2014/08/24

ヘルシンキに行ってきました


7月末から8月にかけての4日間、フィンランドのヘルシンキに行ってきました。主な目的は、同時期に開催されていたコンピューターのイベント「Assembly」を見に行くことだったのですが(Assemblyのレポートはこちら)、ヘルシンキは以前から訪れてみたい場所だったので、短い時間ながらも全力で楽しんできました!


フィンランドに上陸: 飛行機から降りると、そこは雨のヘルシンキ。北欧だから夏でも比較的涼しいのだろうと思っていましたが、ふつうに暑い!ただ、日本のようにむわーんとした暑さではなく、風は涼しいけど日差しで熱い!という感じでした。ちなみに、飛行機はフィンランド航空(Finnair)を利用しましたが、成田からは10時間程度、帰りは9時間弱でした。ヨーロッパといえば12時間ぐらいかかるイメージだったので近い!飛行機で過ごす3時間の差は大きい!客室乗務員さんの制服もかわいかったです。

読めない: ホテルにチェックインして最初に向かったのは、私の旅のいちばんの楽しみでもあるスーパーマーケット!(そういう方、多いと思います!)しかし、わっほ~いと思って入ってみたはいいけれど、棚に並んでいる商品はすべてフィンランド語とスウェーデン語。しかもアルファベットとはいえ英語からはまったく意味が推測できない。そんなわけで、中身や絵から情報を得たり、他の人が迷いなくカゴに入れているものを同じように買いました。まぁ、おかげで何度も炭酸入りのお水を買うはめになったものの(笑)、こういう体験がすごく楽しかったです。


トラムでGO: ヘルシンキの町をガタゴト走り回っているのが黄色と緑のトラム(路面電車)。ガイドブックで、「Day Pass」という乗車券を買えば、ヘルシンキ市内のトラム・メトロ・バスが乗り放題と読んでいたので、中央駅の地下でこの乗車券と路線図をゲット。本当にこの2つがあればどこにでも行けて便利でした!それと、ヘルシンキの滞在中は怖い思いもせず、どこにいっても安心して過ごせたのが良かったです。道を訪ねても、みんな丁寧に教えてくれました。(片言のフィンランド語で話しかけると英語で返してくれた) というか、「かもめ食堂」に出てくる雰囲気そのもので、観光客と地元の人の見分けがつかないくらいのんびりしていた印象。



あの青い香り: 町を歩いていてスーパーを見かけたら、とりあえず入っていましたが、ヘルシンキのスーパーはどこもみんな「ディル」の香りが出迎えてくれました。スーパーの入り口の匂いにはお国柄が出ますよね、、(アジア系の食材店だと、ナンプラーのような魚の匂いがしたり、いろんな乾き物の匂いがしたりとか・・・) 嫌いな香りではないので、これがフィンランドかぁ~!と毎回すぅーっと吸い込んでから店内へ。


アイスの量もはんぱない: おびただしい量と種類のヨーグルト、と冷凍ザリガニ・・・。


アートとは: 中央駅から歩いて10分弱のところにある近代美術館「Kiasma(キアズマ)」に行きました。訪れた時はちょうどMarimekkoとタイアップした展示を行っていて、いろいろとかわいらしい作品を見ることができました。上はキャンディでできたバラと、鶏の骨でできたシャンデリア。食前と食後。(私は常設のMarkus Kahreさんの「Untitled (1996)」という作品が好きでした) すごく楽しんだのですが、デジタルアート部門にヘルシンキのデモシーンのアーティストが入るといいなぁ。(雰囲気にぴったりだと思うんだけどなぁ。)


デパート: ヘルシンキの中心部にあるデパート「Stockmann(ストックマン)」。地下2階は、日本のデパ地下よろしく広い食料品コーナーが広がっており、パンありチーズありお惣菜ありのパラダイス!(まぁ、お好きな方にとってはですが笑) 混雑していたので中まで入りませんでしたが、お寿司屋さんもありました。


