Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

From left to right. whiskey rings at Hvitträsk, Elk "Wallenberg" receipe, the childhood home of Tove Jansson, ice breakers
Amazing Finnish day yesterday. Started the morning meeting Marko's mom and dad. Then we went to Hvitträsk.
Hvitträsk was built 1901–1903, by three architects, Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The main building, designed in National Romantic style, built of logs and natural stone, was both a common studio and a home for Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren. Gesellius lived in the courtyard building. The Saarinen home is a museum today, and the courtyard building has a restaurant and a café. Hvitträsk and the garden in English style are surrounded by beautiful nature.
Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen were basically three young and really smart architects from Helsinki Polytechnic, graduating just 8 years or so after the first architecture program there. They lead the field of architecture in Finland and paved the way for generations to come. It seems like they were an edgy, hyper-motivated team trying to change the world through their lifestyle. It reminds me of etoy. Everything from the furniture to the clothing was design by the team. One funny thing was the "Whiskey Rings" in the main living/party room. If you had too much whiskey where you couldn't stand on one leg while holding on to a whiskey ring, you had to go to bed.

In the evening we went to Keitto Kokka, a famous restaurant in Helsinki. We had a "Game Food Course". We cooked our own wild game meal while being tutored on wild game, cooking and wine. I worked on the Elk. We also had hare and pigeon. It was absolutely amazing and fun. The passion of the chef and the sommelier was also completely contagious. Unfortunately, as the evening went on, my jet lag kicked in an I almost passed out at the end. Apologies to the other guests. ;-)

During dinner, Lisa took me out on a short break to see some sites near the restaurant. I got to see the impressive ice breakers, sitting in the harbor waiting to be called out to break lanes in the ice as the ice starts to form in the sea.

We also passed the childhood home of Tove Jansson. She is the author of the Moomin series which was my main memory of Finland growing up as a child. I loved to watch Moomin on TV in Japan. Lisa told me that Tove was said to be a lesbian and that she was not allowed to read Moomin growing up as a child. Tove supposedly lived on a loft hanging over the main room that her father had built and wrote about the wild parties that her parents threw that would leave her loft swinging. I didn't know anything about the author of the Moomin series so this connection to a childhood memory was very interesting.

Thanks Marko et al!


This ito fellow seems like he gets around a lot.

Do you think he gets to rub shoulders with the like of ron (of ronco), carleton sheets, and don lapre?

I did read your interesting description of your the visit to Finland and how you discovered some of your old "memories" of Finland and the reality today.

I refer here, that the famous Finnish children Moomin book writer Tove Jansson was a lesbian.

In Finland this was quite well kept "secret" and it did not harm his reputation and popularity. Well, it was not a secret, but it was never actively publicized.

Tove was also an excellent home moviemaker with her 8mm camera. Those home movies form her hideout in Summer-cottage was re-edited by one movie director and the movie was shown in Finnish TV in prime time few years ago. From that movie, you can see, that there was no "other man in the island" only other lady.

As a home movie fan, I have to say, that was a beautiful and artistic movie.

Br. Lauri

Hi Ito,

And Best Regards to Lauri and Marko - what a coincidence ..

If you read this today in Helsinki, welcome to join
the Mobile Monday event.

Just after our discussion at the gate in Copenhagen on
saturday you might recall that we met the Finnish
Oscar award 2004 candidate
debute film director Klaus Härö.

Anyway, please let me know if you have time to meet in Helsinki.


Wow, Joi, you´re quicksilver!

Wow, Joi, you´re quicksilver!

Hi Joi, Lauri and other minorities...

In fact, there were more taboos in my kiddie years...

My Mom taught me how to run successful Scandinavian style and design companies, but she did not let little me wear marimekko nor read Momin.

The founder of marimekko was also rumoured to be lesbian! How intolerant smart people can sometimes be!

Marimekko, is still today (and also for tomorrow, despite some nasty jeallous selfpitying tongues...), the greatest treasure of the Finnish fashion and interior decoration. Check,

Carelian entrepreneur and unafraid businesswoman Armi Ratia founded marimekko in her home kitchen (!!!) in by war badly damaged but proud post-war Finland in 1954.

Today, marimekko is run by another iron Lady, Kirsti Paakkanen. Today, December 6th, is the 76th Finnish Independence day.
Beautiful Kirsti will be the queen of the Finnish President Tarja Halonen´s party held in the President´s castle in Helsinki.

The Weather will be -5 degrees, so just feathers won´t be enough...

This was a long comment, but perhaps it suits well for entrepreneurial nerds who could learn more about Finnish design...

Big hug to all of you!
Joi, gardening already?

koko is a name bye the way he is adorable!