Monthly Archives: May 2017

[Finnish/French] – Vappu

We met in Vappu day on 1st May, called in France “Fête du travail”  (“Labour Day”) and it is also a day off. We don’t have any specific celebration. During this “international workers’ day” people demonstrate in the street and we offer a blade of lily of the valley.

It was amazing to see the difference in Finland. This celebration lasts 2 days and we met with Nina on Monday. Here, it is a type of carnival. Not only is it a “labour day” but also a day when people celebrate their graduation. Everybody is in the street during two days celebrating, partying and drinking beer on the grass. There is a big vappu market with balloons, candy and party stuff. At night they put a graduation hat on a statue, they sing a song and then it is a “champagne shower” ! I didn’t expect that!

Nina told me there is a characteristic food and drink. People are used to eat a kind of funnel cake, “tippaleipä” and they drink a kind of sweet mead, “sima”.

Moreover, during the day, TUT graduated students go in a cage lifted by a crane that immerse them half in water. I love this concept it is really festive.

We also spoke about party traditions in schools. I was really surprised to hear they have a dancee ball at the end of High school like there is in the USA. The name is “Wanhat” and she told me that girls wear gorgeous dresses and boys white tie and she showed me some photo. In France is really different. At the end of High school I had kind of a prom night but not every school organize that. We are all dressed-up, there is a buffet where we can eat and drink and kind of a dancefloor. On top of that, each year in my current school in Paris, a gala is organized at the end of May where all the students can go but it is especially for student who graduated the year before.

Sauna and last meeting :(

Today was Heide’s last day in Tampere. As a kind of farewell we went with her and some friends to the Rauhaniemi Sauna by the lake.

Sauna became one of the main habits I picked up same as Fernanda. Only the last time we went together she didn’t even go with one foot into the frozen water. But today was pay day she promised me to go inside this time and she did 🙂 !

As we went into the sauna we refreshed all our German and Spanish words and sentences that we learned during the meetings. I was surprised from myself how much I learned and that I even have a super small talk with a Spanish friend of Heide Lau. Fernandas pronunciation got really good and she was super exited for her trip to Berlin to use her new German expertise (conocimiento).

After long talks about our Erasmus experiences and our EoTo there were also a couple other members with us in the Sauna of EoTo. We couldn’t handle the sauna anymore as the Fins do 🙂 IMG_3839!

As Heide had to prepare her home journey we had a long and sad goodbye…!

I loved to get to now each other so good but every ending is hard.

EoTo gave me § more friends as I said even if it was sometimes really complicated to met up because of our completely different timetabled and travels! I enjoyed every second of it with u guys 🙂 !!

best of EoTo

The further the Journey of this Erasmus goes to an end the better gets the weather!! Spring is finally here 🙂

To use the good weather outside we picked up something’s to eat and a coffee.

After sitting down in the park we used this session as a reflection of what we learned and what our best Moments were.

We all said that we liked the meeting where we cooked for each other the most:).

During our stay here I learned a lot about different cultures. Fernanda explained us the Mexican culture in a beautiful detailed way. I learned a lot from her. And it made me realise that I have to go now to Mexico and visit her beautiful country. Now even with a little bit of Spanish knowledge :).

Enjoying the sun together and learning never felt easier. Because since we start I didn’t found only a study partner I found three more friends.

Vocabulary of the day:

bikini – el bikini

sun – el sol

island – la isla

beach- la playa

sea- la mar

lake- el lago

… And more!

We sat still for a long time at the river as for every session our meeting doesnt stop and we talk still for sometimes hours.

Throwback to S1E10 !

Hey everyone !

This is it… It’s my last episode of the throwback to series… Don’t be sad, maybe there will be a season 2 ?

Let’s get back on our session recap :

For this special session  we went to the…. school ! We did it while it was an exam week for both of us so we had no other choice than to do it their but who need a less classic place to learn the beauty of finnish and french ? Not us.

In this session we didn’t really learn any vocabulary or grammar but we focused more on the traditional holiday we have.

Here is all the holiday we have in France and Finland

– February 14th : valentin’s day (Saint Valentin)

Nothing special, we do the same in both country and everywhere in the world I guess 

– April 17th : Easter (Lundi de Pâques)

In france, we give each other chocolate egg or for the kids we hide them in the house or garden and they have to find it

In finland —> virpomisoksa children sells it door to door and sometimes dressed as witches

– May 1st : working day(Fête du travail)

We don’t do anything in france

Vappu —> Munkki : famous holiday in Finland.

– June 21st : music fest (Fête de la musique)

We celebrate music all over the country, with concerts, clubs and bar are all open until late, music in the streets, buses and trains are free

– 24 of june : Midsummer, longest day of the year —> people make huge bonfire and sometimes jump over it, it’s a finnish holiday we don’t have it in france.

