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Dolphin Tales

Working in Design

Jaylen, Class of 2013, who attended NIS from 4th grade thru graduation, has settled in Portland (for now), and excelling with his creativity. 


Where are you living now?
Living in Japan has brought out a traveling spirit, after high school I moved to Vancouver, Canada. Upon graduating university I spent a few years in Los Angeles, California and I have since moved to Portland, Oregon where I have been residing for the last 3 years.

What kind of work are you doing?
I have worked in the design world since graduating university. From large design agencies to small business apparel. I now own and operate Ruth Design Studios with my business partner, together we tackle anything creative within the realm of identity, branding, marketing, and social media. In addition I am the creative director for my local church.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The pandemic has shifted my mindset tremendously. In many cases, we are seeing employees gain some power now, as opposed to the employers having all the power (at least in the USA). Flexibility is now my greatest desire. I have 3-day weekends, my schedule is fluid, and I don’t feel like I am slaving away to make someone else wealthier. In the end, I am healthier and happier in all regards and being your own boss is also more lucrative.

What kind of challenges does it hold for you?
There is a constant need to be planning for the future–finding clients, scheduling projects, learning new technology. While it is the most challenging part, it is also the most rewarding part. Every day offers something new, and for someone that thrives and loves change, that is all I desire. 

Did NIS help you prepare for your current position in any way?
For sure. I owe a lot to my colleagues and teachers. Especially to my art teacher and coaches. International school teachers can often have short tenures, because they like to move, and that is completely understandable. I had 6 different math teachers in my 4 years of high school, this was fine for Math because I didn’t particularly enjoy it. However, I was incredibly blessed to have an art teacher that remained as my sole instructor from 5th grade until graduation.

Finally, I think participating in sports and the impact it has on children is greatly underemphasized. I owe a lot to my coaches, my older teammates that I looked up to, and the younger ones that taught me how to be a good captain. 

What’s the one thing that you are really enjoying or get most excited about these days? 
Well, I am recently engaged so that is a new chapter I am excited to start. I am excited to partake in things that I perhaps took for granted pre-covid. And I am especially excited to get back to traveling, soon with a spouse by my side!

What’s the one thing you miss most about Japan/Nagoya?
It’s hard to pick one, I’ll list a few and then elaborate on one. I miss NIS a lot, the people, the culture, the food, the safety, the cleanliness, and my parents who still live in Nagoya.

But I think what I miss most is my classmates and friends. There is nothing like friendships during your childhood years. Of course I have friends now, but being someone that has moved quite a bit, friendships now don’t possess the same level of depth as they did as a kid. Being a kid, being immature, laughing together, going through great stages of development, experiencing the same stresses together. That is what I miss about my time in Japan.

And of course, we need to know, what words of wisdom do you have for today’s Dolphins?

  • Enjoy and utilize the "small school" aspect–build tight friendships and really use your teachers, they care about you.
  • Play as many sports as you can.
  • Do not let anyone tell you a creative hobby/career is not as worthy as a more academic STEM one. I was the first NIS student to get a 7 in IB High Level Visual Arts. And clearly, it is still one of my most meaningful accomplishments. 
  • I was a terrible academic student, but I excelled in what I am passionate about. I had a 2.4 GPA in high school and a 3.7 GPA in art college. Find your passion and you will be fine.
  • Really understand the importance of class presentations. Removing the need for notes or scripts and truly understanding what you’re talking about. It will all pay dividends in the future.
  • There are plenty of classes you won’t enjoy or be good at, but even your failures will provide life lessons and change your character. Trust the process.


大学卒業後はデザインの仕事に携わってきました。大手のデザイン会社から小規模のアパレル企業まで。現在はビジネスパートナーと共に立ち上げたRuth Design Studioという会社を経営し、アイデンティティ、ブランディング、マーケティング、SNSなどの領域における創造性を追求しています。また、地元の教会のクリエイティブ・ディレクターも務めています。









  • 小さな学校”ならではのメリットを活かし、友達との絆を深め、先生を頼ってください。先生は皆さんの味方です。
  • 出来るだけたくさんのスポーツ(クラブ活動)に参加してください。
  • 芸術系の趣味や職業が、学術系、STEM系に及ばないなどと言わせてはいけません。私はNIS史上初、IB美術のHレベルで7を獲りました。この実績は今でも私の誇りです。
  • 私は勉強は苦手でしたが、熱意を持って取り組んだことでは負けませんでした。GPAは高校では2.4でしたが芸大では3.7でした。何か夢中になれることがあればきっと大丈夫です。
  • 授業で行うプレゼンテーションの意義と重要性を理解してください。スクリプトなしで自分の言葉で話せるようになることは、将来必ず役に立ちます。
  • 嫌いだったり苦手な授業はあるでしょうが、失敗が成長の糧となることもあります。努力は裏切りません。