TIU International Relations Student Association Interview

Interview held: May 19, 2021
Written by Mika Arimoto
Edited by Saki Arimoto

Have you heard about the big news? The Department of E-Track International Relations has announced a newly established student-led circle under the International Relations (IR) Department — TIU International Relations Student Associations or TIUIRSA. The association aims to promote a more cohesive relationship between TIU students and their beloved professors from the IR Faculty Department. 

To know more about TIUIRSA, I interviewed the president of the association, Nguyen Thi Thai Hoa, who is a 3rd-year IR major and communication member of TIU Model United Nations (TIUMUN). She was elected as the president of TIUIRSA among the 11 core members of TIUIRSA that set the foundation of the association.

Hoa joined in establishing the circle as she found it “interesting to have an academic-related platform where we can tackle issues related to IR.” She also adds that joining TIUIRSA will be beneficial for her future career.

The circle has a number of activities for its members as listed below.

  1. Reading Group

Led by students, this is where they tackle certain topics and discuss the books they have chosen. These Reading Groups are headed by Chairs who propose their topic to the committee heads of TIUIRSA. Students who are interested to become the Chairs can apply during the beginning of the semester and propose their topics. Once approved, they can start recruiting members of the reading group. 

  1. Skill Workshops 

These workshops are mostly facilitated by TIU professors which focus on important topics to TIU students. Most of these are practical skills essential to International Relations in order to promote deeper understanding of IR-related topics.

  1. Academic Journal 

This is the circle’s main project. Their goal is to publish an online newsletter that will consist of a collection of students’ research papers. This will allow not only the spread of the importance of IR but also, showcasing talents of IR students in writing and research. 

  1. Others 

This semester, the circle organized an online party exclusively for IR freshmen. Through this event, students were able to interact virtually with other freshmen, as well as know the faculty members from the IR Department. Furthermore, they also had a ‘Trivia Night’ where participants’ knowledge was tested. They also plan to have more parties and field trips to widen their knowledge on the field of International Relations in the future.

TIUIRSA definitely has a lot in store for TIU students. But, who can join?

All E-Track students are welcomed! TIUIRSA believes that political issues are relevant to everyone and becoming aware of the social issues helps us to become better citizens of society. They are still working on including J-track students especially those who are majoring in IR to allow an interesting exchange of ideas between E-track and J-track students. 

Hoa: There is a range of events such as reading groups, workshops, trivia nights. We highly encourage everyone to give them a try as we believe everyone can learn and also an opportunity to meet people who are interested in the same field, just try to come by.

Special thanks to Hoa for her participation in our interview! And remember to check TIUIRSA out using the contacts below.

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @tiuirsa

Email: tiuirsa@gmail.com

What is ESS?

Written by Mika Arimoto
Edited by Saki Arimoto

Our university is well-known for its highly international environment that encourages more connection within the TIU community through services such as E-Plaza Team’s Peer English Practice or PEP service and J-Plaza’s Conversation Partners. Speaking of learning languages, we have a club that promotes English learning outside the classroom. This club is none other than the English Speaking Society or ESS club. I interviewed Tomoya and Kazuki, two members of the club, to share with us what ESS is.

Kazuki Saito (President of E.S.S. and English Communication Major

Tomoya Suzuki (2nd year, also English Communication Major)

According to Kazuki Saito, E.S.S. is a club that allows students from both E-track and J-track students to participate in activities like discussions and debates. He is the current president, and Caisa, an E-track student from Sweden, is the vice president. Currently, they have 50 J-Track students and 10 E-Track students. 

Kazuki: We joined E.S.S. mainly to improve our English ability as knowing English will be a great advantage for good career opportunities. We also heard from our senpais about the activities which sparked an interest in us. We also thought it was a great opportunity to make friends.

Tomoya: We can tell that E.S.S. has greatly helped us with our English ability. During meetings, we do icebreakers and discussions. For discussions, we are divided into small groups where we discuss different topics such as travel, films, and the like with the use of English. These activities also allowed us to meet people not just from J-track but also from E-track. These definitely expanded our knowledge of cultures from different countries.

