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The 61st Sapporo Snow Festival was held during Feb. 5-11, 2010 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Among the giant snow sculptures was Hawaii's Iolani Palace made of ice. It was the reason why I decided to see this festival again.
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Iolani Palace, a giant ice sculpture at the 61st Sapporo Snow Festival during Feb. 5-11, 2010. During the day, it has a translucent, blue look. It is the festival's largest ice sculpture. This block is officially called the Mainichi Shimbun Ice Square
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The Iolani Palace ice sculpture is 16 meters wide and 8 meters high. It was built with 700 large blocks of ice weighing 135 kg (298 lb.) each.
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The ice sculpture was built by over 250 members of the Japan Ice Sculpture Association. Most of the 250 were from the Sapporo chapter working as chefs at Sapporo area hotels. In Japan, ice sculptures are often featured at high-priced buffets, etc.
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It took about 2 weeks to build Iolani Palace out of ice. They started building it on Jan. 15, 2010. The sculpture was planned by Mainichi Shimbun Newspapers.
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The Iolani Palace is Hawaii's most famous building in Honolulu, Oahu. It is America's one and only former royal palace. Built in 1882 by King David Kalakaua as his residence. It had electricity installed, which was rare at the time.
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Today, Iolani Palace is a major tourist attraction. Guided tours allow you to see the rooms inside, including the throne room and the small bedroom where Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last monarch, was held prisoner by Westerners who overthrew her.
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This is the real Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii. If you're not particularly interested in Iolani Palace, see my Sapporo Snow Festival 2010 photos here.
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This was not my first time to see Iolani Palace at the Sapporo Snow Festival. I also saw it in Feb. 1982 when it was made of snow (photos below).
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Unfortunately, there was no sign in English explaining the Iolani Palace ice sculpture. I looked at this list of supporters and sponsors and my blood boiled when I found no one from Hawaii listed. HVB where are you???おい、ハワイ州観光局はまったくいないぞ。
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Like the other big sculptures, various free entertainment was held on a stage in front of the Iolani Palace sculpture. This was the entertainment schedule. I was very disappointed to find nothing Hawaiian.
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Facing the Iolani Palace sculpture were food stalls such as this German almond food stall. I couldn't comprehend why there weren't any Hawaii-related stalls instead. How about selling macadamia nuts or having a Hawaii Visitors Bureau booth??
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The Iolani Palace ice sculpture had a slim profile. This is a side view.
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Rear view of the Iolani Palace ice sculpture. Scaffolding propped up colored lights.
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Now for some entertainment in front of the Iolani Palace ice sculpture as the crowd waits.
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This is a local Hokkaido group dressed as school girls calling themselves Moegi-iro Jogakuin. もえぎ色女学院
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I could only wonder if these girls knew the significance of the sculpture they were performing in front of.
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They turned out to be very lively. When you're dressed this lightly, it's best to move a lot to keep warm in freezing temperatures.
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They should be cheerleaders.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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北海道美人
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Good-looking girls in Hokkaido are really good-looking. They look healthy, thanks to Hokkaido's clean environment, wide-open spaces, and good food. It's a different kind of beauty from the superficial/artificial looks of big-city girls.
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In the late afternoon, they start to light up the sculptures.
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Iolani Palace ice sculpture lit up at night. The sculptures are lit up nightly till 10 pm. Ice sculptures in particular become very beautiful when lit at night due to their translucence.
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The color lighting scheme also varies slightly. The sculpture is basically backlit with green lights in the middle and orange lights on the sides. At the same time, blue lights shine on the front of the sculpture.
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It was very impressive and made my trip to Sapporo worthwhile. The lingering question remained: Where was the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau??? Why weren't they here passing out Hawaii PR brochures?
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Hawaii needs more tourists to visit, especially the Japanese market. Why isn't HVB here promoting Hawaii with Iolani Palace in ice? This was a golden opportunity to promote Hawaii and NOBODY was doing it.
