I’m really enjoying Finland and this trip– Turku is a lovely city, and I’m spending time with some very smart people– but I find two things kind of disorienting.
First, when I go to Korea or Japan, I’m used to seeing signage that I can’t understand. I don’t read the language, and I don’t expect to be able to: it looks completely different from English. Here, in contrast, I’m surrounded by words that use familiar letters, but those letters are arranged in patterns that are (to me) completely incomprehensible.
Indeed, Turku seems to have more than the usual share of obscure signs. I’ve been puzzled by two others.
The first is a model ship suspended from the ceiling of the Turku Cathedral. It’s a cool model, and the effect is very nice; but why’s it there?
I suppose, in some sense, it would be strange not to have a ship model in a cathedral in a port city on the Baltic; but I get the feeling that there’s more to the story.
The other is the Agricola Rooster. There are several things in the city commemorating the life of Finnish humanist Mikael Agricola— an exhibit at the archaeological museum, for example– and the posters or other advertising often feature a rooster. Why the rooster? What’s the story?
The second that throws me of is that it’s light out waaaaaay too late. It’s nearly 11:00 in the evening, and the sun just went down. So on one hand I’m dead tired, yet on the other my brain says it’s 7 in the evening. Strange.
[To the tune of Pat Metheny Group, “First Circle,” from the album “The Road to You”.]