My 2003 IATSS Forum Experience (Part 3)

Finally, this is the final part of the story. You can read the part 1  in this post dan part 2 in this post.

Hang out with volunteer

In the middle of our busy schedule, luckily we still have time for hang out with volunteers. I use this opportunity to achieve objective which I can not have in formal activities. They are willingly inviting us to their house; offer to take sightseeing and etc. I received many friendly invitations here that make sure my stay in Japan become fruitful.

A visit to Japanese
A visit to Japanese

When Lyn San – one of volunteer – invited us to her house, I had opportunity to observe Japanese house. She showed me every room in her house and her husband told me some facts about the house. I also had change to play flying plate with her daughter, Fumi-chan and her friend, Diki-chan in front of their house. Hang out with these children open my view about how important playing ground for children, how big spaces they need and what kind of play they like to do.

I had change to see Suzuka seaside and take picture in front of Monument of the embarkation of Kodayu Daikokuya with Omori San and Tomoko San. I was also very thankful when Omori-san willingly spent some time to show me some slides of his house. He patiently answered some queries about his house. Another time some volunteers offer us to go to Seki town or around the city. They gave us opportunity to know and build relationship with Japanese.

First time I play bowling is in Suzuka Circuit with Japanese volunteers

During my stay in Japan I make good friends for at least 20 volunteers and being acquainted with more than a hundred new friends. New friends not just found in formal activities such as Seminar room, Cultural Exchange Day but also with house keeper, omelet lady in restaurant, or someone in the park.

Explore Japanese Architecture

Nagoya Twin Tower
A visit to the top of Nagoya Twin Tower.

This is one of my biggest objectives to join IATSS Forum. As an architect visiting new place always enriching my architecture vocabulary. It is difficult to design something if you have lack of vocabulary or experience. It will be much better if we can feel the room, touch the material, rather than just see it from the book.

It is different understanding if we just saw a picture of lounge in front of seminar room in IATSS Forum than be in that place. Sat and had a sun bathing there, saw the scenery and shadow entering the big glass window from different angle.

I can do this everywhere. Start from small scale such as my room to large scale such as city landscape.  The room taught me how to design small room look spacious and cozy. The secret was in choosing smaller furniture. Smaller bed, smaller study table but with many shelves for book up to ceiling, so I can put everything there.

My bed in IATSS Forum
My bed in IATSS Forum
IATSS Forum Room
Housekeeping clean the room everyday. Just like hotel.
IATSS Forum Room
From the window we can see the ferriswheel in Suzuka Circuit Park
Ferriswheel at Suzuka Circuit Park
Ferriswheel at Suzuka Circuit Park

Urban landscape here is also beautiful. Japan has many clean parks that children can play, elderly can walk or sit, teenage can date there. I saw many interesting details such as fountain, bench, walking path, plant arrangement and so on.

In Japan I found many interesting magazines about residential. I bought many magazines that I think will be very useful for my job. I had to post 15 kg parcel of book that cost more than Y 6.000 to my home in Bandung! Anyway bought Japanese magazines at least will remind me to learn more about Japanese language.

Disable facility in public area
Its common to see disable in public in Japan.

Another important thing is facilities for disable people. Shameful to say, but previously I also don’t like to put ramp or other facilities for disable people in building that I designed because I think it cost some space and sometimes does not look good for building. Another thing, in Indonesia we don’t have strict rule about this and client don’t want to spent money on this. I also think no one will use the facilities. Here in Japan I saw many facilities for disable people such as toilets, parking space, and ramp everywhere to make sure they can go in every corner of the city using wheel chair, special tile for the blind and et cetera. It is not only building and landscape, the facilities also in public transportation. Priority sit is given to disable, elderly, pregnant women and women that carry a baby.   And the most surprisingly, many people use those facilities. It was very touch to see blind man with his stick can go to Nagoya Station which many people there by following to blind path. There is someone using those facilities! Many disable people need the facilities. And it is human rights. Now, I deeply understand.

My Impression about IATSS Forum


I can say that generally my experience in the last 55 days is really what I have been expected. I learn many new things that can enrich my life.

I have at least more than a hundred the first time. From first time visiting Ise Shrine to first time playing bowling. From first time to conduct presentation to first time to write such a long report in English.

with kimono

I like the entire program here both formal and informal. The schedule is good enough to make sure we use the time effectively. However, I must admit I feel a little difficult to prepare report.  I need longer time to prepare my report so I can catch up with others. I need more than a week to prepare this report. But I realized that this is important for me and I want to learn.

With Tommy San the Director of IATSS Forum 2003
With Tommy San the Director of IATSS Forum 2003

Like I said before: No Pain, No Gain. I have to work hard if I want to learn something. Now I understand what Tommy San said about this program is not a holiday. We are here to LEARN something together which should be useful for our future.

The key word “together” gave additional values which for me that mean fun. Easier & fun to learn something with Jason, Azmil, Sinh, and other participants from different nation and background. Chat with other participants most of time broaden my views such as chat with York about studying and living abroad, talk about religion with Kong or have a conversation with Dulcie about education in Singapore and Indonesia.

I also give 2 thumbs up for all IATSS staff that help me in this program. I impressed by the way staff try to find the best professor and give a lot of attention to the seminars and other activities. They also interested to know about participants, try to be close to us and be our nice friends.

Through IATSS Forum, I finally know that I can live together with other participants. As Indonesian, now I have more confidence that I have same capability with others. I can share my thought, I can involve in discussion, and I can finish my report on time like other participants. I can do that!

As conclusion, through all the activities I mention above, I can say that I have succeeded in building foundation of my bridge. I know that the task still continued many things I have to do. But IATSS Forum gives me enough self-esteem to keep working hard for my dreams.

From the bottom of my heart I want to say:

We are going home with a happy memories

We are going home with the friendship we will miss

Domo Arigato Gozaimashu.

If you interested to join the Forum, you can apply by clicking this image.

IATSS Brochure 2016
IATSS Brochure 2016

Shanty Dewi Arifin

Penulis yang suka berbagi Pengalaman dan Oleh-oleh dalam rangka belajar menjadi perempuan yang lebih baik bagi diri sendiri, keluarga, dan masyarakatnya. Bergabung dengan komunitas: Blogger - Institut Ibu Profesional Bandung - Arsitektur ITB 93 - IATSS Forum 2003 - Akademi Menulis 5 Menara - #ODOPfor99days.

One thought on “My 2003 IATSS Forum Experience (Part 3)

  • June 16, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Hai Mbak Shanty 🙂

    Terima kasih atas sharing ceritanya selama di Jepang Mbak Shanty 🙂 Saya tertarik untuk ikut mendaftar IATSS 2017. Selepas baca cerita Mbak selama program berlangsung, jadi kebayang serunya pengalaman yang akan diperoleh (jika Allah mengijinkan, hehe). Di bagian komen part pertama tulisan Mbak, disebutkan bahwa Mbak bertanya kepada alumni IATSS. Apakah ada forum alumni (semacam facebook group atau medsos) yang sharing info dan pengalaman selama mendaftar Mba? Saya pengen tahu lebih jauh di proses penulisan esay dan wawancaranya 🙂


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