Skip to main content

The Midnight Sun and the Rising Sun

Nearly everywhere we travel, be it Paris or Yellowstone, there are bus loads of Japanese tourists taking pictures of each other in front of things. I first saw this in 1979 at the Louvre, watching Japanese tourists take happy snaps of each other in front of the Mona Lisa who was behind bullet proof glass. 
I did not expect to see the same in Finland. I expected most tourists would be other Europeans or North Americans whose cruise ships stopped by for a few hours, and that was the case, but there were loads of Japanese people there and I learned that FInnair has non-stops between Tokyo and Helsinki. I asked several people "why so many Japanese" and got several answers.

1. There is an obvious esthetic shared - they like clean lined design and for years, the iconic Finnish fabric and clothing company, Marimeikko, has had a big market in Japan as well as employing Japanese designers.


2. Moomims. They are characters who came to life 77 years ago, the creation of a Swedish speaking Finn, that went on to fame in 60 countries, especially Japan.  Moomins are to Finland what Disney characters are to the US.


3. Japanese people are nature lovers. They come from a very crowded island and are amazed by Finland's huge forests, hundreds of islands and vast amounts of untamed wilderness. 

4. Fascination with Santa and reindeer. 

And years ago, I read that there were large numbers of Japanese traveling to Lapland in the winter to see and, hopefully conceive a baby under the northern lights. 

And I think they feel comfortable with each other, their reticence to be forward, their nature to be very polite. 

We were at a folk dance performance, seated on benches on flat ground, and a man was standing in the aisle, blocking the view for many people, especially the woman near me in the wheelchair, and no one yelled "down in front" or made a move. After about 5 minutes, it took yours truly, the pushy American, to tap him on the shoulder and point to the people behind him. He looked horrified at what he had done and quickly left, out of sight. 

But while they have so much in common the language the Finns and the Japanese most share is English. Of course. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Well - this is a fine start.

This is a Google blog. I’ve been posting thru an app on my iPad. The app hasn’t been updated for the new OS so I simply log on. So far so good, but I discover I cannot access my photos. It tells me to get the Google+ app. Then I’m told I have to get Google photo and give them access to all of my pics if I want photos in my blog.
The war between the operating systems steps to a new level. But I’ve no loyalty. Got a Windows laptop and and iPad and I use Google products on both.
All watched over by machines of loving grace.
And now to the actual topic of this blog - travel. In eight hours we will board the 777 and hope to sleep on the way to Heathrow.

Good Cooks, Last Looks

There are always photos that don't seem to fit thematicly into any other post, yet they cry out for further viewing.
We begin with our last meal in Finalnd and end with the only photo of the four of us - me and Mark, sister Sandi and brother in law Richard. 
























Posthumous

The apartment we rented in Helsinki appeared to be next to a huge park that led to the water. When we walked over to see it, we discover it was a cemetery, an enormous cemetery. It was well cared for, with beautiful huge trees and some unique tombstones, thus most of this post will be photos.

There is a much copper in Finland. One sees it in roofs and decorative objects, but this is my first copper grave marker. Or polished stainless steel.

Many were somewhat more conventional, but works of art all the same.

A musician lies here.


There were a fair number of rocks.

And sometime in the late 1800s, stones like these began to become popular and then common; chunks of granite with only one polished surface. Whether it was done out of frugality or fashion I cannot say. 

 Seventeen years ago, we remodeled our kitchen and chose for the counter tops a common granite called Baltic Brown. I was in Helsinki for days before I realized my countertops were everywhere. That granite was used for cobblestone…