Final Update

Hello everybody!

As you might have already guessed by the title, this is my final post.

Summer vacations are approaching, so it is time for me and other SLU bloggers to take some time off. Some of us are coming back, others aren’t. I am not sure myself if I’m going to keep blogging next semester, but for now, I will just say good bye and thank you very much for everything. I hope my posts were somehow helpful, and that they inspired you to come to study in Sweden!

Have a wonderful day and good bye,

Anna

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Moving with your pet to Sweden

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New Course in Animal Genetics

A quick update regarding the last course of my first year as a masters student at SLU!

Following the current trend of picking all genetic-related courses in the programme, I decided to take the Animal Genetics: health, behaviour, and welfare course. As the name indicates, this course mixes up several topics that were taken separately in previous courses (e.g. animal genetics, ethology and welfare, veterinary medicine, etc.).

My thoughts so far? I believe that this has been the busiest course so far, even compared with the previous one which was bioinformatics. We have been swamped with work, but the topics are so interesting that I don’t complain!  Also, the discussions in class and team work are quite challenging due to the different student’s backgrounds, so you don’t just learn from the lecturers, but also from your classmates, which is quite nice!

Overall, this has been a quite intense and interesting course that I would recommend to anyone interested in genetics and welfare.

Hope you enjoyed this quick update, and have a lovely day!

Anna

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Hokusai Exhibition

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the Hokusai Exhibition in Stockholm. I believe that most of you might not know who Hokusai is, but he is the person behind the Great Wave of Kanagawa, one of the most famous pieces of art from Japan.

The exhibition had several pieces of his work, like his series of thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, as well as some of his more satirical prints. His work is extremely detailed, and part of its charm is that it depicts the life of common Japanese people, rather than the wealthy living in luxury.

Here are some of the pictures I took during this exhibition. If you are interested, this exhibition is going to be open until the 3rd of June.

Biography of Hokusai

So many people showed up!

The famous Great Wave off Kanagawa

South Wind, Clear Sky

Goten-yama-hill, Shinagawa on the Tokaido

 

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Spring is here!

Spring is in the air and the flowers are blooming!

Blooming apple tree in campus

My very first apple tree flowers!

Tulips are blooming as well

Perfect picnic weather

Blue sky and no more snow

More cherry blossoms

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Cherry Blossoms in Stockholm

After an almost never-ending winter, spring is finally around the corner! And there is no better indicator of that than the beginning of the blooming season of cherry blossoms.

Each year, Kungsträdgården is the host of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the friendship between Japan and Sweden. This festival offers a wide variety of performances, food, drinks, sweets, games, and other activities. It is really fun and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Japanese culture or just wants to feel a bit festive and look at something new.

Cherry Blossoms

 

Cherry Blossoms

Hello Kitty in the Cherry Blossom Festival!

Bunraku show

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Skates on!

Last weekend the Animal Science Masters Group decided to do some ice skating!

The ice rink we went to is called Studenternas, and it is an outdoors ice rink that is quiet close to the city centrum.

 

Outdoor ice rink!

I have to say that this was a really fun experience! I am not an experienced skater so I was afraid of falling, but it went better than expected and I even managed to do some turns here and there. The only scary thing is that, since this is a very popular place, there are lots of children skating so you have to be careful to not trample on them.

Overall, this ice rink was really nice and I would recommend it for beginners and experts alike.

Note! For this particular ice rink, there is no entrance fee, but it has the disadvantage that  it doesn’t have rental skates, so you need to bring your own or rent them somewhere else.

Have a nice day!

Anna

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Yasuragi Onsen

One of the things my boyfriend and I miss the most about living in Japan is the onsen culture.

An onsen (温泉) is a hot spring public bath; they are an integral part of Japanese culture and can be found all around the country. These baths can range from basic facilities for everyday use, to luxurious resorts called ryokan (旅館). Much like a western spa, the appeal of an onsen is to disconnect from all your worries and relax.