そして、8階はフィンランドの国民的ブランド「Fazer(ファッツェル)」のレストランになっていました。(フィンランド人が愛用するブランドと聞いていたので、選択肢があった場合はいつもFazerの製品を選んでいました。とにかくどこでもこの名前を見た!) ちょっとしたパンや食事ができるカフェスペースや、大人っぽい雰囲気のアラカルトのお店もありましたが、私はいちばん賑わっていた学食のような雰囲気の「Food Market」で、えびのオープンサンドをいただきました。結構な量ですが、あっさりしていて美味しかった!また食べたいな!(目の前で作ってくれるの) 無料のWiFiもあって、1人でもゆっくりできました。


だれだだれだ: こちらは先ほどのストックマンの隣にあるアカデミア書店。(隣、って簡単に書いてるけども、実際には迷って10分ぐらいかかった) 「かもめ食堂」で、ムーミンの本を読んでいたミドリさんにガッチャマンの歌を尋ねるシーンがここですね。(だからなのかは分かりませんが、日本語のムーミンの本も置いてありました。) 文字は読めないけれど、絵本コーナーに並ぶ本のかわいらしさは絶叫もの



妖精の住む国: やはりフィンランドはムーミンの国だけあって、いたるところでムーミンを見かけました。


サマーバカ: これは、、どういう意味なんだろう・・・(笑)

北欧の芋: フィンランドに来たら絶対に食べたいと思っていたファストフードのHesburger。お持ち帰りでホテルでもぐもぐ、北欧はポテトが美味しいよと前に聞いたことがありましたが、ほんとにポテトがおいしかった


ヘルシンキの台所: ハカニエミマーケットに近いホテルに泊まったのですが、毎朝外の屋台にならぶお花やベリー、豆なんかを見るのが楽しかったです。(市場に限らず、町のいろんなところでベリーの屋台を見ました) そしてハカニエミマーケット(屋内)では、噂の「エロマンガ」のパンを発見!(笑) もちろん買う。(この店名を連呼するためにお土産も購入した) いくつか種類がありましたが、有名なのはミートパイ(というかピロシキか)だそうです。思っていたほどしつこくなく、ハンバーグの揚げパンみたいでした。(中高生の男の子が大喜びしそうな感じ!) 

(それと余談ながら、ハカニエミに近いホテルに滞在される方へ、、。空港から615番のバスでハカニエミ(Hakaniemi)に行くと、その前の停留所が「Haapaniemi」で非常に紛らわしい!私は「いやー、スペルミスかなー」と思って降りようとしたところを運転手さんが止めてくれました。ので、ぜひともご注意くださいまし、、)


プッラ: こちらは先ほどのエロマンガのシナモンロール。自分でもシナモンロールを焼くので、ぜひとも本場の味で研究したいと思いいろんな場所で食べてみましたが、全体的に「甘くなくてカルダモン多め」という感じでした。お菓子パンのイメージだったんですが、もう少し食事に近いパンなのかも

夜がない: いつになったら暗くなるのかー。窓から町の様子を見たところ、眠るタイミングが分からないのは観光客だけではないようで


旅のおわりに: 最終日の空港に向かう数時間前。地元の人を気取る余裕も時間もないので、手には地図、首からカメラの「ザ・日本人ツーリストですが何か?」ルックで観光。すごく早足で見たい場所を回ったのですが、ガイドブックに素敵な写真のあった教会に行く時間はなかったので、この旅を老舗カフェの「Café Ekberg(カフェエクベリ)」で締めくくりました。写真はこのお店のスペシャリテ、「ナポレオン」。甘さもひかえめ、クリームも軽い味。このカフェに限らず、ヘルシンキでは全体的に、どこで何を食べてもあっさりしていて私はすごく好きでした!(しかし、こうして写真を見るとよく食べたなぁ笑)

Assemblyのイベント会場では、「先端技術とスタイリッシュなフィンランド」を見た気がしますが、町の中でみるフィンランドは、「穏やかで素朴な生活感のあるフィンランド」という感じがしました。こういうコントラスト、いいですね! 楽しい旅行になりました!

それと、今回の旅行の際にガイドブック以外ですごく役に立ったのが、All Aboutの記事と、フィンランド大使館のフィンたんのツイートでした。こまかい生活のこと(トイレの鍵のかけ方とか)とか、実はすごく重要事項だったりしますもんねぇ…。ありがとうございました!

