A lot of people found it funny that I, who hates cold places, would go to Hokkaido to be surrounded by the snow and ice sculptures of the annual Yuki Matsuri. Oh yes, was it cooooooold! But the weather was so nice and sunny, and there was no wind, that I actually never once felt cold in Hokkaido!! (by comparison, I am freezing here in Tokyo as I type..) In a moment, I would go again!! I really loved it there!! <3<3<3 All of the snow and ice was sooo gorgeous! And I only fell once! (which is a major achievement for me!! ^o^)
There are so many highlights!! Though I have to mention the lowlights... horrible smoking in our super-fancy hotel!! It was all over, and I just never would have imagined such a nice hotel (they had an onsen, gorgeous foyers, carpeting everywhere, etc) with such a reek of smoke. It gave me a headache. Really, that was the only downpoint other than me catching a really horrible cold right as I left (which I am dealing with now... so so siiiiick!), and getting dizzy a few times (I think that was due to the oncoming cold-- but just to be sure I'm going to the doctor's next week).
Ahhh gorgeous snow!! And OMG the food!!! o.o!! We had a lot of Hokkaido specials, like Butter-corn Ramen (yum!!), Snow Crab (omgyum!!), Beer Ice Cream (ew), Ghenghis Khan (so-so), Shiroi Koibitos (ew), and ten-million kinds of sushi!!
The Hokkaido Sapporo radio tower. It was just a little down from where we were staying.. ^^
First off, we ran into the food booths and discovered these delicious panda-man!! :O Yumm!!
Eda thinks it's yummy!!
So does Erin!!
Some typical food stalls at a japanese fair.
This one is selling official Yuki-matsuri goods.
There were also kids ice-skating. It was kind of funny, because when one person fell suddenly three more would! XD
One of the Beijing Olympic mascots in snow in Japan! XD This is a good sign I think, seeing as how there is not a lot of love between Japan and China.
..Will explain this later..
An ice sculpture of a bear.
The bear's face!
A pretty owl
This tree was all lit up at night, but I liked it better during the day, against the gorgeous sun. ^^
Look at the zoo!! =D And the sky. OMG the weather was GORGEOUS. Blue, crisp, and no wind!! So it felt a lot warmer than here despite the 10 degree difference. <3<3<3
I have never seen this much snow in my entire life!! :O
This gorgeous Narnia scene sculpted out in snow..
It's Mufasa!! I mean, not..
The tales of Narnia
World peace ftw!
A really pretty tower.. ^^
I forgot the name of this guy.. but so cute! ^O^
Oh dear, Kojima Yoshio.. You know you've reached the peak of your career in Japan when you have a snow sculpture of you. At least we're reassured knowing that in a few months nobody will have a clue who you are..
Oshiri-kajiri Mushi!!!! WAI! One of my new obsessions. ^______^
I need to make a caption for this one..
Oooooo!! The stranger! =D
Bite me!!! =D I want the butt-biting bug to bite me! (really!)
I don't think I've seen these in the longest time!!
Thomas the Tank Engine. XDXD I had no idea this was in Japan too! =D
I forgot what this was...
LOLOL it's Al Gore! XDXDXD
My hand size in comparison to Hiroshi Abe.. the main guy in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko! XD That drama was so good. We have the same size.
Stupidest thing ever... a smoking car. It was so smoky around it that the picture came out fuzzy. x.x SO DISGUSTING. Just ban it already, come on!!
LOL I find the Japanese flag on this incredibly funny.
Domo-kun vs. OKM!! Looks like his butt doesn't get bitten! :O
Me and Erin and SNOW <3
Awwwww!! It's those little hamsters that are in the UFO catcher machines!
This is Mari-mokkori ("mossball erection")... It's a Hokkaido mascot with a giant erection bulge in it's crotch. ....... A friend actually gave me one as a present once and I eventually took it off of my phone because I spent a lot of time around children and felt that it would be inappropriate for them. But apparently it's not considered such in Japan because there were tons of parents pointing it out to their kids ("Look! Mari-mokkori!!"), and tons of kids doing the same to their parents. Wow, what a difference between American and Japan, huh.. If I'd had kids of my own there, I would have covered their eyes and maybe complained to the company. But I just think differently.. I guess in a culture that has a giant-balled racoon as one of their common forest-spirits, it's to be expected..
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marimokkori
We found this statue a little scary because it had melted slightly..
Chinese Lion. =D
The Doughnut place mascot! XD
This is the number 9.. I wish that it was slightly altered to "power" instead..
