2015/08/11

My Helsinki/Assembly Diary (2015 version)



I’m back from Helsinki… Yes, Finland. Yes, Assembly. Yes, again this year! :)

- My “Assembly Summer 2014” party report is here.
- Helsinki travelogue (2014) is here.


Huomen-takeoff: After being in the air for about 10 hours, I landed Finland again. There are several things I found irresistible during my last visit: of course Fazer’s blue chocolate is to die for, but also this rye bread. I visited supermarket as soon as I landed, and experiment the feeling of “coming back” by seeing these on the shelf and smelling dill.



Northern Summer: I know that summer in northern countries are different from our hot and humid summer. I do know that. But last year it was so hot that most of the clothes I brought didn’t work. So for this year I carefully packed by leveraging experience… and then, turned out it was cold summer. Well, maybe not that cold for Finnish, but for someone coming from 40c, it was cold. We see these flowers blooming in spring in Japan. That much difference. I kept saying “it’s cold!” while I was there, and I am really sorry for that. (Tips: Bring everything.)


Assembly Summer 2015: And I was standing in front of this legendary demoparty place again. Honestly, when I left this venue last year, overwhelmed and contented, I thought “that’s it” and never imagined myself coming back here again. But why, life is funny. If I hear the voice inside of me saying “go” I had no choice. Because from my small amount of experience, this voice has been always taking me to the place which makes me happier... (Ref: the header of this blog)

I won’t write the same thing again, but I went through the same emotional tide this year as well: Yay! Assembly! > Oh no, it’s full of gamers.. > This is a gaming event, demoscene is dead > Compo time! Hurray, it’s demoscene, it’s Assembly! (If you are wondering what this demoparty/Assembly is, you may want to check my last years report. I would like to say it's a computer-generated art event) But one of the nice things of coming here for the second time was to be able to say “nice to see you again” to some faces. That was great feeling actually :)


Boozembly 2015: Where there’s Assembly, there’s Boozembly. I’ve been hearing about this shadow party but it’s quite notorious that I refused to visit last year (c’mon, I spent a whole day in a room recovering from the shock I got from demo compo. Imagine if I went this as well…) But yes, I went this year thanks to some nice people.

In short, Boozembly is about drinking party on the hill. Drinking alcohol in the Assembly venue isn’t permitted, so the people had to find a way to do “real party” somewhere, I assume… When you walk up to the small path in the middle of nowhere, you’ll suddenly see a hell of a lot of drunk people talking, laughing, dancing, wandering… Is that a pool? Is that a boom box you’re carrying? That type of drinking party. I’ve never seen that much drunk people packed in that tiny space… And the space is very primitive too, there are rocks and steep slopes, it’s really not a properly set-up party but more like… comes from a desperate need to drink? :) This small path to the hill must be paved with so much drunken memories… of over the 20 years… (Seriously..)

The venue of this Boozembly is not public. And there’s a good reason why it’s not public. (It’s harmless though, as far as I see…) If you are of legal age and interested, ask someone who’s wearing Boozembly T-shirt...


Mr. Moonlight: This was the night of blue moon (second full moon in a month), and I had indeed some once in a blue moon experiences on this day... it was fun, thanks for showing me the new world... :D


Ok, so back to the Assembly. At the venue, I get to talk with Navis from Andromeda Software Development (ASD) who I had chance to do interview this spring. (He was very nice in person too :) In that interview he didn’t reveal much about the process of the demo he released at this party (because he was still making), but according to what he described how much time he spent for this… it’s really no joke. For viewers, it’s easy to assume and finish off with “yeah, these guys have talents and luck and everything”, but no. The work may look effortless and everything falls into right place naturally, but that means there’s well-calculated techniques and countless try & error to make it look that way. (It’s like a swan, they float gracefully but paddling hard in the water) It’s never like “somehow it’s just happened~”. Never! I thought I knew that fact, but listening to him explaing, I re-realized this. And I bet this is also true to other demos I’ve seen… I know people don’t tell these effort part because it’s actually dark and somber process, but it was super great and encouraging for me to have a glimpse of it. (Thank you Navis!)

(And btw, it’s always nice to actually meet the people who I interviewed. With very few exception, I did demosceners interview before actually meeting them. No matter how much I read their texts or watch their video, nothing beats the actual contact. I always feel that in my work as well, it gives me the clarification for nuances in text.)

Photo by Assembly.org

It’s showtime: And demo compo. It was superb. It’s worth coming here for this! Check with your eyes.


