Sunday, December 30, 2007
Getting scholarship for MA studies in Digital Culture, moving to Finland, enjoying the beauty of Finnish nature, meeting interesting people from all over the world.
Metalcamp metal festival for the first time.
FUNNY READINGS 2007
Harry Potter marathon within one month.
UNEXPECTED INTEREST 2007
Attending Programming 1 course. Now I know a very little something about programming in Java.
MARTIAL ARTS 2007
I had to quit regular Nanbudo trainings and that was bitter. However, I have started to practice Aikido in Finland.
Seeing good movies, exhibitions of visual arts, performances and developing my interest in photography.
Slovenian bars Fabrka and Orto with their regular metal evenings, later on Katse, Inferno and especially Bar 68 in Jyväskylä.
GIGS AND BANDS 2007
There was many good gigs and bands I have seen. 2007 was full of good music. Significant for me has become the appreciation of Viikate; I have become their devoted fan. Thus, among the best gigs I would point out Viikate in Lutakko.
My dear friends as well as new people that have come into my life. <3
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I just hope Rudolph is still well and has not finished as somebody's delicious Christmas dinner...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
There was not much time to write within the past days. The first turn at the university has finished, thus bringing a pile of work. First of all, I am happy as I passed the exam in Finnish very well. The feeling that I am kind of studying Finnish within the university feels nice. I took three courses foreign students can take when dealing with Finnish. I also passed the first exam in Aikido; I am happy to continue martial art practices more seriously. I like Aikido, but I still miss Nanbudo.
However, our Digital Culture programme requires lots of essays. As I am interested in the themes, I feel quite motivated; I am just very tired at the moment, physically and even more mentally, and that prevents me from active work. I should be reading, I should be be writing; I will be reading and writing.
I am kind of filled with slight melancholy; so it happens every now and then. Some new things are going on in my life, I have to find my way in this unknown situation. Now, the Christmas brake has started. Today, I am packing. Tomorrow, I am traveling to a short holidays and I am returning back to Finland soon in January. But still I guess I will miss my dear. Until we meet again in our beloved blogosphere, my friends and fellow bloggers, I wish you all the best!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Brief insight of a part of Finnish history
Finnish war 1808 - 1908, independence 6.12.1917, Civil war 1-5/1918, Winter war 11/1939-3/1940, Continuation war 1941 - 1944, Lapland war 9/1944-4/1945, EU 1995
Onneksi olkoon ja eläköön Suomi!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here up North one can sense a bit more special attitude towards light. Some time ago I have noticed how good the design of light is usually in Nordic performances; well, even when it comes to Nordic metal gigs. Then, I have been observing the nightscape of Jyväskylä. Whenever I happen to walk from Agora to the centre in the evening, I notice the usage of light on the shores of Jyväsjärvi. The bridge, some buildings. The same in the city centre. I cannot really say; it is just something I kind of feel. Dealing with light seems more sophisticated here.
So I was thinking about the light today - when something happened. In the evening, I was told northern lights had been seen above the city just some minutes ago. I went out, it was cold, there was some fresh snow... and I saw a stripe of glow. In this part of Finland, Aurora Borealis can be seen, yet the light is dim, not that colorful as within the Arctic Circle. But still. The glow was light blue. In a way, it really felt as the sun would rise at the wrong part of the sky with a blue dawn.
In Finnish, northern lights are called revontulet; the word comes from repo, fox, and tuli, fire. Due to the legend, there are fire foxes living in Lapland; these fire foxes send sparkles with their tails up to the sky - that glows. As it glowed today and as it is perhaps still glowing now, brighter far up North.
Not being introduced to all the faces of Finland and northern nature yet, the blue dawn on the sky was quite a fascinating moment. Perhaps too dim and nothing special for the locals, but quite special for me. However, if that were not revontulet what we saw, do not brake our illusions; let us foreigners dream about the beauty and the lights of the North.
