Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 19

I rode a bike for 5 km again. It was a tough way, because I was really tired. But I wanted to go to the supermarket which closed 5 o'clock.

I was exhausted when I reached the supermarket. I bought some sweets, pieces of muffin for lunch next day, 2-liter water, and Red Bull(total 8.37 euro). Someone asked me, 'Did you went to three countries border on foot?' I replied, 'Yes. It was fun.' Maybe I met somewhere on the trail. Was he the man I met at the 2k point? Unfortunately, I didn't remember at all.

When I drank Red Bull, I felt better! Red Bull gave me energy.

I went back to the hotel, and took a shower. After organizing my belongings, I headed for the restaurant for dinner. I chose Grilled Beef Steak(18.90 euro) and a glass of wine(6 euro), because this menu included the name 'Saana.' I planned to go to Saana Fell next day. The steak was delicious. The food this restaurant serve is really something.

I asked the way to Sanna Fell at the reception. I was told that there is only one way to get there. This was good information.

By the way, this is the map I used in Kilpisjarvi.

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 18

I met that three girls when I started to go back.
I asked them, 'Aren't you cold?'
One of three replied, 'No. Why don't you?'
It must be a lie. I ran away, because I thought they might make me try.

The way to Kilpisjarvi was quite different from the way from Kilpisjarvi. Because of the weather, the scenery changed absolutely. I like both. The mysterious one and this blue sky.

Sometimes I was anxious about whether I was on the right way, since the scenery was awesomely different. Walking the trail and taking a lot of photos, I thought of various things - especially, my way of life, my goal, and ...... Compared with immense nature, I was nothing, just a small one. So, I might be much more supple than usual. It was a really precious time.

Wind was getting to blow strongly after 2 o'clock, and I felt a bit cold. When I walked along wide spread land, feeling temperature got chilly because there was nothing that blocked wind. I arrived at the start point at 4 o'clock. Although it was a long way, I felt better because I spent a precious time.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 17

I ate Soy Joy and Amino Vital Jelly, which are popular energy food in Japan, near the hut. Since I kept walking three hours, energy sank into my body. The landscape from here was marvelous. I was really happy. This is a picture I took when I took rest near the hut.

After I stopped by a rest room, I looked for the three country border. I couldn't return until I found it. I asked someone who was eating sausage for the way to the border. According to him, it was only 300m to the border.

I found a place where barbed wires were opened. I met husband and wife who stayed next to my room. I confirmed them that I was on the right way. Moreover, I met three girl's party. One of them was soaking wet. As I was surprised and wondering why she was all wet, she said to me, 'It wasn't so cold.' I couldn't say anything. She jumped in the water? It must be cold, because the temperature is only 10 degree C. She was crazy!

By the way, I enjoyed the lovely view at the three country border. It was much more beautiful than I expected. This beauty was brought by this strict nature, I guess. I was very impressed this fragile but majestic nature! It was a long way from Kilpisjarvi. I walked more than 3 hours. However, if I could see this nature, it's nothing.

(to be continued)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 16

11th September 2009

I woke up at 6 in the morning. After I packed what I needed for trekking in my backpack, I went to the restaurant to eat breakfast at 7. A lot of elderly people were in line at the restaurant. Maybe they were in same group. I drank two cups of coffee and ate a lot.

When I passed the reception, a lady asked the receptionist for something with her bottle. So, I brought my bottle from my room and did same thing. Then, the receptionist poured hot water into my bottle.

At 8:50, I rented a bike and left the hotel.

It was cloudy and very cold. After 30 minutes ride, I reached the start point, which was 5 km away from the hotel. It was getting much colder, so I put on rain wear pants. I thought I should have bring more clothe. Actually, I wore warm ski wears, though. When I saw cameras in my backpack, I couldn't help think that clothes were more important than cameras.

Anyway, I started trekking. The beginning of the trail was a little bit difficult. After a few minutes from the start point, there were several ways, and all the paths looked safe. However, I chose the driest path. After a while, I felt a little relieved when I found the sign.

But I still felt uneasy. I met only one person until I reached the sign of '2km.' This trail was mysterious. I could see a soft sunlight in the far distance. Though this scenery made me restless, I also felt holy. Come to think of it, the brochures in Kilpisjarvi used pictures in the cloud weather. They don't use those in the sunny weather. Maybe they try to put an emphasis on this holy atmosphere.

After 2km walk, there was a sign and I met husband and wife. I confirmed that the route was right. 45 minutes passed.

The trail after that sign of '2km' was quite different. The fair view continued for a while. Vegetation in red and yellow was spread both sides of the trail. Although sometimes I saw trees, they were very short because the climate around here is very severe.