> 2015年バージョンはこちら (また行っちゃった!)
「ヘルシンキ/Assemblyに行ってきました(2015年バージョン)」



2014/08/20

Dear Diary: Trip to Helsinki

--> 日本語で読む

Earlier this month, I visited Helsinki, Finland for 4 days. Main purpose was to see Assembly, but I did enjoy the city as well! Here are my snapshot diary..


Smooth Landing: The day I arrived was raining of course. (I bring rain everywhere.) Tokyo to Helsinki was about 10 hours, and the way back was less than 9 hours. Closer than any other European cities. I liked the uniforms of Finnair flight attendants.

Water: First thing I did was going to supermarket. Normally I’m not interested in “must see” spot that guidebook recommend. I love going to supermarket or market where there’re actual living of people here… But one problem; I cannot read Finnish or Swedish. I realized, to this day, I never been to the place where I cannot guess what it’s written on the label. So I guessed it from the look or picture.. and when I saw someone put something in the cart without examining it, I took that as a good sign and bought the same thing. Then, I kept buying sparking water instead of still. But it was so much fun. I repeat, Sooo much fuuuuun.


Ticket to Helsinki: Walked to the central station and got Day Pass and Route map. Bus, metro, tram... I could go anywhere in Helsinki with these 2 items. I felt safe in the city, and I enjoyed the tram ride.

Moi or Hei: Walking around the city… I don’t know how many times I asked “Anteeksi (Excuse me) where am I?” with maps.


Keep Left: I followed the rules.

My Travel Rule#3: If I see the supermarket, just go in. You know supermarket has its own smell? When I got Asian food market, I smell fish type of smell. And here, as far as I’ve visited, every supermarket welcomed me with a smell of dill.


Heaven: What a big shelf for yogurt! And.. is it.. frozen crayfish…?! Wow. Culture difference.


Lighting is everything: I visited Kiasma, a contemporary art museum. When I visited, they are having exhibitions featuring Marimekko (that was cute). Here’s a rose made with candy, a chandelier made with chicken bones. Decadent. And my favorite artwork was Untitled (1996) by Markus Kahre. I spent a couple of hours here and I enjoyed it, but Dear Kiasma, maybe you could feature more digital artists from your city? I can tell you few if you want.. :)


Spoon: Stockmann, a department store was very convenient. Their floor map was bit complicated but they got everything I need. They got huge and wonderful deli/market downstairs and upstairs I could get the made in Finland wooden spoon that I wanted to bring back with me… now I can remember this trip every time I use this spoon..

Baked Lime: 8th floor was Fazer’s food market. I’ve read Fazer is reliable national brand of Finland, so whenever I have doubts, I chose one from Fazer. It’s very easy place to have lunch alone (like a canteen). They have Wi-Fi and not crowded, so I can just take time (I’m a slow eater). I had shrimp open sandwich, they cooked it right in front of me. Yum. If there’s “next time”, I want to try their dessert section.. They also had café space and grown up people section.


Gatchaman: Right next to the Stockmann, there was a bookshop. I write “right next to it” but I actually took 10 minutes or so to find them. This place is always on the Japanese guidebook, because this place was used for JP movie “KamomeShokudo” filmed in Helsinki (You will love it especially if you're foodie). There were some Moomin book in Japanese too.

Picture books: When I lost the reference from words, I realized the importance of visual message… Just followed my inner Kawaii-sensor…



Fairy: Finlandia, a land of Moomins. Indeed, I saw Moomins everywhere.


Summer Baka: I wonder what this means… (“Baka” in Japanese means “idiot”)

Glamorous takeout: Mandatory, isn’t it.


Market: I was staying close to Hakaniemi market. It was nice to see their flowers and berries every morning.

Eromanga: Inside the Hakaniemi market, there was a bakery which sells meatpie from Eromanga bakery… (giggle) Of course I got them, I got some other bread to take home as well so that I can say this shop’s name again and again.. (giggle) Oh, I like how it tasted too.



Pulla: One thing I wanted to try in Helsinki was to taste their real cinnamon rolls. I have my own recipe of cinnamon rolls, so I wanted to compare and adjust if needed. Overall, I learned “less sugar and more cardamom”

White night: Nightless night, I can’t say good night if there’s no night.


