Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Saturday, January 21, 2006


This is the second time this month that I've gotten up early because my school was hosting entrance exams.

This is also the second time this month that I've opened the curtains in the morning to find the world covered with white. That's right...we got snowed on again. In fact, we got the biggest snowstorm this area has seen in decades.

Fortunately, when I headed out (immediately, skipping breakfast) it hadn't been snowing long. It was also warm enough that the main roads were slushy but not frozen. That made for much easier driving than last time, when the roads were a mass of black ice. Perhaps unfortunately, even on the little back road we live on there wasn't enough snow to merit putting on the tire chains I bought yesterday (the last set left for my BLUE car's tire size...and, wouldn't you know it, it was the most expensive). I just took things slowly and carefully, stuck pretty much to the main routes, and everything was fine.

When I got the the Kitaura Bridge the driving snow was apparently fighting with a mass of warmer air over the lake, for the bridge was engulfed in a huge, white cloud that almost completely obscured my vision. When I emerged on the other side, in Kashima, I found... snow at all. It was raining hard, and the road was absolutely clear (wouldn't you know it?). Business as usual. I picked up the pace, and I made it to ye olde academy with time to spare.

It was a typical exam day. In the senior high building, students were taking the general entrance test for the (wait for it...) senior high, while the junior high section was hosting the "latter stage" test, i.e. the second round in which kids who failed the first one are given another chance. (That's also how almost all our problem students get in...) Everything went quickly and smoothly, and by 4 p.m. I was already on my way home.

It was still raining hard in Kashima. I took the Jingu Bridge into Itako to find it similarly wet and snowless. When I turned and headed north, up the hill to Namegata City (former Aso), it wasn't long before I started getting snow splatters on my windshield. Within a few kilometers it was snowing hard, the road was all slushy (no ice, thank goodness), and everything was covered with white. There were banks of snow on both sides of the road. For the first time ever, I actually saw snowplows at work in my town! The lack of ice meant that driving was still relatively safe and easy. However, when I turned off onto the back road leading to my house, I found myself driving through a thick mass of snow. It wasn't really a problem till I turned into my driveway. It took me a long time to get into my parking spot because I packed the snow down on my first pass and sat there spinning on it when I tried to back up. Tenacity paid off, however, and I eventually got my BLUE (non-4WD) RAV into its appointed place.

I then got to walk in 15-cm-deep snow in my work shoes. I didn't notice, though. I was too busy surveying my surroundings.

My wife's Ford is all white...

Our local road looks like a little river in a field of white.

As you can see, I had to redig my driveway with my tires...

Looking over to where they're doing construction to widen the road. sign of life today.

The garden between our houses doesn't look quite the same...

...possibly because of the two "snowthings" my children made...

Well, it's much later now, the snow has finally eased off, and I can hear sounds of melting even though it's really cold out there. It's supposed to warm up and melt off tomorrow, but I hope it doesn't turn into a sheet of ice on the road. If it does, tomorrow morning's rehearsal is definitely off.

Okay. I've had my winter fix. Time to turn up the thermostat, okay?


  • Good grief, you've had more snow than we have!

    By Blogger Pa've, at 6:16 PM  

  • And now it's day 2 of the snow. It cleared up and warmed up today, so the snow melted off the streets pretty quickly. There's still a lot of it, though. It was especially fun (not) this afternoon when it started sliding off the in-laws' roof en masse, blocking their front door and our driveway. We had the whole family out there digging.

    Going to this morning's jazz rehearsal at the school was a problem because the snow on our driveway, which was fluffy enough to provide traction yesterday, was packed solid and more or less like ice. My tires had zero grip, and I couldn't get my car out till I used a hoe to hack out a clear path up to the road. back...

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 7:10 PM  

  • Wow! You got quite a bit. Across the lake here it was mix of rain and snow all day Saturday, turning to all snow at night. Not nearly as much as you got. Perhaps being closer to the ocean...

    Sorry you had to play Santa to get out of your driveway (hoe, hoe, hoe).

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 10:45 PM  

  • Very Winter wonderland. We're experiencing unusual weather here too. Normally around this time, close to Lunar New Year, we would have strong howling winds but not this year. In fact, there's no wind at all. Even the sun is reluctant to come out and play.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 12:42 AM  

  • No snow in London... :-(

    I particularly love the 'snowthings'... Here, even if it does snow, we could never be able to scoop up enough snow to make one.

    By Blogger YD, at 6:44 AM  

  • I've never seen pictures of your home. I would like to see some when there is not quite so much white stuff!

    I like the snowthings. Be sure to feed them plenty of MEAT, so they can get red and strong. It also keeps them from entering your home, and whispering snowy thoughts in your ears when you sleep. With all that MEAT, you can smell them coming, and quickly douse them in hot water. Awwww, poor mushy meaty snowthings!

    By Blogger DewKid, at 6:48 AM  

  • Dewkid is very strange. Good for him.

    By the way, the What on Earth catalog has a great doormat for you. It says "Arrrrrr, Nice booty." and has a jolly roger on it.

    grnfeyp? Professor Grnfeyp!

    By Blogger Phillipa Scratch, at 11:50 AM  

  • Thanks Phillipa! :-)

    Say, do I know you?

    By Blogger DewKid, at 6:28 AM  

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