Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 10 - Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo)

9th February, 2003 - After a rest day - and my making a good traditional meal of Lasagne and garlic bread (actually it's not always that easy to find ingrediants for Western foods in Japanese supermarkets). We got ready for a night-time expedition back into Sapporo. Sapporo is definitely a winter city, and you have to wonder really at how their gardens survive the thick snow that buries them each year. The answer is - with a lot of care (and wooden supports to bear the weight of the snow).

We jumped on the subway and headed off to Odori Koen for another perspective of the Yuki Matsuri.

Even outside of Yuki Matsuri, Odori Koen is normally lit up - especially during winter to really look beautiful... but you have to watch out for those streets... during the night ice forms on the roads and even though they don't look that bad, they can be as slippery as hell! Odori Koen was apparently developed over a century ago as a natural fire break between north and south parts of the city - 100 metres wide and 12 blocks long. Perfect place to have a snow festival!

Sapporo TV Tower looks much more scenic at night.,, surrounded by a fairy garden of lights.

One of the scenes captured in snow was that of Captain Matthew Perry - a critical figure in Japanese history... and an American. Perry came to Japan with one mission. To open it up to American trade. This he aceheived using quintessential gunboat diplomacy... The first impact of this was that the port city of Hakodate (in Hokkaido) and Shimoda were officially sanctioned as open trading ports. More on Hakodate later...

A return to Edo-jo... looks different under lights!

Not sure those stairs would be easy to climb...

Stitch meets Mickey and Minnie... why - who can tell?

What happens at night? Many of the sculptures get rebuilt! Hard work... especially in the cold!

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