Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Hokkaido Snow Festival

So I've not posted anything for a while due to being stupid busy (and a little bit lazy) but now that my holiday in Hokkaido is over I have a bit more time.  Even though it's not video games I thought I'd make one post about my experience there since the snow festival was quite the spectacle.

Hokkaido is located in the north of Japan and going there in the winter is like taking a plane right to the fucking Ice Cap Zone.  Hokkaido is so cold and there is so much snow everywhere that they don't really bother trying to remove it properly, they just have big ass trucks come in the night and shift it to the side of the pavement in huge piles so that cars don't spin out and kill people.  There is also some mild gritting of roads but aside from that they just let it all happen.

So I went up there for the Snow Festival, a famous festival in Japan where people come on down and build huge sculptures out of all that aforementioned snow and ice.

This Dragonball sculpture for example was probably the biggest and most popular thing in the festival.  People would come out on the stage in front of it to do little shows or give speeches or something but I never stuck around long enough to find out what they were talking about.  The snow festival is cold and crowded as shit so I didn't feel like standing around and listening to people talk for too long.

Aside from the big sculptures there is also an international competition where teams of 3 from all over the world come to Hokkaido to build snow sculptures.  These smaller ones are judged and then a winner is picked but I have no idea what the reward for having the best sculpture is.  I heard that each team is given about 4 days to create their stuff and it was cool to walk around the festival seeing the teams at work on their creations

Dudes from Poland working on their snow sculpture
Down the road from the snow festival there was an ice festival which was equally, if maybe not a little more impressive at times.

These were just sat in the main road in a place called Susukino and there were also a number of small, makeshift rooms crafted from ice that housed small bars and other places to buy glasses of shit booze like Jim Beam and Bacardi.  Despite the crappy drinks the ice festival was really impressive just because of the amount of detail that went into the sculptures.  Also the sun was shining on the day that I went so some of the snow ones melted a bit and looked a bit weird while the ice ones managed to stay impressive the entire time I was there.

There was another snow/ice festival in a place called Otaru too which was on a much smaller scale but kind of spread a bit wider and was certainly less busy.  All around the town shops had built little snow sculptures and then left a candle either on or by the side of it somewhere.  It was cool to walk down Otaru's streets and see all the sculptures dotted around town.

So that's essentially what I went to Hokkaido to do, look at snow.  It sure as fuck didn't disappoint and despite harsh conditions it's something that I would recommend doing if you're looking for a holiday idea.  Hokkaido has plenty of other shit to do, some of which I took part in but this is a gaming blog not my fucking travel journal so this is enough for now.

Usual gaming stuff will resume shortly!

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