André-Pascal Werthwein
Portrait of André-Pascal Werthwein

André-Pascal Werthwein

Communication Design [Bachelor of Arts]

Web Design & Web Development

arrow_forward Biography

If you see this, »Javascript« is deactivated in your Internet Browser. To experience this website to the best of its abbilites, please activate »Javascript« in your Internet Browser.Due to its content as well as its structure, the Website does not support Landscape-Mode.


How did I prepare?

Language and Culture

As soon as I knew, that I was going to spend quite some time in Japan, I started taking evening classes in Japanese. Within 1.5 years, I managed to work my way into the basics of the language. As a part of my learning and my being creative, I created my own exercise material  [especially for Japanese writing]:

Doing so I built a base, which — much to my own surprise — was sufficient to successfully participate in Japanese lectures as well as in Japanese everyday life. During my time I continuously tried to apply my language skills and therefore able further refine my Japanese skills.

Along with developing the Japanese skills needed, I also took a deep-dive into the culture. Driven by my natural interest in foreign cultures, I — in depth — learned about cultural facets, ceremonies, etiquettes, foods and forms of art.

[Even after my time in Japan, I keep on refining my Japanese skills.]



What is my name?

A new Life — a new Name

When you move for a long period of time into a country as different as Japan, you change involuntarily. You adjust and integrate yourself. You loose old habits and creates new Ones. You are prepared for a lot of these changes, some of these changes are even welcome. You actively adjusts.

Some of these changes are that simple and banal, that they in spite of all the preparations, still surprise. The change that surprised me the most, was the change of my own name. When you register as a resident in Japan, you get a new name. Of course, the former German name does not change into a Japanese Name all of a sudden. No, the Name is rewritten [on the basis of the Japanese Syllabary Katakana], so that it can be pronounced in Japanese. So it is not a completely »New Name«. A first this change seems to be marginal, yet this change is followed by quite a few challenges. You have to »Re-Learn« how to write your own name, to hear your own name and also to identify yourself with the »New Name«.


In the beginning the use of the »New Name« is strange. You introduce yourself with the German Name, just to correct yourself afterwards. It needs quite some time, until you are fully used to the Name, and also use the Name as your own. A change, that results in a certain pride.

Besides all these Changes and the »Re-Learning« the Name is also connected to a new [lasting] Self-Definition in a certain way.


Where did I live?


I lived in Otsu in Shiga Prefecture. The Prefecture is surrounded by a lot of the most famous Prefectures and Cities of Japan. Kyoto as well as Nara are located directly next to Shiga Prefecture. But also Osaka can be reached within an hour by train. So I lived in cultural center of Japan and was surrounded by quite a few of the most famous Sights, Japan has to offer.

During my time in Japan I was able to do a lot of traveling in my spare time and also was lucky enough to experience the Hanami, the Japanese Cherry Blossom.

Otsu itself is a relatively large city, which also includes quite a few smaller Cities, such as Ogotoonsen. [The »Seian University of Art and Design« is located in Ogotoonsen.] Otsu is located at the shore of the larges lake of Japan, »Lake Biwa«. In spite of the proximity of Kyoto, Otsu is still far away enough to be safe from the hectic tourist crowds.


What did I study?


Usually I focus on the topic of »Web Design«, but in Japan I mainly worked in field of »Illustration«. Now you could legitimately ask: »Why not staying in focus?« Well the answer is pretty simple. When being a designer and coming to a country that is majorly different from the country you might call home, you want to get as many influences [creative as well as personal] as possible. In the field of »Web Design« there are almost no differences — neither in the design nor in the technology — the subject of »Illustration« on the other hand offers a wide spectrum of stylistic influences. Japan also has a unique history in »Art« and »Illustration«, for example the »Ukiyo-e« [or »Pictures of the floating World«].


Digital Illustration Basic

Digital Illustration Basic

This course attended to Photoshop-Basic-Knowledge, that is not taught in a lot of the Universities in Germany. The course mainly supported the integration of methodical and provident processes [in relation to the Quality of Image-Data] into the normal Working-Process.

Beyond this Basis, the course also gave the Basics of »Digital Painting«. A subject that due to the aforemen- tioned processes and the broad variety of working-scenarios is especially difficult to properly learn without any guidance.


Digital Illustration Advanced

Digital Illustration Advanced

This course started out with advanced Learning in the typical programs of the »Adobe Creative Cloud« and focused on the working processes of complex Illustrations. The course also attended to diverse Design-Methods, such as Typography or Composition. Fascinating and also not too easy was Working with Japanese Typefaces and their Use in right cultural context.

During this course the Project »Ozumo« was created, which consists of a series of illustrative Posters, that advertise the yearly »Ozumo«-Tournament in Nagoya [Aichi Prefecture].

The project can be found in the Portfolio or onBehance.




This course offered the most intense influence of Japanese Aesthetics. During this course a full 16-page Book-Concept [in Japanese Structure] as a picture story — Manga — was developed. The course focused not only on the Design, but also sensitized for the structure and for the qualitative factors of a Stroyline. Furthermore, this course also intensely attended to the Development as well as the Design of a [within the Storyline] strong Character.

During this course a Manga was created, that depicts the[seemingly magic] Enlightenment of the Protagonist »Kioko« within the context of »Kotoku-in« Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The project can be found in the Portfolio or on Behance.


How did I speak?

Speak a language ...

