Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The light felt as this part of Finland would turn into another planet. What a light. How low the sun was. At nine o'clock in the morning, the sun was so orange as it would be in the evening. Strange feelings. There is no kaamos in Jyväskylä, real polar night is not approaching, but still. Darkness is lurking in the shadows of the silent land, waiting to wrap the sky into the black days of winter. Today, sunrise seemed as sunset...

Saturday, October 20, 2007



Budo is a compound of the word
bu, meaning war or martial; and do, me
aning 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...

Last week, things have changed. It was very simple - I just wrote a couple of letters in Finnish. Then, I was allowed to join the Aikido beginners course. The club is small and nice, they have their own dojo. The trainings are two times per week, my first couple of trainings has just passed. Also, the trainings are conducted in Finnish; that means double training for me as I insist in speaking only Finnish, too.

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


Arctic tundra in Rovaniemi

I woke up from my sleep and looked out from the window. What I saw was a landscape of winter. Drifting snow in the air, ground covered with it, all white. Nothing but winter. Oh fuck. I fall asleep again. When I woke up again, the bus was driving in clear sunny weather, somewhere near Oulu. Was the snow only a dream...?

Frozen waters of Rovaniemi

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.

A part of the city

Towards Lordin Aukio

Rovaniemi is small, yet it does not offer such first impression; it feels big and lofty. There are at least two famous persons/groups of persons on the commercial market. The first one is Santa Clause - yep, there is his own village within napapiiri. Anyway, if you remember Eurosong Song Contest 2006, you also remember Finnish monster-like band Lordi. They won that Eurosong, froze the Hell and brought the event to Helsinki. And yes, their frontman Tomi Putaansuu is from Rovaniemi. As an eternal remnant of this great victory, now Rovaniemi has a Lordin Aukio - Lordi Square.

The monument

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...

Lordi's Rocktaurant

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...

Arktikum - the entrance

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.

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.

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


Heipä! I have not been writing for some time. Rather than dealing with the blog, I either go to the lectures or to sauna. Now it seems I am about to start with some cinnamosophy. There is one theme I would like to tackle for some time. I guess one post would not be enough to grasp it, but still. It is all about craving for one specific foreign country.

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.