P.S.: I went out without my camera. Paljon kiitoksia to my classmate and my classmate's flatmate for the picture of today's revontulet.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The week before the one just passed was very good. There was like some magic in the air; I do not feel like explaining it into details, it is even hard to explain. Just great week it was. However, this week, things have changed. Yesterday it was really a strange day; nothing did not work out as I would like, and I also had some bitter moments of reminiscence. So it happens, every now and then. That tense atmosphere.
Today in the violet colours of the darkening afternoon I looked into the sky. I saw the moon. Full moon. Now I understand yesterday's inner confusion, yesterday's increased sensitivity. And I am howling as a wolf...
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
YOU KNOW YOU ARE FROM FINLAND WHEN...
1. You see Sininen lenkki sausage as an integral part of being Finnish.
As I am vegetarian, I do not care about this thingie at all.
2. You don´t eat Sininen lenkki sausage while you´re in Finland but when you go abroad, you miss it.
As I am vegetarian, I do not care about this thingie at all.
3. When you go on holiday abroad, you bring rye bread and salmiakki with you.
Well yes, in January last year I had bought some salmiakki supplies in Finland, then I took them to Slovenia and then from Slovenia to Spain in July. Also, I have always had a lot of fun watching my friends spiting these ''candies'' out as soon as possible.
4. If you don´t, you start missing them at some point during the holiday.
5. You know what Marimekko is.
6. You have Marimekko at home.
I have a Marimekko bag.
7. You feel proud when you see Marimekko abroad, in a movie, etc..
Yes, I did pay attention to Marimekko in Ljubljana. It just reminded me of Finland.
8. Nokia is better than Ericsson.
For some reasons I have always preferred Nokia.
9. You´re drunk on 30 April (First of May).
10. You have a hangover on 1 May.
No, because I do not drink that much and drink in Finland seems too expensive to get wasted. But one thing about my drinking is true. I have actually started to drink after my first visit to Finland. And the first thing I drank was Salmiakki Koskenkorva, also known as salmari.
11. You´re drunk on Midsummer eve.
12. You have a hangover on Midsummer day.
To Hell with modesty, yes, it might happen.
13. Fazer is the best chocolate in the world.
It is good for sure.
14. You just love jokes about the Swedish.
Perhaps I like more those jokes about the people from Turku.
15. The most important thing is to beat the Swedes, not win the whole competition.
I find this funny, so why not.
16. It's normal to be naked in the sauna
Yes, totally normal. And I like it.
17. You remember that Arvi Lind was once voted the sexiest man in Finland.
No I don't.
18. You don't wear shoes inside your home.
Neither did so back home. Socks just rule.
19. You always avoid sitting next to a stranger on public transport
Yes. Unless he is cute...
20. You're drunk on New Year's Eve.
That has already happened, at least slightly.
21. You have a hangover on New Year's Day.
Might happen. Eh.
22. Watching the ball at the presidential castle on TV is an integral part of celebrating the Independence Day
I guess I will found this out on the 6th of December.
23. Milk is milk only when it is Valio!
I can't say, I buy it because it is there. But I also like Valio's yogurts.
24. Silence is fun.
Yes. I have always been quiet person. And, by the way, Finns are not silent at all. At least those I know or I have used to know are or have been very talkative.
25. You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.
I actually do so...
26. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay.
Not really. Also the Finns I have met do not seem so cold and distant.
27. When a stranger on the street smiles at you: a. you assume he's drunk
b. he is insane
c. he's an American
I usually do not look at people that much. Unless he is really cute.
28. You associate pea soup with Thursdays
Yes, and with pancake.
29. You know that "religious holiday" means, "let's get pissed."
30. You know that more than three channels means cable
I do not own a telly.
31. You get all Swedish jokes
I might, but I don't care that much.
32. When you're hungry you can peel a boiled potato like lightning
I guess it is possible to get already peeled potato in our Citymarket, so why bother with peeling at all?
33. You accept that 80 degrees C in a sauna is chilly, but 20 degrees C outside is freaking hot. Also, you accept -30 outside as a reasonable temperature, but anything under 22 indoors is unreasonable...
