Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iiyama Snow Fest 2012

This year was the 30th anniversary of the Iiyama Snow Fest. As you entered the town this greeted you and the kids were enjoying the snow slide.
Once you reached the ground where the festival was there were 8 huge snow sculptures!

This one features Mario Cart Racers.

This was the grand prize winner - created by a group of high school students. This marked their 4th consecutive year as the grand pize sculptors. Annually the grand prize is 200,000yen - but this year they added an additional 100,000yen to mark the 30th anniversary! Of course the kids don't get the money... the school does - but they say it all is used for the kids!

Not sure who did the other creations but there was lots of time and effort put forth in freezing temperatures!

This one looks like the seven budda gods.

2012 is the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar so naturally...

Not sure but perhaps this is the one done by the elementary school.

Another dragon - pretty impressive with the teeth and the tongue curling inside the mouth!

We somehow missed this one on the way in... these guys are very popular at entrance gates as the guards.

There were a couple of different sled activities for the young...or young at heart - to enjoy.

As you can see - snow and freezing temps are no excuse for staying in and missing the fun!

Yatai - or food booths - are very popular at festivals in Japan, and the season makes no difference.

Even live entertainment on stage!

Then we drove a little way to the "Kamakura" -snow hut- grounds.

There were 100 snow huts built! Not counting the small ones lining the walkway that were lit up with candles after dark. Sorry we weren't there that late to get a picture.

The doorways weren't too big but once inside even John could stand up!
Several of the huts were set up with table, fire pot and benches so that you could have a meal inside - out of the cold ;-)!

Every year I've wanted to go so I'm glad we made it this year! It was really fun, and believe it or not, doesn't feel nearly as cold there in all that snow as it is in Nagano City where we live!!!!

God bless and stay warm!
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

...more snow pics

The more mountainous areas have some serious snow removal equipment.

Though I am not at all a fan of cold, I must admit to loving some of the fantastic sights it produces that I'm so blessed to enjoy on my long drives.

Just how much do you think that extra snow roof weighs????

Not much traffic in or out of this garage recently, eh!
There are lots of pretty impressive icicles to be seen. Just beware and far away when they fall!!

Really, this can't be good for these trucks.

The roads they did areally good job clearing. The rooftops on the other hand...

Lots of places board over the first floors windows to prevent breakage when the snow slides off the roof.

It's sometimes a bit eery driving through the walls of snow in the mountain areas.

Could be tough to get into this business!

And I said they board over the first floor windows... if you look close you'll see that they also take it to the second floor in some areas!

And I don't think they use those stairs to reach the second floor much!
NO idea how the folks get to that back house!!!!
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We got SNOW!!!!!!

And LOTS OF IT in some areas!!!!! This is Nozawaonsen elementary school...

This is what their sports/playground looks like in the winter.

All grades have ski class twice a week :-) They train on the school ground, then head to the slopes.

If you look closely at the first pic and the one above they are basically the same shot - a week apart. The 2 mounds in the bottom left of the above (and bottom center of top pic) are the swings! Below they've plowed a track around the perimeter of the ground for ski practice.

This is the ground at another elementary school I teach at in Mure. The 'towers' are snowmen the kids built in class vs. class competition.

This is the view out the 3rd floor window in front of that school.

And especially for those of you who are school staffers... this is the VP on the roof shoveling the snow off! She does it OFTEN!

This is back at Nozawaonsen. The main floor doors that lead out to the school ground...not in use in the snow season.

This is where the students and teachers enter and change their shoes. Winter time everyone has snowboots, of course! And yes, that IS snow in the window - it slides of the roof -shaking the building like a major earthquake - into huge piles that would bury a greyhound bus.

This is the view one snowy morning from the first floor teachers room.

The road that comes in to  the school needs lots of help in the winter.

Again, the playground. And the snowplow which needs a plow to get it out!

A couple more playground pics..

My car! after only being parked there for an hour!

Getting in the first floor doors can be somewhat troublesome.

The drive to school....

I have lots more and will get some of them up soon I hope. Til then... stay warm!

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