All posts by Ada Högström

Last meeting with Ryoko / 19.12.2016

On this day I just arrived from Helsinki where I had spent the weekend with my friend. I went pretty much straight from the rail station to Ryoko’s place in Hervanta. 😀

Again, we had a more relaxed meeting with just chatting about various things. We talked about our plans for the holidays and then about love and relationships in both Finland and Japan and what differences there are.

We both agreed that Japanese guys are much more strict about their girlfriends having male friends. I used to be with a Japanese guy and that was a difficult thing for me to understand then. :p

It’s also more clear and somewhat official when people start dating in Japan. In Finland, on the other hand, it’s much more vague – you can’t sometimes really tell if two people are just friends or if they’re actually dating. This is also because there’s not much skinship between friends in Japan. 

Difficult to believe that this was already our last meeting! I was so glad I could do this EOTO project with Ryoko. I’m so happy to have someone I can speak Japanese with and I’m glad we got to know each other more through this course. I’m sure we will be meeting lots even after this course ends 😉

9th meeting with Ryoko / 15.12.2016

 Third meeting in a row! I couldn’t stay for too long on the previous day but still wanted to help Ryoko more so we met again the next day to finish up what we started earlier. Ryoko came to my place this time. 

After some serious studying, I asked Ryoko for some Japanese TV program recommendations. I previously finished watching this drama called いつかこの恋を思い出してきっと泣いてしまう (Love that Makes You Cry) and wanted something new. Ryoko recommended me a drama she watched called せいせいするほど、愛してる (For the Romantic) and one that got really popular thanks to its theme song. The song is 恋 (Koi) by 星野源(Hoshino Gen) and the drama is called 逃げるは恥だが役に立つ (We married as a Job!). I will definitely start watching these two. 😀

This is the kind of stuff Ryoko is studying in her Finnish course. Advanced level already! 😀


This is the drama’s theme song that got so popular in Japan. I wanted to share it because it’s so nice and cheerful 😀

8th meeting with Ryoko / 14.12.2016

We decided to meet again the next day because Ryoko told me she had some trouble with her Finnish homework.

We met up at Tullintori and went from there to Wayne’s Coffee to study together.

Ryoko’s Finnish course is really quite difficult! She’s studying some things that are not obvious for Finnish people either, like lauseenvastike. It’s something we learn already in elementary and middle school but it’s difficult when you really start thinking about it and have to explain it to someone. haha

Since I’m not officially studying Japanese for now, but want to more just practice it, we decided to do it so that I was talking Japanese while explaining these Finnish grammar points to Ryoko. It was good practice for me and maybe it was also easier for Ryoko to understand it that way. 😀 


7th meeting with Ryoko / 13.12.2016

Last week before the Christmas holidays! This day I went to Ryoko’s place after taking an exam at school. We were mostly just chatting in Japanese and Finnish.

I told Ryoko about the JLPT exam that I had just taken. To be honest, I’m not sure at all if I will pass or not. Some parts were easier than I expected but the listening part was definitely harder than I thought it would be! I will only be getting the results in February/March, so the wait is kind of long… When I get the results, I’ll either start studying for the hardest level (N1) or try to retake N2 in case I didn’t pass this time. Ryoko will be of great help to me again then 😉

Other than that, we somehow ended up talking about refugees and foreigners in Finland. 

I learnt some new words as well!

移民 (いみん)immigrant (which has a somewhat negative sound to it)

難民 (なんみん)refugee

偏見のない人 (へんけんのないひと)open-minded

6th meeting with Ryoko / 22.11.2016

This time our meeting took place at our lovely school, TAMK. 😀

Ryoko was already at school and when I arrived we first went to have lunch together to the cafeteria. After eating a good meal, we moved to the library to do some serious studying. haha

We started with Ryoko’s Finnish class homework. She had previously held a presentation about the Japanese film director, Hayao Miyazaki and now had to write about it in Finnish. She had already written half a page and I helped her to correct some phrases so that they would be more fluent and easy to understand. Ryoko is really making lots of effort to learn Finnish 🙂

After that, I studied some JLPT sample questions while Ryoko was helping me by giving me some hints and tips .. 😀 After finishing with those questions, in a way I felt a bit more confident with my skills. I don’t know all the material and I know I still have to work hard for the time there’s left but I’m starting to feel like I could maybe pass the exam! haha

Only a week left!!!


