Ryu Takahashi

「Why did you choose APU?」
Due to my parents’ work, I spent my childhood in Singapore. For about 10 years after I returned to Japan (around the age of 8), I felt the difference between my environment at that time and my life in Japan somewhere in my heart. It couldn’t be expressed in words, but it was something that I instinctively felt. With this background, when choosing a university, I thought that APU was the only international university where people from all over the world would gather, so I took the entrance exam.

「What kind of study did you do for your Exchange Program?」
With the goal of studying abroad, I studied every week in a course called the Super Study Abroad Course (SRC). Apart from studying with my friends, I spent three to four days a week for two to three hours.

「Why did you choose Austria as your study destination?」
Due to my TOEFL score, I didn’t have many choices, but I chose Austria because it was an environment with almost no Japanese people, and I wanted to study in such an environment. Also, since I was interested in tourism at the time, I was interested in a place that focused on tourism.

「What was the best thing about the exchange program?」
I gained a lot in terms of academics, but the biggest thing was the change in my introverted personality. First of all, it took me six months to learn the language (to the detriment of my own personality). I had heard that people who went to study abroad could learn a language in a few months, so it was really tough. Still, I didn’t give up and actively participated in any gatherings, I was invited to. Then one day, while riding the bus during an excursion (field research), the conversations of my friends naturally entered my mind. At that moment, I felt as if the distance between the world and me had suddenly shortened, and my friendships expanded, and my understanding of research deepened. From that time on, I think I understood the meaning of not expecting others to understand or act unless I myself acted and sent out my message, and my personality changed into a proactive one.

[What is the most memorable thing while you are in college? ]
It is a group activity called “BMF (Beppu Music Festival)” where I spent the longest and fulfilling time. Around the spring of 2010, I was asked to join a volunteer circle (around 20 people) by a member of a band saying that “Let’s do an outdoor festival in Beppu!” I was in charge of a sponsorship, and a restaurant booth where ask for request to open a store at a public health center or a local restaurant. Other teams have been requesting artist performers from offices (not only in Kyushu but also in Tokyo) and coordinating with the university. Then, in the summer of 2011 (at the APU playground), we were able to set up a stage and hold an outdoor festival.
I realized that even if my motivation is lowered, being surrounded by enthusiastic friends be enable me to reach my goal eventually.

[How did you get a job now? ]
I made a member T-shirt at BMF (Beppu Music Festival). When I saw the tag with a company name, Tom’s Co., Ltd., I decided to apply. The company was taken care of by a new graduate. It is also called as “plain T-shirt maker”. After that, I had the opportunity to talk with the current company (after changing jobs twice) and was invited to join the company. I used to work in the apparel industry. But no matter how environmentally friendly clothes are made, small stains, holes and unsold can lead the clothes to landfilled or burned. At a company that was taken care of by a new graduate, I had seen the sites of apparel manufacturing countries such as China, Bangladesh, and India, and even then, I felt somewhat uncomfortable about the fate of clothes that were sewn for eight hours every day but were discarded if they did not sell. In such a situation, this is the only company in the world that is actually trying to “make clothes from clothes (with semi-permanent technology)”. I was very attracted by this.

[What kind of future do you envision in the future? ]
Since the global environment is a serious issue, I would like to expand my career so that I can act as an overseas sales member of the circular apparel we sell (including a warning to apparel products that use conventional underground resources).
As a starting point, sales at overseas (US, Belgium) stores have finally started (although the schedule was delayed due to the corona pandemic).
I want to tell people all over the world that clothes can be “recycled” instead of “thrown away”.

[Finally, please give a message to current students]
I would like to tell you that ” Such a culture, clothes are one of the resources, will come soon.” Approximately half of the clothes made around the world are discarded unworn. (What a Tokyo Tower equivalent, 23,000 towers every year!)
After getting to know this company, JEPLAN, INC. (BRING), please recycle your clothes instead of throwing them away.
Also, I think that APU will definitely come out to society and be useful by living in a unique environment by making full use of the international environment, so please try it. If you are struggling with taking advantage of your own personality in Japan, I think it’s a good idea to go to study abroad and live abroad like I do.


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