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image | MIADJunior Thuy Khuu’s ’17 (Industrial Design) lifelong interest in Japan, has grown in recent years. She began to appreciate all aspects of Japanese culture, “Especially its aesthetic principles, which emphasize the beauty of simplicity and harmony in everyday life,” said Khuu.

In summer 2015 Khuu had the opportunity to expand her knowledge of Japan, and its design philosophy, during a two-month visit. At first, “I was not optimistic on how much I could learn from this trip because my sole connection to Japan was my sister, who has been there for two years,” said Khuu.

But, Design History professor Jim Slauson introduced Khuu to Japanese alumnus Naoki Kato ’06 (Industrial Design), who became a resource for Khuu. Kato, a user interface designer in Tokyo, worked with Khuu to help her learn as much as possible during her time in Japan.

image | MIADKato accompanied Khuu to several design related sights in Tokyo, including the Panasonic Living Showroom, Sony Showroom and various interior furnishing stores and galleries.

“Through our long conversations I learned about many things than contradicted my prior assumptions and understanding of Japan. I even got to stay with his parents for one night to experience the life style of a Japanese family,” added Khuu.

Meeting Kato made an impact on Khuu, making her trip to Japan a remarkable one, “This trip has significantly deepened my understanding of Japan and also of myself. I am very grateful that through MIAD, I was able to meet wonderful people from the other side of the Ocean,” said Khuu.