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Award Winning Hilton Tokyo Bay Ice Sculptor Shares Talents
February 10, 2010
CHIBA, Japan - For many people ice is simply something they put in a drink to keep it cool, but for me it is a world of sculptural inspiration and creativity that brings happiness to many people.
I’m very happy to say that in early January, I was awarded 3rd Prize at the 24th China Harbin International Ice Sculpture Competition. The festival is considered to be one of the most famous and prestigious in the world - and competition was fierce with 21 teams consisting of 43 artists and craftsmen from 7 countries, including the United States, Russia, China, Thailand, Japan and Mongolia. We were all focused on one thing: to celebrate the art of carving ice into wonderful sculptures.
Over a three day period and in freezing cold temperatures (around -10 and -20 degree Celsius!), my carving partner and I used a chain saw, electric drill and chisels to carefully create a 2.5 meter high and wide sculpture from a block of natural ice taken from a frozen river. We entitled our artwork, “Hikari ni Mukau” which means “Toward the Light”. The sculpture depicts a beautiful woman holding a light in her hand and symbolizes our wish for people everywhere to go forward towards light with great hope. In creating this inspirational figure we made special effort to incorporate subtle, delicate expressions and features, such as the woman’s slender hands. We are happy to report our work will be on public display in Harbin city until this spring.
My love of ice sculpture began about 30 years ago when I saw a particularly striking ice sculpture on display in a banquet hall. I was instantly inspired and began to study the art under a leading ice sculpture expert in Japan. After joining Hilton Tokyo Bay in 1990, I was lucky enough to find numerous opportunities to carve ice for special occasions. In the summer of 2004 I was even assigned to carve ice full-time for one whole month! To celebrate that period, we named our newly opened Hilton restaurant “One Summer Freeze Restaurant” and literally filled the restaurant with intricate fish and penguin figures, often carved right in front of guests. It was hard physical work but such a memorable experience. I look back on that time as invaluable experience that allowed me to celebrate this special art form.
I have had many other opportunities to participate in international and local competitions. I won 1st prize in a competition in 1998 in Japan, 3rd prize at the “World Ice Art Championships” in 2000 in Fairbanks, Alaska, and 2nd prize at the 2008 international ice sculpture contest in Khabarovsk, Russia.
It has been a great honor to receive this latest award in Harbin. I share my achievement with Hilton Tokyo Bay as they have given me great support in my art. It makes me particularly happy to honor them in turn by introducing the beauty of ice sculptures to our guests.
Kazuo Nemoto, Chef, Hilton Tokyo Bay, is a 20 year Hilton Team Member.
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