This is what we saw on our way to McDonalds! It snowed so much, you couldn't even see the bicycle!
McDonald's was near the Susukino area, which is where they have all the ice scupltures. Since nothing else was open yet, we decided to check out this area. It was pretty neat-o.
It's famous for having fish and other sea creatures in the ice sculpture!
At night, they close down the street so you can get closer to the scupltures. We went back that night, so I'll post some of those too.. Here's more fishies..
I thought these were cute. The middle guy is the On mascot. Don't ask me what On is.... but if you look at his eyes, one is a "o" and one is an "n". He's normally yellow.
Paul liked this sculpture. It was a Suntory Whisky ice bar.
After Susukino, we got some winter necessities from one of the convenience stores. Someone told us to get spikes that can slip on over your shoes so that you don't slip in the ice. They really helped when things got slippery.
Then we went back to the hotel for what reason I can't remember. But it allowed me the chance to ask the hotel staff how to find the shuttle stop for the Tsu Dome site. You can only get there by shuttle or subway, but the subway was about a 15 min walk away from the site. It was snowing, so I really wanted to find that shuttle! It turns out the shuttle stop was very close by- just a hop skip and jump across the park. Yay!
The shuttle was very reasonable. A round trip ticket per adult was 800 yen and Akemi was free. Yay! The bus ride was a bit long and made me sleepy, but it was nice not having to worry about what stop to get off of.
Look who was there to greet us at the Tsu Dome!
Love these small snowmen!!
The first thing Akemi wanted to do was the tube slide. You had to take your inner tube up to the top and then slide down the ice ramp. I decided to sit this out while they stood in line so I could look around.
Sorry.. photos are really dark and I can't figure out how to brighten them up on Paul's mac. They had some snow sculptures there too. I liked a lot of them- most were kawaii... I guess because it was more geared to children (and me!). Cute yah?
I liked the Maneki Neko... for sentimental reasons. See I'm beckoning like him...
And one for Year of the Snake! Even their snake is cute!
After walking around a bit, I decided to go back to the snow tube ride so as not to miss them. They were still in line at the time.. Then the temperature dropped and the wind picked up and it started snowing pretty hard. I was FREEEEEEEEZING!!! OMG.. totally thought I was going to freeze to death! I was amazed that all the little kids were still having so much fun on the ride. Every single one of them that came off the ride said "Yokatta!" Now I wanted to go too. Too late for this round as Akemi and Paul were almost at the front of the line. They then told me to go up the stairs where I could get a better shot of them sliding down. I went up the steps to a deck and froze my buns off! I did get good video though. I'll have to figure out how to post that later.
Paul said it was so much fun and said I had to go too. For now, I wanted to thaw a bit, so we headed inside the Tsu Dome to warm up.
Inside, we found Yuki Daruma! I think that's his name. He's kawaii no? I think he's the Tsu Dome mascot- for the Yuki Matsuri at least.
We sat and thawed for awhile. I ate a really good dessert but have no idea what it was! Paul ended up eating a tako yaki and Akemi had some hot chocolate.
After our short break, Akemi wanted to head back outside. Akemi had fun trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue. I think we all did that after watching Charlie Brown!
I told Akemi that there was an ice slide that she might want to try.. She went once and didn't want to stop! Good thing she had on her ski pants!
After the ice slide, that was enough excitement for me.... we wandered over to the kiddie area or waku-waku Tappy Land. It ended up being too small for Akemi.. I guess she's getting to be old now! She really wanted to make a snowman, so we went to the Yukidaruman Republic area...
Next to this huge Yukidaruma, we saw all his minions!
These are all the snowmen that visitors made and left there. Akemi really wanted to make one, so she started working on it, but the guy stopped us and told us to come back at 1:30... so we headed back to the Tsu Dome again because I was freezing again and needed to warm up... Around 1:30, we headed back to the Yukidaruman Republic area and were able to make our own snowman! Here's ours. I think he kinda looks like a cuter version of the scary doll in Nigthmare Before Christmas.
After a few more slides down the ice slide, Akemi made snow angles. I think every kid wants to do that! After she made a few, we saw other kids doing the same.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel. We took the shuttle back to Odori and went back to the hotel to clean up a bit and get ready to check out the ice sculptures. By the time we got back, it was getting dark. And because it had snowed so much, many of the details on the sculptures were hard to see... Here's some of my faves...
And we found the Hawaii team! I think their's was some kind of hunting sculpture. I recognized the wild boar...
This is the Kabuki-za which is currently under re-construction and will be re-opening sometime in 2013.
And this is Maruko-chan She is so Kawaii! This sculpture is of her in Hawaii! We also found the Hawaiian Airlines booth nearby.
Then we went to go get some dinner. Rahmen to warm us up!!
The Rahmen shop was in a shopping arcade, so we ended up doing some shopping... Funny how there were a lot of stores and which one do we go in? Don K! (For you Hawaii folks, that's like Don Quiote). We found this pet shop too and stopped in to see all the cute doggies... Japanese seem to like Daschunds too! We saw several waiting to be bought. This one was playing with Akemi through the glass.
The shops started to close up, so we headed back to Susukino to see the ice sculptures illuminated...
When we got there, we realized they closed the street, so we could get closer to the scupltures! The kids were all riding on the sculptures, so I made Akemi go on the car...
Don't these look like huge beers?
I'm not sure what the significance of the tunnel is, but everyone was taking photos by it, so we did too!
This was taken inside the tunnel.. much better lighting....
On our way back to the hotel, Paul noticed that we lost our Don K! package. After Don K, we had gone to McDonalds so Akemi could use the western toilet (no squats for her), so he thought he left it there. We headed for the hotel and would meet him there... In the meantime, Akemi was trying to make a huge snowball... She carried it all around Sapporo.
When we got back to the hotel, she put the snowball in front and made another snowman, who she named Bob. Bob will make an appearance in my next post.
After we met back up with Paul, we found out what happened at McDonalds. He attempted to ask them if anyone turned in his Don K! bag which was left on the 2nd floor, but the guy gave him a weird look and found someone else who spoke more English. That guy figured out what Paul was talking about and gave him his bag! Yay! Japanese people are so honest! They rock!
After Akemi finished another homework assignment (junk yah?), we headed back out one more time. I wanted to get a few more gifts before the stands closed up for the night. I didn't know if they would be open the next day before we left, so I wanted to pick stuff up that night. Paul decided to hang back with Akemi in the park and found an area where they could have another snowball fight without hitting bystanders. We separated while I walked a few blocks to find my omiyage. While on my walk, I caught one of the light shows that is projected on the Hoheikan (Historical Guest House). It's pretty awesome. I'll try to get a video up that I took of it.
Just before I found my family, I spotted the cutest felt snowmen ever! I got one snow bunny and one snowman. The girl was happy I bought both of them!
By the time I found Paul and Akemi, they were pretty much covered in snow. What a long but fun day! Next up is travel back to Tokyo.