My local mate – Juhani - UTU Masters
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My local mate – Juhani

Juhani is a typical young Finn studying at University of Turku. His name has been the most popular one in Finland for years. I am lucky to have him as a friend before coming here. Although Juhani is extremely friendly, helpful, and nice, he feels shy to talk about himself and personal issues. This blog is about you, Juhani, as a small gilt although you may not expect it.

* The real name of my Finnish friend has been changed and the character in my article is fictitiously formed, but vividly reflects a Finnish portrait. Smile

Juhani’s smile is quite rare, genuine, and unique. Smiling to him is to purse his lips, but not to curve his mouth upwards to show the teeth. Anyway, it is still a sincere smile full of emotion, friendliness, and kindness hidden inside. (Read more here)

Personalities and characteristics

I have to say Juhani is always kind, friendly, unruffled, honest, straightforward (willing to say no without hesitation when necessary), less open to talk about himself although he is willing to spend hours discussing the election campaign of Donald Trump or his experience of trying sushi.

Sometimes Juhani behaves antisocially and avoids face-to-face interaction even with his neighbors. Sometimes I tease him with the comment: “To you, the best way to sustain a good relationship is not to have a relationship.” 😀


Juhani is addicted to sauna. He can stay in the sauna several hours and enjoy the sauna almost every day, but with less taking to others. To be honest, I enjoy sauna for the first hour, but really suffer during the next hours because of the burning heat. 🙁

Juhani really loves games with a wide selection, from board games to video games on PC and smartphones. He helped me find relaxing moments with and the meaning of games, from Max Payne, WereWolf, Love Letter and many other board games (I can’t remember) to Clash of Clans and Quiplash.


Though Juhani does not have to work part-time as international students do, he needs to study hard, but not as a workaholic. Otherwise, Kela will let him down with by “making his pocket cancerous”, he is very responsible for assigned tasks. He is really punctual to start meetings, and leave the discussion as regular as clockwork as well. The principle for groupwork of Juhani is that he never works on weekends or after 10PM because he is busy with… early sleeping, sauna, board games and family sometimes! However, Juhani has also impressed me that he can work the whole night when became an entrepreneur. “Why, so different, Juhani?” – “Well, actually I can also do that when I study, but… still. Now it is probably because customers forced me to stay up late!

During the lecture, when the lecturer allows student to raise questions, Juhani usually keeps silent though he still wonders something simply because he does not want to draw any attention. He will wait until the end of the class and approach the teacher personally then.

When it comes to giving presentation of the groupwork, Juhani has the style which is completely distinctive: He asks every single member to stand in front of the class at the place teacher usually occupies although he is the only guy speaking.

Alcohol at the bar

It is quite rare that Juhani drinks beer or wine outside; yet it is still possible. Alcohol to Juhani is for the sake of drinking, not for building a social network or anything else. Could you imagine how an antisocial guy “survive” in the bar? This is how Juhani “demonstrate”: He grabs a beer, then chooses a corner in the bar. Calmly sits down in silence, drinks a mouthful of beer, and then stares at the beer with a serious face as if he drank something poisonous. “Why did you do that, Juhani?” – “I am enjoying the beer!” 😉

Birthday to Juhani

As a cultural feature of Western people, birthday is a meaningful occasion to him. Having a close enough relationship, he will invite you to join his birthday party. In that event, you will see how happy he is to enjoy some traditional Finnish dishes with others during unforgettable moments even though it happens almost every year. Juhani’s parents’ birthdays are also significant in his life. For this reason, he gonna reject all of other invitations just to spend time with his mum and dad.

Public places

When you meet Juhani at public places for the first time, he wants you to know that personal space (around 1-2m far from him) makes him more comfortable. At an extreme level, if there is a shelter at the bus station which has been occupied, he will rather suffer the horrible rain.

Wait! When you get in an elevator with another guy that just wants to stand close to the back wall behind you and tries to look away, that might well be Juhani – my Finnish mate.

One more thing, if you catch sight of some other Juhani who are more open, more talkative, more socially active, that Juhani must have travelled a lot or studied somewhere else overseas or his parent is British or America or Russian. Don’t hurt Juhani! He is a nice guy! 🙂

Photo: Finnish Nightmares

Nhan "Mac" Nguyen
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