I met a group of two Finnish at the highest point of this trail. I tried to speak Finnish using Finnish words book. This time I could!

When I saw the sign of '5.8km', it passed 1 hour and half. Here I found two people smoking. I hurried forward. The numbers of people I met was increasing from here. Every time I happened to see a person, I said, 'Hei, Hei.' After a while, I noticed that the weather was getting better. I could even see blue sky! Blue sky was really beautiful. Though the holy weather was good, blue sky was much better for me. That's why I walked with light steps.

The sky was completely blue when I walked along the border line. No clouds any more. The contrast between the blue sky and the yellow vegetation were really something. I had walked 3 hours since I started walking when I arrived at the hut near the three countries border.

(to be continued)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 15

When I got off the bus, the driver showed me announcement of the bus to Rovaniemi. According to him, if I show the stub, I can ride on the bus in discount fare.

I said good-bye to the driver, and checked-in at the reception of Hotel Kilpis. Then, I went to the room, and set down my backpack. My room was a part of the hostel, not a part of the hotel. That's why I didn't have my private toilet and shower. But my room was a private room with 2 beds. The room was bigger than I expected.

I went back to the reception to have a talk about plans in Kilpisjarvi. I was most interested in 3 countries' border trekking. I asked a receptionist, and she explained the root with maps. The start point of that trekking is 5 km away from Hotel Kilpis. It was a bit long way, but I could rent a bike. It was a good help for me. She told me a lot of information about Kilpisjarvi. Those were very useful because some of the information on the Lonely Planet were old.

I felt relieved and went back to my room. On the way to the room, I met two elderly women. I didn't have a Finnish words book by chance, but talking was fun, anyway.

I went to the restaurant in the hotel with a Finnish words book. I ordered Reindeer meat + potato(19 euro), and wine(6 euro). The dish was delicious!!! I used the words book and told 'delicious', since it was really delicious.

I went out around 8 o'clock. It was a beautiful sunset moment. I took photos at the lake shore. 'jarvi' part of Kilpisjarvi means lake in Finnish. And, Hotel Kilpis is by a lake. It was a really glorious place.

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 14

I found out the bus stop relatively easily, since there was a sign which said 'Kilpisjarvi' or 'Levi.' The bus came soon.

When I had my baggage checked, I said to the bus driver, 'To Kilpisjarive.' But his reply was in Finnish, so I couldn't understand. In Helsinki, they spoke English well, but it seemed different here.

I bought a ticket in the bus. It cost 63.70 euro. Because I was not sure whether I could use credit card or not, I got one way ticket this time.

The bus left Rovaniemi Station on time at 8:20. Lapland has numerous nature. If I get off the bus and enter some of paths, I could start hiking. I became excited, though the weather was getting worse.

After 2 hours from departure, the bus stopped at Kittila. It was very cold. Temperature was not changed, but no sunlight. Next stop was Levi. According to the temperature gauge, it said 5 degree C, I felt much colder.

We arrived at Muonio at 12 o'clock, and had a lunch rest for an hour. The thermometer showed 10 degree C. I felt much colder than 4 degree C at Rovaniemi. I had sandwich and coffee. After lunch, I tried to go for a walk. But it was really cold!!! Kilpisjarvi is located 200km north from Muonio. I became worried. How cold would it be in Kilpisjarvi?

However, the weather was getting better since then. At 16:30, we reached Hotel Kilpisjarvi. It took 8 hours 10 minutes from Rovaniemi, in other words, 424km from departure.

Maybe you think strange because it took very long time compared with the distance. It's not because roads in Lapland are punishing ones like Costa Rica, where I visit 2 years ago, but because the bus driver has a special task. That is to deliver newspapers and mails. It seems a very important task for the people living in Lapland. Perhaps this is why the driver is get along with everybody. Thanks to him, we could see the expressions of people in Lapland. This is very valuable for me, for seeing expression of local people is one of my goal when traveling.

By the way, he started delivering newspaper from very early in the morning. But when do people in Kilpisjarvi receive newspaper? The answer is ... in the evening. It is a really long way.

This is a photo of a mail box. These kind of boxes are dotting the road. Are you anxious that there is no key? There is no need to worry. And the driver passes mails by hand. ...This mail is not real mail. Real mails are delivered by Postal Service. Maybe this is a personal one.

(to be continued)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 13

My room in the train was '212', which was a room for double occupancy. At this moment, only I was in the room. This room had a toilet and a shower. All equipments are nice and clean.

