Friday, January 23, 2009

My First Igloo

It is my childhood dream to get a chance to build an igloo. I mean a real-sized igloo, not a mini one. As if we haven't had enough of snow a day earlier, my Japanese classmates and I, together with Yan Kuang went to the exact site where we built our snowman a day earlier, on a different mission. Earlier, I came back from my lunch and received a message on my cellphone from my Japanese tutor.
今ヒマ?テニスコートで一緒にかまくら作ろうよ! (Are you free now? How about building a "kamakura" at the tennis court?)
At first, I didn't know what "kamakura" is; all I know is "kura-kura". Despite not knowing what that supposed to be, I ignored my blurriness and went straight to the tennis court to see what they planned to do. When I reached there, I saw six of my Japanese classmates plus Yan Kuang were working tirelessly accumulating the snow to one spot. I knew for instant what they had in their minds. They planned to build an igloo.
The mount of snow was already that high when I arrived. That is the snowman we built in the background.
Initially, I thought of just going there to have a look, because I was still tired from building the snowman a day before. But I couldn't resist the temptation of getting the opportunity to join them and build an igloo, because chances like this don't come often. Not every part of Japan snows, and it would be impossible for me to do it in Malaysia.
Without having any knowledge of the basics and principles of building an igloo, the two of us just followed whatever the Japanese kids did. When they collected the snow from the tennis court, we did the same thing. When they compacted the snow to make it hard, we did that as well. However, we soon realised that the distance we have to carry the scooped snow to the main site was slowly becoming further and further away. So, my tutor Tanaka came out with an idea of making snowballs and rolling them to the main site of our igloo to save our energy.
First step was to make a small snowball and making sure that the snowball is as compact as possible.
Next, put the snowball on the bed of snow and slowly roll them as the size of the snowball would begin to get bigger and bigger.
However, if we continued doing it alone continuously and didn't pay much attention to the size of the snowball, it would get pretty huge until it became impossible for one person to roll it anymore. Take this as an example.
"Can somebody lend me a hand?"
Mind you, the snowball might look not that big but trust me, it is quite heavy. There was one time when I rolled a snowball so big that I needed two extra persons to roll it over to the igloo site. That snowball was easily more than 100kg, by my rough estimation. Another way of delivering the snowball would be by using a trolley.
But at times, some of them hopped onto it and asked another friend to push the trolley so that he could glide on the snow.
"Here comes another snowball!"
Subsequently, we piled the snowball onto the mount of snow to make it wider and higher, until it reached a satisfying size. More often than not, the snowballs we rolled were too huge and heavy that it was impossible for us to lift and stack them on the mount of snow. So, we had to break them into smaller parts before stacking them. To make sure the structure was strong enough, Yan Kuang climbed onto the mount of snow and used his legs and shovel to further compact the snow.
Instead of the conventional way of the construction of an igloo, in which they stack snowbricks from the base to the top, we used a different method. We made a huge compact dome first, before we dig out the snow to make a hole inside the dome.
Compacting the snow to make sure the igloo would be strong enough and won't collapse easily.
Digging the hole of the dome from the front.
The digging task took longer than the time we used to accumulate the snow. We took turns to go inside the igloo and dug out the excessive snow. At the same time, we made sure the wall of the igloo was thick enough to support the whole structure. There were a few times when some of us over-dug it and created a hole on the wall. Every time that happened, we quickly get some snow and paste those holes. As for the rest, they slowly clear the area around the igloo and some even make some snow carvings along the entrance to the igloo. When I went and took a closer look, it was a head of a creature, more like a monster with its tongue sticking out.
Finally, after more than two hours of continuous effort, our igloo was completed. I have to say that we did it much faster than what I'd expected because we took more almost three hours to build the snowman a day before. Perhaps the numbers we had made the job finished much faster. But the most important thing, we had great fun!
To make our igloo more interesting, we built two long ears to it as well.
This is the creature, who guards our igloo.
The sense of accomplishment was much felt as soon as our igloo were completed. So, we took some time to camwhore at our creation.
Ohh, hi!
Matsuya (class monitor lol), Tanaka (my tutor) and me, while having hot coffee
inside the igloo.
One group photo before we headed back to finish our undone assignments lol.

It was indeed a great experience, and my childhood dream has come true.


specialhuman said...

wah cool. You should consider moving there.

i also want i also want

and where's the photo of u eating red bean mochi in the igloo?


calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
haha, no i won't. three years living in nagaoka is more than enough for me. i'm looking for a new place for new challenges :)

and it seems like you are still not done with that picture of mine, eh? xD

syaza said...

sasugani hima!!
bestnye yuki bertimbun camtu!

lyk said...

it is my dream to build an igloo.what a pity to forget to build it while i was there for a few days~_~

lyk said...

it is my dream to build an igloo.what a pity to forget to build it while i was there for a few days~_~

Endoru said...

Yeah, you guys are real "ヒマ".

elaine said...

i wanna build one toooo~

=chuan guan= said...

i wan my picture picture pictures!!!

MichelleG said...

haha i agree with special human. haha where's that pic???

we shd build one n have coffee inside the igloo =P but i wont be there during winter =(

calvin said...

@ syaza:
you are welcomed to visit us anytime and i'll teach you how to build a snowman and igloo =)

calvin said...

@ lyk:
i thought the snow was still too thin when you guys were here? never mind, you still can do it next year =)

calvin said...

@ endoru:
hehe, just taking a break to release tension from studying xD

calvin said...

@ elaine:
just build one lol =P

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
haha, take a camera and snap your picture on your own lah =P

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
i will try and work that out, since so many people (only two actually) have requested it ;)

yup, don't know if there will be such chance in the future >.<

specialhuman said...

aiyo...i mean, you should consider living inside the igloo.

why r u so blur nowadays huh? ur brain got frozen? XD

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
haha, paiseh hor. i guess the cold weather has taken its toll on me already xD

but i still won't consider that option since i have a room with a heater fixed =)

unless there is an earthquake here and the dorm collapses, then maybe we might build an igloo for temporal shelter.

ns29 said...

tak adil
i woke up everyday seeing the water on floor freeze and become ice..
but nvr see snow on floor..

and u guys can even stay with short sleeves but snow a lot!!

calvin said...

@ ns29:
hehe, if you notice properly, i'm the only one wearing a t-shirt. it was not that cold in the afternoon, but when it got darker, i started to shiver lol xD