In short, onsen are awesome! And we were quite surprised when we stumbled upon an advertisement of a Japanese-style onsen in the outskirts of Stockholm. Intrigued, we did some more research, and finally decided to go as a late-Valentine celebration.

The name of the place is Yasuragi Onsen, and it surpassed our expectations! We though that the place was going to be a western spa with a Japanese touch, but it was completely the opposite!

Yasuragi Onsen

Entrance road to Yasuragi Onsen

The rooms were quite nice and with a lovely view to their Japanese garden (although it was winter so everything was covered in snow). And we received a swimming suit, yukata, and sandals to wear inside the place.

Ryokan room

The onsen area was quite spacious and had several pools where you could try different water temperatures. They also had two saunas, one dry and the other with steam. The cherry on top was the rotenburo (露天風呂) or outdoor spring, where we could dip in hot water while enjoying the cold winter breeze in our face.

Not allowed to take pictures within the onsen area, but still I took a picture of the area where you wash yourself before entering the onsen.

The most surprising thing for me was how the onsen etiquette was so similar to Japanese one: washing yourself before going into the onsen,  keeping your hair out of the water, and being quiet and avoid splashing water to others. The only exception being that we needed to use a swimming suit instead of bathing naked. However, this last point is understandable since in Yasuragi all baths are mixed, and in Japan you tend to have separated baths for women and men.

Overall we enjoyed our stay very much and we will definitely come back again.

So, if you are interested in spending a quiet and relaxing day with your family or partner, this is a great place to do so.

Hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Pinchos: a new kind of restaurant

One of the most curious things I’ve encountered in Sweden so far, is the extremely popular restaurant chain Pinchos.

In general, Pinchos is a circus-themed restaurant that serves tapas. Pretty normal so far isn’t it? However, what amazed me about this place is that EVERYTHING works with their app. The only human service you will receive is from the hostess who will guide you to your table and give you a table code that you’ll need to order your food.

At the entrance of Pinchos

Free popcorn as a starter!

If you are a first-timer, you’ll need to download the Pinchos app, and add some general information. After that, it works pretty much as any other shopping site; you look at the menu, select which tapas or drinks you want to order and the amount, type the table code you were given when you entered the restaurant, and finally accept your order.

Looking at the Pinchos’ menu

This is how it looks before placing your order! Don’t forget to type your table code

You will receive three notifications: when your order has been received, when its being cooked, and when its done. As I mentioned before, the only human service you’ll get is from the hostess, so you will have to collect your food and drinks yourself –personally, that’s the only thing I didn’t like because there is a risk of you dropping your food –.

Gyoza, and some chicken tenders.

Mini princess cake for dessert!

Once you are done, you just pay through the app and then you are all set. Quite a unique experience worth giving it a try!

One thing I forgot to mention is that the app works also as a point card, and you can trade your collected points for free tapas later.

Have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Fettisdagen equals Semla

Fettisdagen, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the Swedish name given to the day preceding Ashes Wednesday. This day is the equivalent of Pancake Day or Carnival, and according to tradition, this is the last day that people is allowed to eat delicious food and have crazy fun before starting Lenten fast.

Although most of Swedish people aren’t religious, and therefore don’t participate in Lenten fast, the tradition of enjoying good food and creamy pastries before Ashes Wednesday remains.

The most iconic treat for fettisdagen is the semla, which is a cardamom-spiced soft bun cut in half, filled with almond paste and whip cream, and dusted with powder sugar on top. You can find this pastry almost anywhere between February and March, and it’s so popular, that some stores have started getting quite creative and adding some flavour twists to the original recipe.

A traditional semla plate!

Recently I found a croissant version of the semla, which is basically a traditional semla, but with a croissant bun instead. I fell in love with it at first bite! You can also find semlor with Nutella whip cream, vanilla whip cream, nuts, lactose free, and even vegan!

My favorite! The croissant semla!

Traditional semla vs Crobunsemla

If you have the opportunity, please don’t miss in this iconic pastry!

Anna

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