Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sand sculptures

Last Saturday we went to Tottori city for the day, about a 2 hour drive away. Tottori is famous for its sand dunes. Well, actually, Tottori isn't really famous at all and even a lot of Japanese people seem to struggle to find it on a map, but the sand dunes are pretty well known. At the moment they are having an international sand sculpture festival there, so we went to check it out.

We got to Tottori at lunchtime so we parked in the city centre and had lunch and then took a bus out to the dunes. The bus was a special, old-fashioned one, with wooden floors, brass railings and bench seats facing the windows. K seemed to enjoy riding the bus more than anything else that day, standing on my lap and holding onto the railings to look out the window. Even though it was just a normal Saturday there was still quite a queue of cars waiting to get into the car park at the sand dunes, so we were glad we had taken the bus. The bus ride took about 30 minutes but, according to the driver, it took 3 to 4 hours over Golden Week!

I took lots of photos but I will try to be selective here. I just noticed that I have already used 2% of my free photo storage on Blogger! Here's a general picture to give you an idea of scale (and to show you the threatening clouds...)

There were 10 main sculptures, each representing a story or myth from the country the sculptor came from. My favourites included the one from India:

and The Flying Dutchman, which won first prize:

I quite liked this one from China too:

Here's a close-up of the back of the Indian sculpture:

and a detail from the Australian one:

Dotted around the exhibition area were several mini sculptures and at the far end of the park was one huge sculpture. It showed scenes from lots of different classic fairy tales but you couldn't get as close to it as you could to the others so it was rather difficult to see all the detail. If you look carefully here you can see Rapunzel and Cinderella:

and here's Gulliver and Jack and the Beanstalk:

We wandered around the park for an hour or two, looking at the sculptures, browsing the stalls and chatting with a friend we bumped into. This event was the first part of a series of events designed to promote Eastern Tottori and so, as always in Japan, there were mascot characters (like you get for the Olympics) specially designed to reflect the local area. Hence 'Nashiita' (a shiitake mushroom with nashi pears for ears) and 'Kanira' (a crab (kani in Japanese) with shallots (rakkyo) for ears). And you didn't even know crabs had ears, did you? Here's K getting to know Nashiita:

To get back to where we'd left the car we decided to take the train, and headed to Fukube station. H suggested that if we had to wait a long time for a train we could always have something to eat at the station. Luckily we weren't too hungry....
Yes, that's the station. Rather lacking in restaurants. And staff. And, indeed, any way to buy a ticket. Still, a train soon arrived and we set off for home, after a really nice day out.

No comments:

Post a Comment