I do not know how many degrees is in our sauna. Usually, it feels hot and I like it. Considering the weather, I have also noticed that it feels quite warm if it is like 2 above zero... just today, for instance.
34. You give the air hostess your undivided attention when she demonstrates how to fasten, tighten and unbuckle your seatbelt. You eye the person sitting next to you suspiciously when they don't do the same.
I do not care about that - but I understand the point well.
35. You don't waste alcohol. When you spill your drink on the desk, you actually contemplate slurping it up anyway.
I might do that with other drink/food. However, if something happens to rot, then it either goes to the bio waste - or local squirrels get their meal.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The studies I am attending have turned a bit more demanding. This is an MA programme afterall, girlie, what the Hell are you thinking about... Perhaps I should be reading some articles at the moment, rather than writing this blog of mine. But since I am dealing with Digital Culture, I can even consider this Internet relaxation as a part of my studies. Sure, I need to maintain my blog stats to use them in my future research.
Winter is creeping into this land. We have had some mild snow. Then, the snow has decided to become rain again. Jolly indeed. This week, things seem to be more promising. It has started to freeze a bit and some lonesome snowflakes can be seen, floating in the cold air.
My exploration of very Finnish gigs has also continued. Just within a week I have seen two of among those Finnish bands that have been very significant for me. Nice coincidence. The first band was, of course, Viikate. The second gig happened last Saturday. Artsy punk Au Pair. Young local band; nevertheless they seem quite famous all around the country. I was more into Au Pair's music last winter and spring, but still I was very happy to see them live so soon. Punk, and much more. Strong sounds, dynamic riffs. Great vocal, great interpretation. Their lyrics is only in Finnish, critical and filled with clever irony. Not to mention how ironic felt their live act.
At the beginning of this year, I was given a live recording from the very same band. It was taken in the very same place. Now I have seen Au Pair live, I have visited Bar 68 and I am not in contact with the one who has given me the music no longer. Yet there is more. During this weekend, one particular day has happened. Last year on that particular day, I went to sauna. This year, I spent it in Finland. Yes, I have had my birthday. It started last weekend at midnight with that great Au Pair gig. It finished with a nice little party. Life writes all sorts of stories, change is the only constant in the world, that is all what I can say...
So much about my latest events. Good and hot sauna I wish, if you plan to visit one!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Rakkaat ihmiset... there is a band I have wanted to tell about some time ago. For some reasons I have not managed to tackle the theme until these days. I think seeing them live on stage is more than a good opportunity to write a few lines. The band is VIIKATE.
The Finnish friendship I have had brought some good music into my life; very Finnish music, to be precise. Now I continue the exploration on my own - and as I am in Finland, this means going to as many very Finnish gigs as possible. To Viikate I have been introduced at the beginning of this year. I remember how I listened to them in spring, but I did not pay that much attention to the music. Then, some strange magic has happened. For the last few months Viikate has been my favorite band by all means. Perhaps life in Finland has increased my affection towards their music; I cannot really say. This love has just emerged all of a sudden.
The band's name in English would be Scythe. Four members with recognizable artsy names; they also share the surname Viikate. Online sources tag their sounds mainly as metal, wire metal, rock and folk rock. If I lean on my own discoveries and humble knowledge about music genres, I could also say their music reflects 1950s rock style, quit rockabilly-like. The influence of Finnish schlagers is strongly present, too; the important name here would be Reino Helismaa since Viikate's style has been described as Helismaa-metal. Viikate are oldfashioned, but in a very good way.
