About Me

My photo

Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monsters of Film


One of my oldest friends and I used to watch a lot of B-movies when we were young. We usually meet up when I am in Sweden and this time he suggested we could go and see a movie at the "Monsters of Film" festival that I did not know was going on.

Me and my friend right before the free beer arrived

We saw "What we do in the shadows", which was a really funny mockumentary about some vampires sharing and apartment in Wellington. 

Free flavored water
Free beer

This turned out to be the last movie of the festival, so before it started everyone got free beer or free flavored water and some snacks. They wanted to thank everyone for supporting the festival etc. I did not feel that I had supported them that much, but I got a can with raspberry flavored water. 

I did have to work quite a lot to get a ticket, though. The tickets were only sold online. The system did not accept my Japanese credit card, so I tried my old Swedish card that I still have for when visiting Sweden. Then the system prompted me to input an extra verification password to the bank (that would not go to the seller) for extra fraud protection, but I did not have such a password. It said that if you did not have a password you could simply log in to your Internet bank and get one. My Internet bank requires a code key machine for logging in, which I keep at home. Going home to Sapporo to get it did not seem like a great solution. I tried another Japanese card I have, which was considered suspicious (because the address of the card owner was not in Sweden) but that the system said: "possibly might be accepted after manual inspection". The manual inspection only happens when people are at work, but 16 hours later, my transaction finally went through and I could pay for my ticket.

My friend had a sword at home. Possibly to use against zombie outbreaks.

I also got to meet a friend of my friend who turned out to be a movie geek (in the best possible way). He apparently owns around 8000 DVDs. Where do you even store so many DVDs? We talked about strange niche market Japanese movies for a while. Good times.

Giant frying pan

I saw a very large inflatable frying pan in Stockholm.

Swedish Kebab

In Sweden we have lots of immigrants (something like 15% of the population). At one time, lots of people came to Sweden from Turkey, and kebab is now standard Swedish junk food. It is one of the few things you can eat while out without paying a lot of money. It is also very good, so I usually try to have some kebab when I visit Sweden.

Seeing reruns of myself on TV again

Me, not being interviewed for 5 minutes like I though, but sitting smack in the middle.

One of my friends in Sapporo recorded my latest appearance on (Hokkaido only) TV and made a BlueRay with this program. They sent it to my parents. My parents do not understand Japanese, and since it is BlueRay it was hard to add subtitles. I was thinking of translating the show and sending the subtitles to my parents, but apparently the powers that be have tried and mostly succeeded in making that very difficult.

Anyway, when I was in Stockholm we watched the show together, and I explained what was going on. I also got some better screen shots now that I had control of the TV.

The previous story describing the contents can be found here.

Talking about the ice hotel built just outside Sapporo.
Trying to decide what face to make when I was in the small frame.
Presented with my name
Bowing politely as the information about age, my place of work, etc. shows up.
When asked if I speak Japanese I said yes, but that I was not a native speaker, and showed my shirt that said: "I am not Japanese", in Japanese.

You could fax/e-mail/etc. stories of visiting Scandinavia to the show, and some of these were read at the end of the show.
The first e-mail that was read to me was from one of my friends! Which I realized halfway through the mail... "This story sounds familiar?" I was not sure if it would be OK to say: "I know this girl!", so I kept my poker face, haha.


Speaking Japanese and using Japanese body language

We also talked about Swedish handicrafts

Out drinking with my brother

Cars completely unrelated to my brother's work

My brother and his wife wanted to join me when I went to Magic Bar Stockholm to see the weekend show there. We stopped by a pub on the way, and I was surprised by the staff there not understanding me when I tried speaking Swedish (most people in Sweden do understand Swedish). The problem was not that my Swedish is bad from living abroad, but that this was an English pub and the people working there were British. Since everyone in Sweden (pretty much) speaks English, it is probably difficult for them to learn Swedish (everyone switches to English so you get no practice).

British pub

The drinks were nice, as was the interior and the staff. We walked from there to the magic bar, and on the way we passed two things that my brother pointed out. One is the office where he works now. On the ground floor there were lots of luxury cars, but that was not related to their company.

Expensive apartment
Random expensive looking car

On the other side of the street, we could also see the apartment with the highest per square meter price paid in Stockholm, I was told. It was bought by the guy who created the Minecraft game. There were lots of expensive looking cars parked around that area in general.

Swedes like eating outdoors. Despite it being something like 12 degrees Celsius, people were still sitting at tables in the street to eat and drink.

Swedish "Konbini Bento"


In Japan it is common with "bento", which means something like "lunch box", though it can be used at all times of day. A box with food you bring to wherever you plan to eat it. It is often made at home, to save money or to be healthy, but all convenience stores etc. also sell ready made bentos if you do not have the time to cook.

In Sweden you can also buy food that you just heat up or eat as it is. I had one lunch of this type, and it was very good. Fish with mashed potatoes.


I also bought a hot dog, which was super cheap (5 SEK, or 73 yen or 53 Euro cents) and very good.

Blodpudding


In Sweden there is a dish called "blodpudding", which translates as "blood pudding", and is a form of blood sausage. It is blood from pigs and cows mixed with wheat flour and spices. This is common in school cafeterias and very cheap to buy. Most people like it, I think. At least in our school most kids did. My Japanese friends do not like it, and the idea of eating blood is disgusting to them. Which is strange considering the all like raw liver, which is mostly blood (and the plate will be covered in blood after eating it).





Swedish sweets

Home made (by my mother) apple cake

To Japanese people,  European sweets are too sweet. To most of the people I know from Europe, Japanese sweets are "too sweet" too. My theory is that in Sweden (Europe) sugar is used for sweets, while in Japan they use sweet beans a lot. The sweetness that you are not used to comes through as "too sweet", so both sides think the other side's sweets are much sweeter than their own.
Home made plum pie
The home made apple cake again
The not yet made apple cake in the oven. Japanese ovens are about one fourth of the size of this (standard size in Sweden) oven, if you are lucky...
Blueberry pie with vanilla sauce. Very Swedish. Also, chai latte.
Kladdkaka ("chocolate mud cake"), very Swedish.
Carrot cake
Another carrot cake
Mousse
Sweden has lots of berries, so many desserts come with berries.
Old style candy

Swedish supermarket

Someone has put two kids in his shopping cart, where the products you buy go. I am not sure what the going rate for a kid is nowadays.

There is a great (both in size and in quality) supermarket near my parents' place. Some things are different from Japan.

Sweden has very high per capita consumption of coffee, and this isle has only different types of coffee.

In Sweden you put your things in a bag yourself. And you are under some pressure to finish before the person behind the person behind you steps up, because after that all their stuff also comes and gets mixed up with your stuff.

Japanese decorations in Sweden


My parents have some Japanese stuff hidden around the house. There is a small white haired doll on the table above, and a blue cloth on the table below, for instance.


Lunch with a view

Great view of Stockholm from the restaurant
I met with my old fencing/martial arts teacher for lunch one day. He suggested a restaurant that had "all you can eat" lunch buffet. Not that not getting enough food is a big problem for me when I visit Sweden, but still...
Great food
Swedish pun
The place also has a superb view of Stockholm, and lots of signs with stupid puns in Swedish. The weather cleared up and we had a great view of autumn Stockholm and caught up on strange happenings since last time we met.

It also turned out that both our next appointments were in the same area, so we walked to the other side of Stockholm together, and stopped for some carrot cake and chai-latte on the way. Chai latte seems to be popular now, every cafe I passed had it on the menu.
Carrot cake
Chai latte