Friday, 16 January 2015

A Hint of Japanese Culture in Finland

In October 2014 we were glad to have seven students and their professor to visit us from Shikoku University.  This wasn’t the first time for the professor Yuki Kataoka, actually it was already the 5th trip to Finland with different students. It was the second time for me too, to guide them around Tampere.

My name is Eveliina Anttila, I am third year social services student here at TAMK.  My duty for this week was to arrange program for our visitors. They wanted to see Finnish social services from many angles, so we had a tight schedule. It’s not easy to show everything in just one week you see! But gladly I got lots of help from the teachers Ulla-Maija Koivula and Tapio Salomäki, thank you!

Our visitors arrived on Saturday 18.10., and they had few days to explore Helsinki and Tampere by themselves. Our program started on Monday 20.10. with a tour around the main building of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The building was new for the professor too; on their last visit the school of social services was still located at Pyynikki. On their first real visit they got to know about the Finnish elderly care at one of the dementia home of Sopimusvuori Association.

Tuesday started by taking a bus to Hervanta. We headed to a meeting point for Immigrant women which is called Naistari. There we had a nice breakfast and info about their work. In the end we made together some origami and have a lot of fun! 

We also visited Monitoimitalo 13, which is a youth house in the city center. There we had an opportunity to get to know youth work is done in Finland. Even though the communication was a little bit challenging, the conversations were productive. For example, we had a nice conversation about Japanese video games they had there! ;-) 

On Wednesday our quests were with Ulla-Maija Koivula. They visited a place for preventive child welfare, which is called Toimela and in the afternoon they tried TAMK’s own dark cafeteria organized by young persons from the Association for the Visually Impaired.

Wednesday evening I had planned social evening for the students and their professor. It happened to be my birthday, so it was logical to have a party, right? I had already made some makaronilaatikko, which is similar to American macaroni & cheese.  And for the dessert, of course I had cake, this time it was apple pie with some candles on it. 

Our quests wanted to offer something themselves too, and my kitchen suddenly was full of laughter and joy.  They made us rice triangles and rice flour balls, which were seasoned with Japanese flavors. And would this visit be complete without the extraordinary souveniers? Of course not. That is why we had dried  squid and fish plus plenty of Japanese sweets and snacks. After we all were full of eating, there were birthday song and more souvenirs to give. I also got a birthday card which is still placed on the door of my fridge. Thank you for that!

But the week wasn’t over yet. On Thursday we headed to Nuori Kullervo. Nuori Kullervo offers apartments and support for youngsters on the edge of the adulthood. We had nice info, tea, coffee and Fazer chocolate candies! There were a lot to ask, but we had strict schedule, which told us to move to the next place, which was Iltalinjalla –project.

Iltalinjalla –project is a free time place for intellectually disabled people. We had a little bit free time there and we used it by making some origami again! Here’s a few pictures from Iltalinja: 

Our last day together was Friday. We planned it to be a visit to A –guild, which is supportive work for people with intoxicant background. After A-guild information moment, we made a trip to the backyard, which had a fire place and a nice lake view! There we grilled some sausage by Finnish style and ate bread and drank juice. We had so much fun and great time, although it was cold. 

And to sum up this week, this was my second time to host our Japanese student on their visit.We had a busy week with many places to visit. I can’t fit all the stories in this blogtext!

We were all tired on Friday, but it was still worth it and I hope that our quests enjoyed as much as I did! I got an invitation to visit Japan someday, and I think I am going to use that opportunity! ;-) 

Text: Eveliina Anttila
Photos: Eveliina Anttila and Ulla-Maija Koivula

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