Movie of the week: Princess Mononoke

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I found this film by Hayao Miyazaki (1997) rather confusing, or I might have been too stupid or tired for keeping up with the plot. I’ll watch it again in the near future, hoping to get more out of it. Like in many Miyazaki films, the gods and demons are playing a big role in Princess Mononoke. The film begins with the main character Ashitaka being chased by a spaghetti monster, aka demon god. The demon god dies in the battle, but Ashitaka is left with a curse that slowly will kill him. Seeking healing for the curse, Ashitaka travels to a forest, full of little ghosts, or spirits, as well as animal gods, including giant wolves that have adopted a girl who people call Princess Mononoke.

The rest of the film involves a lot of fighting and shooting and at the end, the Forest Spirit, aka Deer God turns everything green and heals everyone. The environmental aspect seems to be an important part of the film and especially now, it should be relevant for all of us. In that sense, the film is very timely and I definitely would recommend it for everyone.

I started writing these on my blog, as I wanted to learn how to better formulate my opinions; argue why I liked a film or didn’t. This one was difficult, I liked it, but don’t think I fully understood it, but a least I admit this.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Häpeän ruåtsiani!

Swedish language.pngHäpeän sitä. Vieraat kielet ei tartu aikuisena läheskään yhtä hyvin kuin lapsena, vaikka olin siis koulussa aina hyvä ruotsissa. Tänne muutettuani totesin kuitenkin, että on ihan eri asia käyttää kieltä muissa tilanteissa, kuin esim. kahvilassa tai postikorttia kirjoittaessa. Esim.  esitelmän pitäminen ruotsiksi on ihan hirveää, vaikka ryhmässä kaikki muutkin olis maahanmuuttajia. Puhumattakaan siitä, millaista on käyttää ruotsia päivittäin töissä, tai yrittää deittailla ruotsalaista ruotsiksi. Olen yrittänyt sopeutua tänne, ensin ottamalla ruotsalaisen sukunimen ja myöhemmin kansalaisuuden, mutta valitettavasti kumpikaan ei poista sitä tosiasiaa, että olen SUOMIJUNTTI.

Vaikka Ruotsissa on monikulttuurinen väestörakenne ja hyvin harva on tähän mennessä kettuillut puheestani, itseäni se kuitenkin ahdistaa suuresti ja tyydyn liian usein olemaan hiljaa, toivoen näin nolaavani itseäni edes hieman vähemmän.

Tässä muutama esimerkki toilailuistani:

1. Soitin työmatkavarausta koskien käyttämäämme matkatoimistoon. Kysyivät varausnumeroa, jota rupesin tavaamaan. Asiakaspalvelija ei saanut aakkosistani selvää ja sanojen, tai nimien lonkalta heittäminen ruotsiksi ei onnistunutkaan ihan noin vain. Yritin sanoa S, aspa kuuli F. Yritin korjata: “Nej, utan S som, som… Satan.” Ei tullut mieleen esim. Sverige, svenska, Simon tai Susan. No, ensi kerralla sitten.

2. Yritin ostaa kahvimittaa, jonka muistelin olevan ruotsiksi tyyliin sama kuin suomeksi. Käänsin siis kaupassa päässäni: “kaffemäter” myyjä ei tajunnut millään, vaikka selitin: “En sån där sked man mäter kaffe med”. Tajusi kun selitin uudestaan englanniksi. Kysyin lopuksi, mikä ruotsissa meni pieleen, myyjä kertoi ystävällisesti että se on “kaffemått”.

3. Ehkä nöyryyttävimmät tapaukset sattuivat vaatekaupassa, jossa olin aiemmin töissä. Asiakkaat eivät esim. uskoneet, ettei meillä voi saada alennusta vaikka tuote olisi viallinen. Veemäisimmät pyysivät puhua kollegan kanssa, joka sitten selitti saman asian enemmän tai vähemmän sujuvammin.

