About us

We are an international couple from Stockholm and Tokyo. Our company name Olayaselection derives from our names Ola and Aya. We met at a meditation festival.  We love to dance, play music, meet interesting people and eat well. We are vegans who care about animals and our planet (although we do ride heavy motorcycles in the summer). We live on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea with our beloved dog, Heyla. Ola is a marketing professor at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland and spends most of his free time together with me, working with our poetry project.

How this project started.

Back in 2009, I started to offer events in which I introduced Japanese food, drinks and culture to people in Sweden. One of my first customers was The Language Teachers Association on Gotland who ordered some Sushi for their annual meeting. They also wanted me to give a short lecture on Japanese culture so I got the idea to introduce our 400 year old Japanese poetry game to them, but in Swedish with Swedish poems. The librarians on Gotland helped me select the most popular poems in Swedish and we had our first little handmade game ready for this lecture. The teachers loved the game and wanted to buy the game. So we started to consider making the game for schools and teachers. Since Karuta has been a parlor game for families to play at New Years in Japan, we started to create a game for both schools and families. It became Ogoola Karuta.

The name Ogoola Karuta is derived from the Japanese name of the Ogura mountain where Fujiwara no Teika got his inspiration for his anthology which is used for the original Japanese game.

Why we do it.

We make all our products in Sweden and Japan. We are a small two man company but we receive wonderful help from our children and friends along the way. We have also met wonderful people who we love to work with. And whoever tries the game – friends, school kids, game geeks or poetry lovers – they say that the game is surprisingly fun to play! We see what happens when people play it and we are proud of our products.

Our mission is to spread Karuta and poetry to the world for peace and understanding of each other. Through poetry and play, we believe we can make a better world than today!

 

Aya’s Favorite Quotations

From “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you –  Nobody Too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

From “Almqvist” by Josef Julius Wecksell
Att våga eller icke är det första,
Att lyckas eller icke är det andra,
Och däremellan ligger handligen.

From “Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen”
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen,
dann wird es werden wie ein Fest.
Und lass dir jeden Tag geschehen
so wie ein Kind im Weitergehen

 Ola’s Favorite Quotations

From “Vinegar and Oil” by Jane Hirshfield
Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.
How fragile we are,
between the few good moments.

From “Dagen svalnar…” by Edith Södergran
Du sökte en blomma
och fann en frukt.
Du sökte en källa
och fann ett hav.
Du sökte en kvinna
och fann en själ –
du är besviken.

From “Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen”
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen,
dann wird es werden wie ein Fest.
Und lass dir jeden Tag geschehen
so wie ein Kind im Weitergehen