Something Personal – Work and Studies

This month, I wanted to make another post about the Japanese cuisine, but I’ve been recently quite busy with my studies and everything. I do want to keep this blog updated at least once a month however, so I figured that I’d make a small journal entry on the personal level.

I have been recently working on a local start-up called Expa, a game industry hub and a co-operative that will help the local game industry grow. Working on Expa has drained me a lot of my free time, but entrepreneurship has been my passion for a long time and supporting the game industry is also something that I hope to achieve.

I also have been finishing my studies in the University of Jyväskylä. I just recently received a letter that informed me that my Bachelor of Science in Economics -degree has been accepted, which in itself wasn’t a big achievement since I had all the prerequisites ready even before I went to Japan the first place. But now that it’s official, I only have to do a few courses and finish my Master’s Thesis to fully graduate. I estimate that it’ll be ready by next spring, so I hope to graduate within the next year or so.

I have also been applying for a few jobs here and there, but not having much luck with them. There is one job interview coming next week though, and if all works well, I’ll be working in Helsinki for a while. While I wonder how that will affect my studies, I am really excited about the opportunity.

That is all for this small update on my personal life. Now I’m off to celebrate the Finnish traditional holiday of Vappu, which loosely translates into the tradition of May Day. While the official celebrations are on the 1st of May, the University students start celebrating it a week beforehand and the eve of May Day is just as big of an event as the May Day itself.

Hauskaa Vappua, klara vappen! Happy May Day!


Introducing Japanese Food Part 1 – Ramen and Karee

As a culturally sophisticated man who is interested in cuisines from all around the world, it is no wonder that I have taken a liking to Japanese cuisine as well. During my trips to Japan I have encouraged myself to try all different kinds of foods, apart from the notorious natto that I still haven’t had the courage to face. Naturally there are some things that I don’t like really much, but most of the food is just simply good.

About a month ago started a blog series called “Japanese Cooking 101 – Washoku fundamentals” that teaches people how to make delicious Japanese food with simple ingredients. I found this series to be really helpful so far, even if I am quite familiar with Japanese food and have been making my own versions of them even before I went to Japan. The series encouraged me to write about Japanese food as well,  especially since many people have a misconception that Japanese cuisine is just about fish. Later on I will also write about how I fared with the recipes found in the Japanese Cooking 101 series.

The two Japanese dishes that I am going to introduce this time aren’t actually originally from Japan, but are still very common in Japan and perceived as part of the Japanese cuisine. These are the two dishes that I most often make myself and some of the dishes that I have deeply fallen in love with. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Food, Japanese Culture


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Back to Kansai Part 2 – Turning Japanese

In the end, two weeks is a really short time to spend anywhere and it was soon over. I was planning on writing something during the trip, but I didn’t have enough time to finish it before I returned. Therefore I am going to write this second part now that I have returned to Finland and I’ll try to briefly summarize the experiences I had in Japan during those two weeks.

During my trip I realized to my surprise how familiar Japan has become to me. Even if I was there only for one year, returning there felt much like returning home, as much of a cliché as it sounds. The airport proceedings were a routine and the whole transportation process from the airport to my girlfriends home felt like something I had done plenty of times, despite the fact that I hadn’t gone there from the airport and had to follow instructions to get to the right bus and train. This sense of familiarity struck me as odd, taking away the adventurousness of my trip. I also realized that I had made some progress with kanji, and I actually could read signs and place names with less effort than before. That alone made me understand how far I have actually got in my studies of both the language and the culture.

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Food, Fun, Japanese Culture, Life in Japan, Travel


Back to Kansai Part 1 – Plans and Preparations

To my surprise, I managed to find enough time and money to go on a two week journey to Japan even if I still have some important courses coming up. Fortunately February ended up being a somewhat free from all classes and obligations, meaning that I actually had a chance to leave Finland without gravely disturbing my studies. Currently the only course I have is the fourth Japanese course offered by our university, and even if language courses normally require a certain percentage of attendance, the teacher said that I am going to get the course incorporated to my studies since I was in exchange. This means that I wouldn’t even need to do anything for the course, but it’s a good opportunity to practice more.

Nonetheless, I am going to Japan for a while and it feels like going back home. I never thought that I’d feel so home-sick for Japan, especially since I didn’t have such feelings towards Finland during my exchange. But recently I’ve noticed that my exchange period has made me feel like a foreigner in my own country, and that I feel more akin to all the exchange students I’ve met. Perhaps this interculturalization of mine has left it’s mark on me.

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Theme Music – Artists That I Encountered From Anime

Music has always been one of the most important aspect of the anime series for me. Not only the amazing scores and background music filled with emotions and pathos, but also the openings and endings of the series. It is customary for Japanese anime series to feature a short, teaser-like introductory video at the beginning of the episode, showcasing not only the characters of the series but often serving as a means of publicity for the artist who made the song. Sometimes these artists are already famous, sometimes they gain popularity as the show gains popularity. Conversely, some really popular shows attract popular artists to use their songs in the openings.

While most openings are really strong and emotionally powerful, endings on the other hand are more often a bit softer and calmer in tone, although there are plenty of exceptions. Due to this, and to my bad habit of skipping them in favour of starting a new episode, endings rarely get enough attention from me.

There have been plenty of good openings and endings in the anime that I have seen, but only a few artists have remained my personal favourites. A while ago as I began watching some new anime series, I started wondering about what kind of Japanese artists I’ve actually ended up listening to and decided to write down my observations of them. Quite interestingly, many series have had wonderful openings and endings, but I haven’t been actively listening to the other productions of the artists performing them.

Therefore I made this list of some of my favourite artists that I encountered while watching anime, but have kept on listening to long since the conclusion of the series that I first heard these songs. A need for a disclaimer though: I merely listen to these artists, I am not that interested in the fandom and hype that has spawned around them. Also the songs that I have chosen are my own personal choices and might not represent the artists most popular or otherwise best songs.

With that underway, on with the list!

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Anime, Fun, Japanese Culture


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Stones and Lives – Traditional Japanese Games: Go

As I mentioned in the Introduction, I have a deep interest for Japanese games. For the past year, I have spent plenty of time in order to look information about and try out these games as much as possible. It took me a long time to start composing this blogpost merely due to the sheer amount of information and work that was required in order to make a decent overview on the topic.

Initially I was going to make a single post about three traditional Japanese games, Go, Shogi and Hanafuda, but eventually I realized that a single post isn’t going to be enough to cover everything that I wanted to say about them. Therefore I am going to start with the one game that I am most familiar with: Go.

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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in Anime, Fun, Games, Japanese Culture


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Japanese in Jyväskylä – The JyJy group

I have tried to update my blog twice per month, but ever since I returned home, I have been a bit struggling to keep up with the pace, mostly due to the fact that there isn’t much to write about. So I will instead try to write one journal entry each month. Hopefully I’ll have time to write even about something small and simple.

Besides my regular studies, I have been trying to work on my Japanese skills. Even though my Japanese studies have not yet began here in Finland, I have had a good opportunity to use and practice the language. Apart from talking in Skype with my girlfriend, I have been semi-regularly attending the weekly meetings of our local, yet informal, Finnish-Japanese society, Jyväskylän yliopiston Japani ystävät (The Jyväskylä University Friends of Japan). Meeting Japanese exchange students and Finnish students who have been studying Japanese for a long time has been really motivating.

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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Fun, Life in Finland, Parties, Studies


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