For me, Viikate is much more than just one very Finnish metal band. It is hard to say how metal they actually are. Their music reaches far beyond metal - and sometimes even beyond words. Do not ask me which is my favorite Viikate song; there is lots of them. I like their melodics, the riffs seem so unique and, most of all, so beautiful. Genuine style indeed. As I always put a lot of stress on good lyrics, Viikate does not let me down here either. They feature real poetry - only in Finnish. The language of their words feels oldish; it is not easy Finnish for sure. Just imagine gloomy words within merry riffs and lively, sometimes rockabilly-like sounds. Melancholy and darkness, but on the other hand also very special joy, even irony. As a foreigner living in Finland and being in strong contact with Finnish culture I could say Viikate capture a great deal of pure Finnishness. Also, if I compare the overall atmospheres, Viikate could be Aki Kaurismäki in music.
Friday November the 2nd was the day to see Viikate live for the first time. The band has just published their new album Marraskuun lauluja II - November Songs. Since this is the month of my birthday I am happy there is a band that prefers November so much they have published actually two albums dedicated to it. Anyway, I am sure Viikate have been playing in Lutakko many times, but still the place was full of people. The audience seemed a bit older, like my age and more; I have also seen two ladies in classical trousers and high heels, wearing Viikate shirts.
The gig itself was just great. At least I felt it so; a few months ago I had fallen deeply into this music, and the oportunity to see the bend live came so soon. Frontman Kaarle Viikate knows well how to address the audience - very in style. Almost in book Finnish, kirjakieli, and again with a bit oldfashioned expressions. The band has lots of presence on stage, the performance is proper. Their live sounds do not differ much from the recordings; the melodic parts created jolly atmosphere. I guess I was among a very few foreigners, if there were any, that could sing-a-long with the rest of the Finnish audience. Nice event by all means - and yes, I am already looking forward to see Viikate live again.
Hallamaillakin aurinko nousee
Tuomion tähdet kimaltaa
Tuomion tähdet kimaltaa, ne toisille kimaltaa
Viikate - Hallamaat - Marraskuun lauluja II
P.S.: I might post Viikate music video in the days to come, but until then check out their sounds here.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Budo is a compound of the word bu, meaning war or martial; and do, meaning path or way. Specifically, do is derived from the Buddhist Sanskrit mārga (meaning the 'path' to enlightenment).The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a 'path' to realize them- Do signifies a 'way of life'. Do in the Japanese context, is experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form.
Wikipedia - Budo
Nanbudo has been in my life since autumn 2004. The practice of this martial art has meant a lot to me. It was really hard to say goodbye to my dear DO Nanbudo klub in Ljubljana when leaving for Finland. Nanbudo šola - ossu!
Here in Jyväskylä, a wide range of martial arts is practiced. I have even seen they practice medieval swordfighting, the art I have also practiced before Nanbudo. But there is no Nanbudo in Jyväskylä at all. The only existing club in Finland is in Turku, exactly 305 km away. Would one travel 4 hours south just to attend a training? Well, I might be that crazy, however, neither my scholarship nor my mind would survive the trips very well.
The intensive 3 times per week practice of Nanbudo has remained in my heart and soul. Okay, it was nice to rest during the summer, but then I have started to miss my trainings. I have felt so stiff and rusty. Of course I could practice Nanbudo alone, at least some techniques, yet this would not be the same. Proper traditional Japanese martial arts are not sport only: there is much more and that much more is what I really like.
The creation of Nanbudo has been inspired with other traditional Japanese arts. Among these, Aikido has been quite crucial. Aikido is in general more widely spread. If one moves from one country to another, the one can find a club easier; in Jyväskylä are even two clubs, no matter how small the town is. Already in Ljubljana I have decided I would try to continue martial art studies. When I came to Finland, first month was slightly hectic; I did not find time to attend any practice. The courses have started without me and at one point I have even given my hopes up...
I did not realize how much I had actually missed dojo... until I have stepped on tatami again. It is hard to articulate my affection to Japanese martial arts; the feeling goes beyond words. I cannot even say, how this love has happened. I guess it has always been present, yet I did not pay much attention to it - until Nanbudo. The absence of practice has increased my longing and the will to bow in dojo again. Now I just have to keep up the active spirit. However, it seems I am really and seriously interested in some Japanese martial arts. Thus, I have also realized I might be a budo-person...