5th meeting with Ryoko / 10.11.2016

In this meeting, it wasn’t actually just the two of us…! Toni and Nao from our class that are also taking part in EOTO joined us. 😀 We had been in talks with Nao and talked about how fun it would be to cook some Japanese dish at my place all four of us – so that’s what we did!

During our last meeting with Ryoko, we decided that we would make Japanese curry (カレーライス) at my place. It’s one of the most loved dishes in Japan and pretty easy to make! You only really need some vegetables of your choice (we used carrots, potatoes and onions), meat (we used pork this time) and the special curry blocks. You can get those here in Finland as well (East Asia Mart for example). You don’t need any additional spices or seasoning if you use those. 🙂 It’s usually served with rice but I’ve heard that some people eat it with noodles as well.

Ryoko and I got to my place first. While waiting for the others, we put the rice to soak and played this Japanese learning game I have on my Nintendo DS. When Nao arrived, we started really cooking. Toni would join us later.

Ryoko playing my Japanese game 😀


Cooking process…
These are the curry blocks we used. They come in different spiciness levels: 甘辛 (amakara, mild), 中辛 (chuukara, medium), 辛口 (karakuchi, hot). This time we used 中辛.

And here’s the final result!


I think it took us a bit over an hour to make this curry. We added the whole packet of the curry blocks because we like it to be a bit thicker. After a while Toni arrived and we started eating. It had been a while since I had curry and maybe that’s why it tasted so delicious!! Except playing the game we didn’t really do any studying this time, only chatting in a mix of Japanese, Finnish and English but I think that’s fine sometimes too. 😉

We also had some 納豆 (natto) as a side dish. It’s a food made of fermented soybeans that you usually either really love or hate. Both the taste and smell are quite strong and the texture is quite slimy which might not be very appealing to some… 😀
Toni, Ryoko and Nao 🙂


4th meeting with Ryoko / 07.11.2016

After over a month of no EOTO meeting, we finally could adjust our schedules to match on this Monday. 🙂 Ryoko and I met in the city center. We first had lunch at UTA and while eating discussed our next meeting which needed some preparation beforehand…!

Then we went to Tullintori where I showed Ryoko the East Asia Mart. That’s where I mostly buy my Japanese food items so I thought Ryoko might be interested as well. The store is not very big, but it’s packed with all kinds of food items from various Asian countries – mostly Japanese, Korean and Chinese though. They apparently also serve lunch, so I totally recommend checking it out if you like Asian food. 😀

Off topic but… Another great store in Tullintori is the small gift shop next to Arnold’s. Christmas season is coming up and I think you could find some nice gift ideas from there!

After strolling around the mall for a while, we sat down at Cafe Brander’s to study while enjoying a cup of coffee. I had brought my Japanese book in which I had marked words or kanji that I didn’t really know or understand and asked Ryoko to clarify those for me. Most kanjis have multiple readings which makes it kind of tough to remember them.

Here’s some words she taught me:

生きがい (ikigai) = purpose in life

だらしない (darashinai) = lazy

割合 (wariai) = comparatively

下取り (shitadori) = trade in

やかましい (yakamashii) = noisy

After that Ryoko showed me her Finnish homework and we went through the text and questions together. The text was about winning in the lottery and what you would do with the money.

Ryoko’s homework
Not a very great photo but.. Cafe Branders 😀



Third meeting with Ryoko / 02.10.2016

Our third meeting with Ryoko was on a Sunday in the very beginning of October. The weather that day was absolutely fantastic, which made me think that the Finnish autumn isn’t that bad after all. 😀

We first met up at Lielahtikeskus, got some lunch from there and then walked to my place. We discussed various things mostly in English and Finnish.

