This summer, BTSB sent me on a mission to solve the age old discussion of Espoo versus Vantaa. I traveled far and wide in search of answers. The research was grueling at times, but it paid off in the end. Before I submit the entire fourteen volume case for publication in hardback, complete with compelling charts and graphs, I present here a few selections from my journal. Prepare to be amazed. And to my kaverit, I apologize for any appeasement caused by this article; I can assure you that offense was the aim.
28 May 2008 – Helsinki
Started today with the most obvious way of gaining information on the subject. I got one Espoonian and one Vantaanian together and I asked them which town was better and why. The Vantaanian started the discussion with the captivating phrase that I later learned is known by all Vantaanians.
“Blah blah blah Vantaa,” he said. “Blah Vantaa good, blah blah Espoo blah bad.”
Powerful words, but the Espoonian countered with a bit of wit and wisdom.
He said, “Yadda yadda Espoo yadda yadda Vantaa.”
The conversation was intriguing. I could tell by just how hard I had to struggle to keep up with the arguments of these men. They were both so sure of themselves, and stubborn. The argument seemed like it would go on forever so I left a research assistant with them; will pick him up at the end of the summer.
27 June 2008 – Philadelphia
I’m getting tired of explaining Espoo and Vantaa to people here. Where it is, who lives there, they’re all white and Finnish, so what’s the problem, etc. The men I talk to just want to know which town roots for the Eagles and the women just seem bored. Although, some hockey fans did ask where Kapanen was from, so points to Vantaa I guess.
26 July 2008 – Tokyo
Got treated to a slide show today. It was given by a Japanese man who had been to Finland only two weeks ago. Looked at 14,000 pictures taken during a three hour layover. He plans on submitting them to the University of Tokyo’s Chances Are If You’ve Done It, The Japanese Have It On Film Project (CAIYDITJHIOF). Unfortunately, the man had no idea there was a difference between Espoo and Vantaa and so his pictures were not organized. I ran down the main stereotypes of the two, trying to see if he’d help pick them apart, but he just laughed. “Ha! Only fool look for differences between grains of rice,” he said, whatever that means. Have to remember to learn more about Japanese aphorisms.
25 August 2008 – Bulungi
Visited with the U.S. ambassador today. Then went to see the tribes. The first tribe I spoke to looked questioningly at me. I tried to explain the Espoo vs. Vantaa situation but all attempts at communication were impossible. Plus, it was very late before I proved to them that I wasn’t there just to give them more bibles. I’m told the natives here can’t stomach the Bible. Perhaps it’s the ink. I’ll try more direct methods tomorrow. But something’s about to break. I can feel it.
26 August 2008 – Bulungi
Success! Utter Success! Hooray! Success in communication with the natives and in the research as a whole!
I had an idea today of showing a picture of Espoo and a picture of Vantaa to the tribesmen to see which one they preferred. And it worked. It was amazing!
I brought out a picture of each city (one in each hand, in accordance with the scientific methods practiced at English departments around the world, to be sure) and no sooner had I done so then a native grabbed one of the pictures. He held it above his head and yelled, “Ibbabo Oday!”
Immediately after he had done this, a second native grabbed the other picture, held it up, and screamed, “Ntembe Ngoche!”
Then the first man plucked his belly button and the second picked his ear.
This was amazing. Here it was! The similarities between this argument and the Finns’ argument were clear as day. It was as if the first tribesman was from Espoo and the second from Vantaa. The disagreement in Helsinki came rushing back to me.
This is proof that there are people in the world, other than a small amount of Finns, who give a shit about the Espoo versus Vantaa argument.