2: Talk about your first kiss.
There was tongue, and I was quite surprised by the fact. I was prepared for something a little less… intense, but then it just happened.
But I guess that’s what you get by dating someone with more experience than you.
4: Talk about the thing you regret most so far.
That’s tricky. Some mistakes feel like the biggest things ever when they’re recent, but stop feeling that important after some time has passed. That could be months, or usually years.
After enough time has passed you might even feel like it was a boon of sorts, because in the end it shoved you towards some path that ended up being the better option in the long run. And even if that wouldn’t be the case, it’s hard not to think that you would be some other person if you had followed down that original road.
For example, when talking about a past relationship I might think that all the problems can be tracked down to “that one event”. But if I think about it logically I realize that in the end large problems like that are bigger than the sum of their parts, and pointing fingers at one single event is just wishful thinking. Most likely doing things differently “that one time” would only have delayed the unavoidable. So is it sensible to even regret it?
And if you roll things back enough, some decisions that felt great for many years afterwards – like deciding to start dating, or deciding not to break up after some initial problems – only ended up giving me years of toiling in a sub-par relationship. In the end that road denied me of many experiences that would’ve been nice to have, like the opportunity for student exchange and a more active social life during my student years.
But would I really be the same person I am today if I had taken a different path? Is that something worth regretting, really?
8: Talk about the thing you are most proud of.
Looking back at it all, I’ve done two major things in my life: co-founding Desucon, and taking over Anime-lehti and transforming it into what it is today. There have been other things, but in the larger context those have been smaller ones. These two, on the other hand, are the ones I think are the things most worth being proud of.
Desucon was born in May 2008. I had just decided to stop publishing my little self-published anime magazine I’d been working on for a few years, and somehow the random idea of having your own convention didn’t seem that far-fetched either. Thinking back it was almost a miracle that the first event in 2009 went out as smoothly and successfully as it did – we even had the goddamn voice actor of the goddamn main character of the original Gundam as the guest of honor.
You have to understand that at that time the state of anime conventions in Finland was quite dire. There were only two conventions: Tracon was held regularly but wasn’t really a big event, and Animecon was a roaming convention that was technically just a sideshow event for the sci-fi event Finncon, and therefore was basically a first-time convention every year, with all the associated problems. It was a sad world where people were used to traveling all the way across the country to a small local event, because on some years there simply WASN’T anything better.
With Desucon we kicked off the culture of people actually considering conventions as something that doesn’t require years of planning, cultural grant applications and committee meetings. I like to think that things like Tracon becoming a large-scale event and people starting new cons like Yukicon are largely the result of Desucon showing that such things are possible in the first place.
As for Anime-lehti – which is what most of the things I tag under “real life” are about – I feel like it’s really the one thing I’m most proud of, ever. It was the greatest opportunity in my life when I was given free rein to do basically whatever I wanted with it, and after these two and a half years it’s really feeling like it’s starting to come together.
Back when the magazine was founded in 2005 it was hardly a topical publication, and when you look at those old issues now you can really see that the people who ran it back then were still learning about what to cover and how. The reviews were a mishmash of non-topical manga and imported R1 DVDs, and the idea of covering currently airing anime was nigh impossible back then. It was really a different world – one without legal online streaming and all that jazz. One of the reasons I’ve been expanding the coverage of digital manga releases lately is because I don’t ever want to look back and realize that I didn’t see which way the wind was blowing.
The guy who ran the mag from mid-2007 to the end of 2010 didn’t really know that much about anime and manga in general, which was apparent. After I was hired to replace him I basically replaced everything, little by little, and what I have now I think is quite a good balance between covering old stuff and new stuff. Being relevant has always been the key thing I’ve been obsessing about, and I think I’ve succeeded in that.
By the way, after the next issue I’ll be the longest-standing editor-in-chief in the history of the magazine. Time sure does fly.
11: Talk about the best dream you’ve ever had.
12: Talk about the worst dream you’ve ever had.
These I covered already.
13: Talk about the first time you had sex/how you imagine your first time.
Over 10 years ago there was this game show called ”Kuutamolla” that was hosted by Santeri Kinnunen. The contestants had to present three outrageous claims about themselves and their life, like ”I’ve never been to a barber shop in my life” or ”I once ended up on a blind date with my ex”. The idea was that only one of these claims was actually a lie, and the other contestants had to ask questions and correctly guess the lie.
For a few years now I’ve been thinking that if I ever ended up in a situation like that game show, I could confuse the hell out of everyone by claiming that I lost my virginity in the bed of Mert Otsamo. No joke.
17: Talk about someone you want to be friends with.
