Chiba, from the city of Miyagi in Japan, has spent an exchange period in Finland before and was very attracted to Turku, feeling that he wanted to come back. Chiba returned to Turku and is now married to a Finnish wife.
Chiba loves to spend time in nature. In the Turku region, he has visited the area of Nautelankoski, the swamp area of Kurjenrahka and the nature reserve of Katariinanlaakso. He lives in Ispoinen and enjoys going to the nearby beach in Uittamo. Moreover, he often visits Ruissalo, one of his favourite places.
- Ruissalo is beautiful even during the night. I have been there to watch and to take pictures of the stars and listen to the sound of the waves.
Even mundane activities feel special in a forest
Chiba’s wife and her parents have given him tips on which destinations to visit and they have gone hiking and camping together. Chiba also takes part in organised group outings to nature destinations with foreign students. In the future, Chiba would like to see the national park of Teijo and islands such as Utö, Örö and Seili.
- Turku is a very convenient place, Chiba says. The transport system is very useful, with good connections to nature destinations and nearby countries.
Chiba appreciates forests in the Turku region and enjoys having a concrete physical connection with nature. Last summer he went picking berries with his mother-in-law who taught him names of different berries and plants.
- You don’t need to do anything special in the forest to enjoy it - you can just have a coffee and spend the time. Even these “normal” things can feel special.
Makoto is a keen photographer and his pictures can be found on Instagram.
The unique attraction of Finnish nature
Chiba likes to travel and has visited several Finnish cities. He has applied to be a student ambassador and wants to promote Turku, Finland and Finnish nature. In Chiba’s opinion, students should experience Finnish nature more often
- During their free time, many exchange students go shopping, for instance. It’s one way of spending time, but I would recommend going to the nature instead. I think it will be a more valuable experience for them.
Chiba has heard only positive comments from foreign students about Finnish nature. They feel that nature in Finland is very different from nature in their home countries. Chiba agrees and praises the fresh air and vivid colours.
- Finnish nature is inviting also in an invisible way – it has an atmosphere and an attraction that you can’t put into words.
However, Chiba points out one practical area of that could be improved.
- Many popular nature destinations in Finland have websites also in English but there are some very beautiful places with a website only in Finnish. This is a shame as it doesn’t attract English-speaking visitors.
Text and photo: Aino Koivisto