Archive for February, 2009

I was talking to Zhao the other day about the restrictions people put upon us. When Z was in elementary school the kids were forbidden to go dancing, to play video games and so on. If someone saw you in the game-hall they could report you to a teacher and you would get reprimanded. And this was outside school hours!!

The only thing you were supposed to do was to study – I guess. And that’s something I know quite a lot about. One of the things I regret most about my life is sitting with my nose in some old school book reading about things that I’ve now long forgotten. And I do blame my lack in social skills on the period when I was 11-15 and did nothing but think about my grades.

So it was with chock that I read today’s newspaper where they were talking about what kids do during their free time. As all of you living in Helsinki know, the place to be if you are 11-14 is Kamppi, a big shopping center. Here kids just hang out, sit in small groups and chat and whenever someones hair gets droopy they take out their bottles of hairspray 😉

But the Youth Director of Helsinki, Lasse Siurala, did not see this as such a good thing. “Why use your energy for admiring goods in stores when it can be used to do something more educative?”

What the….?

What is he saying here? I interpret it as such that he wants the kids to do something that can benefit them in the future. Playing an instrument, join a theater group, do sports. Because lets face it; you don’t benefit from just relaxing with your friends…or do you?

(Or maybe he is just bitter that the youth houses the city do provide are standing empty while kids are wasting their money buying things at the mall.)

In China, a lot of the restrictions are there because of the fear that kids would fall in love. Dancing together can do that you know and kissing has been scientifically shown to be bad for your grades, hasn’t it 😉 But as soon as the students enter the University world, the restrictions are dropped. There they then stand, a group of kids that have never done anything other than study, suddenly able to do whatever they want (except for bringing a person of the opposite sex to their dorms or using a hot-plate in their rooms). And they are handicapped.

In Hong Kong I attended one of the parties that the students had organized. And I must say that it was quite embarrassing. When the dance finally started the kids didn’t form couples but huge rings that went round and round to the beat of “I’m a barbie girl”! Here is picture proof, somewhat dark but I hope you can see something of the festivities:

dancing in HK

Well in Finland we do have a more liberal system, where I still think the parent is responsible for setting limits to what the child is allowed to do or not. But the trend of an “active” life is getting more and more prominent with kids being driven around to different “hobbies” five days a week. And I think it’s scary how we seem to think that these educational activities would be more beneficial than social networking.

When everything has to be an accomplishment where does that leave life? Are we really brought up just to accomplish something or to actually live and interact with our fellow human beings? In many cases the educational programs allow us to build friendships but also to push people aside and rank them according to what they are able to achieve in life.

I wonder what the kids of today would like to do differently when they get older and look back at their life…


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My day, John 14:27

Today I’ve taken it easy. Yes, what’s the rush!

I drowned some flies in ethanol and wondered if that would be a good way to die, with 100% EtOH in your lungs…

Then I took some pictures of mildly distorted wings. I was trying to read the book Babes in Beijing at the same time, I got through about 5 sentences with each picture. Not the fastest way to read but as I said; what’s the rush.

We had care group at my place last night so today I watched my colleagues eat what was left of the traditional buns (fastlagsbulle) I’d made. Everyone thought they were yummy, with the exception of my boss. He and his wife are not accustomed to eating sweet things, they even think the Finnish ice-cream is too sweet, so I felt sorry for him when he politely took one of the jam-filled creations.

And I found a new interesting site. It’s called “365 saker att göra” (365 things to do). Some guys are going to give you one new thing to do every day this year. Some examples: “#48: Glue things together”, “#39: Listen to music you hate”, “#3: Spend time with a cat”. It’s just a funny, tankeväckande site, if you know Swedish that is 🙂

And now I’ve been to the gym, washed dishes and am currently listening to a Christian radio station through iTunes playing this; 33 Miles – Thank you

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Sitting at home coughing. And sweating. Almost to the point where I have troubles breathing.

They are performing a temperature check in my building, which means that they set the radiators at the highest level, screw off the nob so that you can’t adjust it and then leave you in a sauna. They furthermore advice you not to open any windows in order for the inspection to be reliable.

I am now wearing shorts and have moved my armchair right up to the window so that I can breath a bit easier. I would flee this place at once if it wasn’t for my cough that doesn’t seem to improve.

But maybe I should be happy, because when the check is over they will adjust the radiators so that the highest temperature allowed is 19 degrees.

I firmly believe that no other than a 5 year old kid that is running around the place all day can be happy at that temperature. All others can be found in cocoons of blankets and thick sweaters, trying to keep their feet off the floor, constantly drinking hot tea.

Something to look forward to…


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Today I want to open up a manga-rental in Helsinki. A place where you can rent a comic book and then sit down in a comfy sofa to read it. They have them everywhere in Asia and now, with the growing interest for manga in Finland, I think it’s about time that we get one here as well. Here is a picture I took in Taiwan that would explain what I mean:

manga rental

Even though they sell manga in every supermarket nowadays they cost something like 8 euros a piece! Way too expensive in my opinion. So my business plan is to buy all the translated manga and the manga made in Finland and let people rent them for say 2 euros. 

The place could become a hangout for kids. Sofas in every nook and some vending machines selling japanese candy. There could even be a coffee machine.

And it wouldn’t have to stop there. If there was a basement or an upper floor I could arrange manga workshops. Every other week we could have lolita-nights where girls could compere their latest outfits. Then there would be all night karaoke where kids would stay up until dawn to sing. 

And because there isn’t that many Finnish manga books out there, I could hire a guy to translate the latest manga series into Finnish and print them out as text-only versions. Then the reader could look at the pictures in the book and read the text on a separate piece of paper. Then I wouldn’t even be breaking any laws (I think).

I’m sure I wouldn’t get any money doing this. Selling cheap candy and renting books for a couple of euros won’t cover much more than the rent, if even that. But it would be a lot of fun! And maybe I’ll even get some sponsoring from the Finnish comic book society (if there is such a thing), or maybe from the Japanese embassy or a cultural fund.

Maybe something to consider if I ever get unemployd…

…if someone isn’t doing it already that is

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wonderful people

Yes I really do have some wonderful colleagues!

The other day I was helping Vassileios with his Westerns and got a huge pulla (bun) as a thank you gift.

And because Shinya likes those Kinder eggs where you get a toy, I get a new piece for my “collection” every now and then. I’ve already got a dragon that can glow in the dark and here is a part of a totem (!) but since I couldn’t log on to the Kinder web-site I have no idea what it’s good for. I use it as a pen-head.


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Computer problems

I ordered an external harddrive around Christmas but now that I finally got it and tried to connect it to the computer there seem to be a malfunction making it impossible for my laptop to find it. The reason why it took so long for me to get the extra 320GB was that I ordered the drive and the box separately and managed to get a box that didn’t fit. So I had to send the box back and order a new one. Now that I’ve gotten a matching pair I fear that I have to send the drive back as well! Sigh

Zhao was trying to make it work on his laptop when Shinya came to work.

I: We can’t get my external harddrive to work 😦

S: What’s the problem??

Z: Well Ida has put it together herself…

S (taking a closer look at the box): No, that can’t be the problem! It says here that it’s made in China


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We never got to try the natto that Shinya brought to my party this Saturday, so on Tuesday I reluctantly tried this “delicacy” for the second time in my life. It’s basically fermented soybeans and, how can I put it, not exactly my favourite Japanese dish…

I did however enjoy both sushi and dry seaweed at the party!


photo by Hanna D

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