25th December, 2004 - Odori Kouen is a little different when there's no Yuki Matsuri - however, it doesn't lack colour and light. Each year, Sapporo has lights up to White Illumination, from late November to about the 3rd of January. It's not quite Christmas in nature, but the illumination adds a lot of life to an already thriving park. And if you look hard enough, you can see a little bit of Christmas even here in cold, cold Sapporo.
Actually there's a thriving trade in Japan for Santa Claus, or Santa-san - it's what you would call seasonal work.
The illumination may not be a good win for carbon-emissions, but there's something that's definitely uplifting to see a night-light display.
Even the trees compete for our attention.
And succeed in outshining even Odori's brightly lit Sapporo Tower.
There's something at once both beautiful and disturbing about this Christmas illuminated maypole... it's a little like a Christmas-themed toy-shop.
Hopeful smiles whilst simultaneously being strangely melancholic.
It's a beautiful time to be in Sapporo if you can't make the Yuki Matsuri.
Come 10:30pm, the lights go out, and it's off to home we go... the boulevard lights remain on to light our way... thankfully, Odori Subway Station is near-by. It's cold, but it's been a great Christmas Day - at my second home, Sapporo.