With this past week came Matsumoto’s annual Ice Sculpture Festival, a display not only of some beautiful and impressive works of frozen art but a chance to watch the artists in real time as they turn blocks of ice into fantastical creatures that sparkle brilliantly in front of the castle, under the bright blue sky.
This year, however, brought some changes. The absence of a bright blue sky, for one.
This was the first cloudy Ice Festival Sunday I can remember. In contrast, Saturday was perfect except for the fact that I was tied up and couldn’t get down there to see things for myself. Fortunately, the good people at Welcome Matsumoto got some great shots of that preliminary day.
Another change from previous years was the omission of the ice slide, which has always been a treat for the kids. This was replaced with something that, while perhaps not quite as heart-pounding, was new and novel and fun to be a part of.
While a trio of men carved flower-shaped holes into rectangular blocks of ice, children crowded around a crate filled with paint in squeeze cans, each of them choosing a color or two and filling those holes in the ice.
The result was a constant stream of people edging in to snap pictures of the display of ice and color, made that much more striking with the persistent grays overhead.
There were additional ice sculptures scattered around town, plus this banner created by students of Arigasaki High School and displayed along the path leading into the castle grounds.
“We inherit the lives of the past and live in the present. Your loving actions tie you to this one life. Let’s spin a happy future together.”
Indeed. Rain or shine.