About me


Me in a nutshell:

I am an associate professor of Linguistics, just turned 40 and originally from Finland. My husband is English and we have two wonderful children, one of whom was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 11 months old. I lived in England for 14 years before we moved to Japan. My husband still works in England and our lives are currently divided between Osaka and Brighton.

I’d like to think I am quite outgoing, bubbly – even funny (you can be the judge of the latter). I write about our experience of living in Japan and about our life overall with a pinch of humour – please don’t get offended!

I welcome any comments – good or bad, and if you like my blog posts and would like to receive an email whenever I upload a new post please press ‘follow’ on the left of the page.

I hope you enjoy my posts and can come back soon.

15 thoughts on “About me

  1. Ever since I spent the winter of 1969-70 in the suburbs of Helsinki, I have loved Finland…the language, culture (including, especially, design and music), snow, lakes…probably just about everything. I really wanted to stay, study Finish and find a way to live in Finland, but that proved impossible. Maybe someday… Do you have some beautiful Finish names, or is your family from the Swedish side of Finland? (I don’t know if people in Finland make the Finnish/Swedish distinctions that were made when I was there.)

    • Hi Leslie,

      It’s nice to hear that you have a real affection for Finland. I used to take Finland for granted but having lived abroad for the past 15 years, I’ve come to appreciate Finland, its nature, its design and importantly its cuisine 🙂

      I am from the ‘Finnish’ side of Finland (Kotka, about 100km east from Helsinki).

      My name is not particularly beautiful or interesting, at least not in the context of Finland, as name is one of the most common Finnish girls’ names in the 1970s. The nice thing about living abroad is that my name (of course) sounds quite exotic to English and Japanese speakers, and so for the past 15 years, I’ve felt like I’ve had an interesting first name.

      • I’ll have to look at your blog archives to see what you’ve written about Finnish cuisine. Unfortunately, when I lived in Finland, it was in a household headed by an American whose friends were mainly Swedish Finns, and I did not have enough money to eat in restaurants, so I was not exposed to much Finnish cuisine.
        It sounds as if my stay in Finland occurred before you were born. Even though your name is one of the most common Finnish girls’ names from the 1970s, I’m sure it would be beautiful to my ears. My daughter has married into a Finnish-American family (of which there are many in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.), and took their last name (Savo, a shortened version of their full Finnish name). Although the elders in that family have travelled a great deal, they have not yet visited Finland. I continue to urge them to go (or to have me go for them!).
        I look forward to reading your blog, not only because of my love for what is Finnish but also because I was raised with a Japanese-American family, one of whom later became my stepmother.
        Back to you, with every best wish, Leslie

  2. Leslie, I’m sorry but I haven written much about the Finnish cuisine in my blog, other than perhaps occasionally mentioning that I miss Finnish chocolate, rye bread, beetroot salad and crisps. But I have written about Japanese food – and how delicious it is.

    Yes, I was born a couple of years after you were in Helsinki.

    Just out of interest, was it difficult to live in Finland as a foreigner back then? I mean, I don’t think there were that many foreigners in Finland at the time, and not everyone probably spoke English. Also, it would be nice to know the reason as to why you were Finland.

  3. Hi I am pleased and thankful that you follow my Blog I hope that you enjoy my Art! I am an Artist Designer I design unique Jewelry inspired by nature. I express my creativity in many other ways people here say that I am multitalented 🙂 when I don’t create my Jewelry I like to paint with watercolors, sketching, I love Photography I am an “amateur” and I love create Digital Art and more. I was born in Italy I grow up there and moved to California in 2oo2. Like you I am not in my country. Your Blog is very interesting to read about your journey in Japan. I would have loved to visit Finland since I love all the North Europe…My name is Carolina and I hope that we can stay connected! Have a wonderful day.

    • Hi Caroline,

      Your jewellery is beautiful! I had a look through several of your pages the other day and I love your stuff 🙂

      I’m happy to hear that you find my blog interesting 🙂 Both Japan and Finland are interesting places to visit, Finland for its nature, summer cottages, and relaxed atmosphere, Japan for its history, culture, food, nature, onsens etc. Highly recommend both countries 🙂

      I’ve been to Italy before, a couple of years ago my husband and I visited Pisa, Florence, Venice, and Lake Como. It was amazing – such beautiful places, and great food! I’ve never been to California, but am hoping to visit one day.

      I am looking forward to having a look at more of your art. 🙂

      • Hi that’s so nice to hear from you! I am very happy that you like my “Among Nature” Jewelry Collection, my designs are created as one of a kind or in Limited Edition only. I love uniqueness! I like your Blog a lot very interesting to know about the life in Japan through your eyes and impressions! I am very happy that we got connected! 🙂

    • Yeah, and one’s perception changes over time – some of the things that I found really interesting a year and a half ago now feel really quite mundane 🙂

      Since, you are have such in-depth knowledge of Japan and its culture and language, it would be lovely to hear your thoughts and your perception on some of the topics I’ve written about.


      • Hi brightoneagle, I have enjoyed reading your interesting blog. I grew ip in Finland but have lived in the States for over 30 years. I too have a son with Type 1 Diabetes. I would be curious to hear from you about your and your child’s experiences living with this disease both in Japan and England. Thank you in advance.

      • Hi Salme,

        Thanks for your message 🙂

        My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 11 months and the first couple of years post-diagnosis were pretty hard. But we’ve been very lucky in that our consultant in England recommended an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor relatively quickly after diagnosis, and we’ve also had the same here in Japan. The pump+CGM combination is great and consequently our daughter’s blood glucose control is excellent.

        But, my daughter is now 4 years old and she’s going through the phase of wondering why she has diabetes when no other child in her class does. It breaks my heart when she says things like: Mum, why was I born like this?’ and points at her pump.

        And because I would like her to have as normal a life as possible, I am hoping that they will have a fully functional artificial pancreas available soon (I’ve understood it might only take another couple of years to develop one (that has passed all clinical trials and can be distributed via national health services). Having one of those would make a huge difference in (a) Type 1 diabetics’ and their caregivers’ quality of life and (b) in diabetics’ blood glucose control.

        Does your son have a pump/CGM or is he on injections?

        Did you notice that I’ve written some blog posts about diabetes? You can find them by clicking ‘Topics I’ve written about’ on the right hand side column of my blog page. From there, choose Type 1 diabetes 🙂

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