First, the amount of snow involved is simply unspeakable. When we arrived, the snow was already piled several feet deep along the roads and sidewalks - and for most of our time there, it just kept falling.
What's more, all along Odori Park, huge blocks of snow had been built up into nearly a dozen towering, multi-story sculptures that loomed over the festival site.
|An old Japanese hotel.|
|A Thai temple. Every year, a foreign tourism board is invited to sponsor a sculpture.|
This was right next to a Thai Airways booth.
|Some Japanese cartoon characters visit Hawaii. This one was sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, who have started offering some direct flights to Honolulu from a few secondary Japanese airports. (This includes Fukuoka - we're going later this month!)|
|An old Japanese government building (I think).|
|Taipei's Chiang Kai Shek memorial, in snow and ice lit from within. Also, with a bunch of freezing cold B-list J-pop stars and a few inexplicable mascots.|
|The Chiang Kai Shek memorial in the daytime.|
|Ise Shrine, the holiest site in the Shinto religion. Now in snow form.|
|It was hard to capture in a photo, but this sculpture actually had a lot of depth. That bridge projected out about 10 feet from the background. A really neat effect.|
|Some kind of crazy mercastle thing. In ice.|
|A detail of the Ise Shrine sculpture at dusk.|
|Ise Shrine again.|
|A person-sized tower.|
|A shout-out for Nana's homies.|
|An ice fox.|
|An Okinawan shi-sa.|
|This was the US team's entry into the sculpture competition. The team was from Portland. They chose to depict a beaver riding a sled with a very frightened Sasquatch. You do the math.|
|New Zealand pitches some trippy Maori stuff.|
|Orangutans by the Malaysian team. (Yes, there was a Malaysian snow sculpture team.)|
|The winners? Thailand's sculpture of these very artistic elephants.|
|And Finland did a cricket. Hm.|