Hot Stuff

This Award is created to highlight and promote Inspiring Bloggers.This has been a lovely couple of weeks. We’ve been on holiday back in the UK and we have:

– eaten our favourite foods, in particular foods that we’ve struggled to find in Japan, like halloumi, hummous and gourmet pub burgers. And drank cider!

– seen our friends with whom we can talk about stuff that I would not bring up with my Japanese friends, like, I don’t know… Fifty Shades of Grey.

– used our regular toilet, not the space age automatic ones that you get in Japan with which you are constantly on the edge thinking whether or not it will all of a sudden start playing Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive or sprays water all over your back in an attempt to wash your private parts.

– done some baking, which I love but cannot do in Japan because we don’t have an oven in our kitchen there. I think it might be useful to clarify that I quite like the fact that I am not able to bake back in Japan, so that at least when I stuff my face with cinnamon buns or chocolate cakes I need to walk to the bakery first and will burn one tenth of a mouthful of a chocolate cake in making the trip. And if I make five of those cinnamon-bun-chocolate-cake-trips to the bakery per week, on a weekly level I will have burned off half a mouthful. And that’s not too bad I suppose for my disastrous weight management.

Not only the above but during the past couple of weeks have been lovely because I have received…(drum roll)… three blogger award nominations! I can’t believe (a) that so many people actually read my blog (i.e. 3) and (b) that so many people like my blog. I might also add that these are people I do not know (personally). So, I feel like by blog’s pretty hot stuff!

Those of you who are not bloggers or are not familiar with the blogosphere, blogger award nominations mean that bloggers acknowledge other people’s good/interesting/beautiful/thought provoking blogs. And for the record, bloggers are often critical – they are not like your mum who would love and facebook-like all your posts even if your post was as terrible as Afghan lawyers’ text books on women’s rights. One other thing that is common about blogger awards is that the nominee responds to some questions about themselves and/or their blog.

I am chuffed to bits that several bloggers like my blog. As soon as I finish writing this blog post I’m off to celebrate and will open a can of cider that I’ve been drooling over for the past couple of minutes writing this blog and on the side I might have an oven tray of curly fries. I am a woman of simple taste. I mean, just look at who I married.

I got nominated for the Liebster Award by two bloggers

  • Annaliinankulma – A lovely food/lifestyle blog written by a Finnish expat in Milan.
  • Mrs Finntastic – A humorous blog about a Finnish woman’s life in Gravesend, UK, and her take on British and Finnish people and culture.

Since I was nominated for the Liebster Award a couple of months ago (you can read about it here), I will only say a big big big thank you to Annaliinankulma and Mrs Finntastic for nominating me and apologise for not answering their Liebster Award questions.

I was also nominated for an award I have not received before. Amy and Lucy, two sisters writing a family blog with some great money saving tips, from The Two Saving Sisters nominated my blog for the Starlight Blogger Award.

The Starlight Blogger Award is to highlight and promote Inspiring Bloggers. So, thank you so much Lucy and Amy!

Here are the rules for the Starlight Blogger Award:

  1. Thank the giver and link their Blog to your post
  2. Answer the 3 questions given to you
  3. Please Pass the award on to 6 or more other Bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated by you.
  4. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your Blog please never alter the logo and never change the rules

Here are Lucy and Amy’s questions and my answers.

1) What’s your favourite city?

My favourite city is Brighton, UK. I lived in that city for 14 years before I moved to Japan. My husband or I are originally not from Brighton (I’m from Finland, my husband is from various parts of the UK), so Brighton is not our hometown, but we love the city so much that neither one of wants to move anywhere else – says a person who lives in Osaka!

But in my defense, the Osaka-thing is just a temporary split up, we are just on a break from Brighton, and will get back together as soon as I’ve had my little three-year fling with Osaka. I don’t think Brighton minds, given that it has a bit of a reputation of being extremely tolerant, a bit of party animal, attracting many short term relationships with people who passionately love it for some years but then abandon it for something less party animal-like (and less expensive), like Eastbourne and Worthing.

2) What would you refuse to eat even if your life depended on it?

If my life depended on it, I would probably eat anything, even a cow’s pancreas, sea urchins’ ovaries or other Asian delicacies that would make many Westerners grab a cab to the closest McDonalds (for, on the surface, some less dubious food).

3) What happened on the best day of your life?

I love my life. I left Finland and moved to England when I was 25-years old. Had I not moved to England I don’t think I’d be as happy as I am now.

Had I not moved to the UK, I would not have met my husband, I would not have had our wonderful children (with the husband I would not have met), I would not have all my lovely friends and relatives in England, would not have gone to University in the UK and become an academic, and – relevant to my blog – I would not have moved to Osaka to work as a University lecturer and I would not be writing my Our Osaka Blog.

So, I think in the context of my life, the best day of my life was the day when I stepped on that plane from Helsinki to England.

Lucy and Amy, thanks again for nominating me. Here are the blogs that I am nominating:

Sea Change Okinawa – This is a blog by an Australian academic who writes about her family’s life in Okinawa. You’ll find amazing photos of the sea, sea-life, beaches and food in her blog!

Ireland2day: according to my lens – This is a beautifully written blog with wonderful photos by an Irish man.

Puukengät (written in English) – A Finnish student writes and posts great photos about her life in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Sannan kupla (written in English and Finnish) – A warm, feel-good-blog by a Finnish mum in Amsterdam.

Ei kai taas (written in Finnish) – This is a humorous blog about bringing Cypriot-Finnish children up in Geneva. This blogger is a diplomat’s wife but I think she should seek a career as a stand up comedian! So funny!

