This Christmas, Give the Gift of... Snow?
Snow... what would winter be without it? That's the question enterprising entrepreneurs in the northern Japanese farming town of Hayakita considered when wondering how to boost business in what's normally the off-season. Located in the hinterlands of Abira county in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost large island, Hayakita has seized on a very enterprising way to create both interest and income from their most abundant natural resource: snow.
The essence of the plan is simple - pack snow into styrofoam snowmen and send them via the post office to folks in warmer climes who place orders online or at their own local post offices.
The costs are 4,000 yen (about $45) for 45cm (18-inch) tall Snowman "A" and 5,000 yen (about $55) for 55cm (22-inch) tall Snowman "B", which may seem pricey but all taxes and delivery charges are included.
With more than 65,000 units shipped since 1986, Hayakita's entrepreneurial villagers seem to have achieved success with a concept that some say wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell!
All is not rosy, however - Abira is suffering an unusual shortfall of snow this year, perhaps due to global warming - which has forced the Hayakita Yukidaruma-kai snowman group to source fresh snow from the town of Yubari. The organization is distributing snowman (in Japanese, "yuki-daruma) kits to villagers who fill them in Yubari, then bring them back to Hayakita for distribution through the post office.
"A snowman year-round, delivered" is Hayakita Yukidaruma-kai's motto. Just imagine the excitement of children living in Japan's tropical southern areas, waking up to a real snowman and perhaps touching snow for the very first time. Now that's cool! (via Asahi.com and Yomiuri Online)