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You figgah, 2 million people visit the Sapporo Snow Festival, many also come from China and Korea. Guess how many of them would love to be in warm Hawaii as they stroll through Sapporo in frigid weather?
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Eh, talk about MISSED OPPORTUNITY. I just CANNOT BELIEVE that HVB's English and Japanese Web sites neva even mention the Iolani Palace at this year's Sapporo Snow Festival.
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What was their excuse?? No mo money to send staff to Sapporo? Hey, get in touch with people from Hawaii living in Sapporo/Hokkaido. They would volunteer to pass out Hawaii brochures or maybe even perform hula on the icy stage.
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Dat's another ting. NO HAWAII-RELATED EVENTS/ENTERTAINMENT in front of the Iolani Palace ice sculpture at the 2010 Sapporo Snow Festival. Guess how popular hula is in Japan, and no one danced in front of Iolani Palace in Sapporo?
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Look how beautiful this Iolani Palace ice sculpture is. HVB totally ignored it. Talk about feeling shame. I was red-faced not only from the cold, but also that no one from Hawaii did anything here.
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ハワイ州観光局よ、あんたたち、どこにいる?ハワイPRの絶好のチャンスを完全に無視、逃がす。2百万人の来場者へのPRがパー。HPにもまったく掲載なし。
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Rear view. HVB should round up the Hawaii folks living in Japan to help them promote Hawaii. Especially now, with the Internet, blogging, and word-of-mouth being so important for PR. But us guys in Japan haven't heard one peep from HVB.
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Other entertainment included amateur rock bands.
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Another boy group called B-Luck.
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A trio of girls perform the para-para dance.
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Para-para dancer
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As I was watching all this entertainment, how I wished there would be hula dancers too. Iolani Palace, being the home of King David Kalakaua who promoted hula in Hawaii, is a symbol of the hula movement.
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And no one performed hula or anything Hawaiian in front of this Iolani Palace ice sculpture. It was sad and a wasted opportunity. They dance the hula everywhere in Japan except in front of an Iolani Palace sculpture?? Does that make sense to you?
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Sure it's cold to perform here. But look at these girls in shorts. They weren't shivering. This is another local wannabe Hokkaido girl group called "Cream."
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Even though I was seeing all this entertainment totally unrelated to Hawaii, I have to say that the icy Iolani Palace made a great backdrop for these performers.
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All they had to do is wear something Hawaiian and it would've been perfect. But of course, nobody thought of that.
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On the final night of the snow festival, they had yosakoi soran groups perform. They turned out to be the entertainment climax in front of Iolani Palace.
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Notice how the colored lighting varied between dark orange and white lighting.
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This yosakoi soran group was from Hokkaido University.
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They kept jumping up.
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Very lively group.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Then the boys took off their clothes and jumped around. It must've been very cold. More Sapporo Snow Festival 2010 photos here.
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Seeing these naked guys dancing on ice in front of Iolani Palace made my day. It was my festival climax before I had to leave to catch my 8:50 pm flight back to Tokyo.
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My YouTube video of Iolani Palace at the Sapporo Snow Matsuri in 2010.
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Now some photos of the 1982 Sapporo Snow Festival. This was when they built Iolani Palace out of snow (not ice). These are army trucks hauling in snow to the Odori Park site in early Jan.
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The local Self-Defense Forces build the giant snow sculptures. Power shovel piles up the snow inside a rectangular mold or box made of wood.
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They continue filling the giant box with snow. They are making Iolani Palace out of snow.
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Filling up the mold...
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Japan's Self-Defense Forces
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They take off the mold's wood paneling and start carving the huge block of snow. Scaffolding on all sides, almost like constructing a real building.
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You can't be afraid of heights while working on these giant sculptures.
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The facade is shaped...
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They even included a now statue of King Kamehameha, the king who unified the Hawaiian islands. Iolani Palace actually does not have a statue of King Kamehameha. But there is a statue of him across the street from the actual palace.