1st at Demo Compo, Assembly Summer 2015
“Monolith” by Andromeda Software Development (Download)


And some more:
Hold-And-Modify” by CNCD & Fairlight (Download)
EMIX” by Epoch ft. Trio Tampere (Download)


And of course, you can check all the releases on Youtube (they probably will make a category for demo soon) or Pouet (Download, and here you can also send comment to the creators)


TV people: For the first time in Assembly’s history, demo compo and following compo studio was aired on Finnish national TV (Yle TV2). Not sure because of that, but when I said “I came here for Assembly” some locals in the city came back to me saying “is that a computer event they’re talking a lot on TV?”

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s a real luxury to watch Assembly on TV in the hotel room. (Of course, it was great to watch it at the venue, but you know… :)


View from the table of Sir Garbagetruck. This is where people are get together. He’s a real icon in demoscene. You’ll understand what it really means when you go and see him in the party. (Thanks for everything!)

Thank you, Gracias, Efharistó, Takk, Kiitos, Danke, Dank u wel: Visiting Assembly, I get to meet with many people this year as well. I won’t list up everyone like an Oscar speech, but you know it’s you and I dearly appreciate your kindness and generosity. It was really great seeing you (again), and thank you very very much for making this trip so special! Hope you had safe flight back home!

And, of course, thanks to Assembly organizers and staffs for the great time! :)


Ok.. and more on Helsinki seen by Japanese tourist below…


Spent more time at market this year, got summerly flowers for my room.

Quietness and Kindness are something I can easily spot when I was on the street. I find Helsinki very quiet city, literally. There’s almost no announcement on the public transportation, even in the airport, and not much elevator music in store nor too much sound on TV background. Maybe I feel this because I came from very noisy surroundings, but I like the fact that they are not trying to fill the space with noise. During this trip, I heard a Finnish (tipsy) girl talking “We just want to go into the sauna, just sit there and relax and be quiet. Why do we need to talk? Why?” I was laughing at that time, but maybe that was the essence. Seems like they are not afraid of silence.



And kindness. I didn’t need to open Map application on the street. If I open up the map, someone always helped me saying “can I help you?” This never happened to me in anywhere else. 
But there was this one time, I was walking in the street for hours with my zipper’s wide open (on my pants) but no one pointed out (some people talked to me during this time though). Hm, that seems like universal code… :)


(Left) The lemony noodles that I wanted to try at Café bar no.9. Yum. Thought this place is famous for this pasta, but people around me were all eating something else with chopsticks.

(Right) Does this mean something other than “foreigner” in Finnish? I really enjoy walking around this area (Erottaja). There are bunch of cute little shops.




“Yksi korvapuusti, kiitos”: My quest of best “cinnamon roll” continued. And thanks to that, I ended up being able to order it in Finnish.


And I brought my little Finnish notebook this time. Finnish is considered to be one of the 3 most difficult languages to master (other two are Hungarian and Japanese) but that’s for English speaking people. Though there’s no reference to each word, grammatically there are some similarity to Japanese, and pronunciation-wise we have a bit of advantage. That intonation is quite foreign but the sound itself… it sounds super cute to us :)


(Left) I’ve seen quite a lot of people buying loto tickets and playing slots in the supermarket. And there were some live loto (?) program on TV too. A game of luck, is it common in here? I had no idea what they’re saying, but he was giving very cute reaction while waiting for the result and I was giving voice-over to him for fun.

(Right) Soup. I love soup. Finally I could go into that famous soup place called Soppakeittio in the market. (It's always packed!) I shared a table with three beautiful Finnish ladies and they kept talking to me in Finnish but… yeah.. um… it was good souuup… :)



A view from the Grand Cru office. Thanks for taking me and letting me in. They have a sauna in the office. I’ve never seen an office with a washing machine, nor naked men with a towel walking around the meeting room :) Awesome office!

One last thing I wanted to do before leaving Helsinki, was to ride on a tram with music. Not to go somewhere, but just to sit there and enjoy its journey with music. During this trip, I have no idea how many times I felt “I’m so happy right now, don’t know how I feel after a few seconds, but I am completely happy at this moment”. And I wanted to capture that momentary euphoria into the music I listened, so that I can recall it every time I listen to it. (I often do this when I travel, but not always “happy” capsule) I chose Jukka Eskola, a Finnish trumpeter (he’s quite known in Japan) and yes, I think his "1974"(this) really represents my trip… 

Kiitos Helsinki!!

And thanks for reading my long travelogue till the end… :) 


2 comments:

  1. Catching up on your blog! Helsinki! That is so cool!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bev! Thank you! They got great soup, and various yummy mushrooms, you'll love it...

      Delete

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