Sapporo Snow Festival 2013
MAJET’s annual Yuki Matsuri trip
Departing Sendai Port, evening of Thursday 7th of February, arriving back in Sendai morning of 11th February
10,000 yen deposit to be paid by December 28th.
Sign me up!
Hang on there!
MAJET spends literally months planning the Yuki matsuri, through various agencies, and getting you a tasty group discount. This does mean we cannot finalise a total cost for the trip until the end of January. Last year’s trip came to a total of around 40,000 yen altogether. That is not this year’s final price; it may well be less, there is a slim chance it will be more, we simply can’t tell you now! You will need to get saving, but you have two pay checks to spread the payment out of!
So, how do I get to go then?
To secure your place you need to do three things:
We need you to have done all three of the above things by the due date, December 28th, to secure your place. Even if you pay a deposit, without the form and the email, we wont book you a place! Sorry!
Paying the deposit should be done via furikomi. Details on how to furikomi are available here. Allow lots of time to make the furikomi, and remember many banks and post offices are not open at sensible times! Don’t leave it till the last minute!
About the trip
What’s the Snow Festival?
Yuki Matsuri, or the Snow Festival, is held annually in Sapporo. It features a collection of snow sculptures built by sculptors from all over the world. Some are chin-scratchingly artistic, some are outright silly, and some of them are ENORMOUS. Expect all sorts of surprises; last year’s centre-piece was a four storey high Taj Mahal, an artic sea life diorama featuring snow walruses, and Suntory provided ice sculptures with real crabs frozen into them. There are even bars made of ice.
So, there’s some snow. Anything else?
As well as the Yuki Matsuri, there are plenty of things to do in and around Sapporo. Sapporo has hosted the Winter Olympics before, so snowboarding and skiing are very real possibilities, the city is famous for butter ramen, curry and crab, so there is some really good eating, and one or two of you may have heard of a little thing called Sapporo beer. Guess where that’s made. There is even a beer musuem. Other activities you could do include visiting Otaru’s smaller snow festival, with the village lit up of lanterns, or hitting Sapporo’s lively night life - MAJET publish a guide to the fun every year, which will be sent out nearer the date.
Traditionally MAJET organizes a night out too, starting with a group booking at the Sapporo Brewery enjoying their lamb and beer tabe-nomihoudai, or as it has come to be known, the lambyhoudai. It's awesome, and one of the finest yaki-nikus you will ever witness. You even get given your own apron.
Columbo moment; just one more thing…
In previous years the MAJET committee have received what could be termed politely, “a firm telling off” from the Board of Education for going to the effort running this trip. The BoE, understandably, don’t like to think there is a date upon which all ALTs from accross Miyagi suddenly down tools to drink beer in the snow. In their eyes this is not acceptable. To make it clear, the Board of Education is right. It’s not totally kosher that every ALT should flee Miyagi for a weekend of fun. However, nenkyu is awarded on a school by school basis, and you are contractually allowed it (if it doesn’t inconvenience your school), so this shouldn’t put you off.
You can help MAJET enormously in avoiding another “firm telling off”, by doing a couple of things:
What does my fee include?
What do we do when we get there?
Whatever you want! MAJET are going to get you there and put you up, but only you can have your fun! There will be a MAJET guide to the city given out nearer the time, but once you are in Sapporo, the time is your own! The cost of the trip includes an eat all you want and drink all you want meal at the Sapporo brewery on one evening (TBC). You may want to bear this in mind when planning your stay!
I want to go snowboarding/skiing. What do I do?
There’s a guide to slopes and how to access them in the MAJET guide that will be published nearer the date. If you want to transport skis and snowboards, you can mail them to the hostel near the time, so they are there when you arrive.
What should I bring?
Anything you will need! Medications, clothing, beers for the ferry, a book to read, whatever you want! We will publish a list nearer the time.
One thing worth noting is that Sapporo is bloody cold. This should not surprise you (you’re going to a snow festival…), but last year was a “warm winter” and it was -18 centigrade in the mornings. So pack your heat tec, some thermal socks, hats, gloves, and if you are more balance-challenged after a nomihoudai, you can get strap on spikes for your shoes. I recommend the spikes, but don’t spend much money on them; you can buy them in Sapporo from most combinis.
I want to make my own way there and stay with MAJET. Can I do that?
Erm, well… MAJET book everything in one go. We get group discounts for many of the activities, and we expect to take a group of at least 40. It is a long and drawn out organizational nightmare, which we take no payment for. Tailoring each individual’s trip would be lovely, but we simply don’t have the time.
If you wish to make your own way, however, we are happy to tell you where we will be staying, so if you want to stay in the same hotel, you are more than welcome. Book fast though! Transport can be pricey!
I missed the due date, but want to go! What should I do?
We can't guarantee you a place. However, if someone drops out we can forward you their details and you can arrange to fill their space. This is a pretty agreeable situation, as the seller doesn't lose their deposit, and the buyer gets a spot. This arrangement is first come first served.
I paid the deposit and want to drop out! What should I do?
I'm sorry, we can't always return the deposit (with enough notice, and in the right conditions, it is only ever a faint possibility). However, if we have a person that missed the deadline that wants to go, we will put them in touch with you and you can arrange to put them in your place. This is a pretty agreeable situation, as the seller doesn't lose their deposit, and the buyer gets a spot. It is a first come first served arrangement.
We say the deposit is non-returnable, because we cannot guarantee that we could return it should you change your mind. Please remember this before paying your deposit.