It was raining hard outside the train, so I couldn't enjoy the scenary through the window at all. After a while, I went to the buffet car to buy some food for supper. I had Finnish Sandwich(4.20 euro) and coffee(2 euro). The sandwich was very tasty. There were a lot of people in the car, and many of them drank beer. I couldn't drink beer because I was train sickness.

The conductor came to check my ticket when I went back to the room. He said, 'Another passenger will board from Tampere.' I made up my mind to take a shower, since it might be better to take a shower before another person come. However, I couldn't get any hot water! Water is too cold to take a shower. So, I gave up.

I started reading a novel as I lay down on the bed, but I fell in sleep soon. At 21:30, I was waken up when the train stopped at Tampere. The man who had a ticket of the room '212' was unfriendly. There was no conversation between us after all. I fell in sleep again. The man got down somewhere at 6:30 in the morning.

After a little, I woke up and went to the buffet car. I bought a sweet bun and coffee(total 3.50 euro). I packed my luggage and waited for the arrival.

By the way, the train was in Lapland when I woke up in the morning. The scenary through the window was magnificent! The weather was quite difference from yesterday. I found water vapor from ponds and lakes. Maybe the surface of ponds and lakes were warmer than outdoor air. It was really visional!

The train arrived at Rovaniemi station promptly on time at 7:53. Although the temparature was only 4, I didn't feel so cold.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 12

It rained quite steadily.

I dropped by the convenience store in the central station, but I couldn't find any umbrella. Instead, I bought an energy drink. There were many kinds of energy drinks in Finland. What I had was named 'Battery+.' The name was funny, though it tasted nothing special.

It was not a short way to the hostel, so I asked a woman passing by where I could buy a umbrella around there. She told me that I would find one at a department store named Halonen. I went there, and bought 7 euro one.

I picked up my luggage at the hostel, then I headed to the central station by tram. I said to the driver, 'To the central station.' But he said, 'Airport?.' Maybe he thought I was going to the central station to transfer to the bus for the airport.

After arriving at the station, I waited at one of cafes for the departure time, having croissant and coffee. The cafe was in front of the platform, so it was a best spot to take photos. I took a lot of pictures there.

At 19:10, the Santa Claus Express, which was the train I was going to get on, came in the platform. It has so many cars! My compartment was Car 31. I had to use umbrella to get there, because there was no roof at the part of platform.

(to be continued)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 11

After eating lunch, I went to the central post office, because there was a museum. But I found more interesting things there. There were a lot of post cards and stamps, including Moomin's ones. The central post office had so many cards and stamps that I could hardly make up my mind what to buy. Finally, I bought several Moomin's cards and stamps to send to my friends. When I paid for those, the cashier woman gave me something. She said, 'It's a sweet.' However, she added, 'Strong.' Yes, the taste was like 'Frisk', very sharp peppermint. She tricked me. (You can buy this sweet 1 euro at convenience stores.)

Then, I went to Kiasm, Museum of Contemporary Art. The entrance fee was 7 euro. I went there because I wanted to see up-front arts. In other words, I wanted to know what was up-front. As I saw those arts, they were really up-front. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand some of them. There were some Post-it prepared. Those Post-it were like this,

'I don't quite get it.' According to the explanation of some of the exhibit, it was an expression of meaningless. Um, it's confusing. But, in a sense, our world is something like that, full of chaos. If I can understand all of the arts in Kiasm, I could understand whole world! Anyway, some of the works were really excellent, and more importantly, the design of the building was inspiring.

At last, I got some souvenirs. I bought post cards again, because I found unique cards. One of them was a photo card describing two men who wore Santa Claus costumes and spent Christmas without girls. Another one was also a photo card of a man who was about to drop from the ladder. I wonder how many times the picture was reshooted. Moreover, I bought this Post-it!

I wanted to visit a cafe introduced in the guide book. But unfortunately, it was already closed.

I went to the central post office again to buy more Moomin's cards and stamps, since I thought I wouldn't buy Moomin's postal goods in other places. In fact, it was true.

When I finished shopping, it was raining hard. I couldn't find anything to kill time, I went back to the hostel.

(to be continued)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 10

I asked the receptionist to keep my luggage, and went out to the city center.

Actually, I went to the convenience store while I was waiting for the dryer. I wanted to buy an umbrella, but they didn't have any.

It rained off and on this time, so I put on my rain wear and headed for the central station. On the way to the station, I stopped by a camera shop. The strap of my camera, KLASSE, was broken in Tallinn the day before. I couldn't find any replacement strap, but the owner was so kind that he made it for me with Olympus's strap and rings! Though it cost 3 euro, it was much better than without a strap.

