It’s been snowing for the past week in northern Japan. Mostly the snow has been these soft little pebbles, brought on by very cold temperatures and high winds. Everything was covered for the most part, but because of all the blowing, nothing really collected in my town, though the major inland towns and cities got dumped on. Then the temperature rose to around -1 or 0, and the winds calmed down on Sunday. Within 20 minutes, it was blizzard weather, with no visibility and these fat, fluffy, faceted crystals. Now that’s what I’m talking about! If it’s going to be freezing cold (which it is: I now regularly wake up to ice coating the inside of my bathroom window), there might as well be snow everywhere. And lots of it. However, I am claustrophobic on the coast. Yes, it’s beautiful and vast and changes colors breathtakingly, but I feel like a regular fish out of water, a billy-goat out of the Andes, a snow-leopard in the desert, without my mountains. Whether it’s snowing or not, give me 14,000 foot peaks any day of the week. There are things you realize thousands of miles away from home, and one of those things is where exactly home is.
In any case, the good news is that it’s snowing. I woke up Monday literally plowed in to my house – but at least that meant the plows were working. The conditions of the winter roads here are terrible. They hardly ever plow unless there’s significant snowfall, they don’t sand or salt the roads, and in some towns, their method is actually to water the roads. (This entails a slight slope, and sprinkler-like systems constantly spraying water, with the idea that running water doesn’t freeze??) This week seems to be a snowy one in many places – on the East coast in DC and NY, in Paris, in Colorado, and of course, Aomori-ken, Japan. I like the idea that there’s a unifying link in the weather between me and the people I love, a big beautiful blanket of calm ringing in the upcoming winter festivities.
And on that note, very Merry Holidays and despite how gorgeous all this winter white is, in three days I’ll be spending Christmas in 90 degree heat in Bangkok and I cannot wait! I’ll be back next year!