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On Murder and Being an Individual in the Future.

If we were in the future, and at this moment I was copied, exactly atom by atom, my experiences, my memories, my consciousness, and after one second as i look at my copy in disbelief, I am shot and killed, or disintegrated by some weapon, that would be murder. the “my original self” is killed.
However, (assuming there was teleportation technology that cannot transfer matter) if I voluntarily stepped inside a capsule that transferred my consciousness/memories to another place, while my atoms were rebuilt exactly the same in another place while my old body is separated, that would be fine, I was just teleporting myself. and I am still the only one … am I the same individual??
copy+paste….cut+paste: is this the difference between being the same individual or not?
What about murder..?The only difference is …one second, or the existence of both individuals at the same time near each other. that is the difference between brutal murder and just teleportation? or is it the fact that the act of being disintegrated is volunteer or not? Would it be a form of eutanasia?

How to get Monbukagakusho Scholarship

I’ve been meaning to write this a long long time ago, but only now I was able to do it…

This is not a fail-proof way to get the scholarship, of course. Of course many of these guidelines also apply on how to get other scholarships, but this is specifically about the japanese government scholarship –  monbukagakusho shougakukin.

First, just to explain why I think I can give you any kind of advice… well, I got one, that’s why. I am from Portugal, by the way. I applied for a PhD Scholarship and was ranked first of the 3 people selected to receive the 3 scholarships that were available for my country in 2011. – no I am not studying japanese culture/language ( currently a PhD student at Keio University – Graduate School of Media Design), and no, I don’t speak fluent Japanese, or even intermediate for that matter.

Disclaimer: My insights were valid for Portugal in 2011. I assume they have it pretty standardized, but different countries might have different criteria. They sure do have different number of scholarships available ( Portugal: 3, Philippines: 25).

So, let’s get on with the important stuff:

First I will explain what ACTUALLY happens, and what stages you need to go through, as the process is all but clear.

1 – Apply to the scholarship, deliver all the paperwork

2- If you pass the first selection, you will be called to do an interview, english test (piece of cake) and japanese test (you don’t need to know any japanese and leave it blank, of course if you do, it helps I guess). Usually only around 9 people will be selected for this second stage.

3- If selected, the embassy will cal you informing you. This basically means you’re going to japan, but it’s not 100% sure, so they won’t tell you. By “going to Japan I mean: any university they might decide to place you in, if you’re not accepted at the one you want.

4-  send the docs that you delivered at the embassy to the university(ies) that you wish to apply to, so they can send you back the letter of acceptance.

5- Give the letter(s) to your embassy and they will send it to the japanese government.

6- the government will place everyone in japanese universities, as research students, according to their preference and budget for that year.

7- In February of next year you will be informed where you were placed.Yes it is the longest wait ever, and stressful because you have no idea if you’re going to be placed or not. But I would say, don’t be stressed, you 99% sure will unless there are serious budget cuts.

8 – you go to japan to learn japanese for 1 semester, and then be a research student next semester.  Theoretically that is… You should do Whatever your adviser tells you to. If he says “you don’t need japanese lessons”, you won’t do it. If he says “you don’t need to be research student” you won’t be. You might start your program on the semester after you get to japan, instead of 1 year after.


9 – Because you are just a research student, you need to do the admission exams to be a real Master or PhD student. Don’t forget that acceptance letter was just acceptance as research student. 


Note that the scholarship you got, whether  you applied for PhD or Masters, is going to be a Research Student scholarship for 2 years after you arrive in Japan. Later on after you’re in Japan you will apply for the extension of scholarship as a master (2 years after you start Master program) or phd student (3 years after you start the PhD program).


Now that I told you all that is really happening, I will give some tips on how to get selected in the first place. Note that my area is Technology/Design/Urbanism – this may not apply to every study fields.

First you nee to know that you are competing with EVERYONE for the same scholarships: masters, research students and PhD candidates. You don’t need to be the best in the world to get this scholarship, you just need to be better than everyone else who is applying. Of course to do that, you need to aim to be the best in the world.

Every tip here might inscrease your change of getting it by as little as 0,5%. but if you add them up they might become 5%  – and that may be the difference between you and the next guy who didn’t get it.