Annually, TIU ESS collaborates with other ESS clubs in other universities in Japan which allows them to grow their network outside the university. Furthermore, they also hold the “Freshman Speaking Contest” every year, and will take place this coming July 10.

Due to coronavirus, the club has been holding their meetings online. They have adapted to using Zoom, and experience inevitable connection problems that cause some members to sound “choppy.”  On a brighter note, they found it interesting to see people’s homes abroad.

“E.S.S. is a very casual club where you can make friends and improve your English skills which will be beneficial in future careers. You will be able to maximize your university life and meet people from different countries! We meet every Tuesday and Friday 5:30-7:30 pm. We hope to see you there!”

Special thanks to Kazuki and Tomoya for participating in our interview! Lastly, to those who are interested in joining, make sure to follow their Instagram @tiu_esgram.

The U.G.G Experience

Written by Theo F.
Edited by Saki Arimoto

Note:All pictures were taken before coronavirus

U.G.G, an extracurricular club founded here at Tokyo International University, is home to many dance enthusiasts of different backgrounds. From hip-hop to funky rock, they are known for a wide variety of styles. For Shinzui, dancing makes him forget the stress and enjoy the fun of the moment.

To learn more about U.G.G, we interviewed Shinzui – a Chinese/Korean senior majoring in International Relations. According to the dance club member, U.G.G stands for Under Ground Groovers. In the past, they have participated in numerous competitions and performed for different venues. Just to mention a few, Shinzui described his experience at the Annual Kanto Spring Dancing Competition (Koto, Tokyo) where U.G.G faced other universities all over the region, and how the club would rent a studio in Kichijoji (Musashino, Tokyo) every June. During summer, the club would travel to other parts of the country, dance till late at night, and enjoy exotic food. Towards the end of the year, U.G.G would hold parties for its graduating members. Consequently, U.G.G is often considered as one of the most active and fun clubs on campus.

During our conversation, Shinzui revealed that he was actually, for a long time, the sole non-Japanese member in the dance club. Curiosity took over and I decided to ask him to share his story.

Sneak peek of UGG’s usual practice

As a freshman, Shinzui had originally wanted to join the university’s wind orchestra. However, he had been turned down as they had enough members at the time. After attending the extracurricular orientation, Shinzui had contemplated trying his second choice – U.G.G – where two walls stood in his way: cultural differences and inexperience in dancing. Although Shinzui had been able to speak Japanese, cultural differences had restricted his ability to get involved in Japanese banter, among other instances. Furthermore, unlike Shinzui, most of the past members had had prior dancing experience. In order to overcome his shortcomings, he increased his Japanese capabilities, devoted a lot of time for practice, and asked for advice from his amiable upperclassmen. As a result of his earnest effort, Shinzui has become able to converse naturally and dance adeptly with his fellow members.

According to Shinzui, there were E-Track students who joined U.G.G but quit after a short while as they were not able to handle the language barrier. Shinzui stressed that “a foreign country will not accommodate you, you need to adopt their customs.” He believes that there is nothing wrong with stepping out of your comfort zone and working hard to have fun.

I bumped into Shinzui with his Japanese friends at the station last week. He for sure was enjoying his efforts.

U.G.G meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 16:40 to 19:00 in Lecture Hall 314. Interested students are welcome to come and try it out. Follow Shinzui on Instagram at @jangjinseo0 and U.G.G at @ugg_official_tiu

A Peek Into TIU Model United Nations

Author: Mika Arimoto
Editor: Tin D.

Do you know the United Nations (UN)? Of course, you do. One of the largest organizations in the world, the UN is a place for fruitful discussion among countries to occur. However, do you know what the Model United Nations is? Since we do have such a club here in TIU, why don’t we take a peek into TIU Model United Nations (or TIU MUN for short)? Let us do so through the eyes of Nimrod Persson, a 4th year International Relations major and also the current president of this varsity club.