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A drawing of Iolani Palace helps the carvers to carve the sculpture accurately.
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As the days pass, their progress becomes ever apparent as the building becomes more and more familiar.
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Done and almost like the real thing. The Iolani Palace is in Honolulu, Hawaii, originally built by King David Kalakaua in the 19th century when Hawaii was still an independent kingdom. It is now a major tourist attraction.This photo was published in a book called "The Companies We Keep 2," published in Hawaii by Bob Sigall in Jan. 2008. The book is a compilation of various tidbits and trivia about Hawaii (my home state).

This photo was also featured on Hawaii's TV talk show "Nighttime with Andy Bumatai." See the segment at YouTube here.
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Iolani Palace stage event. This photo was published in a book called "The Companies We Keep 2," published in Hawaii by Bob Sigall in Jan. 2008.This photo was also featured on Hawaii's TV talk show "Nighttime with Andy Bumatai." See the segment at YouTube here.
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The statue of King Kamehameha did not come out that well, but I was happy to see it nonetheless. He was the king who unified Hawaii while the different islands were still ruled by different chiefs.
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The Iolani Palace was built in Feb. 1982 to commemorate direct flights between Sapporo and Honolulu (since discontinued).
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This snow sculpture of Iolani Palace was larger and more detailed than the ice sculpture of the palace built in Feb. 2010.
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Iolani Palace in snow, lit up at night
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The day after the snow festival ends, all the sculptures are promptly destroyed for safety reasons. With sadness, I watched it being destroyed. You can see the reinforcing wooden beams inside.
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Destroying Iolani Palace made of snow.
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Now see how another giant snow sculpture is built. It's the same process. A giant box is filled with snow.
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They install wooden beams serving to reinforce the snow structures.
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Guess what this part will be.
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The reinforcement beams are covered with snow. A crane is used to carry the snow to high places.
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Filling the mold for a tall neck of a dinosaur.
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Pterodactyl wings
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Head of T-Rex
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Shaping up very well.
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Shaping the pterodactyl
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Putting on the finishing touches on the sculpture.
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Incredible dinosaur snow sculptures. I can tell you, this was really awesome.
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Dinosaur snow sculpture at 1982 Sapporo Snow Festival.
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T-rex twins.
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Looking mean.
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Brontosaurus
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Hello baby!
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Even the veins look realistic. Pterodactyl made of snow.
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Dinnosaurs lit up at night.
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Day after the snow festival: Destroy all dinosaurs!
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Each giant snow sculpture becomes a pile of snowy rubble.
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The Sapporo Snow Festival also features at least one giant ice sculpture. The foundation is made of ice.
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They haul numerous blocks of ice.
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Icy foundation for the ice sculpture.
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Building an ice sculpture.
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Ice sculpture of a church in Helsinki, Finland
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A Shinto shrine made of ice.
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This is a lion dog at a shrine in Fukuoka.
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I think this was the lion dog at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka.
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The large citizens' area feature smaller snow sculptures created by city citizens. Snow blocks are provided.
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The international section of sculptures.
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Hong Kong snow sculpture.
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The USA team sculpted the American Circus.
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John Lennon
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Nandaro (What's this?), sculpture made by a local English school. It's a dog with a hammer head. Whoever thought of this must have been a crazy guy.
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Odori Park from the TV Tower.
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Odori Park from the TV Tower. On the left and right sides, you can see the huge crowd of people blackening the pathways. You can see the Iolani Palace sculpture.
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Back in 1982, the second festival site was at Makomanai, a short subway ride. They had more sculptures and ice slides for kids.
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Kinkakuji Gold Pavilion in Kyoto, made of snow.
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Makomanai site: Snow slides with Arare-chan, anime character popular in 1982.
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1982 Sapporo Snow Festival Sayonara ceremony. Very low-key, with few people attending. Also see my Sapporo Snow Festival 2010 photos here.
     
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