Wash. U. Sushi Chef Celebrates Inauguration With Ice Sculpture

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Naomi Hamamoto, known as Hama, is a man of many talents. He makes sushi at Washington University's Danforth University Center. And he can carve ice sculptures.

Hama celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama yesterday by carving a bust of the new president from a block of solid ice outside the Danforth Center. Student Life, Wash. U.'s student paper, reports that Hama first sketched Ohama's face with a chisel, then cut off large chunks of ice with a chainsaw. Then he used an electric chisel and a hand carver to add detail.

The whole process took about half an hour, only slightly longer than the inaugural address. Student Life did not report how long the finished sculpture survived.

"I like to sculpt humans and animals" Hama told Student Life. "At the beginning, it can be difficult, but after 30 years, anything is easy."

Hama is, in fact, a five-time World Ice Carving Champion. He has participated in competitions as far away as Sapporo, Japan, and Fairbanks, Alaska, but lately has decided to curtail his traveling. Many of his colleagues at the Danforth Center were unaware, until yesterday, of Hama's ice-sculpting talents.

Although Hama professed interest in Obama's inauguration, he did not vote for him last November. Hama is still a citizen of Japan.

Photo of non-ice Obama and metaphorical Hama: commons.wikimedia.org

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