The end of November started to get so cold that everyone started to spend more time inside and there were less things to do. Our studies really started to pick up speed since all the assignments for our classes were soon due. On one day at the weather returned to a temperature that was close to a warm Finnish summer so my friend and I took the chance to visit the local zoo. The zoo had many animals that Finnish zoos do not have and I was especially happy to see so many animals originating from Australia and Central Asia. The zoo used to be known for the elephants they had but now the elephant pens were empty and there were only old photos and memories of their past main attractions.
During the last week of November the city started to light up with several different illuminations and a quite big Christmas market opening in the city center. The Christmas market had daily events and music shows and it was full of people drinking hot wine and eating Christmas delicacies from all around the world. The decorations of the market were so over the top and commercialized that it shocked me how different to a Finnish Christmas it was. There was one thing that was similar to a Finnish Christmas market and that was the over the top prices, which any self respecting student wouldn’t fall for.
At the end of the first week of December I went to see one of my favorite Japanese bands Zazen Boys, and the atmosphere and quality of the concerts in Japan had me looking to book tickets for gigs in the coming weeks as well. It was amazing to see an artist live that you could never see anywhere else in the world due to them only being popular in Japan.
The end of my exchange was getting really near, but I had something to be excited for since my girlfriend who is Japanese had been on a working holiday in Australia for most of the year and she was soon returning to Japan and we had plans to travel together after I finished my studies.