TIU MUN is an academic extracurricular varsity club that simulates how UN works. According to Nimrod, they discuss international issues, human rights, climate change, and other related global issues to find solutions and make the world a better place. They research these topics and present them through position papers and debates. Their primary activity revolves around conferences, both in hosting and participating. Up to now, they have joined various conferences such as Japan University, English MUN, All Japan MUN, Indonesia MUN, and Harvard WorldMUN. Most of the time, they returned with awards and certificates. The club was also able to receive the Chancellor Special Award from TIU in 2018, for which they are very proud and grateful.

Usually, conferences last around one week, so in order to prepare for that short period of time, they also hold workshops with experts, academic professors, and former senior members to help current members become better delegates and to learn new skills. These skills are not only beneficial for them to be an MUN delegate, but they are also helpful in later career development. Non-members can also join depending on whether the workshops are open to the public or not, although most are exclusive for members.


TIU MUN is divided into three internal departments. Firstly, there are the executives, which consists of one president (currently Nimrod) and two vice presidents. Generally, they lead the club as a group in conjunction with the officers. They oversee the club and make sure regular operations go smoothly, ensuring that officers have the necessary resources to carry out tasks. Secondly, there are the officers, or the so-called “glue” of the club. They hold everything together. They organize the meetings, manage conferences, hold workshops, and create fun activities for members. Lastly, there are the regular members, who join these activities. Despite this vertical structure, the atmosphere is very lax since they are all well acquainted with each other. During normal meetings, you can see TIU MUN as one big “family.”

Recent Developments

Recently, due to the spread of Covid-19, meetings and other matters have been handled on Discord, a platform that allows easy communication in channels of various categories for a group of people. TIU MUN does have serious categories such as conference planning and mock General Assembly. However, they also have more casual categories such as general chat, meme and videos. This allows members to have fun and get to know each other. As a result, according to Nimrod, this has made everyone become closer since they can talk to each other regardless of time, whether it be chatting or academic assistance.

Message to readers

“From personal experience, my time in TIU initially, I did not have a lot of friends and even if I had, I did not become close enough. And I consider this as a lonely time where you go to class and go home routine. My experience after finding MUN was “night and day.” I realized quickly that it was not only academic extra-curricular activity strictly serious 24/7 “constantly debating.” They are different walks of people in the club where everybody has different ideas, perspectives, experiences, and it makes a great melting-pot to meet new people that you never thought you would have met. TIU MUN gives you a great platform to make friends in a way that the classroom setting cannot provide, especially nowadays where we don’t have the means to talk since students do not go to school anymore. As the Zoom class session ends, that’s it, class is over. You tend to be alone and lonely. With this club, it became a mini-break time between classes. We check on each other on Discord to check on how the class was. It’s a great experience and a great way to make new friends and meet new people.

I would absolutely recommend people to join TIU MUN. I can promise you there will be a lot of fun along the way.”

TIU MUN is open for recruitment at the start of every semester. Non-members can also come to see how the club is. For more information, please do check their Facebook page here.


Author: Blazee
Editor: Saki Arimoto

Are you a big fan of TED talks, or perhaps, interested in organizing a TEDx event and expanding your circle of friends in TIU? If your answer is yes, keep reading to read the opportunities TEDxTIU, a new varsity club, provides to the TIU community.

TEDxTIU is an organization established by a number of TIU students for the purposes of connecting other students within TIU, helping them unleash their talent, and encouraging every individual to express themselves. This is especially for students who want to share their ideas but have no platform to do so. No need to worry anymore as TEDxTIU got you covered.

I interviewed some of the students who were involved in TEDxTIU last semester and this is what they had to say…

Bhutmee, who attended some of the workshops TEDxTIU organized, says, “TEDxTIU gives you the platform to expose yourself and make new friends.”

