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Hello Ringo

A Mind Wanderer- Let's have a rant about anything

Library Cafe in Finland

It has been more than three months since the date I backed to Finland – the funland you can imagine 😉 To get straight to the point, one thing in Finland I always find close to my heart is that Finland is a country for coffee lovers. Here, nearly every one drinks coffee, and people can drink coffee anytime anywhere. I love the coffee culture in Finland, and I will keep writing about the coffee culture here 🙂

But first, I want to talk about the cafe in places that are not specially designed for coffee. When I was in Vietnam, coffee is a big culture there as well. However, in Vietnam, we talk more about cafe and places that sell coffee. We don’t think about cafe in library and schools : ) But in Finland, I love the cafe in universities and libraries. The cafe in universities, libraries and museums here are designed with so much personalities and elegance to create a lovely, comfortable environment for reading books and enjoying coffee. Oh one more note, books in city libraries here are free to borrow and the selection is profound and huge.(love love)

To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than borrowing novels and enjoy the books right in the cafe inside library. Good, affordable coffee and free good books = a perfect combination.

My current quest is to explore the cafe in the libraries in Helsinki city. The cafe I often visit is Itakeskus library, which is so close to my apartment. The cafe in this library is STOA cafe , which has a lovely , funky tone in design:) If you happen to visit Helsinki and you are a bookworm, why you don’t have a library-cafe tour ?;) You will be amazed how wonderful the interior design of the cafes in these libraries.

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Will update soon about other cafe’ in Helsinki:)

I come back!!!

It has been 9 months since my last post. Wow, seriously! I felt very terrible for letting my blog collect cyberdust for the past 9 months. However, for the past 9 months, I have been under a lot of ups and downs (financially and emotionally):) I hope that’s a good excuse. Just in the last 6 months of 2015, my life was more ‘interesting’ than the 6 years before that combining lol.

+) I quit job , then I enrolled a chocolate-making school to learn how to make chocolate treats. Yummy. It was a great time for me to play around with chocolate. After the class and practice, I know that  chocolate is a difficult pal but once you manage to handle it, the outcome worths all your effort. Everyone thought that I was crazy, but I never regretted spending money and time in experimenting with something that new and interesting as chocolate 😉

+) I quit a long-term relationship. 6 years for a relationship is not either too long nor too short; however, for relationship, time is relative, right?:)  Our relationship ended and it just happened. Every one pitied me because he was a big cheater. And I told everyone, it’s life and it happens. I don’t want to say this but deep down, I was so glad about the ending. I felt like I had been emotional hostage to my ex-partner in the past 6 years haha, and now I am free:) I was glad to end  a relationship that has nothing great and nothing wrong.

+) I left my home country again. After months of working on my business project on chocolate to find out that I’m not ready for it, I took a pause to leave everything behind (relationship, business etc.). I needed to clear my mind. I went to Dalat, Highland of Vietnam, to have a getaway trip. Traveling alone helped me realise one thing: no matter where we go, we can never run away from our thoughts and heavy soul. I paused and thought about all the past memories, and it hit me: I wanted to back to Finland – the country that my ex partner asked me to leave with him while I didn’t want. I wanted to go back to Finland where I used to find myself so comfortable and calm there. And now I’m in Finland again:) This time, I may not feel as calm and peaceful as I used to, but I still find myself comfortable in this land. I want to say that it’s not necessary to define your home country as a place you feel belonging to. For me, it’s Finland for now. In future? Let’s see it then. Life is in a constant change that we are just live in it:)

To sum up, I don’t QUIT my blog. I still see that my posts; especially the post “Top Japanese food movies”, are still visited by many people around the world. So glad about that. I will continue my blogging soon:) How’s about writing about this Funland?;) The featured image is taken when I was on my way to visit my cousin in Pori : )

 

 

Is that blonde has magical power?

Lately, I have been always thinking about one thing on women body: the hair. I have started to think more about people perceptions on the hair color. Is that the blond hair that a big deal? In my country Vietnam, we are all in black hair so I didn’t know about different perceptions regarding hair colors before. We may care about long hair, short hair straight hair, curly hair, silky hair or dry hair etc. It could be that in Vietnam, hair color is still homogenous. When we mention about any hair color apart from the black color, we know that we are mentioning ‘unnatural hair color’, and from the way people talk, I can see the less-admiration shown because people know that this is not natural hair color and you can get that color so easily after a on-day trip in salon. When they compliment ‘your brown color is so beautiful’, in other words, that sentence means ‘the hair salon you went is seriously good.’ When I was younger, all the girls around me comment about straight hair, curly hair, or boys like long hair rather than short hair (still true for today. Sigh). Until I went to Finland, I started to see a different land of hair color. Yellow, brown, slightly red, and then… light yellow like straw. As one of very few Asian students in my class (back to 2008 , 2009), my black hair seemed to be the odd one out. But to be honest, comparing to other Western countries, hair colors in Finland are still homogenous, only better than in Asia.