Ongelma on toki suurilta osin omien korvien välissä (joku ehti kerran luulla et oon oikeesti Umeåsta kotoisin). Mutta silti, päivittäin joutuu tekemään pellen itsestään kun eihän sitä muuten opi millään. Ja olen siis toki hyvin kiitollinen siitä, että kieli on tarttunut sen verran, että ylipäätään pystyn työskentelemään sillä. Ja en tosiaan edes ole työpaikallani ainoa maahanmuuttaja. Muut tekevät ihan samalla tavalla virheitä, eivät vain piittaa niistä yhtä paljon.

Tsekatkaa myös ihmeessä mun ruåtsinkielinen blogi, jonka perustin yhtä verkkokurssia varten (koska oli pakko). 🇸🇪

Book of the Month: Pelolla johtaminen on perseestä

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Been a while again since I managed to finish a book, but I finally did! This was on my to-read list pretty much since it was published in 2015 and I managed to loan it when visiting Finland a few weeks back. The name could translate as: “Leading by fear sucks”, though “perseestä” literally means from the ass, but I guess it’s not really used that way in English… Anyway, a strong and slightly controversial title for an important topic.

Although I studied business, I’m not super familiar with the field of leadership literature and would love to study more of it in the future. And of course, leadership isn’t just for the business people. Everyone needs skills in at least leading themselves and when it comes to leading teams and organisations, skills in communication, empathy and motivation become even more important. And leading by fear has negative consequences.

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The book itself was surprisingly unstructured, consisting mainly of quotations, or stories, from people working in different organisations. Parts of the book had lines where the reader could write his / her own thoughts, which is kind of nice if one wants to develop their leadership skills. However, personally I found it a bit strange reading so many quotations, some of which weren’t exactly demonstrating leading by fear and were a bit off topic. From time to time it felt more like reading the vauva.fi forum. I also spotted quite a few misspellings and a few sentences I couldn’t even understand because of bad writing, not just in the quotations, but from the authors themselves. Probably the most important thing before publishing had been skipped: have someone read the book and fix the possible mistakes.

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The part I liked the most was the two-page long “toolkit” part at the end of the book, which had some good points for dealing with upset people, whether they’re leaders or employees. But other than that, the book provided very little help for solving the issues we experience at workplaces. A not-so-well written book, but an important topic and for sure, the authors could have done much better in providing guidance and insights for coping in difficult situations. I gave two stars, as it might function as a reminder on how every leader should consider their leading style. And despite the many errors, the simple language is hopefully understandable even for the simple people working in leadership.

⭐️⭐️ / 5

Alla helgons dag – Skogskyrkogården

Skogskyrkogården on alla helgons dag

The Nordic All Saints’ Day: Alla helgons dag was celebrated today. It’s never been a big thing for me and it feels like I’ve completely missed it on most years, or confused it with Halloween, which hasn’t really been celebrated in the Nordics until the recent years. But a colleague was talking about it at work earlier this week, so I decided to check out what would be the best places (cemeteries) to go to and bookmarked an article listing them. And Skogskyrkogården, a woodland cemetery located south of Stockholm seemed to be the most interesting one.

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But of course, as I’m in the middle of an apartment mess. I completely forgot the whole thing. Until I returned from a rental-contract signing to my current home I opened the internet browser. I really had to force myself to go out for some pictures. After an exhausting day speaking only Swedish and travelling from one side of Stockholm to the opposite, I much rather would have stayed under a blanket sipping tea and entertaining myself with vauva.fi.

I’m really glad I went though! It’s been ages since I took some night time pictures and had completely forgotten what kind of a hassle it is when it’s cold and you’re trying to set up your camera and tripod with frozen fingers. With no northern lights in Stockholm I haven’t found shooting in the dark that interesting, but a cemetery in forest with thousands of candles was something I didn’t want to miss.