Saturday, October 13, 2007
No dream that was. On our way to Rovaniemi last Thursday morning, a small part of our journey was snowy indeed. But despite Rovaniemi is almost in the Arctic circle, only 8 km away from napapiiri, there was no snow in the capital of Lapland; it was just cold and clear. However, we spent the afternoon first at the University of Lapland, admiring the new building where Media studies are located. Really grate places for students to practise their creativity; for instance big studio for video production the students at Slovenian Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television can only dream about. We were also told that each student there would be given - yep, a new laptop. Such is the system of studies only 8 km away from the everfrozen Arctic...
The close-to-Arctic afternoon then lead us into the city. The following event on the list was the opening of the photographic exhibition Changing Faces - Work #3 in the Rovaniemi Art Museum. However, since there was a couple of hours left before the exhibition, there was some time to explore the city.
There is not only Lordi Square. It was merely a coincidence that we passed by Lordi's Rocktaurant. I have read about that Lordi's restaurant last year, but then it has slip from my mind. So, by a mere chance, we happened to eat there, too. The food was nothing special, however, the experience was what counted the most. Some names for the food were funny indeed: like Petterin viimeinen matka/Rudolf's Last Journey for a dish containing reindeer meat. Not only that, there were also a few local metal fans enjoying their meal. However, as I would start to discuss Lordi and their restaurant as an element of commercial culture, it is better to write on other things...
The Northern lights did not appear during the night, despite we have been told revontulet had been seen a couple of weeks ago. When the night became cold morning, we have decided to visit the museum Arktikum before going to the seminar lectures. I really enjoyed the exhibitions. They featured mainly life in the Arctic, nature, climate - and Sami culture. It was interesting to listen the samples of Sami language; I was also told there had been seven official Sami languages, and then there are also dialects. I also tried to read some writings in Sami language, but of course I could not understand any of it. Within the nature part I saw a moose for the first time. Just too bad that moose was an animal once alive and now stuffed. However, I was really impressed how big and great the moose actually had been. The next two such once alive and now stuffed animals I have always liked were the polar bear and the wolverine (in my opinion the Finnish hyena). However, if the road ever leads you to Rovaniemi, then Arktikum is a good place to visit. Especially if you would like to retreat from the cold wind...
The Rovaniemi trip finished with the seminar lectures; the artists from Changing faces exhibition told about their work. Finally, two days seemed quite enough to get a first taste of Lapland. During the seven hours long drive back to Jyväskylä, we have also found out something. When some of us wondered, where we had been at the moment, like considering the position of the bus on the map, the easiest and in most cases very correct answer was - in the forest.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
JUHANI. Yhdestä maailman kulmasta kuumoittaa meille vieläkin rauhan päivä. Ilvesjärvi tuolla Impivaaran kupeilla on se satama, jonne purjehdimme myrskyistä pois. Nyt olen päättänyt. LAURI. Sen tein minä jo menneenä vuonna.
LAURI. Sen tein minä jo menneenä vuonna.
EERO. Minä seuraan teitä vaikka Impivaaran syvimpään luolaan, jossa, niinkuin sanotaan, vanha vuoren-ukko keittelee pikiä, päässä kypärä sadasta lammasnahasta. TUOMAS. Sinne tästä siirrymme kaikki.
TUOMAS. Sinne tästä siirrymme kaikki.
JUHANI. Sinne siirrymme ja rakennamme uuden maailman.
Aleksis Kivi: Seitsemän veljestä
These are the words from kertomus Seven brothers by Finnish national writer, poet, novelist and playwright Aleksis Kivi. Today, on October the 10th and his birthday, it was Aleksis Kiven päivä - suomalaisen kirjallisuuden päivä. The day of Aleksis Kivi, the day of Finnish literature. Thus, flags were fluttering in the cold wind...
This kertomus still awaits me to read it in Finnish. Yet tomorrow in the early morning I am off to Lapland until Friday. The Digital Culture class will attend an exhibition and a seminar in Rovaniemi. Perhaps, we will also see first snowflakes...