In my university in Finland, I started to hear about more comments about hair colors. “Hey, Pekka has the lightest hair color in the class. I can’t see his eyebrows,” said my friend kiddingly when seeing that guy. Or, another girl would say ‘ I have to dye my hair more often to get a better blond hair’. That’s when I realize how the hair color matters to people around me. Blonde and brunet are the types of girls that people normally mention. And yes, the blond color seems to be remarkable and noticeable. When I went to Tokyo with two other Finnish girls for our exchange program, I backed to the land of black heads and I felt less odded out. In Tokyo, I would see girls with black to slight brow, or slight red hair colors. And in Tokyo, I saw the magic power of blond hair again!

The thing is Asian people are obsessed with Western looks, and … WE (yes, including me) perceive the Western looks as highest examples of beauty and royalty. Asian people try to impress that we value our beauty the most: small feet, small waist, porcelain skins, and silky black hair. However, the obvious truth is we are always get amazed by the Western beauty. Western fever. Is it a correct term?

One time, I asked my Finnish friend about her first morning commuting trip to school, she said in her embarrassment with a hint of pride “ Well, it’s so awkward in the train. The people in the train kept looking at me and my flatmate (another yellow-haired Finn). Two blond girls.” [Sigh, and smile] That’s the time I came to my sense again. In Finland, I was the odd one out, the subdue one of all, because I was the minority. However, when my friend came to the land where her hair was the minority, she became the noticed one, a drop dead gorgeous blond girl. In the parties of Tokyo that we went or sometimes even on streets, some Japanese girls rushed out to us and asked her “Your hair is so beautiful. You look like a princess. May I take a photo with you?” I’m sure they were fans of Tokyo Disneyland! Of course, my Finn friend would smile shyly and accept the request.I was always the cameraman. Like the fan meeting a celeb on streets.  I felt like I was a bodyguard to a celebrity (in Hollywood), or the maid to princess (Austria, mid-18th century). Oh, don’t get me wrong. I was not jealous of her. Not an inch. It’s just that hair color used to be the last thing I noticed on people behaviors. The boys get hype up on a pair of big boobs, or the endlessly long legs, or the round, juicy butt. Or they would whisper with each other about a pretty face, big round eyes. Not hair color. And now thanks to her, I started to observe more on what people think about hair color, esp blond color.

1920's Maybelline Ads 004 (From the picture of PhyllisHarver. She was famous for “Her hair is a curly mass of golden corn silk. Her eyes are cerulean blue. Her teeth are perfect pearls. ”   Continue reading “Is that blonde has magical power?”

WORK Cafe

This is like the talk of the town – when you consider the town here is about the start-up community of Vietnam. WORK Cafe has its first month in Bitexco, the tallest building of HCMC. WORK Cafe is orignally a small coffee corner in a co-work space named WORK Saigon. WORK Saigon has been pretty popular for being all-in-one ( at some senses); they are the roof for the mobile workers (freelancers, start-up minders), the school for creatives people and ALSO simply a place for food and coffee. Their small coffee corner offers authentic, home-feel food: home-roasted coffee beans, fresh fruit fizz and homemade food. And now, that small coffee corner has its own sister, a designed WORK cafe simply for people who can spend all days working in cafe and love the feeling of working in cafe.

Continue reading “WORK Cafe”

Being Happy Alone

Thinking back to the days when I enjoyed lazing around on the Mikkelei’s lake without anyone around, wanderring alone in crowded streets of Tokyo, hopping on random trains alone and off to random station for random stroll, or trying food in strange diners alone, now I realise that during those days I did learn one thing (but now I forget): being able to be happy alone.Some people say I’m anti-social. It’s not really like that. It’s just that I  don’t want to get emotionally dependent. Today -after two years I backed to my homecountry – I then find out that I have forgotten how to be happy alone and then become emotionally dependent. When I am in bad mood, I have crazy urge to find friends to trash my upset or dissappointment. We need jokes and bitching sessions to move on, and to live by. When it comes to sharing either upset or joy, I need several persons to share as one for me is not enough anymore. I’m emotionally dependent on a larger scale than I expected.