Mika, a member of the TEDxTIU team, says, “One thing I love about TEDxTIU is that the members in the club are filled with passionate people. Initially, I joined TEDxTIU to make more friends and also to meet speakers in TEDx events. However, after working with the team during our main event last semester, I was overwhelmed by the people I was working with. Some of them are my friends but I was surprised by their professionalism. I realized that I wanted to be like them. I want to be passionate about something. TEDxTIU allowed me to be myself and sooner, I found myself enjoying being part of the team.”

Saki, the president of the club, says: “I initially thought of organizing a TEDx event which is very fitting to our highly diverse TIU community. While it took me and a few friends establishing the organization, we were able to form a circle and now, a varsity club, that I believe has helped a great number of students to use and develop their talents and skills, as well as make great bonds despite language barriers and diverse backgrounds. Through TEDxTIU, I, on behalf of the organizing team, hope to make a platform where the TIU students can share and hear new and great ideas through TEDx events, along with small workshops for self-development.”

              Last December, the TEDxTIU organizing committee organized a TEDx event called “Countdown” held virtually to address and understand the climate crisis. Six notable speakers had their own original TEDx talks on topics that matter but are not heard by many. Hosted by eloquent and humorous emcees, the event most certainly provided a unique experience for the TIU community, alongside some cool performances. You can still watch the recording via this link: https://fb.watch/5nwjkCynB9/

              TEDxTIU is still growing and slowly taking root in TIU. Given the opportunities and platform by the group, you should definitely join the events and workshops by TEDxTIU and give yourself a chance to be a part of something wonderful and life-changing.

EAA’s Virtual Graduation Meet-up

Author: Saki Arimoto
Editor: Vi

Celebrating the graduating class of 2021, the E-Track Alumni Association (EAA) is back again with another exciting event.

Similar to the graduation ceremony, the meet-up was held online in order to ensure safety for all graduates, alumni, and staff. As a coordinating campus representative, I had the opportunity to witness this exclusive event, and am here to provide a walkthrough of the exciting process you may have missed!

Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

The meet-up gathered an impressive number of over 70 registrants, including professors, staff, alumni, and graduate students. With more than half of the registrants attending, this once again spoke for the TIU’s community spirit – the celebration of various countries, backgrounds, affiliations, and ages. It was definitely wonderful to see new and familiar faces on one screen!

Taking place on the evening of March 13, the meet-up was hosted by both EAA’s vice-chairpersons, Wichuta Teeratanabodee and Woradon Yomjinda. The chairperson of EAA, Bastian Harth began the event with his warm opening remarks, congratulating and welcoming the graduates to the association. This set the tone for the event, in which conversations were sparked through a number of exciting group activities and online games.

In my case, being able to meet and have conversations with many alumni, professors, and graduate students, at the same time playing skribbl.io, drawing, and guessing game, is undoubtedly a rare opportunity that will remain memorable.

The night was wrapped up by the Professor of Sociology and Social Psychology, Mr. Thomas Blackwood. He congratulated the graduating students and encouraged them with motivational advice for the new chapter of their lives.

One hour of the event was not long, but it was packed with value sharings and connections as one can expect from such a highly diverse community. 2020 was a difficult year, especially for graduating students, who had to manage all the challenging graduation requirements topped with the coronavirus situation. Graduating especially during these times requires remarkable effort and mental strength, to say the least. The meet-up was not only the graduates’ opportunity to share their experience but also for all the students of TIU to reflect and prepare better for their own journey ahead.

To the Class of 2021, congratulations on your graduation! We wish you good health and the best for your future endeavors!

The promotional post for this event is below ⬇️

Follow TIU E-Track Alumni Association’s IG for updates on future events!


TIU EAA’s Webinar on Applying for Graduate School

Author: Saki Arimoto
Editor: Vi

Working on applying for graduate school? TIU alumni have incredibly useful advice for you, so read on to find out how they successfully went through the application process!

Source: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

The New Year holiday has barely passed, but the E-Track Alumni Association already has major events in store for us.

