Haluatko Lukea Jotain Mielenkiintoista?

It means something close to “Want to read something interesting?” This is my wobbly beginner’s Finnish.

Finnish is maybe not the easiest thing for speakers of the Latin group of languages to learn, as you can see by trying to decipher a random front page of the country’s biggest newspaper, the Hensingin Sanomat. Like this one from last week:

Finnish, spoken by about five million people, is a “Finno-Ugric” language, with vague origins in the Ural mountains. Have a look at this nice photo essay about Finno-Ugric people called In Search of Russia’s First Inhabitants.

Winter Weekend Reading

In our part of the world we’re getting our first blast of Arctic cold in a few days, so here is some reading to enjoy by the hearth this weekend – a little travel writing, some politics and a bit of science.

First, enjoy this as you prepare a suitably hearty stew: In honor of Finland’s 100th birthday next Wednesday, the BBC Radio 4 program, Finland at 100. Hyvää syntymäpäivää, Suomi!

And the reading:
The Damascus Journals by Roua Horaieh at The Millions
X marks the self by Thomas Jones at LRB
It’s the Kultur, Stupid by Timothy Garton Ash at NYRB
The secret tricks hidden inside restaurant menus by Richard Gray at BBC
The Nationalist’s Delusion by Adam Serwer at The Atlantic
In Search of the Common Good by Kenan Malik at Pandaemonium
Sukayu Onsen by Justin Nobel at nowheremag.com
What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind by Davis A Oakley at theconversation.com

Visit with Presidents Niinistö and Putin


We’ll be heading an hour or so up the road to the lovely little town of Savonlinna, Finland, this afternoon for opera with the Presidents of Finland and Russia. This year President Putin attends the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival  to mark Finland’s centennial anniversary, celebrating 100 years from it’s 1917 declaration of independence from … oh … whoever.

The performance, and dinner for dignitaries beforehand, will be held in this castle:

As we are no dignitaries, we will not be dining. Maybe just some maalaisperunalastu in the car over (they’re mighty good). We are just hopeful the tickets we bought online several weeks ago will get us into the same room as the Great Men.

Looks like the Russian and Finnish armies have pretty well taken over Savonlinna:

Quotes:

According to the President’s Office, Putin and Niinistö are not in sight in the Savonlinna region. President’s spouse Jenni Haukio is not involved in the visit. Presidents do not meet the ordinary people at any stage.

and: the police of Eastern Finland have distributed a newsletter where residents are asked to avoid staying on the balcony and opening the windows between 15.30 – 17 and 20 to 24 (on 27 July). The residents have been told these two slots.

  • From Itä-Savo, the local paper

We’ll be back here tomorrow to report.