Exploring the World

Chinese festival

There is ongoing festival in Finland in many cities, including Tampere. Today I visited the Keskustori (main square in Tampere) to see what is going regarding the Chinese market and also what kind of other happenings there are. These all are related to the Nordic Chinese Culture Festival.

What I learned today? I learned the basics for Weiqi board game. The rules are pretty easy to learn but I can already know that it takes quite a long time to master the game. Anyway, lots of fun. :-)

In the evening there was a Chinese opera in Tampere Hall. Kunqu opera is one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera and almost vanished but in 2001 it was added to UNESCO World Heritage List and is now very strong revival. The Romance of the Western Bower tells a story about a young couple’s struggle to gain society’s approval to get married. The experience was very new to me while I have seen some Western operas before and there are similarities but still some differences. As you would expect, the dresses are fabulous and music plays very crucial role. I liked this opera very much, it of course requires some concentration to follow the story especially if you do not speak Chinese fluently as you have to follow the English texts to understand the details of the events but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has an opportunity to experience this ever.

Chinese marketChinese operaChinese opera

Qi Xi

Yesterday was the the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar. That is the day known as Qi Xi, 七夕. This particular day is known as Chinese Valentine’s Day or Magpie Festival.

One of the differences between Western world and China - even the Valentine’s Day is appearing in the different place in the calendar. But at the same time we have to remember that we are not used to use lunar calendar here in the West so much. Qi Xi has a story behind the festival but these days it is very commercial festival. Find any similarities to our culture? Yes, our Valentine’s Day is also very much commercial.

Long Time No See

Yeah, I know. I have been busy with work and there hasn’t been much happening around here. I haven’t travelled and while the weather seems to slowly turn to Autumn then there hasn’t been much about that either - and besides, I still don’t like very hot weather so it is just a good thing that weather is turning rainy. :-D I miss Autumn already, one of the best time in a year.

Circus

Circus

Circus is here. This photo is actually taken from the front of the building I live and looking to the nearby sports field.

Saturday in Tampere

Floral Festival has been going on for one week and it was the last day - time for the traditional Samba Parade. One of the leading Samba schools in Finland is arranging this parade every year and believe or not, this was the first time I was actually going to see this.

After the parade, what could have been better idea than to learn to cook Wontons? And my friend was teaching me patiently, while I wasn’t quite understanding how to wrap the meat inside the pastry. I have never been too clever with this kind of complex tasks. :oops:

ParadeWontons

Asian cooking

Asian cooking

I am slowly progressing with my studies regarding Asian style cooking. Sometime ago I got a bamboo steamer box and yesterday I found some frozen dumplings (Hsiao Long Pao - dumplings filled with pork and vegetable filling) from the local Asian grocery store, Siam House. The next task is of course to learn how to make dumplings by myself.

Busy weekend

I have had so much fun during the weekend; on Friday it started with a visit to friends who just got finished their smoke sauna. It was very nice experience, I haven’t been in smoke sauna for many years.

On Saturday there was a visit to Pori Jazz festival in the program, due to the different schedules we actually didn’t go there until the afternoon but then spent almost whole night there. Pori is quite close to Tampere so it is easy and very nice drive there.

We wanted to see the festivals and get a glimpse to the world of jazz. Pori Jazz has both free of charge and non-free concerts and at least this year the main event in Kirjurinluoto was sold on many nights so we just concentrated the Jazz Street and free of charge concert along that street. The stage along the Jazz Street featured Jippu on Saturday night. The weather was sunny and provided the best for the visitor during that day.

The evening turned into a night and continued in the Voodoocity, which then featured another kind of music more into the younger people’s taste, orchestrated by DJs.

And on the positive side, it was very quiet drive back to Tampere between 3am and 4am - you were only able to see few cars on the highway and most of the time it was just you, a car, a highway and a sleeping passenger. :-) I like the quiet and peaceful drives during the night, of course as long as you don’t feel sleepy yourself while driving.

And I just came back from visiting my family from the summer cottage - it was time to celebrate my little sister’s birthday.

Very nice weekend with lots of different things happening.

Night in Finland

Night in Finland

Pori by night. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough light for a camera phone to make clear photos but you get the point. :-D

Lightning strike (?)

Recently I have been again spending some time in the air. Last week I visited Paris for a day (morning flight there and evening flight back) and yesterday I spent a day in Brussels. These quick trips are fun especially because I still like to fly but of course you do not see very much about the city when visiting only briefly the city. It was my first time in Brussels and I can pretty much tell you about the airport. But these work related trips are not about sightseeing so I need to return to these cities later again to actually see and experience them.

When I was flying back to Helsinki yesterday evening we started to land and during the approach we flew through a thunderstorm and storm clouds - suddenly there was a bright flash and quite odd sound, kind of rattling. Some of the lights inside the airplane blinked for some time and then everything was back to normal. Later my colleague who was seated near the wing told me that he was able to see the strike to the wing - we actually were hit by a lightning. Well, now I have experienced that.

City view in Brussels

City view

Travelling to the airport in Brussels. Once again busy day and you don’t see much about the city.