Friday, February 19, 2010

Sapporo Snow Festival: Snow sculptures in a blizzard

Woke up with a good old cracking hangover, nothing a bit of traditional Japanese breakfast of fish, rice, pickles and miso can’t sort out”! Weather, sub zero but actually sunny. Wow, it all looks so welcoming! Decided to head out to the Tsudome site (snow tubing and mazes) and then come back and see the snow sculptures at Odori Park after. My idea and in hindsight it was a crap idea.

We spent the most part of the morning trying to find the bus stop then we managed to get on the wrong bus, each of us relying on the other that we knew where we were going, it was hilarious. By the time we got off the wrong bus and had boarded the right bus heading in the right direction a huge snow blizzard had started to the point that I didn’t really want to get off the cosy bus!

We stayed about an hour there, the snow tubing was brilliant fun and there was this place where a snowmobile dragged inflatable tenders around a track, now that's a great alternative to sledging, I’ll have to tell Ben!

Got back for the snow sculptures but our timing was not great as the blizzard had decided to hit the city. I’ve never seen anything like it, I couldn’t even lift my head up! Could but only because her glasses were blocking out the snow!

Check out these scenes....

Watching the Sapporo snowboarding competition in a blizzard

Bloody hell, this snow blizzards giving me a right headache

Yep Maylee is under there somewhere...

Japanese girl in mini skirt in snow blizzard

Oh and of course we’re in Japan so you’re still going to see a handful of people with their mini skirts on and no tights (and some kind of weird tail thing going on)

Near the bottom of the Odori Park we came across the international snow sculpting competition which including competitors from the US, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, Hong Kong, China etc. Each team (it looked like) got given a block of packed snow a few feet high/wide and a set time to create something amazing.

Well...the Dutch decided to do nothing with theirs (is there enough snow in Holland for them to even have professional ice carvers?!) and so instead handed out snow gifts, basically a snow brick hacked off and wrapped up with some ribbon, with an underlying message about the icecaps melting. Personally I wondered if they just knew they wouldn’t win so went for the easy option instead of slaving away on the ice? Ok that’s me being totally cynical.

Over to the Finnish sculpture and a very cute family in the sauna scene, the Singapore team and a wonderful flower display, China working on an amazing Buddha image and then to the US....

Well we all know the US usually excel in all competitive events but I was sneakily chuffed to see that the US sculpture was absolutely dire, a guy from Portland trying to sculpt some grapes which didn’t really look like grapes. To rub salt into the poor guys’ wounds his neighbour, the super talented Hong Kong team, had carved what could only be described as a Chinese looking dragon masterpiece. Well see the pics and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

Sour grapes.....

Walking on a bit we stumbled on what my friends know as a personal favourite of mine; an international outdoor food hall. Brilliant. Since the Japanese don't do anything but chipolata sized Frankfurter plastic tasting sausages I just couldn't resist a fat meaty Brazilian sausage on a stick....

He looks friendly but I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of this guy.. check out knife

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