Helsinki has changed a lot in a short time
Dancer, choreographer and film director Ima Iduozee works a lot internationally and travels around the world, yet sees no need to move abroad. "Helsinki is my home. I grew up here and forged my career here. My love for Helsinki stems from the feeling that it's always nice to come back here."
Iduozee spent his childhood and youth in Maunula and Pitäjänmäki, or Pitsku, as it's known colloquially. Both districts had already a colourful demographic in those days, with residents from all over the world. "They were very diverse environments in a fun way compared to, for instance, the central districts of Punavuori and Tokoinranta where I've lived as an adult. It now feels like the whole city has gone through a cycle of change in a very short time. I feel a whole new liking for the city. Lots of options have started to pop up, and there are many things to immerse in in terms of culture, arts and music."
These days, Iduozee tours the different cultural venues of the city through his work. He makes choreographies for theatre and opera, as well as for galas and the advertising world. "Finland is a small market, so you need to work very diversely."
His latests projects include also directing music videos for artists like Malla, Yeboyah and Isaac Sene. "I enjoy the variety in my work, it gives me energy. At the end of the day, everything is very connected, be it stage work or moving image."
This has been a place of grounding for me and I come by often. My everyday life is sometimes so hectic that there is no space or time for stopping. Here it is easy: I look around, enjoy natural sights and empty my mind. There is also plenty of oxygen here, the plants freshen up the air. And it's a unique place to witness tropical plants here in the North.
The Sports Hall was a central location in Finland's hiphop scene, a meeting spot for graffiti writers, music diggers and breakdancers. I spent all my time growing up, and find my own thing which was breakdance.
Orion has an alternative programme and plenty of classic films. It's by far the most atmospheric cinema in town. I see films there every now and then, depending on the programme. Every year, I make sure to visit Love & Anarchy, the Helsinki International Film Festival.
The best salmon teriyaki in Helsinki, period. I go to the Boom Room almost every week, most often for lunch, it's the best.
An interesting new bistro in Kallio. A good-mood restaurant, with food that is homespun but a bit more special, and good natural wines. It's a place to visit for a drink with a friend or your partner.
I go to Allas for an ice dip and sauna whenever the weather starts to get cold. Allas is a great place because it's so central and you can also go right to the sauna from the icy water. The ideal time would be to visit in the morning, but I really can't claim that I do that so often.
I go here to get my hair cut, and to hang out. Next Century Fashion was a really central spot for Helsinki's African community for a long time. It's a meeting place, you go there to chitchat. My Nigerian father first took me and my brother, who is a year and a half older, there when I was 10.
When you're in the mood for something sweet, Happy Waffle is the place to go. The city's best waffles and excellent service. They also have plenty of gluten-free options.
This is a place where I would take my friends and visitors from abroad. Mustikkamaa is fairly central, it's a perfect bike ride to get there. It has a beach and you can swim. The best time to go is late summer, as is the case for almost any outdoor activities in Helsinki.
The old shopping centre Puhos is a feel-good place in Itäkeskus. There are plenty of restaurants, my favourite is Newroz 21 with a lengthy menu of Middle-Eastern treats. One of the best values for money in Helsinki.