Tourist: This was several hours before going to airport. I held the maps in hands and hung my camera (perfecting the world famous “Japanese tourist” look) and walk around the city. I didn’t have time, so I needed to decide whether I visit Church or traditional café. Church or Cake, that is the question. And I found my church in Café Ekberg. (Well, I have a soft spot for “tradition”…) Here I had their Napoleon cake and coffee, and jumped on the bus to airport…

All in all, it was great trip :)


> 2015 Version is here (I went there again!) 

My Helsinki/Assembly Diary (2015 version)

2014/08/19

[nokonoko journal] What do you sing in the car?

When I drive in the evening, I kept singing "Wuthering Heights" with screeky voice, but lately I sing this because.. I finally realized it may be too scary for others if they hear.



(Posts transferred from NokoNoko Journal)

「まんが甲子園」の夏

815日に発行された朝日ぐんまでは、8月頭に「まんが甲子園」に出場した高崎東高等学校の漫画研究部の記事が掲載されました。


大会の日、会場のある高知市内は避難勧告が出るほどの大雨でしたが、不安や焦りを乗り越えて、見事決勝出場を果たしています!おめでとうございます!

大会の様子がよく分かる写真も顧問の先生にご提供いただきました!(Tシャツにもよく個性が表れていますよね…笑) みなさんお疲れさまでした!

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My article about “The national high school Manga contest” was published on Weekly Asahi Gunma published on Aug 15. In this contest, qualified school team need to complete one board of Manga with chosen theme, in about 5 hours. Takasaki East high (Gunma) made it through the preliminaries and participated its final.

2014/08/16

Whisper #83-114

#83
I am going to break your heart.

#84
A girl in 509 was in love with a boy in 511, but the boy in 511 was in love with a girl in 303, but the girl in 303 was in love with a boy in 104 and sought advices from the girl in 509.

#85
The boy in 511 liked Extreme's "More than words". The girl in 303 liked to dance with Eurobeat.

#86
poem, four, death is same sound in Japanese

#87
"I am not an artist."

#88
I think I saw you twice. You hair color was always different.

#89
Feeling superior by [-----self-censorship-----] ?

#90
...get a life.

#91
When you say "we", it never meant you and me.

#92
When I say "I wish you happiness", I wish in a way that you will get extra pickles on the plate or queue that you line up will move faster than the other.

#93
Or less red lights on the road.

#94
Everyday.

#95
Those oppressed feeling, the more you try to hide, the more it grows.

#96
I went to bed with a huge question mark, hoping it will transform exclamation mark in the morning.

#97
Hate and Contempt, which is stronger?

#98
... in the end, we agreed to disagree?

#99
I rather forget it than hate it.

#100
Love and Pray, which is stronger?

#101
101 is for doggies.

#102
Youth. Your wild confidence is already too bright for me. 
Officially, I'm old. Yay.

#103
Which is longer, Forever or Your lifetime?

#104


#105
On the flight for London, person sitting next to me almost always started to talk to me before the landing and asked "Will you tell me the good things about this town...?" with a disappointed look. 

#106
Answer: Milk.

#107
A: But.. but... he said "I cannot live without you!"
B: ... he's still alive though...

#108
Careless and damn honest whisper.

#109
IF THEN GOTO

#110
...HELL?

#111
How you lived will inspire me, not what you said.

#112
Why don't you leave your past as past?

#113
Wherever I go, I always travel with myself.

#114
I already forgot who I was trying to forget. 
Happy Birthday to me.



2014/08/14

Party Report: Assembly Summer 2014


Earlier this month, I went to see Assembly Summer 2014!


 Assembly is a demoparty held in Helsinki, Finland since 1992. Although their gaming elements are increasing in recent years, they remain as one of the biggest and longest standing demoparty on this planet. If you go see “demoparty” in Wiki or other kind of references, photos from this party will most likely come up first. (There’s Assembly Winter too, and this one is purely gaming event.)

* If you are wondering what demoparty is, I recommend checking this and the movie!

Assembly has been my dream place to visit, mostly because I first got interested in demoscene via mail magazine distributed in 90s (not reading them real time though, I read them after a decade or so.. hello DemoNews!) Assembly is the place where Future Crew released “Second Reality”, a legendary piece which has been changing so many people’s life, and around that time people considered Assembly is THE party to go and release their bestest work..