Already 1.5 years before I went to Japan, I started learning »Japanese«. The Japanese language has a few aspects, which simplify the learning process. The Japanese language doesn’t know nearly as many tenses as the German language for example. But there are still quite a few aspects that make Japanese difficult to learn. There are the two syllabaries - which are used depending on the origin of each word - and there are also the complex Kanji. The biggest challenge in the communication is the context sensitivity of the Japanese language. A few words / word-combinations change their meaning depending on the context. It easily happens that you are not understood, when your sentence structure is broken.

During my time in Japan, I [almost] always tried to form sentences / questions in Japanese and used English only when there was a problem or when I lacked the vocabulary.


How did I understand?

Unterstand a language ...

Interestingly the own Understanding is way easier than having to speak. In the beginning it of course was challenging, but as soon as you adjusted, you start to listen in a different way. You become more sensitive to fine Nuances within a conversation. You start listening on a different level and understand the general statement/question without having to understand every single word. The context, which while speaking often is an obstacle, now supports the understanding.

Within the Japanese lectures Understanding was not an insurmountable problem. Supported by presentations, visual contexts, which further simplified the Understanding.


How do I gesticulate?

Awareness in Gestures

In general Gestures also influence our Understanding, but only, if we share the same/a similar cultural context. In Japan the way in which gestures are made, is different from Germany[or Europe] . In the beginning these gestures can be confusing, but you get used to these gestures pretty fast.

Some of these differences are pretty obvious. Japanese People for example indicate their Self by pointing with their index finger at their own face, while we in Germany use our thumb to point at our chest. This makes very clear how casually we point at ourselves, while in Japan there is a lot more focus in the indication of the Self. Where do these different gestures come from? What cultural difference is it, that is expressed in the differences?


Where did I travel?


During my time in Japan I practically used every spare minute to explore the surrounding Prefectures, Cities and other parts of Japan. I not only visited areas, which typically attract a lot of tourists, but also chose Destinations, where tourists only rarely spend their time. Besides Temples and Shrines I also visited a lot of different places of historic importance. Also, Japan’s different Daibutsu [Great Buddha] attracted me in their very own way.

Of course, I did not only spend my time with Sightseeing, I also enjoyed Japanese culture in many other ways. I visited exhibitions, saw performances and theaters. Doing this I among others saw; the »Ozumo«-Tournament in Nagoya [Aichi Prefecture], the Puppet-Theater in Osaka [Osaka Prefecture], the Noh-Theater in Kyoto [Kyoto Prefecture]and also the Maiko-Theater in Kyoto [Kyoto Prefecture].

I always enjoyed those places the most, where I got the chance to interact with [unfamiliar] Japanese People. [Sometimes in Japanese, Sometimes in English.]

私を魅了したのは何ですか。  一部

What fascinated me? — Part I

What fascinated me?

There were quite a lot of things that fascinated me in Japan. In Japan there are so many things that seemingly just wait to be discovered and experienced. One of the topics, that especially interested my was »Buddhism«. Of course, this is a topic that already interested me before my time in Japan, but seeing the different Daibutsu [Great Buddha] further intensified that interest.

The different Versions of »Buddhism« [Zen, Esoteric Buddhism] and the way in which »Buddhism« expresses itself in Japan, were absolutely fascinating. A lot of the well-known Buddhist Virtues seemingly found their way into Japanese everyday Life, such as the polite and patient interaction with each other or the noteworthy Awareness, which visibly dominates all Activities.

[This small description is just an excerpt of all the experiences I made in Japan. This could not possible capture the experience as a whole and is always influenced by my point of few.]

私を魅了したのは何ですか。  ニ部

What fascinated me? — Part II

What fascinated me?

One of the greater topics in Japan is »Tea«, a topic, that also already fascinated me before my time Japan. The special thing about »Tea« in the context of Japan is the significance, that »Tea« has within the Japanese culture. »Tea« does not only find it’s way into the cup, but also into diverse foods and sweets. Especially in the areas around tea plantations such as Uji [Kyoto Prefecture], a lot of creative culinary Concoctions can be enjoyed. Further more, »Tea« also is an important part of different cultural contexts.

The most interesting are the different types of »Green Tea«, that Japan has to offer. In general the flavor profile of Japanese Green Teas is a lot smoother, that other well-known types of »Green Tea«. Japanese Sencha for example is famous all around the world. But there is more than Snecha, such as »Houjicha«, »Fukamushicha«, »Genmaicha« or even the high-quality »Gyokuro«.

Within my Blog I also dedicated a chapter to my passion on Japanese Tea, which can be foundhere.

Also very special in Japan are the »Tea Houses«. Here you can not only enjoy »Tea«, in different preparations and also in combination with japanese Sweets, but the »Tea Houses« themselves are often intense experiences. The »Tea Houses« somehow also present you with a little bit of inner Peace. A lot of the Sights [Castles, Temples, etc.] often include small »Tea Houses«, where you can enjoy »Tea« and find some Calmness.

Also, a very special experience is the complex, japanese »Tea Ceremony« — »一期一会«.

[This small description is just an excerpt of all the experiences I made in Japan. This could not possible capture the experience as a whole and is always influenced by my point of few.]


How did I document?


I documented my time in Japan using a specially designed blog. At first the blog was a way for me to give family and friends the possibility to take part in my adventure. Soon I realized, that the blog also helped me to remember. All those different experiences piled up really fast and at some point it was too much to actually process all of it. I had to document all of those things, to be able to remember everything in the future.

The Blog can be foundhere.