– July 14th : French national day (Fête nationale)

the president do a parade in the champs élysées with the army and after everyone stays at home with their family, in the night every cities organise fireworks.

– November 11th : Armistice

We don’t anything in particular, we just stay at home and chill while the president is giving speeches.

– 6 of december : Finland national day

The president have a gala in his house

– December: 24, 25th. (Christmas Eve, Christmas)

we eat with our family on Christmas eve and for Christmas lunch, we have the tree, the turkey, foie gras, la buche, we offer present to our relatives

Finland : Joulutorttu

New Year :  the President gives a speech, you are mostly hungover, you stay at home, in finland new year sauna and throw tin in the snow and it gives you your futur.

Thank you Ulla ! It was a pleasure to learn finnish with you !

FIN-JAP Meeting X: The Finale (and something about trees)

In our last burst of desperation to justify me getting the credits for the course, we met right at the end of May before Aoi left Finland. A topic we discussed was something that was very timely for me: trees and allergies.

Pictured: Death
Pictured: Death

Hay fever, or kafunshou as it’s known in Japan, is apparently a common phenomenon there too, especially thanks to the Japanese cedar tree (sugi) and cypress (hinoki). This is a notable difference from Finland, where the most common causes of pollen allergy aren’t conifers but broad-leaved trees. We talked about differences in flora, or at least what the most commonly known trees are around our countries.

The meeting was a little rushed, but none of us have hard feelings over it. We were all super busy throughout the Spring thanks to other school and life stuff, and at times it felt like we really needed to force things into our schedules to survive. Having made it through ten meetings that justify some sort of blog posts, we hugged and parted ways, knowing that Aoi would leave Finland very soon. I blame the good old Finnish koivu/kabanoki for my eyes being so watery.

FIN-JAP Meeting IX: Becoming Something

As the takatalvi finally seemed to settle down, we met again outside with the noble intention of learning new stuff about our languages. As Spring had finally arrived, seasonal change (and ultimately, change altogether) became the theme of our short meeting that we fit right in the middle of other deadline crossfire.

So how do I say "my notes became rather extensive"?
So how do I say “my notes became rather extensive”?

Apparently in Japanese, the verb naru is used when something changes or becomes something. “Spring came” = haru ni narimashita. However, ni is only used when it’s a noun or a na-adjectve. In other adjectives, like when it gets colder (samui), you add -ku: samuku narimashita. Once again, I had trouble explaining why Finnish uses the word “tulla” (to come) in this context, and the inner battle of proving how all of this is actually logical was as rewarding as ever. However, we knew that the end was near, as we were so far into the Spring season and drowning in other schoolwork, so we just quickly scheduled another quick meeting.

Final Meeting – Hobbies and Kalevala

Didn’t the spring go so fast? I mean, a moment ago it was like February and now it’s almost summer!

This final meeting of ours was a few weeks ago in May. Last time I had asked Nadiia what she still wanted to learn about Finnish language so I could prepare something in advance. She wanted to learn more about the culture but also to repeat some basics, like “How old are you?” and “What is your hobby?”. When I started to gather the material, I realized that English doesn’t have a word for “harrastaa”, they just have the word “harrastus” (hobby). So we have shorter way to say “My hobbies are” → “Minä harrastan” vs. “Minun harrastuksiani ovat”.

So I taught her the numbers from 1-100 and then some Finnish hobbies:

Kuvahaun tulos haulle jääkiekkoKuvahaun tulos haulle jalkapallo

Jääkiekko                                                      Jalkapallo

Kuvahaun tulos haulle tanssiminenKuvahaun tulos haulle neulominen

Tanssiminen                                           Neulominen


After that we started talking about the culture. I told Nadiia that Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish but in Lapland some people also speak Sami. I also introduced her our national epos, Kalevala. I actually found a copy of children’s version of Kalevala in TAMK library so I could show it to her. It was a little hard trying to explain what Kalevala is about so I got a challenge of my own too. If some of you readers are interested to find out about it, here is one English translation:   Of course the language won’t as rich as the Finnish version. (I have to admit that in the original piece many many of the words are unfamiliar to me)

Right. Is this really it? The end of my less than 12-hours-blog? Well, I have to say that it’s been a nice journey remembering all of my meetings with Nadiia. I think we made a great team together. Our meetings didn’t quite go as planned in the preliminary plan (or very much didn’t) but I think we weren’t supposed to be each other’s official teachers, more like study partners who learn together. And we did learn and we discussed a lot. We compared the languages and the cultures and because Nadiia is from Ukraine and studies in Poland, I had some grip of their cultures too. Teaching Finnish was a tough one, I can admit that but I’m happy I took the challenge because it was rewarding to see the other one learning and remembering stuff. And she could really pronounce Finnish better than most of foreigners. I mean, my Russian pronounciation was much worse! But then again, she was hearing Finnish every day everywhere. Maybe I should start listening to more Russian music and watching Russian movies so I could memorize it and wouldn’t lose the language skills this time.