The TIU E-Track Alumni Association, or TIU EAA, is the official alumni association of the Tokyo International University. Founded in March 2019, TIU EAA has been organizing webinars and meet-ups with highly experienced professionals, as well as TIU alumni. They cover a wide range of topics such as social entrepreneurship, job-hunting, development studies, consulting, and so on.

This time, the association has organized yet another helpful webinar on “How to Apply for Graduate School?” on the 10th of January through Zoom.

Speakers of the webinar include Bastian Harth, Wichita Teeratanabodee (Whitney), Voravich Chaturavichanan (Jimmy), Nguyen Quynh Anh (Annie), and Dinh Thi Minh Chau (Charlotte) who all graduated from TIU. They all have gone through the process of applying for graduate schools and were successfully admitted to some of the most prestigious and high-ranked institutions.

The webinar started off by discussing the document preparation process. As emphasized by Bastian, it is highly recommended that students start early – as various documents require assistance from others, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, resumes, and the like.

He added that while these documents can be easily obtained, the tricky part sometimes lies in the long wait, due to the offices’ high demand.

Bastian then advised seeking out experienced senior students and professors for guidance on essential documents. Their experience is especially beneficial when it comes to documents like your statement of purpose.

The speakers took to their own personal experiences to answer various questions that concern students.

They explained what they may look for in programs, regarding cost, job placement, and location; their application process; how relevant their undergraduate studies were to their master’s; or useful tips to get desired results.

The speakers also advised students to consider reasons to NOT go into graduate schools, particularly as few jobs actually require it or possible low return-on-investment, so that ultimately students can make the best decisions for their own future.

Answers for students’ concerns, helpful advice, and tips were shared during the webinar so in case you missed it, go to this link below for a rerun!

Interested in joining events such as this one?

Follow TIU EAA on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get updates for their upcoming events.

TIU EAA’s Webinar on Job Hunting in Japan

Author: Saki Arimoto
Editor: Vi

Job hunting is the inevitable process that many graduates dread, maybe even you. But hold on, TIU EAA in collaboration with one of the top recruitment companies, is here for the rescue.

In January, TIU E-Track Alumni Association (TIU EAA) organized a webinar for students who wish to continue their studies in graduate school. On February 5th, another helpful webinar was held. The theme is to discuss the overall picture of the job market, as well as the scouting process of recruitment agencies in Japan.

If you are looking for a job opportunity right after graduation, this article is packed with useful information for you!

Source: fauxels via Pexels

Moderated by Bastian Harth, chairperson of TIU EAA, the webinar also welcomed speakers from a professional recruitment company in Japan:

  • Mr. Benjamin Cordier・Managing Director
  • Mr. Simon Elsom・Director of HR and Office Administration Professionals, and
  • Ms. Sarah Onishi・Manager of Talent Acquisition and Development

The role of recruitment consultants in the industry

Starting off by sharing the company’s background in the field, Cordier emphasized the role of recruitment consultants in connecting job seekers and companies. Not only do companies benefit from the partnership, but also job seekers can develop their career and personal growth by finding the most suitable opportunities.

The Japanese job market

Elsom pointed out that while Japan is a promising market for foreign candidates, there are key unique factors in applicants’ appeal that companies may actively look for:

1. Strong academic background:

Many Japanese companies look into applicants’ GPA, thesis, courses which the student took, and overall academic achievements.

2. Japanese proficiency:

It is generally helpful to have N1 in JLPT, however, many companies are increasingly giving regards to BJT (Business Japanese Proficiency Test) scores.

3. Cultural knowledge:

It would be highly beneficial for the candidate to have the ability to work across cultures, and to help to build strong relationships with international counterparts.

Cordier emphasized that because of the shrinking work population, the economy will inevitably expand visa allowance to the foreign workforce, especially highly-skilled labor over the next decade.

The real key to winning opportunities in Japan

Although the more lenient visa allowance brings many opportunities, job seekers should also be aware of the competitive nature of the landscape with high-in-demand positions, and work on making their resumes stand out. This is highlighted by Elsom, who added: “Statistics show that it is usually a 10-second screening.”

