Ki

Hmmm, such a long silence here. Obviously my life has been good.

Yesterday I went to see Trier’s Nymphomaniac. Many parts didn’t differ much from porn. I was slightly annoyed that it made many more or less normal things seem like a part of an obsession. Where do you draw the line in such matters? Part I ends with the main character screaming that she doesn’t feel anything. That’s exactly how you feel after watching two hours of porn in the movies.

What else? We tried out a new yokan recipe, but it didn’t work out. It looks ok in the picture, but the taste was not quite what we were looking for. Well, next version will appear.

The latest yokan

The latest yokan

A friend said it’s the time of the year when there’s a lot of ki in the air. So I can blame the energies for moods. In the tearoom March is a time to use a hanging kettle (tsurigama) that will move a little thus resembling the wind in the spring.

Gallery hopping

Last week we decided to make a spontaneous gallery tour. There are so many exhibitions I have been wanting to see, but for some reason there hasn’t been much time for touring them. So we always end up visiting many on the same day. But well, it works this way as well.

We started from Gallery Heino. They are currently hosting an exhibition by a Finnish photographer Marja Pirilä. It’s quite refreshing to see Finnish photography in such an unconventional form. Very colorful and full of content. It all reminded me of children’s movies and well, the stage of imagination that kids live in. Constantly afraid of things like slightly opened doors. It’s like diving into a dream world where there are no casual things at all. So yes, very much appreciated thought not my thing at all.

Then we moved on to Anhava to see the works of Elina Merenmies. Obviously the critique in the local newspaper had been quite a praising one as over half of the works were already sold. Strange exhibition as if not contemporary at all but from the past.

At Korjaamo there is an exhibition by Markus Henttonen, a Finnish photographer based in Berlin. Silent Night is a set of pictures from L.A. The houses look beautiful but lonely in their Christmas decorations. All the Christmas crap makes the houses somehow sadly similar as if they would lack any identity of their own. I guess that’s not too far from what is happening to people too.

The last stop was Make Your Mark. The exhibition by Jaakko Mattila looks perfect on these walls! Definitely the best looking exhibition at this gallery ever. Quite unfortunate that someone had already bought my favorite. Well, what can you do.

Helsinki today!

Helsinki today!

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Sweets!

Ok, I haven’t been here for a while. The reason is that I have been busy actually doing things. And getting stressed over some changes in my everyday life. But yes, it’s good to move on with things.

What comes to making wagashi, we have been very productive! It’s quite intriguing to try out different kind of sweets.

Only a few of our trials have been completely unsuccessful. Of course, not all of them look as they were supposed to, but it’s surprisingly easy to make stuff that looks quite complicated, like the uiro chimaki that I thought would look totally hideous. But no.

Uiro chimaki

Uiro chimaki

Let’s see what comes next.

My morning set of matcha and a mochi sweet

My morning set of matcha and a mochi sweet

Ballet

I started going to a ballet class a few weeks ago. It’s a perfectly humiliating hobby, but finding the discomfort zones definitely makes a person happy. It is fantastic to find joy in movement and some beauty in the way you use your body. I also realized that my brain requires sports at least four times a week to avoid frustration. I can only recommend. So welcome clear thinking, more solid movement and better life.

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Women taking over Forsblom

Wow. I guess Raili Tang must be a really tranquil person after having been able to paint all of those emotions away. The colors are pretty intense. Can do nothing but admire. Such a pity there’s no millionaire to buy me these paintings. They would fit my apartment nicely. The funny thing is they are just paintings with fruit motives, but they look so sexual that you go oh.

Beautiful World

Beautiful World

The other side of Forsblom is occupied by Katja Tukiainen’s candy land. As before she was preoccupied with pink, now it’s more about purple. I really never liked that color but she makes good use of it. Go and see this exhibition! Quite refreshingly feminine.

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Personal symphonic moment

Ok, this week I saw the first performance at Zodiak that I didn’t like quite as much as the rest of them. My Personal Symphonic Moment was built around the Leningrad symphony by Dmitri Šostakovitš. The symphony is an experience in itself and fortunately the beginning left plenty of space just for the music. All in all the beginning was impressive with only smoke dancing in the spotlights and the dancers slowly revealing themselves without faces. Slow movement always works for me!

I love the Russian classic composers with a sense of drama in their blood. Listening to them feels like stabbing yourself with a kitchen knife several times in a row. Suppose they have a special talent for turning suffering into art.

Personal Symphonic Moment (photo by Timo Wright)

Personal Symphonic Moment (photo by Timo Wright)

Also appreciated the mania that the performers managed to create around them. Sometimes it’s healthy to look at the dark side of human mind (well, not all the time). Once again I was impressed by the beautiful way of using light as a part of a performance. The end was almost as inriquing as the beginning. Never been to a night club playing Šostakovitš before!

I was wondering what actually annoyed me in the performance, but I guess it was the overall impression that the performance lacked structure and there was a bit too much of everything. I like things simple. Having things complicated makes me nervous. But I guess sometimes that’s welcome too.

I have also never appreciated shocking with such banal things as nudity, violence and sex. I think all of these (sexuality, passion, aggression and some human fragility) are matters that ought to be handled in a more delicate way.

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Helsinki coffee

Realised that I only write about coffee places abroad and not in Helsinki. You’d figure that with a yearly coffee consumption as huge as in Finland the coffee you get should be more or less decent where ever you go. But no. Here is a list of cafes that I would recommend in Helsinki (in the order of preference).

Sävy
I love Sävy! It has the best price/quality ratio of all cafes in Helsinki. And in general well-made coffee. The staff is super friendly. They play vinyls without making a number of it. Very homey feeling. Everything just works.

Kaffecentralen
This is the best cafe around my office. Friendly Finnish-Swedish service.

Kaffecentralen

Kaffecentralen

Helsingin kahvipaahtimo
It is in fact a roastery, but you can get coffee here. One table with two chairs and a little note at the door. A bit chaotic. Good coffee.

Freese
Very nicely made coffee, but a bit too Töölö-style to my taste. I say expensive, but I’m so much of a Vallila person that everything in the centre seems pricey. The coffee is wonderful!

Goodlifecoffee
A beautiful place and well-situated in Kallio. Good coffee, wonderful name, but slightly too hipster. But if you are looking for a hip place, you should go here.

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