017, iCLA’s students and the YGU Wind Brass Ensemble joined forces to present an evening-length concert inspired by outer space and the stars in the iCLA main lobby.

This edition of the Music Gala successfully integrated a variety of musical styles and mediums reflective of the diversity of iCLA Music workshops offered in the Fall semester: Koto, Shakuhachi, Keyboard, Vocal Ensemble, and Music and Creativity. The evening also included special guests performances by a few of iCLA’s faculty and staff members.

Pauline Arejola’s performance of her original piece Dancing In Stillness

The concert was entertaining for the spectators, and was a major (yet rewarding) challenge for iCLA’s young performers. The students learned and rehearsed a large number of new pieces, and some witnessed their own compositions being performed for the first time.

Pauline Therese Arejola, who participated in the Music and Creativity, Koto, and Vocal Ensemble workshops, presented an impressive solo vocal work. She had this to say about her experience: “The best thing about the Winter Gala is that you get to collaborate with creative artists, composers, songwriters, musicians and singers. You get to see and experience how diverse iCLA students are in music making. Performing for an international audience was an honor because I was able to share my music with them. Even though we all speak different languages, one language connected us all, and that is music!”


Asteroid B612

Sao Khue Phan Xuan offered her original musical theatre piece Asteroid B612, a musical dialogue in which the lyrics were inspired by the children’s novel The Little Prince. After the performance, Sao Khue explained:  “It was satisfying! Not only because I get to see what I created, but also when the performance and the performers see the story I wrote from their own perspective, I think it creates an interesting narrative.”


Overall, the students did a great job in delivering such a remarkable level of performance which brought everyone together, including the sizable audience, despite limited preparation time. Audience member April Angel Lee Felipe added:  “It was a pretty cool event because I was exposed to different kinds of music and I was also able to talk to new people!”

The audience at the Winter Gala 2017


John Cheung, as an exchange student at iCLA who experienced the Music Gala for the first time, remarked:  “The gala was a great experience, seeing all the creative musicians and composers, and great performance by the students. It was really a nice opportunity to meet with friends and enjoy such a wonderful night at iCLA!”