The webinar sparked great discussions among the audience of 80 registrants, including speakers and TIU students. We believe that many graduates or future graduates can benefit from these professional insights, as being prepared is the best strategy to rise above in the job hunting race.

Missed the webinar? Watch the rerun below to find out more valuable insights:

Interested in joining events such as this one?

Follow TIU EAA on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get updates for their upcoming events!

Hult Prize TIU – an interview with Sabrina

Author: Tin D.
Editor: Tin D.

※The interview was conducted in English.

Sabrina Tiffany Muhsin

4th year, Business Economics

President of Hult Prize TIU

Date of Interview: 10/16

Hult Prize TIU

Tin: “Okay, let’s start with the foundation. Can you tell me what Hult Prize TIU is all about?”

Sabrina: “Hult Prize is a social  entrepreneurship event that partners with Hult International Business School and United Nations Office for Partnerships, where students get a chance to answer the United Nations [annual] challenge and build the next game changing startup!”


Tin: “What was your motivation when you decided to make Hult Prize TIU happen?”

Sabrina: “Yes! So, I was motivated to make Hult Prize TIU happen because… It was actually because I stumbled upon an article from one of my friends. It told how she was inspired to join the regionals and I thought I might as well join so I was just like open the website and then applied, and I didn’t even remember I applied and they called me back to do an interview and it just kinda happened even though I did not really know about Hult Prize at that time, honestly.”


Tin: “I heard that Hult Prize has a theme every year, so can you tell me a little bit about this year’s theme?”

Sabrina: “Yes, thank you for that question. So this year’s theme is “Food for Good” where students are challenged to transform food into vehicles of changes and solve one or more of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). They will also need to be able to create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chain, and improve outcome for 10 million people by 2030, which is a big challenge”

The experience: organizer & participant

Tin: “So, within Hult Prize TIU, I suppose that there are two main groups: the organizers and the participating teams. Can you tell me about your experience as an organizer? For example, did you have fun? How was it like coordinating people and surpassing challenges together?”

Sabrina: “YES! At first, it was like 100% motivation and in the middle of it, sometimes people get demotivated because you have done a lot but then things do not go as expected. In the beginning, we had a hard time finding team members. During the first two weeks, there were like only 2 teams but then we needed to reach the minimum of 10 teams, which was a lot right? Also, we had a hard time finding judges at first. We didn’t know where to search for them […] However, as we continued to progress, we gathered a lot more people and are working towards the next months on the high note.”

Tin: “I see, I see. That was very interesting. Well, I would say that as long as you enjoy doing it and things work out in the end, all good. That being said, although I do not know whether it is fine for you to talk on behalf of the participating teams, can you tell me what their experience could be like?”

Sabrina: “Oh, alright. This might have been due to miscommunication by me, but they were probably kind of unsure at first because the challenge was slightly ambiguous. They did ask me a lot like how could I do the abstract, how could I do the google form and everything. I see they have a lot of passion, but probably need more direction from the organization team back then. However, as we reach the end of the registration period, things have lightened up a bit. They are now more engaging and more explicitly passionate about their projects […] Another thing is that they may find Hult Prize, or building a business from scratch, is kind of difficult and scary.

A training session

Tin: “Yeah, I know that feeling. But if I recall correctly, Hult Prize is not about building a business, but rather about sharing the ideas of your business first, right?”

Sabrina: “Exactly! That is perfectly correct. You know, why don’t you join Hult Prize TIU, since you know that much?”

Tin: “Haha, thanks for the offer, but I think my back is hurt enough with all the work and assignments I got”

Sabrina: “Well, can’t really force you, haha”

A bridge between Jtrack and Etrack?

Tin: “I am just wondering, but since TIU is composed of both J-track and E-track students, are you guys planning to attract more people that speak mostly Japanese?”

