Noma, voted the best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino's list of top 50, is Nordic. And surprisingly there are many other restaurants in Denmark, Sweden and the like that are very avante garde and recognized world wide. I mean of course we should know that Sweden is a forerunner in style and creativity, after all we have Ikea as an example. However trips to Ikea, especially when it's with my girlfriend, who I love, still makes me think, "what has become of my life?" No offense, it's just not my thing. And then there's Andersonville...Oh how Ann Sathers, Svea, Simon's, Wikstroms and The Swedish Museum with all the hunting/Pippy Longstocking/Dala Horse imagery would really culture and enlighten us on the brilliance of those up there with much longer winter months than we could imagine. I think it is those winter months, just like the great Russian writers, Dostoevsky in particular (who I always reference when I say crass things, that you have to be in the mind of the evil to write about the evil, or something like that), that unleashes the creative juices. Either you create or you suffer in the gray and white months. Ok so where the fuck am I going with this...?
The Norse Warriors, The Berserker Vikings, believed to have taken large quantities of fly agaric mushrooms which made them "berserk." Fly agaric mushrooms look just like the houses that the Smurfs lived it. It's the mushroom that most people probably imagine when the word mushroom is said. It's from the amanita class, mostly poisonous, however it would take very large doses to be lethal. Anyways maybe it was the mind expansions of the Berserkers which later led to the natural mind expansions and creativity to those artists thousands of generations later. Just a thought.
And on a side note Maitake, in Japanese, means Dancing Mushroom.