Me mennään bussilla (written in Finnish) – A wonderful blog about a Finnish mum’s, Fiji-husband’s and their children’s life and travel around Australia in a house-bus. I envy their courage!

My Starlight Blogger Award questions for the above nominees are:

1) If you could change one thing in history what would it be and why?

2) What is something that you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to?

3) What subject did you like at school (if any), and did that define your career in any way?

Congratulations to all nominees! I love your blogs, your photos, your thoughts, your writing!

Cheers! I already have one hand gripping the fridge door to get my can of cider.

My blog is not like prunes


Saana/Always Abroad nominated me for the Liebster Award, an award given to new or small bloggers by other bloggers. My blog is not new, after all I’ve been blogging for over a year now, but it’s small – a Finn might refer to it as a mosquito’s poo in the Baltic Sea. That small.

I was of course flattered that a fellow blogger likes my blog, but also slightly gob-smacked largely because my blog is not for everybody – it’s a bit like salty liquorice – not exactly the most popular confectionery around. But at least no-one would say that my blog is ‘a bit like prunes’ –‘makes you feel good on the inside but only appeals to people aged 80 and over’.

Anyway, thank you very much Saana for nominating me.

The Rules of Liebester Award are:

  1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the nominator’s 11 questions.
  3. Nominate 11 (or fewer) small blogs who have less than 200 followers. You should believe that they deserve this award and include their link in your post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer. Notify these nominees via social media/blog.

Please find my answers to Saana’s questions below.

1. What is your favourite quote?

I don’t have ‘a favourite quote’, neither am I an ice-hockey enthusiast, but the following relates well to my view about life.

                                   You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  –Wayne Gretzky

2. Dogs or cats?

Dogs. I know I won’t win any popularity contests with this but, generally speaking, a cat is really a lazy person’s dog.

3. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Monica from Friends

4. Name 3 things on your bucket list.

I seem to be some kind of a freak of nature: I don’t have a favourite quote nor do I have a bucket list. I think there are so many amazing things to see and do in the world that I’ll just grab whatever is available, rather than actively seek those experiences.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a difficult question. Possibly back in the UK – that is, if they’ll have me back after me having slagged off the Scousers, Geordies, Mancs, Brummies, Londoners, Glaswegians…well pretty much everybody.

6. What languages do you speak? What would you like to learn?

The only languages I can say I ‘speak’ are Finnish and English. I did also study Swedish, German, Spanish and Russian at school but I would not even be able to ask for the direction to the nearest post office in these languages (one of those common phrases most foreign language students seem to be taught that has practically zero real-life function).

Given that we live in Japan, I would like to learn Japanese. Embarrassingly, I only know the rudiments of Japanese. I mean, I would not be able to ask… well, the way to the nearest post office in Japanese. Or more importantly, ask a shop assistant whether they have a bigger size (try 5 sizes bigger!) of a pair of high heels into which I would like to attempt to squeeze my size 6-7 feet.

7. What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life?

I think us moving to Japan without knowing anyone in Japan, without speaking the language, without knowing practically anything about Japanese culture, and with only me having a job in Japan rates quite highly on that. I felt very brave and I still do! I feel our move to Japan will still have leverage when I am 80 and telling my grandchildren about their granny’s ‘youth’.

8. Have you ever experienced a culture shock?

Japan is culturally pretty different to England or Finland, which are my points of reference to ‘normality’. But no I don’t think I would call our struggle with adjusting to the Japanese way of life as a ‘shock’.

9. Were you any different a few years ago? How?

Yes, I was very different. I was a Finn who had lived in the UK for many years, was married to a British guy, lived in Brighton (and also Manchester), and had a relatively diverse group of friends. Consequently I thought I was worldly wise and thought I knew how to behave in different situations, and with different people. Well, I can see it now that in that respect I was as clueless as a Japanese person entering a vegan restaurant.

To give you an example of our ‘knowledge’ as to how to behave in some pretty standard situations in Japan see the photo below. The photo is not very clear, but it shows my husband (recently) in a noodle restaurant with his tray pooling with soy sauce. Instead of dipping the noodles in the cup with soy sauce, my husband poured the soy sauce on the noodles to realize that the type of dish he was having is not on a plate but a wooden frame without a bottom. As a result, we again experienced one of those moments when a Japanese person (the waitress) gives us a surprised, awkward smile that can be loosely translated into ‘What the hell were you thinking?’


10. What are your goals for this year?

Learn the etiquette in relation to using soy sauce. Learn more about Japanese culture overall. And learn some Japanese.

11. Who inspires you?

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). She’s my hero.

The blogs I am nominating:

  1. Ei kai taas
  2. 24vs100
  3. Heidi’s little black book
  4. Wanderlustmanaged
  5. Piriot’s blog
  6. From London by Sanna
  7. 180 päivää ja Osaka
  8. Wonderworld
  9. Love at the Seaside
  10. Sopivan Ihana
  11. Lizzet

Here are my questions for the blogs above.

  1. What is your favourite quote?
  2. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow what would you do today?
  3. If you could go back in time, how old would you want to be again and why?
  4. What is a place you would not want to visit?
  5. Do you have a stereotype of a Finnish person?
  6. What’s the first image/memory that comes to mind when you think about your childhood.
  7. A mod con that you would not be able to live without.
  8. Sport that you do not think is a sport.
  9. Rice, pasta, or potato?
  10. Do you believe in aliens?
  11. If you weren’t born as a human, what animal would you have like to born as? And why?

I look forward to reading your answers to my questions! Cheers.