Mike's Japan by Mike Dixon - HTML preview
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Japan and Russia are close neighbours. Relations have often been strained but both have learned from the other. The Russians have adopted Japanese technology and the Japanese have adopted snow festivals.
The northern island of Hokkaido is very close to Vladivostok. In winter, the people there build fantastic sculptures out of ice. They were doing so during the time of the tsars and they are doing it now.
The people of Sapporo have followed the Russian example. Some of their creations imitate the Russians. Others are uniquely Japanese. If you are thinking of going to the Sapporo Snow Festival, bear in mind that the weather will be severe. It will probably be snowing and you will need to make frequent trips down into the underground shopping malls to warm up.
I went to Sapporo by air. But, I could have gone by boat.