And it seems like this tradition has carried on till now. If you watch the demos released at this party, You will sense that this party is something special for sceners.

For years I’ve been thinking that I have to visit this party to see its demo compo and grab Hesburger before it’s completely turned into the gaming event.. plus, Finland is a land of Moomins… so this year, I gathered my courage and booked my flight on the day they announced the date.

On my way to Helsinki. A bit of study (or lookback for me). 
David Hasselhoff was talking about Compact Disc and Boom box.


Assembly’s venue, Messukeskus was located around 20 minutes away from city central (by tram). Right next to this place, there were business college and a hotel. Also there was a train station nearby with some shops in.

At the ticket counter, the very first thing they said to me was “you are here for oldschool, right?” (gasp!) oh.. is that too obvious,, do I look that old...?? :( Well, I felt a bit sad about this, but a couple of minutes later I understood why. When I looked around, most of people are super young and I (mid-30s) could easily be one of their mom. That’s quite surprising…


At the entrance your baggage will be inspected. They checked everything to my Frisk case, so don’t even try to bring anything funny. And mind you, Assembly is alcohol-free event.


Inside the venue. First you see the gaming area, and then main hall.


In the gaming area, you can check some game competitions, try some games at company’s booth, play some retro arcade games and take a nap (there was a big floor sofa).


First time seeing the eSports event. Ohh, indeed. It looks like sport event :)


(Left) Now you understand why people can tell you're oldschool... Lots of young hopes.
(Right) One of the booth (was it Kajak?) had Oculus Rift and they let us try DK1 and DK2 and their demos. I’ve heard a lot about this VR goggle but never tried one, and… well my reaction must have been textbook.


Seminar area is located in secluded place. Nice and quiet.


…And the main hall.  I wonder how many computers were there..

Of course I was very happy to get here, but my first impression was not that positive and I thought “oh.. it's too late, it’s no longer a demoparty..” I walked around the hall, checked their screens and people, and majority of them are very young people playing multiplayer RPG-ish games (sorry I’m clueless in those games). Well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong about gaming event or MMO, but since I came here to see real demoscene it was bit disappointing..


Kawaii! Who said there are not many girls in game and demo events? I’ve seen quite a lot of them! Go geekette <3

Wkter, who we became friends at Tokyo Demo Fest was attending and had seat, so while his friend was away I sat at the table and experienced Asssembly atomosphere… (basically I kept lamenting.. sorry)

From time to time, they were showing some demos on the screen. 
“Spin” on Assembly’s screen!

Oh, by the way, here’s the comment and general tips from Wkter for someone who wants to join Assembly party.. 

- Assembly is pretty much a LAN party at this point, and it can be difficult to get to know gamers. It will be safer and more fun if you have a reliable friend with you, and it might be easier to strike up random conversations with people.

 - It might also be a good idea to check what the trends are in the gaming community, because, as mentioned earlier, the majority of the visitors will be gamers who have little interest in the demoscene.

 - It might also be a good idea to check out the oldskool table, that's where all the cool people are :)

He also said that sleeping area was quite cold. So if you sleep there, better bring something warm to cover up.


---

However, things started to change around compo time...

From 1k compo. Amazing.

More and more older people :D showed up (where have you been?) and people started to gather around oldschool and screen area. I could finally see some faces and names that I can recognize through years of stalking studying..

And here comes the compo time.


Amazing thing was that people in the hall actually turned off their lights and sounds as organizers instructed. I thought all these gamers were really not interested in demoscene (because when I was sitting among them no one paid attention to the screen or stage) but 500 seats before the screen was suddenly full and floors in front of the seating was crowded with so many people. After all, this is where Assembly came from… and I thought this is very nice that they show their respect to demosceners and tradition of Assembly… (I dearly hope it continues that way..) 

To be honest, I sensed the people’s excitement and tension of the hall and they are so strong that I got nervous and started to feel sick before the compo… just imagined if I brought something to show on the screen… I think I would faint..


