Saturday, January 31, 2009

Volunteering for the Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo Snow Festival)

A few months ago, my Japanese girlfriend and I entered our names in the lottery to do volunteer work for the Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo Snow Festival.)

The Sapporo Snow Festival is a famous annual week long event with HUGE snow and ice sculptures and even igloo ice bars!!! Last year over 2 million people came to Sapporo to see the Snow Fest.

Luckily our names were drawn so we started our work in the beginning of January. At first we worked on the back wall of the main giant sculpture on the 4th block of Odori Park. We were geared up with our helmets, belts and gloves and climbed the scaffolding to begin our work.

Because of the abnormal warm weather in Sapporo, they've had a difficult time maintaining the sculptures this year. On our first day of work we spent a grueling 2 hours shoving bucket full after bucket full of fresh snow into the holes using our hands and then pounding them in with our fists.

Here's a shot of our sculpture. It's going to be an Olympic scene featuring Kitajima Kosuke - the multiple gold medalist swimmer.

My second time working - I somehow got picked to be the one to climb the scary scaffolding beams and tightrope across to help build the Judo player's armpit and belt.

I had to wrap my legs around this beam for dear life as I was handed handfuls of snow to sculpt. I took a picture of my view looking up at the Judo player's face from my beam.

Here's my boss who helped show me how to snow sculpt. Uff... it's a lot tougher than I thought and I think I'll have a lot more respect for the sculptures when the event finally is opened on Feb. 5th!!!

If you go to the Snow Festival this year - don't forget to check out the Judo player's beautifully sculpted armpit and belt!!!! hahaha

The broadcasting club from my school came to videotape me working on another night, but sadly it was so warm and started raining!!!!! So the work was canceled. :-(

So we went out for hot chocolate instead!

more photos of the Snow Festival Volunteer work:

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