When we got to my place, we started by checking Ryoko’s presentation for her Finnish class. She had to present a song of her choice to the class and explain why she chose it. We listened to the song and I helped her with what she wanted to say. I actually liked the song as well! I don’t remember it anymore, but I guess Ryoko can post it when she writes here. 🙂

I showed her my Japanese study books that I used with my teacher before and ones that I had bought in Japan that are specifically for studying for the JLPT. 

I have to learn a lot of kanjis but grammar as well.. Unfortunately the only way to learn those is to learn them by heart – lots of those words are only used in books and not in everyday language. Ryoko said that even for her, some of the kanjis are difficult to remember, especially now that she’s been living overseas. That somehow gave me some hope.. I told myself that even natives sometimes have trouble with the language (obviously!) so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. :D After our meeting I went through some of those books and did again some exercises that they had. 

 One of the books I use to study Japanese. 😀

whatsapp-image-2016-11-02-at-19-46-27-1 whatsapp-image-2016-11-02-at-19-46-28

Second meeting with Ryoko / 21.09.2016

Our second meeting with Ryoko took place at the Fazer Café. We decided to meet before going to school so we could have late breakfast at the café while studying together.

We put final touches to a task we did together. In the task we had to compare Finland and Japan and we actually discussed about that in general as well. We also checked what corrections we made to each other’s texts in our diary. Ryoko corrected some words in kanji that I had only written in hiragana. It was very useful for me. 🙂

Then we chatted about school stuff in general, our courses, classmates and so on. This both in Japanese and Finnish! It was fun to hear someone’s opinion who is in the same class and how they see things. 😀 

We still kept talking in Japanese when we took the bus together to school. People gave us quite surprised looks, which was funny to me. Well, I guess you don’t hear Japanese that much in Tampere…

whatsapp-image-2016-11-02-at-19-46-27  My breakfast @ Fazer Café 🙂

First meeting with Ryoko / 18.09.2016

It’s already been a while since this first meeting, actually so long that I feel somewhat embarrassed only posting about it now. Life hasn’t been all that kind to me for these past months but now I seem to be getting back on track with things…

I was so glad Ryoko asked me to join her in this Each One Teach One course since I haven’t had the opportunity to speak Japanese at all since I moved to Finland last year – therefore this is a great opportunity for me to brush up my language skills again! 

Anyway, to our actual first meeting!

I actually visited Turku on that weekend and I ended up going straight from there to Ryoko’s house. Ryoko and her boyfriend Lauri had prepared dinner which was really nice since I was starving after my trip. 

Ryoko made us okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), the so-called “Japanese pancake”. Usually it’s made with cabbage but Ryoko made it with leek instead. She said that Finnish cabbage is too hard or thick compared to the Japanese one, so leek works better in this case – and still tastes just as good!

Okonomiyaki is actually one of my favorite Japanese dishes and I have made it myself a few times before but I have to say that Ryoko’s one was much more delicious! Hehe.

For dessert, we had the Finnish pancake.. well, pannukakku. Pretty obvious one. We ate it with jam and whipped cream, and it was delicious as well. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it…

We discussed in a mix of English and Finnish while eating because Lauri was there as well. After that, we started our actual studying. We divided the time we had in half. The first half we did in Finnish and the second one in Japanese.

We had some basic discussion with Ryoko in Finnish and then she showed me the books she uses to study Finnish. I helped her with some exercises in the book and then some specific expressions to make her speech seem more native-like, so to say. I realized that there’s actually so many ways to say one thing in Finnish and it can get a bit confusing… 😀


I didn’t bring my books that time with me so we just discussed the rest of the time in Japanese. I told Ryoko that I would like to take part in the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, 日本語能力試験) in December. I passed N3 in 2015 and would like to try the second hardest level (N2) this time, and I asked Ryoko to help me especially with kanjis (Chinese characters). 🙂

We actually decided to start writing an exchange diary (交換日記) so that we could both improve our reading and writing in Finnish and Japanese. This way, I am also forced to learn more kanji, which is obviously a good thing. 😀

Okonomiyaki topped with mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and seaweed flakes :)

Okonomiyaki topped with mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and seaweed flakes. 🙂