Starbucks is everywhere!! They even had an "igloo" here..
The animals were so detailed in this sculpture! But omg the kids.. o.o;;
They're raping an octopus!! ToT
The true and ritz way.. ??
LOLOL. I like the mouth!
So detailed! A little scary-looking but..
This one was melting... awww. ;_;
Keroro Gunso! =D This is for you Kei!
For you Gin!
McDonalds is everywhere!!! Even though Grimace looks like a giant lung with emphezyma..
Pinky St!! Or, it used to be..
More for me! =D =D =D
Though it had partly melted and refroze, turning completely freaky-looking..
Uh, yeah...... But check out the gorgeous sky!
Even more! XD
Anpan man!! My friend is one of the seiyuu in here.. (it's a popular children's show)
Some kind of video-game character, I'm sure..
Totoro says "brush your teeth every day!"
This is a vending machine! XDXD
We ran into Bethany completely randomly! Coincidence!! (and not the only time! XD)
It was bright outside!
Me x snowman!
When it's slippery on the land, lay down some sand! XD
The tower again.. See what I said about the weather? <3
For joyful human stage =D
This was a well-known church in the area.. Isn't it gorgeous?
For lunch was butter-corn ramen!! OMG OMG OMG I have been missing out! I will have to find out where to get this in Tokyo!
This is the sapporo beer factory! I don't like beer, but it was something that you have to go see, you know? ^^
These are what hops look like!
XDXDXD The naaaame! XD
A giant vat to make beer in. The english captions indicated that this was in use, but it wasn't hooked up to anything. ^^;;
This is a special orange soda only sold here..
On the way back to the hotel, we walked past the ice sculptures all lit up!!
The emperor and empress... LOL at the emperor's hat!! Maybe this explains why Mari-mokkori isn't considered vulgar..
This is SO awesome! I've heard of a museum like this in Northern Japan, and I really want to go!!
This would soon become Ghengis Khan! It was alright, but I wasn't as fond of the flavor as normal yakiniku sauce..
The same aisle in the day..
I really love this picture!!
Yes, they had bars made of ice!! For the crazy people. =D
Isn't this hilarious? It has real ramen in it!!
Except they called it "lamian" XDXD How did anyone come up with that?!
Best preserved fish picture ever!! I challenge you to find a better one ^__^
Bit hitto!! XDXD
We eventually made it to the chocolate factory, yay!! <3
There was real gold in it!! O.O
We think these were rose bushes, all packaged up for winter.. It was kind of creepy looking, I wouldn't want to walk alone here at sunrise/nighttime..
This was where we had crab at!! It was SO delicious and we had our own little private room!! It wasn't even expensive, though it looks like it!! (there were expensive things on the menu, though we just didn't order them)
Possibly the best bill total ever. XDXD For three people too!
I found this in a bathroom (I seemed to need to go to the bathroom every five minutes! ^^;;) It says "shiito cleaner", meaning "sheet cleaner" but sounding a lot more like some fancy-accented "shit cleaner" ^^;;;
This iswhere we had beer ice cream!! Well, Eda did, but we tried it. I had the yubari melon, which didn't really work well with Hokkaido cream, which is really creamy and thick (and yummy!).
Eda liked her beer ice cream!
Erin liked her vanilla!
Kakashi suddenly showed up in the mall next door..
An unfortunately-named store... >.>;;;;
Another hokkaido specialty, this was filled with sweet potato..
A Hokkaido bus. Much cleaner than China's busses!
I said "oh my..." and everyone knew at a glance what I was talking about. It was a lot more hideous in person. These kinds of mismatched horrifyingly-colored tights are really popular in Japan right now! No surprise.. I'm not sure if it's better than the elf shoes from three years ago or not..
More park food.. It's completely normal to see this: roasted corn, roasted Japanese sweet potato (not as sweet as American), roasted Squid-on-a-stick. Yeah.
Glad those aren't Gs up there! O.o
I thought this looked pretty in the light..
Crazy ppl in the bar!
Funny signs.. XD
Eda took this from the plane... Isn't it GORGEOUS? It looks like we're in outerspace. <3<3
Mt Fuji from the plane ^__^
And that's it!!
Wow, with this weekend away I've really fallen behind with answering comments and answering emails.. I've got a lot of things taking up my time right now, but hopefully I can start moving in the right direction soon!!
I will write about that more tomorrow or so, since it's nearing bedtime tonight and I have work in the morning.. I hope that everyone enjoyed the pictures! ^__^ I didn't realize that I'd chosen so many to post, but there were so many to choose from!! ^O^