I’ll do it very straight to the point in bullet format:

– Talk to, and make sure you have advisors as soon as possible – this is Very important, because means you won’t have trouble finding one later on.


– before choosing 3 universities when you deliver the documents, check the next step (getting the acceptance letter) as some universities won’t write you acceptance letter if you apply to it as ONE AND ONLY option.  It is a risk, yes, but this is how they know you are really motivated to go there. They even do this for famous elementary schools. And Keio university certainly does that.


-Because I choose a private university and was afraid that because of the great east japan earthquake there would be budget cuts, I asked my advisor to write a letter that i could annex to the documents sent to the japanese govt, explaining why I should go to that particular school. It doesn’t hurt trying – university professors are very respected in Japan.  Statistics say that 30% of people have been placed in private universities, which is very reassuring, because I imagine most people apply for national universities.

 – the initial selection is not done by the japanese government, but by the embassy. I don’t know who (if people from your country or japanese do it,but they don’t send anything to japan before they selected the few people who will receive it)


About the research plan: it is all about psychology and people. Ultimately people will choose you, not a machine.

– Don’t write more than 2-3 pages. 5 maximum. I wanted to write 3 but limited myself to only 2 pages. Really, no one reads more than 2 or 3. Imagine if you work at the embassy and have to read 10 pages x 50 applicants. you’d soon be skipping through information in a 10 page long plan.


–  Put a Chronogram (aka Gantt chart) in there. Tell them what you think you will do for the next 2 or 3 years. They will know your ideas are organized and you know what you’re doing. – this is a major thing, really. They want leaders, smart and confident people, not otaku who will come to japan to read manga. 


– Use Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. For example, contact professors of other, recognized, universities, and ask them about your project. if they are interested in collaboration or how relevant they think it is. You’ll be surprised on how open and reachable they can be.   – principle of authority


– Tell them why Japan and not any other country. And also the benefits of your research towards:  a) your country ; b) Japan ; c) Society as a whole.   – this paragraph is also important for your interview, it is a typical question. 


– You may notice they don’t ask for your CV, which in my case was bad because I cam from a different area and my professional experience was much more relevant that my academic one. So what I suggest is that you give them your CV anyway, if you have something relevant to add. 


– At the interview you cannot get a computer in there and you’re not supposed to make a presentation) Still,I prepared a printed presentation to better explain them about my research, because my proposal was only 2 pages long.


– Don’t forget to dress properly for the interview. The kid before me was wearing shorts.. In japan everyone uses suit and tie, even high school kids. I cannot stress how important this is. there will most certainly be one or more japanese people doing your interview.


– My interview was done by 2 portuguese and 1 japanese. They may ask you to say something in japanese if you know, so it doesn’t hurt to have something prepared, because you will be nervous if this is the chance to make your dream of coming to Japan come true.



To add I can only say Japan is an amazing country, with the most amazing and friendly people. Of course there is sometimes small discrimination towards foreigners, but nothing serious, and Japan is not perfect, and is not as the cartoons portray it, so don’t come here expecting spaceships or robots, or you will be disappointed. – actually scratch that, there are robots here! 🙂


If you treat Japan right, it will treat you good as well and you will spend here the best time of your life.


Good luck!

my new blog: ux tokyo


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it’s all about User experience in cities, cultural differences, interface and interaction design.

It’s also about travels and my experience around the world.

Bosco verticale (vertical forest) is more than just a concept. Finally.

 Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. Bosco Verticale is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city. It is a model that operates correlated to the policies for reforestation and naturalization of the large urban and metropolitan borders (Metrosbosco). Metrobosco and Bosco Verticale are devices for the environmental survival of contemporary European cities. Together they create two modes of building links between nature and city within the territory and within the cities of contemporary Europe.

The first example of a Bosco Verticale composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 meters height, will be realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 m tall) apart from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants.
On flat land, each Bosco Verticale equals, in amount of trees, an area equal to 10.000 sqm of forest. In terms of urban densification the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 50.000 sqm.
The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates and produces energy. The Bosco Verticale aids in the creation of a microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect from radiation and acoustic pollution, improving the quality of living spaces and saving energy. Plant irrigation will be produced to great extent through the filtering and reuse of the grey waters produced by the building. Additionally Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will contribute, together with the aforementioned microclimate to increase the degree of energetic self sufficiency of the two towers. The management and maintenance of the Bosco Verticale’s vegetation will be centralised and entrusted to an agency with an office counter open to the public.