Sunday, October 07, 2007
The two of my latest plays have depicted similar theme. The theme of desire to move, the theme of craving for another country, the theme of escape. In my plays, there are people from north whishing to move south, and there are people from south craving for north. In the theatre play Nora by famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, sunny Italy seems to be a place of distant happiness. Finns sometimes wonder why I had chosen Finland for my relocation. So, what is all about these states of desire?
The desired country in my case would be Finland. How exactly did this desire emerge? I have always been more interested into Nordic countries. I cannot say why that has occurred, I just know some people are equally enthusiastic about Mediterranean lands. A few years ago my desired country would be Iceland. I would never think about Finland that much. Kalevala, yes, I have read it years ago, but nevertheless. Then all of a sudden, that Finnish friendship of mine has happened. And that has changed everything. No matter the particular friendship has turned bitter after some time. I have discovered Finland.
Do we desire foreign lands because we want to escape our reality? Usually, one travels around for a couple of weeks, the life is different, then the one returns back home. Job, school, back to dullness. A foreign land can stay in one's mind like an image of distant paradise. But when starting to lead a normal everyday life in a foreign country... I guess that is quite different.
Recently, I have been reading some thoughts non-Finnish fans of Finland had produced. It is really interesting: no tropical islands with pleasant climate, Finland is the one that seems to be perceived as a promised land. I have kind of been introduced to Finland from a Finnish point of view. All the way from very Finnish music, everyday products to the culture and society. Thus I might have also been implanted more realistic vision of the country. For that, I am thankful to the one that does not read my blog no longer. Here in Finland I have indeed found some benefits I would miss in my home country. Also, I seem not to be a person of big cities; I like to be among forests and lakes. But after one month of living here and with all previous experience I could also say - hei, it is nothing that special.
The move I have done was more of practical nature. There was no job for me at home, I had wanted to study abroad for ages, finally, I was given a scholarship. My lifestyle has started to differ a lot from that of my parents. For some time I had felt an urge to move on my own; there was this urge to move, and to cure some heart-ache-like stuff. However, when dreaming about a foreign country, just beware. There are always two sides. One should be well aware Finland also posses its own rough reality; like, for instance, drunk people shouting vittu on the street... well, here another story begins.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Which I had when I hugged you for the last time
I do not care your body touched it
Your hands caressed its cotton surface
Band T-shirt it is
I wear it when I go to gigs alone
I do not care we hugged for the last time
When I was in this T-shirt
I did not put it away
I really like this T-shirt
There are traces of you still on it
I do not give a fuck
But wait a minute, o shit, perhaps I do
Thursday, September 27, 2007
However, the magazine Inferno looked nice and I was happy to read some stuff. I came upon a whole section on summer festivals, Raskas festarikesä 2007 (Heavy Festivalsummer 2007). A series of reports from Finnish festivals. Provinssirock, Nummirock, Tuska Open Air, Ruisrock, Ilosaarirock, Ankkarock, Metalcamp. What the f***?! Metalcamp. Yes indeed. Among all those major Finnish festivals, there was a report on one and only Slovenian Metalcamp. No Wacken, no Ballingen - just Finnish festarit, and that Slovenian Headbanger's Hollidays.
The article itself is basically a report about the festival. The two female writers mention great scenery of the festival; mountains and turquoise river. They also say the selection of the bands was this year absolutely excellent. There are words about reasonable prices, especially for the coctails; yep, 3,5€ for a coctail seems to be a reasonable price considering the costs for alco in Finland. And there are words about good toilets, hehe. The rest is more or less about the bands and their performance.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
A year has passed since this blog has started. Many things have changed. Some things have vanished into time and memory, vanished forever. Some of the readers do not read me no longer, some new have come. So it is. The lake stands still and silent, all happiness as well as all sorrows are just a passing-by reflection. Brief moments in eternity. And the lake stands still again...
Dear friends and fellow bloggers, have a nice autumn!