They say that sharing is caring. However, it’s only true for some occasions and for some specific types of people around us. In recent days, when I share something good about my life,  I have sense that I would get implicit/ explicit jealousy or doubts from the sharees. When I share my upset about my life, I have felt paranoid that I would get more dissapointment in return for being a whiner, or overly serious life lectures like I’m living my life too stupid. That’s how pathetic to be an emotional dependant.

Life is only to be living, like I’m just travelling on the passage of time. I realise that sometimes I don’t like what I did, or my dreams, my decisions at some points in the past , but sometimes I find that my younger self in the past did lead a wiser , problem-proof life than my current self. Being able to be happy alone is what my younger self did better than my current self. And it’s not about entirely being alone, it’s about being able to enjoy being happy alone and don’t expose myself to “too many people”. Simple as that.

Top Japanese movies about food

I’m obsessed about food, from the main dish to the tiny desserts, from the cuisine of East to West, from the food’s taste to the presentation. Apart from eating and Pinning constantly pictures about food, I spend hours in watching movies about food. Movies about food calm me, excite me and inspire me. Speaking about food movies, can I say Asian directors have flair for making food movies in terms of content and aesthetic sides? And among the Asian food movies, the Japanese films are specially crazy about food. Japan is a country that is crazy about food from the taste to presentation, and every dimension of food. And yes, the Japanese food is super delicious to my taste bud. When I stayed in Japan years ago, I never had one day spent without trying something delicious. People lining up in front of a humble store, waiting for hours in order to slurp a hot bowl of ramen or 24/24 stores catered for any kind of food crave are among things to say about Japan’s craze about food.

Once time, I read a research about the role of the word ‘oishii’ (meaning delicious) in Japanese people’s behaviours towards food. The way they say the word oishii actually enhances their appetite and appreciation for food. It’s a mental kick. The word is more of a catalyst rather than just a praise. Every time I switched on TV when I used to live in Japan, I always could find at least one channel airing shows about food. Those shows are flooded with words  ‘oishisou’ (look delicious) and ‘oishii’ (delicious). Japanese movies are not simply about the direct, straightforward showcase of food an recipes. They don’t just stop at being the food porn; they are about food bringing people together, about food calm and inspire people. In this post, I will write about my favouriteJapanese movies or dorama about food. Japanes food-based movies are categorised in different style: light-hearted , tranquil diners to the heated , chaotic kitchens. This post is about my favourite slice-of-life, light-hearted Japanese food-based movies / dorama.

1.    Kamome Diner:

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This movie is one of my most favourite movie about Japanese cuisine although the movie was set out in a country far from Japan.

Continue reading “Top Japanese movies about food”

#New Year Resolution ?

When I started creating this hello-ringo blog, there’s one question that my friends ask and I keep mulling over in my mind:  what kind of blog I write about? Should Hello-Ringo be a food blog where I write about food recipes (which I horribly suck at ) or restaurants and such? I seriously don’t know. Should my blog become a place full of though-provoking, and inspiring (yet sound cliche to me) talks ? I seriously don’t know either, and I’m no way designed to be a life coach. So, I better rule out the second option then. People say that you should lead a themed blog so you can keep up your stable audienes. I struggle with consistency and I easily get bored when I have to write up every post related to one thing or another. I don’t know whether this blog is for me or for something else.

And then it just came to me : I dont’t  have to write blog for others to read; I just write for me to read. To please myself, to start with. And that’s the reason behind Hello-Ringo: a place for me to jot down all my stories, my feelings and such. It would be awesome if I have viewers because it means that there are some people interested in my gibberish talking. I love to write stories; I will write stories from fiction to non-fiction. I don’t want to be anyone’s life coach or lecturer, or the inspiration source ; I will never advise you to do or not to do anything. I’m a kid inside, and I will always be. Be foolish and confused. 🙂

I want to write about my life like a journey, a chronicle of life-time experiences. That’s my goal for this blog. This blog will be a place for me to look back in the next 5 years or 10 years, and then I could feel that I didn’t really waste my youth at all.

