Many JapanLovers dream of the Land of the Rising Sun, and chasing their dreams. And Christina Bucci (aka. Pinkysaurus Rex on Tumblr) is definitely one of us! She chased her dreams and found herself studying in Bunka Fashion College. She has already been part of a few Harajuku Fashion Walks and has also been featured on TokyoFashion.com!
We asked Kawaii JapanLover, Christina, about her own JapanLover story.
Let’s get to know her a little bit more!
Christina Bucci a.k.a. PinkySaurus Rex
I was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s of Arts, where I majored in East Asian Studies. After graduating I moved to Tokyo to study Japanese at KCP International. I am currently enrolled in Bunka Fashion College’s Foundations of Fashion Technology as a second year student and will be beginning in the Industrial Merchandising specialization this April.
A Kawaii JapanLover’s Story:
Christina x Nippon
I guess like most people, I was initially attracted to Japan through anime and manga. However, through this I became interested in Japanese fashion, culture, and language. Although my attraction to anime and manga was just a phase, the rest seems to have stuck.
Studying Japanese in Japan was an interesting experience and perhaps different from most people’s study abroad life. For one, I moved to Japan a mere two months before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. That being said, right as I was getting accustomed to my new life, everything changed, all my new friends left the country, and I was emotionally cut off from the world for a long time. In some ways that experience helped me to focus a bit as to what I wanted to do with my life, which was spend as much of it here as possible.
As for actually studying the language itself, I think it’s an extremely valuable experience to study it in Japan because you become completely submersed in it. No matter how much you try, you can never recreate that sort of environment in your home country. It also forces you to use Japanese in a variety of circumstances, which helps you to grow and improve.
Finding and Studying Fashion at Bunka
I discovered Bunka Fashion College through my Japanese language school’s Trade School Fair, where Bunka came to meet with prospective students.
The application process was pretty standard for Japanese schools, which means submitting proof of graduation from previous schools, financial records and proof of language proficiency. After this initial screening you are asked to take an entrance exam and an interview, which are pretty much language proficiency checks in a sense.
Basically, you must be able to perform at a minimum of JLPT N2 level, which means your Japanese doesn’t have to be perfect to get in. However, the more you know the easier school will be because you have to understand that ALL of your classes will be taught in Japanese and none of your teachers or classmates will speak English. Although there are many foreign exchange students at Bunka (our class of 48 students had 8 ), realistically most come from other Asian countries.
In classes at Bunka you learn not only how to sew but also to draw your own patterns, make your own designs; you learn about fashion history and business, material and drawing, among others. However whatever program you are in, you will have a core class, which will make up most of your class time each week. For me, this class was clothes making.
The way each piece progressed is that first we would learn, as a class, how to make general patterns, then were shown by the teacher how to sew standard parts for each design. It’s pretty much up to you to incorporate these pieces into your design or not. You are given certain requirements that must be fulfilled, such as what material you may or may not use, weather or not you need to put pockets or sleeves, how long it has to be, etc., but you are generally free to do whatever you want so long as you fulfill what is asked of you.
At Bunka they teach you a lot of broad concepts about design, but it is up to you to narrow these down and come up with your own creations.
Lessons from Schooling: The Japanese Way
Attendance and respecting deadlines are the two most important things to schools in Japan, in that order. This is not strictly a Bunka thing, but a Japanese school standard. Attendance is taken every day, at the beginning of each period and is strictly monitored. If you miss too many classes you will fail (and as a foreign student you risk losing your student visa).
Respecting deadlines is the second most important thing. No matter how nice your pieces are, if they are late they probably will not be showcased in class exhibitions, and you may not be allowed to perform in class presentations, which ultimately affects your overall grade.
As the school year progresses people will start disappearing. Our class started off with 48 students in April and ended with probably about 35 students in March. People drop out for many different reasons, but so long as you are focused and work hard, you shouldn’t have a problem.
You will always be expected to stay afterschool. At the end of each day you meet with your class and your homeroom teacher talks about what you’ll need for the following day. You might be on class-cleaning duty, or have to practice for a fashion show.
Tips: Studying in a Japanese School
Don’t be scared to try.
When I applied to Bunka my Japanese was far from perfect, I had no real plan, and had never in a million years thought I would study fashion, especially at 24 years old. But somehow I got in, and even though I had a lot of trouble understanding what was going on at first (both linguistically and socially), it got easier with time.
It might take time to make friends, and that’s OK.
It isn’t easy to make friends when there are language or cultural barriers, but everyone will be nice to you and in time, if you try, you will make friends and have a lot of fun. Just try not to get discouraged, you’ll find your place.
Take deep breaths.
Sometimes school will be extremely frustrating. You will have bad days. But you will also have good days. Try to focus on the positive when things are tough.
Just be yourself.
No one likes people who try too hard to be liked or who are very fake. Don’t try to be Japanese, you will never succeed and it will only make you feel alone in the end. Embrace the fact that you are different from most of the other students. Come up with your own style and learn to stand out in a positive way.
No one said chasing your dreams is easy.
Take it from Christina, a lot of hard work, dedication, time and patience goes into adapting into a new place. But, we’re not too worried. The passion of a JapanLover is unwavering.
You can find more of Christina on Social Media:
We would like to thank TokyoFashion.com for some of the photos
used for this Featured Kawaii JapanLover entry!