RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
There are emojis to represent virtually every state of being, including the state of being Finnish. Yep, the government of Finland has come up with its own set of emoji that capture the particular nuances of Finnish culture. Here to tell us more is Petra Theman. She is the director for public diplomacy of Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thanks so much for being with us, Petra.
PETRA THEMAN: Well, thank you so much. Nice to talk to you.
MARTIN: So let's talk through some of these. There's the head-banger emoji. There's a big metal scene in Finland, right?
THEMAN: Yeah, I think - I'm not really sure if this is, like, 100 percent true - but, at least in Finland, we've seen a study that says that we have more metal bands per capita than any other country in the world.
THEMAN: Basically, the fact that we even have a metal band for children...
THEMAN: That should kind of already seal the deal.
MARTIN: OK, and saunas - there's an emoji here, a couple of people soaking in a sauna. This is something that Finns do a lot?
THEMAN: Yeah. I mean, sauna, that's even a Finnish word.
MARTIN: Oh, I didn't know that.
THEMAN: So that's - for us, it's really a sacred thing. It's just something that's very important for us. That's the only way to really cleanse yourself and really make yourself clean spiritually and physically.
MARTIN: There's a steaming cup of coffee because Finns apparently drink a whole lot of coffee. The one that I really liked that stood out to me is an emoji about personal space. I didn't realize this about Finns.
MARTIN: But on this particular picture, it's people at a bus stop standing several feet apart from one another, not talking. And this is apparently a thing that Finns do?
THEMAN: We do. I'm so sorry. I mean, we would like to be more like you Americans, but we're not. So that's basically what happens. There's a picture that's been pretty viral in Finland that is a true picture about Finns standing and waiting for a bus. So that picture is really, like, captured from a true photograph.
MARTIN: Do you have a favorite?
THEMAN: I do. I have a favorite that's called stuck. It's a small child stuck with his or her tongue in a metal pole.
MARTIN: Oh, yes.
THEMAN: And that is a feeling every Finn knows, that your parents told you do not do that. And then you do it anyway.
MARTIN: You did that, Petra?
THEMAN: Oh, you have no idea how many times.
THEMAN: And then I was stuck. And the only way to get - (laughter) loosen the grip, so to say, when your tongue is stuck on a frozen metal pole, that's to pour, like, warm water on it. And there is a terrible trick - I'm not sure if I can tell this on radio.
MARTIN: Sure, try.
THEMAN: But there's a terrible trick that every Finn knows when you're a child. And that is if you do that, you're stuck. And your parents are not close - only your friends. You can ask your big brother to pee on your tongue.
THEMAN: And yeah, I'm sorry.
MARTIN: (Laughter) That's amazing.
THEMAN: Yeah, so that's a secret trick I'm now sharing with you (laughter).
MARTIN: (Laughter) Oh, man. Don't get your tongue stuck to a metal pole in Finland. That is the lesson in there.
THEMAN: (Laughter) Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, they're quirky. I like the fact that we were able to do, like, government emojis that don't only talk about our strengths but also a little bit about our vices. And I think that's the way it should be.
MARTIN: Petra Theman is with Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We've been talking about Finnish emojis. Petra, thanks so much.
THEMAN: Thank you very much.
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