I’ve been saving up photos of the snows we’ve been having this month to post here, but it just kept on snowing and snowing, and I kept putting off writing a blog entry as the snow piled higher and higher, thinking I would wait until the snow stopped and post the grand result.
Well, it’s the end of the month and it hasn’t stopped!
There’s a saying up here in Hokuriku: “Even if you forget your lunchbox, bring your umbrella.” This is a wet climate! And our winter weather comes to us from northern China and Korea, as an arctic blast that hits the Sea of Japan, sucks up all that delicious moisture, and then reaches Japan. When those heavy, wet clouds hit the the Japan Alps, they shoot up into the atmosphere and every ounce of that moisture freezes and falls right onto us.
The funny thing about the weather is that, even though everyone here has lived in this climate their whole life, it doesn’t seem to stop the shock and surprise every time snow starts to fall. I wonder if people in Phoenix wake up in the morning and exclaim, “It’s dry?! Really??!!”
But I love this weather. The artist in me glows from the inside out when I see the mountaintops sparkle in a fresh snow. The sky and storm clouds here are so dramatic, and the snow thunder reverberates off the mountains back and forth in an earth-shaking rumble that can last a full 20 seconds. Winter in Hokuriku is great!
Then again, I don’t have to drive in it…
Anyway, I know the rest of the world seems to be drowning in heaps of snow right now, but I thought I would add my photos to the mix. Sadly, no camera can capture the true color and light of snow, and my phone is even worse than the average camera, but hopefully your mind’s eye can help fill in the blanks so you can feel some of the majesty these pictures try to capture.
By the end of the day we had cleared out a tunnel so we could enter and exit the parking lot… but it was already too late for work. Plus, the trains were stopped the entire day. We were lucky though — the very same train we rode to get home from Kyoto got stuck in the mountains a little later, and over 1000 passengers had to sleep on the train until the next day when the train company could dig them out!
With no place to put all the snow, the plows began dumping it into local rice paddies. The rice paddy next to my house has a mountain of snow higher than the two-story house it belongs to! Even the trees here are under snow, and they look like rolling hills on some alien world.
It’s still snowing…