Sabrina: “We are currently also working to attract J-track students to our circle. So, 2 weeks ago, we did talk in J-track classes. Currently, we have only 2 team members and 1 organizing member from the J-track program. Although there are not many at this point, I personally think that it is already an achievement for us. Hopefully next year, there will be more J-track students coming.”

Virtual events

Tin: “As many events are being moved to virtual, did Hult Prize TIU face any difficulties?”

Sabrina: “That’s a good question. So, I think the main problem of doing this virtually is that we would not be able to spread the passion. It may not seem as real. And since we can not meet with our judges, our mentors, it does not feel as personal. And of course to the organizing committees and the participating team too. But, there are positive things. For example, we do everything online now. We are able to ask speakers or judges from all over the world[…] It is also easier for them in terms of transportation. Also, there is no need to cover the decoration materials and stuff like that.”

Tin: “Oh ok, nice to learn new things from your experience”
Sabrina: “It’s really not that much, haha”

A message from Sabrina

——It is OK to make a mistake. Join an organization and do as many things as you can because you will probably be a student only once, so you need to utilize that as much as you can——

TEDxTIU: Workshop on Ideation and Design Thinking

Author: Mika Arimoto
Editor: Tin D.


TEDxTIU is a recently founded circle this Fall in our campus, led by Saki Arimoto – a third-year undergraduate majoring in Business Economics.

As some people may have known of “TED”, to put it simply, TEDx is a program that aims to spread TED’s ideology throughout the world, encouraging the pop-up of numerous nonpartisan, nonprofit and independently run TEDx organizations in numerous communities. Here in TEDxTIU, they aim to create a platform where “ideas worth sharing” can be heard, starting from organizing events and workshops.

A workshop with Brittany Arthur

Date: Wednesday, 7th of October, 2020. Time: 8 pm JST

On that day lies TEDxTIU’s very first workshop.

Led by Brittany Arthur, the founder and managing director of Design Thinking Japan, host and producer of Business Karaoke Podcast, the workshop’s aim was to help participants understand Ideation and Design Thinking. There were 21 participants from multiple backgrounds and nationalities in this event, including myself.

The flow~

1. Chat box icebreaker

The workshop started with an Icebreaker as we started utilizing Zoom’s chat box function and exchanged social media accounts to stay connected. As Ms. Brittany said, it was extremely important for everyone to connect with each other, especially during the current situation. That was her motive behind the activity, so I simply followed and tried to note down everyone’s account in order to follow them. And everyone was also doing the same, which was refreshing to see for me.

2. Ideation and Design Thinking’s origin

As Ms. Brittany continued to explain the key concepts, I learned that in order to effectively practice design thinking, it is crucial to approach problems with empathy, which was rather interesting. She gave us a business general example about it. If you were to create or improve a product, would you simply do so basing on your understanding of the products or on the customers’ perspectives. A good option would probably be the latter. Thus, it can be said that empathy is the origin of Ideation and Design Thinking.

3. Quick applicational activity

After that, she helped us apply this approach in a situational problem which was about a student struggling to join a circle. We were required to think of a solution to the problem with the newly learned concepts and divide ‘empathy’ for the student into 4 segments: see, think, feel, hear. During the discussion of our own solutions, it was surprising for me to hear some of the participants’ answers may be potential approaches in recruiting TEDxTIU members in the future.

A screenshot at the end of the workshop

My thoughts and the others’

Thanks to Ms. Brittany’s wonderful presentation skills, the workshop was indeed engaging and fun. Overall, everyone was participative and enjoyed the experience. Here are some of their responses:

“The session was very interesting and informative, especially the concept of ideation through empathizing which was new to me. Looking forward to joining more events like these!”

“I really love the empathizing section! As a person who loves to read about psychology, I really liked the idea of getting people involved through empathy!”

I am glad for TEDxTIU that the first workshop was successful. It was informative, interesting, and I was even able to connect with fellow members. As a part of this circle, I look forward to more workshops like this. GOOD JOB to all the people who worked hard to make this event possible.