Happy new year 2015 to Hello-Ringo 🙂

Copenhagen (2014) – A lovely summer song

No fighting scenes, no gory bloodshed violence, no big pep talks or serious thought-provoking lines,  also, no big movie stars. “Copenhagen” (2014) has nothing to claim itself as blockbuster or must-watch movie of this year. I’m just teasing you. 🙂 I’m teasing you hard.  It’s true that the movie “Copenhagen” doesn’t have any of the trendy requirements for a successful movie above. But it still stands out among one of the best movies in 2014. And it’s true again.

I happened to know this movie thanks to my colleague’s recommendation. She told me she watched this movie last week, and Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, looked lovely in that movie. I nearly jumped when hearing the name she mentioned. Hell, yeah, Copenhagen, my most favourite city of all cities, the city I visited and never forget, the best 5-day trip ever in my life. All my memories about Copenhagen flushed to my mind: the sunny, chilled summer days, the hot grilled sausage sandwiched in crispy hot bread served in every 7-11 convenience store, the fresh cherry sold in boxes in front of the central station, the Danish girls gorgeously biking around cities with their fluttering floral skirts , the laughter from the Tivoli theme park right behind the central station etc. Copenhagen, it’s the city of joy and happiness, the city of fairytale, the city that I love dearly. So, when I knew about that movie, I definitely had to watch it. The name Copenhagen itself was already appealing to me 🙂

To be honest, the movie was better than my expectation. I came to watch the movie with the sheer intention of checking my beloved city Copenhagen on screen, re-seeing the places I went to in Copenhagen on screen. But the movie is more than a showcase of the lovely landscapes like some movies with the city names pinned on.  The movie is about the quest to finding your self, and the courses of human relationships.

Continue reading “Copenhagen (2014) – A lovely summer song”

Have a break, have a tea cup!

I have never been  a tea person; I’m always a coffee addict. I can never get tired of the rich, strong taste and the overwhelming, warm, earthy smell of coffee. I just can’t. However, today, I decided to have a break from coffee, a ‘tea break’. I went to my usual favourite cafe M.O.F , a Japanese cafe and desserts restaurant in District 7. This place used to have a quaint and quiet feel, now turns to be loud and lively thanks to its spot-on desserts and tea. As a way to retreat from the hustle and bustle mood of a sunny Saturday in my neighbourhood, I chose a small table at the corner. After nervously flicking through the menu, I decided to order a tea combo, a peppermint-flavoured black tea set accompanied with a slice of double chocolate orange cake.

Honestly, I felt a little bit nervous while waiting for the tea to come. I have never drunk tea before, no, I meant black teapot in a cafe. I drink matcha a lot of time, but it seems different this time. It’s black tea, and in a tea-pot!  The first experience made me quite nervous. Would it be a let down ? What if I don’t like the taste? What if the tea is too bland for my taste bud? The questions kept rolling in my head. I was anticipating and then I thought about my state of ordering tea. I always found tea was quite bland and …slow. I felt myself growing old for ordering tea instead of coffee. Hahaha no offence intended for tea people; this is just what I feel about myself, ok?; ) Having a teapot , with the book in hand, I could imagine that I was living in European cottage in the freezing winter. Sipping the bitter hot tea while sitting in the rocking chair, clearing my throat and turning pages whilst the fire in the fireplace has tiny crackling, and oh,  outside  the window is  a pit black sky littered with white dots of falling snow. That scene reminded me of Finland so much. That’s what i imagined while waiting for the tea pot to come amid the sunshine rushing to my table, the fading noise of people talking and laughing at the other part of cafe. “That silly girl is daydreaming” – I could expect someone would say that when looking at my face.

Dahhdah, finally, the tea set came. The china cup was lovely with a pure white colour and with the curves on edges. The taste was much better than what I expected. It surprised me that I got along so well with the tea and cake. The tea gave off a pleasant peppermint and tea scent. The taste was light, and not neither too bland nor too bitter. It’s the perfectly right amount of taste and scent. The slightly sweet and bitter aftertaste lingered on my tongue, making me feel refreshing and warm.

The cake is rich and flavourful; it complimented the tea perfectly. I couldn’t complain more. The tea combo was pleasant and lovely for a sunny Saturday. I wished it would rain that time so I could feel the fresh warmth from the tea. Now, I’m a  sucker for tea as well. Yikessss!

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I took pictures of the tea set but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a better spot to get the light and shade in better conditions. Though I intentionally wanted to go with the rustic, moody feel, the pictures turned out to be more of “pleasant” and “bright”. Hope that this feel is still lovely for an afternoon tea break. (It’s super sunny and warm in our place today. I can’t believe it’s December already!!!)

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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