It stopped raining when I got out of the store. I went to the central station, then I bought a ticket of the overnight train. The destination was Rovaniemi, the capital city of Lapland. The ticket was the one for upper deck of a sleeping car. This train is famous for the newest sleeping cars, so I wanted to ride on one of them. I paid 101.50 euro for the ticket.

After booking the ticket, I went to the food court in the Forum to eat lunch. I had 'kebab with garlic potato and tomato juice.' The reason I ate kebab is that I like kebab very much. If you visit Helsinki, you'll be surprised to find a lot of kebab shops in that town. But the kebab in Helsinki is a little bit different from that in other cities, such as London, Melbourne, Tokyo, and so on.

Then I went to the pharmacy, since I hurt my ankle when I was walking in Old Tallinn. I'm not accustomed to stone pavements. A pharmacy is called 'Apteeke' in Finland. As I told my symptom to one of the pharmacist, she recommended me some backrub. It was 7.70 euro. How expensive it was!

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 9

9th September 2008

It was raining when I got up at 6:30 in the morning. It rained hard, unfortunately.

First of all, I needed to do the laundry, because I didn't have any extra clothe. I went to the basement floor, where there were washing machines. But the machines were occupied.

After quick breakfast, I tried to check whether either of the machines was available. Luckily, at that moment, one machine wasn't used. Yes, I started washing. Since I selected 'quick' mode, it took 40 minutes to complete washing.

But dryers were occupied this time. Occupied by a cleaner of the hostel. He used two machines concurrently. Moreover, he used them repeatedly. I couldn't find any chance to use a dryer. Then, I complained to a receptionist about the situation. He said, 'Get out of the laundry, and use it.'

Although I was told so, I hesitated to do it at once. I checked the dryers several times whether they were still occupied or not. But occupied all the time. Fortunately, I ran into the cleaner, so I told him in English that I had to leave that day and I wanted to use it right away. He seemed like he didn't understand me, though he said, 'in 15 minutes.' That is to say, he was not good at English.

I came up with another solution. I waited in front of the washing machines! I met the cleaner again, and told him the situation with body language. He seemed to understand this time, thanks to body language. I quickly started drying clothes, but it was already 11 o'clock, and the check-out time was 12. Even though the receptionist told me that I could use it after check-out, that was troublesome because the entrance card, which I had to use it to enter the laundry room, became invalid after check-out. I gave up drying at 11:50. Socks were still wet. And I checked-out.

(to be continued)

Travel in Finland - part 8

When I arrived at Tallinn, I was a little bit surprised, because there was no passport check. Is crossing border is so easy? It seems as if Tallinn is in Finland.

But once I stepped out into the road, I realized that Tallinn was not in Finland. For example, the condition of roads in Tallinn is worse than that in Finland. No passport control, only 1 hour and half voyage, but Tallinn is different from cities in Finland.

Anyway, I got to Linnahallsadam, in English 'City hall.' Where I wanted to go was Old town. However, I didn't know how to go there, so I followed other people, since I assumed that everybody head for Old town.

I entered the Old town, and I found it was quite different from the outer world. This was what I had expected as an European old town: Stone-paved road, historical buildings, and labyrinth of streets. Without a map, I couldn't find where I was. Although the weather was not good, I could enjoy myself in old Tallinn.

In the center of old Tallinn, prices were a little higher. But in other parts of old Tallinn, I found prices were much lower. When it started raining, I entered some bakery to get under cover. What I ate in the bakery was really cheap and tasty. This was another part that was different from Helsinki. And I need to mention the Almond I ate there. I couldn't help myself from buying that Almond because of an appetizing smell, though it was expensive a little bit.

However, Old Tallinn is not wide enough for me to spend a lot of time. After four-hour stay, I had nothing to do any more. But my boat was expected to depart at 8, so I had waited for the departure time at the ferry port, reading a novel.

The voyage to Helsinki was terrible. The boat was tossing on the waves. I closed my eyes and fell asleep before getting seasickness. When the boat arrived in Helsinki, someone woke me up.

Streets of Helsinki were wet, and it was cold. I went back to the hostel.

(to be continued)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 7

8th September 2008

I got up at 6 in the morning, and taking a shower. Then I packed what I needed, such as cameras, films, and so on, though I didn't have enough time to prepare.

I had to leave the Youth Hostel for the ferry port at 7, because I was told to arrive there by 7:30, and it was expected to take 30 minutes walk from the hostel to the port.

When I passed the market, which is located in front of the ferry port, people were already preparing for opening stores. The weather was pretty fine. The sun was rising from the sea, and shining bright.

