Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hokkaido 2012 - 63rd Sapporo Snow Festival 札幌雪祭り

After a 4-month hiatus, we finally get our acts together and start blogging again!! Life has been quiet and we got to spend a lot of time with mum and dad. That's until they decided to visit Hokkaido for skiing and the snow festival in Sapporo.

You might have noticed that the term "global warming" is no longer in vogue, instead the preferred term now is "global climate change". This may have a lot to do with the severe winter US experienced last year, and it wasn't easy for the media to conjure up the image of "warming" under such circumstances. This winter, it is North Asia's turn to experience such weather. Snow accumulation totals are measured in meters (4 meters along the north western coastal area) and a lot of places have double that of average.

Such conditions must be good for the snow festival!? But the first couple of days after the official start of the festival, the weather turned warmer and some of the snow sculptures were melting. It's then when one realized the painstaking steps not only to create the art works but the effort in keeping up.

Two ladies working on the snow castle with their bare hands
お城(野田市) - the most intricate of the small sculptures
Some of the exhibits were literally gigantic and their constructions involved industrial cranes and other heavy machinery.

Snow Aquarium at night 雪の水族館
Snow Aquarium (An US Navy band playing live) 雪の水族館
One Piece (A super popular, long running comic in Japan)
One Piece at night, the color spotlights brought more of the intricate features to life
鶴ヶ城 Tsuruga Castle - fine tuning the spotlights
Taj Mahal タージ.マハル

Tokyo Disneyland - Dreams come true!! 夢がかなう場所
National Palace Museum (Taiwan) 故宮博物院 

One often associates the Snow Festival with all the art pieces above, but it is almost like a carnival with stall selling everything from roasted chestnuts to Brazilian barbecue. On top of the multitude of food stalls, one could find queues of people waiting in line for free tastings from tofu to health drink. There was even a snowboard competition. You could easily spend a day walking along Odori Park to take everything in, especially when a lot of the exhibits looked completely different between day and night.

Snowboard Acrobatics
Free Tofu tasting - 10000 bowls of these were the target

Brazilian BBQ

Mum getting a bag of freshly roast chestnut from a pressure chamber roaster. Juicy, tasty, just yummy!!

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