That’s a really Tumblr-spesific thing, isn’t it? I mean, in Tumblr it’s quite normal to follow someone who’s more famous than you for whatever reason, but not really SO famous that the idea of you becoming friends would be unthinkable. So you keep staring at that message you write to them for hours before eventually deleting it.
Not that you can’t really follow famous people in Twitter, of course. But over there being famous is less about what you post on that specific service, and more about who you are in general. And even if someone has tens of thousands of followers, you are still more on an even ground, so to speak. You can send them a tweet, and it’s completely plausible that they might answer you in public, even if they’re the goddamn Conan O’Brien. But that has nothing to do with being friends. In that way Tumblr is much more intimate and private.
But no, I don’t really know if I KNOW anyone I would actively want to be friends with but am not already at the moment. Though your mileage on “friend” might vary, of course. I’ve never been the fastest person to make friends – in the first place I usually only gradually become aware of the existence of people after we’ve been acquainted for a while, and then proceed to learn their name and so on. That’s how I’ve made most of the friends in my life – osmosis.
Not the fastest or most dramatic way of handling things, but I think it’s always worth a try. So if you’d like to get acquainted with me, the surest way is to hang around until I automatically start considering you as a person it’s nice to spend time with.
18: Talk about something that happened in elementary school.
It was compulsory to choose at least one optional subject. One year one of the options was “the course for having fun”, which – admittedly – sounds like something straight out of anime.
But I took it, and it was a real thing. One week we baked brownies, and sometimes we drew pictures or made small handicrafts. And I was blown away when the teacher told us that the old school building actually had a sauna – hidden in the basement where nobody normally went. We cleaned it up and bathed, and I have to say it’s one of the most surreal experiences in school I’ve ever had.
Since then they’ve demolished the old building because of mold and built a new one on its place, effectively making the previous new building the old one. Somehow I doubt the new new building has a sauna, though.
25: Talk about an ex-best friend.
Timo was my best friend through junior high and high school. We vaguely knew each other before because of scouting, and after we ended up in the same class it was a pretty natural thing to start hanging out in school too.
But after graduating from high school I moved out of town, and we fell out of touch – you know how those things go. It was not unlike what happened when in junior high I ended up on a different class than my best friend from elementary school. We bumped to each other a couple of times after that, but there’s no turning back time.
I last saw Timo a couple of years ago while attending a scout camp after years of absence. He had changed a lot – not his looks or his manners, or even his outlook in life. It was more like he still was everything he had previously been, but had evolved into the sort of an adult I would never want to become. All that responsibility had made him a total stick in the mud. I even came pretty close to punching him at one point, when he dropped all politeness to preach about the schedule to us other rovers late at night while we were washing up. I didn’t, though.
I guess that’s what they mean when they talk about growing in opposite directions.
32: Talk about a place you remember from your childhood.
That would be the pine tree that was growing between a meadow patch and a field next to the place where we lived while I was in elementary school. There were lots of other trees too growing nearby, but that one was the best for climbing – you know how pines are when they grow on open ares. The lowest branches were really low, and it forked into three branches at the top so you could actually sit down comfortably and observe the field below.
There were lots of other interesting places to play nearby too, but for some reason all the kids from the nearby yards always seemed to gravitate towards that tree. Next to it was a ditch between the meadow and the field, and when it was spring it was always flooding. I remember falling into it more than once while trying to balance my way over.
In 2011 I shacked up with my little brother, and we actually moved into a building next to the one where we lived when we were little. Before moving to Helsinki I decided to go for a walk around the grounds, because I knew I wouldn’t be around for a while. The pine was just as I remembered, but the bush around it had expanded considerably. There were all these new trees that were almost as tall as it was, and were probably just sprouts back when I had last been around, so I had never noticed them.
But in any case… there were signs of kids recently playing around the pine. Somehow that felt really comforting.
34: Talk about the worst physical pain you’ve endured.
I don’t really remember how old I was then – in elementary school anyway. I was playing around the kitchen, and for some reason I started slapping the stove plates like bongo drums. I had checked that the plates were off, of course, but I had no idea that mom had just turned one of them off literally a minute ago.
The pain was horrible for the rest of the night, and I couldn’t really fall asleep until late into the night. I had nothing to do except to read some books we had gotten from the library earlier that day and keep my hand in a sink filled with cold water. Most of the pain was gone the next day, thankfully. To this day it’s the most serious burn I’ve ever gotten, but I can’t even remember which hand it was anymore.
I’ve never broken a bone, by the way. And I’ve never been stung by a bee or a wasp either, which most people usually find strange. But I was always taught to be careful around those.