Project information

location: Milano, Italy
year: 2007 (on going)
client: Hines Italia
built area: 40.000 sqm
budget: 65.000.000,00€

All images ©Boeri Studio


via: Stefano Boeri

Upside Down Houses

turned houses

turned housesupside turned houses


It is quite debatable whether upside down houses are architectural splendor or crazy creations. It is even more confusing whether these buildings are suitable for practical use. Whatever might be the topic of argument regarding these upside down architectural structures, some of the famous buildings around the world are really upside down.This article will give you an idea of some of the renowned buildings of the word which are totally upside down.


1.Upside down restaurant in Japan.


upside down structure in Japan

upside down structure in JapanThis building is a hotel in Japan

Located at the Matsumoto city in Japan, this restaurant is an architect’s surprise. This restaurant, which is named as the Sakasa Restaurant has been designed carefully so that the interior part of the building, the lighting, furniture, fixture and everything seem to appear upside down. This is again confusing as to how much satisfied the customers feel while enjoying their food here.

2. Upside down building in Florida, USA.


Sunrise golf club in Florida

Sunrise golf club in FloridaUpside down building designed by Norman Johnson

The upside down building at Florida in USA is the Sunrise Golf Village, designed by Norman Johnson. It seems that the building rests on the tip of the tilted thatch. From the furniture, all the indoor container plants to everything inside the building is kept upside down. Only the signboard in the courtyard and the palm tree is exempted from the weird idea of the architect of this building.

3. Upside down church in Canada.



churchchurch in canada

This church, known as Device to Root Out Evil, is designed by Dennis Oppenheim of USA. This 25 feet tall building, having aluminum frames with red tinted glass in the windows was first installed at Vancouver in Canada. Later it was shifted to Calgary in Alberta. The whole upside down church rests on the tip of its chimney. But this architectural design was rejected and considered as inappropriate for the campus of Stanford University by its President.

4. Upside down buildings at Florida and Tenessee in USA.



usabuilding in USA

The famous upside down building in Florida is an amusement center. It has two branches, one in Orlando and another in Florida. It resembles a giant sized White House while its axis has been turned around.

5. Upside down building in Germany.


building in Germany

building in GermanyBuilding in Germany

Situated in the island of Usedom in Germany, this upside down building is known as Die Welt Steht Kopf which in English means, the world stands on its head. It is designed by Klaudiusz Golos and Sebastian Mikiciuk, who incorporated this theme of upside-down in the interior of this building too. Thus, each and every furniture, décor and everything is turned upside down.

6. Upside down house in Russia.



russiabuilding in russia

This upside down house is found in St. Petersburg in Russia. It seems that the tip of the house has turned around and poked its head on the ground. But the dog house that is outside does not follow this queer rule.

7. Upside down building in Poland.


upside down house at Poland

upside down house at PolandThis house is a silent protect against the then reigning political scenario

Situated in the village of Szymbark in Poland, this upside down house was built by Daniel Czapiewski, who was a renowned businessman and philanthropist of that area. The owner of this house hired carpenters and laborers from St. Petersburg to work on his project. It took 114 days to complete the architecture. He satirized the follies and faults of the Communist era by this architectural design of his house.


via: designbuzz

5 things all designers should know by Leila Takayama

It’s always nice to refresh our minds about this…

What are 5 things all designers should know?

1. People respond to many interactive technologies in ways that they respond to people, even when they won’t admit it or can’t recognize it. (See: The Media Equation)

2. There is often a gap between how people reflectively talk about an interactive product and what they actually do in the moment of interacting with that product. Know which of those matters to you.

3. What is perceived can be more important what is objectively true when it comes to how people embrace and engage with interactive objects.

4. It really does not take much for an interactive product to seem like it has its own agency and apparent intentions. (See: Heider & Simmel demonstrations)

5. Under promise and over deliver on user expectations.


source: Kickerstudio