Yuki Miku at the Yuki Matsuri

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I was in Sapporo this past February for the 2014 Yuki Matsuri. Even though the star attractions were undoubtedly the massive snow sculptures lining the city’s large Ōdōri Park, it was impossible to ignore a little mahō shōjo who ruled over a tiny corner of the festival venue.

The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri is a massive annual event, with a massive footprint to match: no less than three large venues in different parts of Hokkaidō’s snowy capital. The largest of the three is Ōdōri Park, a long patch of green (or, in this season, white) that runs for 13 blocks across the centre of the city. I’ve written about the rest of the festival on my travel blog (click here for more), but as far as my anime/manga culture blog (i.e., the one you’re in right now) is concerned, the beating heart of the event was probably the 11-chōme block close to the western end of the park.

This was the site of the Ōdōri HQ for the official Snow Miku promotional campaign.

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Although not, strictly speaking, an anime or manga character, Hatsune Miku is very much a part of the broader Japanese pop culture phenomenon that includes anime and manga. As an anime/manga enthusiast myself, I certainly knew who she was and even considered joining that long line pictured below (it’s for entry to a small building where Snow Miku goods were on sale). Alas, fearing for the health of my wallet, I decided to move on.

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Not that I emerged completely unscathed, as I did buy a couple of official Snow Miku souvenirs from elsewhere in the park: a mobile phone accessory and a set of official postage stamps. (If I ever get around to putting up pictures of the goods on my travel blog, I’ll post the same images here as well.)

I didn’t even have to wait until 11-chōme before spotting the first signs of Miku fever – stalls in other blocks were also selling official merchandise.

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As a prominent local celebrity (the company that created her is based in Sapporo), Hatsune Miku’s role as a cultural ambassador extended beyond the festival itself. Here she is at the tourist information office in Sapporo Station, cheerfully greeting visitors from all over the world.

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And that’s not all. I also spotted a different Yuki Miku event in a different venue on a different day – pictures will go up in a separate post once I’ve documented that day of my trip over at my travel blog. UPDATE: Here you go. Cheers.


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