Event report (World Plaza ~Finland edition~)

World Plaza ~Finland Edition~ 

 On Sunday, February 2th, the "World Plaza Finland Edition" event was held at Hashimoto Community Center. This event attracted many people interested in Finland.
 The speaker, Mila Kalliokoski from Finland, introduced Finland to the participants.

Mira first talked about her experience when she first came to Japan. She said the journey from Narita Airport to Sagamihara is simple but time consuming. She also said that she was impressed with how orderly passengers lined up at Japanese stations, and that although shopping at Japanese supermarkets was difficult at first, she was able to make the process go smoothly thanks to Google Translate. I spoke. She added that learning Japanese was difficult, but the kindness of the Japanese people and the safe environment made her very comfortable.

 Next, Mila talked about the differences and similarities between Finnish and Japanese culture, pointing out that both Japanese and Finnish people are quiet and respect politeness. Regarding etiquette, he mentioned that while Japanese people use honorific language, Finns also value politeness, but the hierarchy is more relaxed and they usually address each other by name.

 He also talked about the images that Finns have of Japan, including sushi, karaoke, high-quality electronic products, and anime and manga.
 Next, Mila introduced the situation in the Nordic countries, with a particular focus on Finland.

Although Finland has a land area similar to Japan, its population is 5.6 million, much smaller than Japan's 124 million.

Mila tells us that she grew up in Vichti, a place with a beautiful lake and a natural environment far from the hustle and bustle.

 He also touched on Finnish politics, noting that it was one of the first countries in Europe to enact women's suffrage in 1906 and was led by a female prime minister, Tarja Halonen, from 2000 to 2012.

Finland's position in the world rankings: 
Finland is the happiest country in the world according to the 2023 World Happiness Report (Japan ranks 47th) and ranks third on the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index in 2021 (Japan ranks 125th). 
He also cited a high standard of living, an excellent education system, work-life balance, social equality, gender equality, and civil rights (the right to enjoy nature) as characteristics of Finland.

 The Finnish education system was also an important focus of the event. Mila introduced the characteristics of Finnish education: an excellent educational environment, free education and school meals from elementary school to university, respect for individuality, and high-quality teachers. Finnish schools are characterized by a small amount of homework, no entrance exams (except for universities), few tests, and no cram schools.

In addition, Mila taught some Finnish pronunciations, and all the participants participated enthusiastically.

 Afterwards, Mila introduced Finland's natural environment. 75% of Finland's land area is covered in forests, with 188,000 lakes and although there are no high mountains, it is rich in nature and home to a variety of wildlife. Finns love nature and live a harmonious life, enjoying walks in the forest, boating on the lake, and picking berries.

Each of Finland's four seasons has its own characteristics, especially in winter, when families gather together to celebrate Christmas and outdoor activities such as skiing and cold swimming are popular.

 Finland is also a great place to see the Northern Lights. It takes some luck, and Mira says she has never seen the aurora herself, but she emphasized the preciousness of its beauty.

I heard that Santa Claus lives in Finland.

 The event also featured Finland's famous brands, characters and popular foods. Mila recommended a Finnish restaurant in Japan and said that you can enjoy authentic Finnish food in Japan.

 During the question time, participants actively asked questions, and they were particularly interested in topics related to education. Mira answered the participants' questions in detail, and the atmosphere at the venue was very lively.

At the end of the event, everyone in the audience learned how to play the traditional Finnish game "Mokky".

 Next, everyone actively participated and played a game divided into the "Mira Group" and the "Moriyama Group" represented by the secretariat staff. Everyone had a lot of fun playing.

In the end, the ``Moriyama Group'' won with a high score of 41 points, and the event ended with everyone's satisfied expressions and laughter.

This wonderful event was moving. Next time, let's experience the charm of different cultures at World Plaza!