Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Finnish Festive Spirit

There are some things I feel that, as a foreigner, I will never quite understand about Finland and the Finns.

One of those is the Finnish Christmas spirit.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Exclusive: Finnish Teen-Idol Robin is Deaf!

Today, I join the very select group of bloggers who are able to break some news ahead of the mainstream media. Oh yes.

For today, I can exclusively reveal that the Finnish teen-idol Robin is in fact deaf. I don't mean tone-deaf, I mean really deaf; as in can't hear at all.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Guest Post: KT Goes to Helsinki

The very first time I went to Helsinki, many years ago, it was for a business trip, in the middle of winter. It was very cold and very bleak, which led me to put Helsinki on my "been there, don't need to go there again, ever" list of cities. Little did I know...

Anyhow, my second guest blogger (the first was Santa) had an altogether different experience of travelling on business to the Finnish capital.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dedicated to Kone

One of Finland's largest company specialises in lifts, escalators, and moving-walkways. The company is called rather brilliantly Kone, meaning quite simply "machine" or "engine". Not even "machines" or "engines", just "machine" or "engine" in the singular form.

As it happens, I am rather fond of kone. Not so much the company, but the word itself.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Just When I Thought I Had Mastered Finnish Declensions

Let's face it, if learning Finnish was graded like judo, I would still be a white belt. This despite years of training with an excellent sensei.

However, there are some areas of the language where I think I might be awarded a yellow or even green belt. One of these is case declensions, or the fine Art of wrestling nouns into admitting what they've been up to. Yet, despite my amazing skills, I can still be surprised by the ability of Finnish nouns to fight back.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mini-Post: Pointing the Finger at Meerkats

Apparently, the Finnish word for "meerkat" is "nelisormimangusti", or "four-fingered mongoose".

Well, well, well... I didn't know that meerkats were part of the mongoose family (to be fair, I have not spent much time considering the subject before now); nor was I aware that meerkats had just 4 fingers (toes actually) on each foot, whereas most other mongoose species have 5 toes it seems. Fascinating. Somewhat.

I might not be getting anywhere fast with the Finnish language, but I sure am making a great deal of progress in zoology.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Laserskater, Helsinki's Superhero

The first time I saw him was on a warm summer's evening in Helsinki. He was standing near the parliament, patiently waiting for the traffic lights to change so he could cross the road. He was quite a sight to behold: middle-aged, lean, balding and dressed as if he was on his way to a roller disco in a New York gay club in the 1980s.

But he was no clubber, he was... LASERSKATER, Helsinki's very own superhero.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Finnish Men Can't Dance

Finnish men can't dance. Fact.

OK, OK, I admit: like most things I write about in this blog, I don't really know what I am talking about. This week however, I was reminded of some classic Finnish dance videos when I saw an animated GIF picture of a middle-age man showing off his disco thrusts.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

10 Useless Facts about Finland

In the past couple of weeks, my social media inlets [is that the word for the SoMe equivalent of an inbox?] seem to have been filled with an unusually high number of, well, numbered lists. You know the kind that go: "5, 10 or 20 [useless] things you need to know, do, avoid, see, read or have, now or before you die".

I figured it was time for me to contribute a trivial and pointless list of my own – about Finnish things, obviously.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Almost Sisu

Finns are rightly proud of their long tradition of perseverance in the face of overwhelming challenges. This courage and determination is so much part of their character, that Finns even have a word for it: sisu.

Silly foreigners like me don’t always quite appreciate what qualifies as sisu though, as the following anecdote illustrates.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

An Unfortunate Loss

This week, the winter returned with a vengeance in the UK. Temperatures have plummeted, and the weather forecasters are getting ready to roll out the hyperbolical meteorological clichés (Arctic conditions, Siberian winds, etc.). It was actually +2C/36F in Southern England today, but then what do Brits know about cold, huh?

Anyhow, for some unknown reason, I was reminded today of an anecdote involving my early fumblings with the Finnish language.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Same Procedure As Last Year?

New Year's celebrations are over for another year. And so is the broadcast on TV of one of the most successful piece of British comedy ever. You know... The sketch that has been shown on TV over 250 times since it was first broadcast. No, not Monty Python's "parrot sketch"... The one starring the British actors Freddie Frinton and May Warden...

My guess is, if you are from the UK, the US or virtually anywhere in the world, you have no idea what I am on about. Freddie who?