“I enjoyed it so much” is way too mild to describe what I felt. I should rather say “I was in shock”. Of course my dream just came true and I was insanely happy, but I was shocked and completely overwhelmed that it took some time to stand up. I know it really sounds stupid and banal but I can’t believe how big screen and speakers can make that much difference. You can feel the floor bouncing with beats, and effects and colors on the screen is so dynamic that it almost looks like attacking you. And all these people’s presence… their reactions were so raw.

1st at Demo Compo Assembly Summer 2014
"Black And White Lies" by One Studio Off (DL)


You can check all the releases at Assembly website, and of course you can download the files through pouet. Their game compo had some fun games too!


After the compo I got really emotional and Sir Garbagetruck (he’s one of the demoscene icon, you hear him talk on SceneSat Radio and you saw him in Moleman2) rescued me. And when I realized I was sitting on that famous compo studio sofa…


At Assembly, Assembly TV holds talk session with sceners after each compo. This compo studio program is the best place to hear sceners’s opinions and get some trivial information. (You can check archives from Assembly’s website or YouTube.)

Can you see there’re so many staffs behind the camera? 
As one of your viewers, I’d like to say big thanks to staffs to make this happen every year! Kiitos!

I don’t remember anything I said (man, I was nervous!) but I do remember I enjoyed hearing all other guests’ sharp comments. Thank you everyone, and thank you Arrogant Bastards for extra support.. (Sir Garbagetruck and Franky - the host of compo studio - make radio shows for SceneSat. They were not arrogant at all though!)


After the compo, I was thinking... what I experienced was something similar to music concerts or theater, but there’s something decisively different from them. And that is probably the "distance between creators and audience"… which is extremely close and critics are very direct.. I guess this is why live compos are thrilling, but when I try to see this from creators’ point of view, there is a huge risk.. I mean, if you spent many days and nights to create something and if that’s booed by this much people.. chances are, your pride and confidence will be crushed to the point where you cannot turn your pc on again. (I know there are some people who are okay about these things, but let’s not pretend, most of us are not that strong.)

I’ve learned that, in demoscene, if you release something it will be criticized. Harshly (look at Pouet!). And that’s part of the culture. But when I experienced the live compo with this much of direct reaction, I can’t stop thinking “if I released something here, what should I do to get through this situation?”


I kept thinking for a while. And what I reached was, what you can hold onto in that whirlwind criticism is probably a conviction that you did something meaningful to yourself or you did the best you can. If you create something to please audience or to seek approval from others, you’ll feel great if you succeed but if not, it will be devastating. (But don’t worry, just like Sir Garbagetruck said in demo compo studio, someone will like your work. Maybe this someone is not in the same room, but somewhere out there will definitely do. This is the beautiful and sometimes yucky thing about humans..)

It’s definitely important to have some objectivity, but you need to be tough enough to protect your own world. (And not just for demo, this should be applied to everything related to self-expression.. music, dancing, drawing, writing, editing, anything) In the end this is not a business, it’s a grand playground and you can steal someone else’s time for about 5 minutes… So why not step out and show off what you’ve got?

I imagined demoscene is a place to express, brush up skills and get to know with people with similar interests, but I realized that this is also a place to help you grow and help you become an artist through these others comments. I do have respect for all people who submitted their work. That’s really courageous.



All these motivations, excitement, disappointment, fascination.. I think I now understand why Assembly has been special for demoscene. And somehow, I myself was really encouraged by this experience. I'm so glad that I came, and I'm so glad that I encountered demoscene.


To wrap up...

- For people I met at Assembly, Thank you so much for giving me warm welcome! It was lovely meeting you all! 

- For Assembly organizers, thank you for the great time! Must be tough to keep doing this for years but please be there and keep your history going!

- If you want to join Assembly as a demoparty, be sure to keep your seats in Oldschool area.

- Assembly started to accept remote entry, so if you can't make it you can submit and watch the compo on stream.

- If you want to check out your local demoparty to see what it's like, check this website for coming up parties. There are quite a lot of parties going on in Europe. (Revision in Germany are strictly demoscene party and it's the biggest. Evoke in Germany too.) For people in US, there's @party (Atparty) held in Boston. And I heard there's one in Montreal, Canada (check ben ça). And people around Japan, there will be Tokyo Demo Fest.

Thank you for reading my long report till end!


Coming up: My Helsinki travelogue (I did some sightseeing too... :D)



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