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Though Skogskyrkogåden might have been the most popular place for Stockholmers to spend Alla helgons dag, I managed to get shots without the masses of people. I would love to visit the place again sometime when it’s not dark and see the graves of some remarkable people who have been buried there, including Avicii and Greta Garbo.

Skogskyrkogården on alla helgons dag

Movie of the Week: Hereditary

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Finally, I had the courage to watch this! And it wasn’t actually as scary as I  thought it would be. I appreciate horror films that are different from the typical American ones, where people are beautiful, it’s dark all the time and someone is chasing you and trying to kill you. Hereditary had a little bit similar vibe to the VVitch, or Rosemary’s baby and I really enjoyed watching it.

Toni Collette plays Annie, a mother of two, who’s life is stressful because of an upcoming art exhibition,  and her mother passing away. Her family has a history in mental illness and at the beginning it seems like she’s going insane, especially after her daughter dies in an accident, after which, very strong things start to happen. Collette does an excellent job in the leading role, at times, screaming better than Wendy in the Shining. Surprisingly, the end of the film didn’t feel scary anymore, rather peaceful. Everyone was dead, except for the son, Peter, who then becomes possessed so the heredity can pass on.

Although a great deal of the scenes were dark and some standard elements within the horror genre were present in Hereditary, such as possession, an old book and symbols, Hereditary succeeded in being unique. Also, I can’t remember seeing nudity in an American horror film since the Shining.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

10 things Finland is known for in Sweden

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1. Horrible accent when we speak in a foreign language. And when we speak Swedish we sound like the characters in the Moomin cartoons. Some Swedes can’t stand it and some have fetish towards it. Either way, most make fun of it. And here’s a sample of a Finn (from Finland’s most popular Youtube channel) speaking English:

2.Jävla temperament” when a Finn is upset it can be dangerous.

3. Quietness. When we’re not upset, or drunk, we’re quiet and awkward.

4. Koskenkorva, or as we say in Finland “kossu”. My last name used to be Koskivaara and terribly often Swedes made an association between my name and this lovely vodka-like hard liquor.

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5. Knives. This was a more well-known fact in Umeå, which is located right across from Pohjanmaa. Messing around with knives was a popular activity in the region during the 19th century. I’m from Helsinki so I never saw this in myself.

6. Good selection curse words, for instance, Saatana, vittu, perkele… There aren’t many good ones in Swedish so they sometimes borrow ours.

7. Moomin trolls. The characters from the books and comics by Tove Jansson are for sure Finlands gift to the world.

8. Sauna: the winter is long, dark and cold, so we have to find alternative sources of heat.

9. Nokia, it was once so great.

10. Education: it’s the best in the world! So: “why study in Sweden and not Finland?” people like to ask. I always clarify that it’s the elementary and middle schools that are so great, after that the quality isn’t guaranteed anymore.

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#1995 🔮

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But no one in Sweden remembers what happened at Globen in 1995… Do you?

Movie of the Week: Grave of the Fireflies

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Long time since I had time for movies, but I’m trying to get this back on track now. Based on an autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Directed by Isao Takahata (1988), Grave of the Fireflies is based on a true story in Japan during the late WW II. Although it’s animated and most animated movies have children as their target audience, I’m not quite sure if that was the case with Grave of the Fireflies. It was hard for a grown-up to watch and if I had children, I don’t think I’d want them to see this, although the story sadly is still reality in too many places.

The film begins from the end where the teenage boy Seita starves to death at a train station and then surrounded by fireflies unites with his little sister Setsuko. It tells the story of two children from the city of Kobe that are left homeless by bombings, their mother dies and their father is serving in the navy. They move in with their aunt for a while, but end up living in a cave, where surviving is hard.

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Though the film isn’t particularly violent, the imagery of burned bodies and orphaned children was definitely uncomfortable to watch. It also served as a reminder of how it is possible to find hope and moments of happiness even in the most awful circumstances. And shows how fire and fireflies connected in a sad, yet beautiful way.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5