How Norwegian Salmon Rawed to Success in Japan


(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER) Eating raw salmon was unheard of in Japan 20 years ago. But a few bright sparks in Norway were able to persuade the Japanese to try it. Norwegian sushi salmon has since become a global phenomenon.

Order assorted sushi in a typical Japanese restaurant and you’re likely to be served a small wooden platter on which 10 or 12 pieces of fish, including tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus, sea urchin and salmon have been arranged on rice. Sampling the sea urchin will certainly impress your Japanese friends. Then watch your Japanese friends eat the salmon and (pretend) to be equally impressed. Why? Well, although Japanese have been eating raw fish for centuries, 20 years ago the selection would not have included the salmon that is usually served on virtually every sushi platter today, both in Japan and elsewhere. The Japanese did not traditionally eat raw salmon because locally caught, i.e. Pacific, salmon was believed to harbor parasites, and considered too lean to be served as sushi. The Japanese ate salmon cooked and cured, but never raw. That salmon has now landed in Japanese restaurants is thanks to a combination of strategic analysis, crazy optimism and smart technology.

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Norway’s new patrons of art

Christian Ringnes in Ekebergparken in Oslo. FOTO: SAS Scandinavian Traveler / Thomas Ekström

Christian Ringnes in Ekebergparken in Oslo. FOTO: Faksimile fra Scandinavian Traveler / Thomas Ekström

(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER) Norway’s public art scene is being transformed by the donations of wealthy business people. But not everybody in the egalitarian country is happy about this.



What’s happened here?” property investor Christian Ringnes asks. He’s walking around the Ekebergparken, a sculpture park in Oslo, and spots some garbage on the floor by a trash can. “Birds have probably been at it,” he continues. “It breaks my heart to see litter. Everything should be pristine here.” Ringnes is from the family that founded Norway’s largest brewery, Ringnes, in the 1870s. He is a well-known property developer who owns restaurants and hotels in Oslo. And he’s an art collector. He financed and initiated the creation of Ekebergparken and donated many pieces
of art from his own collection to it, including sculptures by Damien Hirst, Fernando Boerto and Salvador Dalí.

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Mr. Wikipedia


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in Oslo. Photo: SAS Scandinavian Traveler, 2016.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in Oslo. Photo: SAS Scandinavian Traveler, 2016.


(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER): Jimmy Wales er en av grunnleggerne av Wikipedia. Sammen med tusenvis av frivillige skribenter[1] har han laget et nettleksikon på 280 språk[2]. Det har blitt en del av verdens infrastruktur, sier han i dette intervjuet med Scandinavian Traveler.


Han er stor i ordene, Jimmy Wales. Men ikke brautende. Heller lavmælt. Han besøker Oslo i forbindelse med en tale på Oslo Freedom Forum. Selv om han altså har vært med på å bygge deler av infrastrukturen i samfunnet, er det ikke mange som kjenner ham igjen på gaten. Bare noen få journalister kaster lange, scoopsugne blikk mot ham.

–  Wikipedia er stor på alle europeiske språk, kinesisk og japansk. Vi er store på noen få andre språk også, men det er fortsatt mye igjen å gjøre. Det finnes for eksempel noen små språk i India og i Afrika, der vi har en lang vei å gå, sier Jimmy Wales.

Wikipedia er i stadig utvikling. Internettgründeren så mulighetene internett ga straks det tok form på 1990-tallet. I 1996 startet han opp selskapet Bomis, som skapte og vedlikeholdt nettsteder myntet på såkalt lad culture.[3] Wales, som var chief manager, initierte Nupedia, en nettbasert encyklopedi, skrevet av eksperter. Det gikk sånn passe. Den redaksjonelle prosessen bestod av sju stadier før en artikkel var klar for publisering. Innholdsproduksjonen var ikke særlig stor.[4] Wales møtte Larry Sanger i et filosofisk debattforum på nett og ansatte ham. Og det var Sanger som brakte wiki på banen. Wiki er et program som gjør det mulig å åpne nettsteder for redigering av flere brukere.[5] Mandag 15. januar, 2001, ble Wikipedia lansert med server i San Diego. En måned etterpå var det hele 1 000 artikler publisert på Wikipedia. Omtalene kom. Først på nerdenettstedet, senere i New York Times september, samme år. I dag er utrolige 35 millioner artikler under bearbeidelse.

– 70 000 mennesker er innom og redigerer artikler hver måned. Det finnes likevel et kjernesamfunn bestående av 3 000 – 5 000 aktive brukere.

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Play Magnus

The Mozart of chess, Magnus Carlsen from Norway. Photo: SAS Scandinavian Traveler

Chess player Magnus Carlsen from Norway. Photo: SAS Scandinavian Traveler’s november – 2016 issue.



(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER) Don’t be afraid of me. If you’re afraid, then you’ve already lost, Magnus Carlsen says in this interview.


Magnus Carlsen is called the Mozart of chess. He has been playing the game since he was five years old. He was only 13 when he became a chess grandmaster, the third youngest person ever to achieve that level. Carlsen’s exciting style of play is also making chess tournaments appealing to a wider audience than has been the case in recent years. It’s the speed, the drama and the breathtaking moments. He’s modest, though, and says that you, too, can become a better player if you have a good opponent to practice on.

“With a few days of chess training online and some good opponents, it won’t take long for you to be good,” he says.

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Handy Jan

‘I have an interest in food, diners, tiki culture, and ­brewing. Suddenly there I am, owning lots of places’ - Jan Vardøen. Facsimile - Scandinavian Traveler, june, 2015. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen

‘I have an interest in food, diners, tiki culture, and ­brewing. Suddenly there I am, owning lots of places’ – Jan Vardøen. Facsimile – Scandinavian Traveler, june, 2015. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen



(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER) Entrepreneur Jan Vardøen built a business empire from scratch and went on to transform the old working-class neighborhood of Grünerløkka.


Jan Vardøen breathes in the scent of the old streets of Grünerløkka, Oslo. It’s a heady mix of wood lacquer, leather and freshly baked bread. Within just a few blocks are no fewer than ten businesses he’s built up literally by hand. Sporting a black shirt that Johnny Cash would have been proud of, he walks between his bars and restaurants. Style comes naturally to Vardøen, and you can see inspired vintage touches from the 1940s, 50s and 60s in all the places he’s touched.

Vardøen, who split his time between his father’s home in England and his mother’s in Norway until his 20s, arrived in Risør in 1988, having talked himself into a boat building course.

“Boat building is a fine skill,” he says, “one that everyone should learn. It teaches you problem solving. You’re also working with aesthetics, so you develop your personal style. And you need to be precise, or the boat might sink.”

Risør soon felt too small, so it was off to Oslo and Grünerløkka. Back then, Grünerløkka was a downbeat working-class area. There were still residential buildings where several apartments shared a communal bathroom. People were poor, and living on Markveien or Nordregate was not something to boast about.

But Vardøen has a thing for rough neighborhoods. In London, for example, he lived in a Brixton squat. He was quick to see the potential of Grünerløkka.

“It’s a soulful neighborhood,” he says, “with a nice mix of parks and old buildings. Everything is very relaxed here and there is a sense of unity. It suits me well.”

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