When I arrived at the ferry port, I ate breakfast, an apple pie, and a cup of coffee. Yes, coffee again! I drank coffee every day in Finland!

After eating breakfast, I checked in. Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia. It was a very easy check-in, though I was about to pass across the border. Anyway, I waited the boarding time.

At 7:45 the boarding started. A large amount of people was in the ferry. I wonder they were all traveler. When I sat on the seat, I found that it was getting cloud.

After a 1 hour and 30 minutes voyage, I arrived at Tallinn. The way to Tallinn was not bad.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Plastic added

I went to the hospital to have my teeth treated.

I had my teeth cut too much by some dentist, and I've been suffering from bad engagement of teeth.
Bad engagement gave me a lot of problems. For example, I have some difficulty to bite food. Moreover, I can't speak words fluently.

Yesterday, I went to a big hospital, and the doctor added plastic to canine tooth.
It didn't fit me well for a while.

But, I could eat donut naturally in two hours. Also, I could speak words more fluently than before. I'm very glad about this change.

Biting food or speaking words are not special things. However, these things are the fundamental of our life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where am I from?

I once participated 'The Genographic Project.' This project is operated by National Geographic and IBM.

Here is the aim of this project excerpted from the website.

Where do you really come from? And how did you get to where you live today? DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who—about 60,000 years ago—began a remarkable journey.

The Genographic Project is seeking to chart new knowledge about the migratory history of the human species by using sophisticated laboratory and computer analysis of DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. In this unprecedented and of real-time research effort, the Genographic Project is closing the gaps of what science knows today about humankind's ancient migration stories.

The image above is the result of my case.
To summarize my DNA history,

* The ancestors of contemporary human were born an estimated 200,000 years ago.
* They left Africa about 50,000 years ago.
* Before arriving in Japan, they had passed the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, and South East Asia
* Some headed for Australia, instead of going to Japan.
* After arriving in Japan, my ancestors remained, but some of them proceeded to Siberia, Alaska, and North America.

My DNA has experienced really a long, long journey. I am excited about the result, because this means I have companions not only in Japan, but also in a lot of places where my ancestors have traveled. What an amazing fact it is!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chiyoda Library

On Monday, I went to the Chiyoda Library, since all the libraries in my neighborhood were closed.
This library is open except the fourth Sunday each month.

It was the first time to go there, but I found this library is very good place to study. The facilities are nice and new, I can concentrate on studying.

By the way, I arrived at the library 40 minutes after opening time. However, almost ever seats were occupied. Luckily, I was able to find a seat, I should go there much earlier. Everybody knows that this library is excellent place.

Chiyoda Library is located in Kudanshita, and 5 minutes walk from Kudanshita station. This library is open from 10 to 22 on weekdays, from 10 to 19 on Saturdays, and from 10 to 17 on Sundays and public holidays.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I don't afford to travel these days, since I need to prepare for studying abroad.

But I sometimes remember the places I've ever visited. For example, Finland, Egypt, Australia. Certainly, those places are not only abroad but also in Japan.

One of the place I often remember these days is Nagano. It was just 4 years ago when I took part in the adventure program of OBS. I challenged my limit through various activities, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, running. I learned a lot of important things at that time. I learned group work, leadership, and so on.

Most important thing was, however, I can do much more than I think. We usually set our limit lower than actual point, because we don't have to try hard to reach the limitation. But we can do more, in other words, our limitation is higher. Although it requires a lot of effort to reach the real limit, it is possible for us to do. I learned this fact through the program.

Now, I'm challenging very high goal. But I believe I can do it, since my limitation is not where it is now. It sure is much higher.

Artist file 2009

I went to The National Art Center Tokyo, which is in Roppongi, to see the exhibition 'Artist File 2009.'
This exhibition is the show of contemporary art.

Contemporary art sometimes tends to be difficult to understand. In fact, I couldn't understand some of them this time. However, others were fantastic. I enjoyed the artists' perspectives how they see the world.

These days, I study and study everyday to prepare for studying abroad. So, I need this kind of experience to keep my viewpoint for the world.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When I was walking in my neighborhood

Last Wednesday, when I was walking in my neighborhood, I found someone waving to me. At first, I was not sure who he was, but next moment, I realized that he was my classmate in junior high school!

I was really surprised to meet him again. It has been 16 years since I last met him. According to him, I haven't changed at all, so he could realize easily. In fact, he hasn't changed so much, although he was with his new wife. Yes, he got married.

It is really pleasant to see old friends again. I remember many things in my old days.