Monday, April 21, 2008


Even when I feel really happy to have the opportunity to study in Japan with a scholarship, Japanese education is based on a very simplistic way of seeing things (at least in public universities) and they divide studies into 理系 (sciences) or 文系 (humanities), and then environmental design somehow stays in between, not really fitting into one or the other, specially a profession like Landscape Architecture. After thinking a lot about this, I have considered that instead of continuing studying LA here in Japan with my scholarship, it would be better for me to study something more scientific so to speak, and then go back to design. Which is why I have almost make up my mind about applying for the Master of Sustainability Sciences in Tokyo University.
Then, as always, I like to dream about the future, so I was just checking out Master programs in Landscape Architecture around the world, (I think I have been doing this since even before I started university :p) and here are some of the options...

University of Guelph (I actually applied to the BLA there when I was at high school, but they told me I needed one year of university studies in Colombia since we only study 11 years at uni... but I have always really like this uni for some reason)
University of British Columbia (I love Vancouver, and it looks like an interesting program being under the School of Architecture + LA)

Lincoln University (Just because I want to go to NZ someday :P plus I find it really interesting how they always have Maori studies over there)

Wageningen University (Netherlands - Just studying in Europe is great reason enough... and it seems to be a very good program)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (I really like the program description, and after working in IKEA my interest in this otherwise cold, up in the north, expensive country grew)
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (Germany - but I dont need to learn German before, though I would like to!)

UK & USA -> I guess I am still avoiding the USA as a place to study or live, and for some reason I also lost my interest in UK recently... no personal feelings!
I may still consider UC-Berkeley just because there is lots of hippies around. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Green 186+

I just started a new "academic" blog, to post stuff about Landscape Architecture, Ecovillages, Sustainability, and anything I found related to my studies...
That way I will have a small file of info to look at, and it will probably help me keep info organized for my thesis, research, etc...
I am kind of sleepy now, so not being able to think about a better name, just called it green 186+, pretty typical, but hey! green will always be cool!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

IKEA Commercials~

I was just checking out some IKEA commercials, and then I found quite a few funny ones so I thought I'd share the laughs with everyone~

I wonder if people actually can get this one...

It is quite interesting how googleing around I once again realized how closed American society (and I guess here I include Latin America as well, and just leave our dear Canadians and Californians outside) is to LGBT issues and "non-traditional" families... specially compared to Europeans.

Its just like MIKA says about his song "Billy Brown" in this video...


I was planning to assist to the Ecocity World Summit taking place in San Francisco next week, and had already pay the registration, the air-ticket, and even made plans to meet other friends, fellow CSers etc... and was so looking forward to it. But!

The Japanese government for some weird reason only gives out student visas that last 2 years, so every 2 years we have to renovate it (as we all in Japan now), plus it is a visa just to stay in the country, so if we want to go out of Japan, we need to get a reentry permit otherwise we cannot come back in. 2 years ago it took less than 2 weeks to renovate the visa, so I figured out if I applied at the end of March by this time (3 weeks later) I should have already got my new visa, and I would just have to go and get the reentry permit and would be ready to go...

but I missed (yeap it was my fault) the fact that since the school year starts in April most people apply for the renovation in March so its the most busy time of the year. Now, that was ok, since yeap I guess it was my fault, but what really really pissed me off, was the fact that when I called to ask if there was something I could do about it (since in the end this summit is something directly related to my studies), the guy actually just told me in a very ironic way: if you really want to go then you can quit school, get a tourist visa, then get a reentry permit, and when you come back you can apply for a student visa again, but probably that will be too troublesome, right? what the f*ck!? yeah, it sounds like a great idea to quit school just because of your stupid paper work. I wouldn't be so pissed off he had just say, sorry there is nothing you can do. I really had to control myself, keep quiet and breath deeply before saying "wakarimashita, arigatougouzaimashita" instead of "what the %&#%%"&'&%#$(&'&&%#$%*>%%$
#" to him.

But anyway, shit happens. And in the end, now I have more time to finish some work that was driving me crazy, can see my friend Flavia more before she goes back, see other friends, and go the CSing gathering in Chigasaki next weekend, as well as the earth day events this weekend here in Tokyo and probably meet people I haven't met for a while, so well, I just want to forget about it anyhow.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Summer is here... in IKEA. :p

Today I finished my induction training at IKEA which lasted for two days and a half, most of the time just sitting watching powerpoint presentations about IKEA's history, way, structure, different departments, safety & security and so on. Sitting watching the screen was pretty tiring, but it was quite interesting as well, touring the whole store, getting to understand how it all works, and having the chance to meet lots of people (we had the training together with people from different departments, different stores (there will be 3 new stores in Japan this year), and both part and full time workers).

I had already worked for about 2 weeks (5 times) before the training, so it helped me understand much better what I had learned from my coworkers during those days, and specially it gave me a much clearer idea of what the IKEA way and culture is. Which I have to say I really really like.

When I started working I spent lots of time googling about IKEA, because I wanted to be sure I was not working for somekind of Swedish Walmart (sorry but I am sure I am not the only one that have ever consider IKEA like that... just look at that huge building! and those prices), but I was happy not to find anything bad, and to realize low prices do not mean less worker benefits, environmental destruction and so on.

In fact, they seem to be trying to improve constantly in a lots of ways, and after working there for a few days I am sure that at least the IKEA stores are a great place to work. Specially here in Japan! Until now I had all but considered even the idea of working here in Japan (the whole image of the "japanese salary-man" was enough for me) or even at big company anywhere, and I just wanted to work part time in IKEA because I like their products and its not so far from my place, but working there for just a few days has really open my eyes to new possibilities and opportunities, which I will have to think about more...