What an amazing spring and hope the summer will be good too. Thanks for reading!



FIN-JAP Meeting VII: Comparatively Better

We realized then that since the first meeting, we had done very little actual language lessons (something that was the primary motivation for each of us, originally). We agreed that for the last couple of times we would meet, we would focus on language or at least put emphasis on language or vocabulary even if the main theme was somewhere else.

As the warm part of Spring was finally becoming a reality, we just went outside with notebooks and tried to think of things we would want to know about each others’ languages. What we eventually ended up with was a discussion about how to express comparative. Needless to say, that is what we taught each other: how to say that an elephant is bigger than a bear, how to compare other people’s ages, and so forth.

Comparatively okay amount of notes
Comparatively okay amount of notes

I had never thought of Finnish comparative being a little weird, but it was surprisingly difficult to explain why there’s a partitive form in norsu on karhua suurempi, although the functionality of it is very similar if not identical to Japanese yori. What I like the most about these language discussions is not only that I learn Japanese, but also how I learn to look at my own mother tongue from a more analytical perspective. For the second time in our EOTO history, we agreed to meet again in a similar setting, as long as the weather allowed it (and that it did not for a while thanks to this weather anomaly known as Finnish Spring 2017).

11th Meeting – Russian Samovar and Lullaby

In our 11th meeting we did some repeating of the food words from the last time. Then Nadiia showed me this interesting document about Russian Samovars. It is a great Russian tradition to meet all the family together and drink some tea. All the previous fights are forgiven and forgotten while drinking tea. Some of the Russians even have this habit that if they are so angry with someone, they invite them for a tea and talk to each other via Samovar, like “Could you tell Sergei that he was annoying” (okay maybe not that harsh?). The old way of drinking tea is to pouring it first into the cup and then on the tea plate and drink it from there. I’ve heard that people in Finland have also done that in the old days.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle samovaari

Somehow we also got to talking about music again. She played me this one lullaby:

And I’m sure I have heard this somewhere before but didn’t know it was Russian!

Because I’m going to be working in a camping site for the summer I asked Nadiia to teach me some useful Russian words for it because there might be some Russian tourists that don’t speak English (and of course I also want to practise and improve my Russian).

And as this was our last meeting when Nadiia taught me Russian, it’s time to make a summary. I really think that my Russian have improved this spring. I think I might even understand something if someone speaks me Russian (please don’t speak too fast and mumbling though :D). And now I know lots of new things about the culture. Actually, the culture was quite strange to me before. I have always been more interested in the Western culture but this made me open my eyes and think about the East for a change. They have beautiful architecture and many interesting traditions, especially this Samovar was interesting.  Maybe I’ll even visit Russia sometime or some other Eastern Europe country.

Throwback to S1E08 !

Hello !

this is nearly the end ! This session was a little bit special because we didn’t really teach vocabulary or grammar but we wanted to teach something else, something that even if you don’t understand the language you can do. You got it ? Indeed, we are going to talk about where to go in our country if you want to travel in it.

Let’s start with finland : Even if I lived in it for 6 month i didn’t discover that much of the country, Ulla told me the three places to go if I want to go back with my friends or family !

1st stop : Lapland, I didn’t do it (shame on me) but i will definitely do it later with my family.

2nd stop : Turku if you like old house, museum, churches or cathedral.

3rd stop : all the national park, there is a lot of them and all are beautiful.

What about France ? here is my top 3 I gave to her :

1st stop : Paris. It’s my hometown so it was logical that it was at the beginning. But what can you do ? there is the Tour eiffel, Arc de triomphe,  Champs-élysées, La seine, Bateaux mouche (typical parisian boat you can see and go on),  Louvre… There is also lots of night club, bar, restaurant etc…

2nd stop : Bordeaux, for me it’s the second most beautiful city in France, it’s in the south, it’s sunnier than in Paris, people there are really nice, they have really good wine for everyone, nights club, restaurant, lots of monuments to discover, it’s also not that far from the beach. So yeah everyone should go there.

3rd stop : Biarritz, this city is famous for its good surf’s spot. There is a lot of competition taking place there, it’s more in the south than bordeaux, it’s always sunny. There is the beach as well but I’ll recommend it when it’s the fest called “les férias”. It’s a traditional festival taking place in all basque region where there is a ton of people coming from all over the world. To give you an idea it’s the 2nd biggest village festival avec Rio’s carnival.