札幌雪祭！Sapporo Snow Festival!
Hokkaido! As the northern most island of Japan, it is naturally the coldest region of the nation. From November to April, the weather is frigid and blustery. In winter, Hokkaido becomes a white diamond studded wonderland of snow and ice. Heavy blankets of white drift on in every direction, reaching depths of six feet! Sapporo, the heart of Hokkaido, is one of the few metropolises in the world with such a heavy snowfall — it averages about 20 feet annually! Staggering numbers to be sure, but when you see it, all you can do is sigh for the beauty~~
When you live in an area with so much snow… you may as well celebrate it! And Sapporo throws one of the biggest snow parties around! Every year, for one week in February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is celebrated in grand style! The festival is one of Japan’s largest and most distinctive winter events. Ever year, about two million people visit Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures. The event draws people from all over Japan and all over the world! It is an excellent time of fun and promoting international relations. The International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and teams from various regions of the world participate annually.
It truly seems like something otherworldly in beauty. I am so excited for this event and I am sad that I will just be barely missing the Snow Festival for 2010 by just a few weeks. This will be the culmination of my first year in Japan. I must wait until 2011, but it will definitely be worth it! There will be so many wonderful international things to see, but there also will be so many aspects of this that are inherently Japanese. I’m looking forward to exploring all sides of this event — adorably bundled up in a warm, fuzzy parka! I am quite afraid of dying within minutes of fall surrendering to winter.But I read an interesting piece of information today that states Sapporo is on the same geographical points (longitude and latitude something…) as Pennsylvania. Aaaah… my home state. So in a way, this will be a bit of a return for me, to what I once knew. A beautiful, nostalgic sentiment, and surprisingly fitting. Philadelphia is the fifth largest city in America. Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan. Plus, their populations are near identical. Perhaps I really was placed in this location by God.
I need to buy an entirely new wardrobe from work clothes to winter wear ((something I couldn’t find in Florida if I tried!)). I just hope God is up for footing the bill.