In which our heroine uses her snow tires.
I first wrote about having no heat in November. Winter is now in full gear, and not only is it cold, we had blizzard last week. The temperature outside generally hovers around -2 to 3 degrees Celsius most days in January and (apparently) February, which makes it just the right temperature for snow.
Have I mentioned that I live in one of the rainiest prefectures/towns in Japan?
I like snow as much as the next guy–my friends in college and I frequently had mini snowball fights on the way to class at university–but this week was ridiculous.
On Wednesday morning, I stood by the coffee-maker watching the snow fall and thinking about how nice it was that it was finally snowing instead of raining.
On Wednesday afternoon, I hiked back to my apartment in ankle-deep snow.
On Thursday morning, my car was totally white, and I trudged to work in more than a foot of snow. The sidewalks were not cleared. The roads were a disaster. This was baffling because
1. The majority of the townspeople have to be at work by 8:30 am.
2. Most of my coworkers live on the outskirts of town or in nearby towns and
3. because the local public transportation in this town is practically nonexistent, almost everyone I know drives to work.
According to a coworker, the prefecture controls when we get the plows. Apparently my town is not a priority for the morning commute, but by 5 pm, the main roads were cleared.
I should also note that Japan doesn’t salt the roads, and while this is probably more environmentally friendly and better for our cars, if the plow hasn’t come through, good luck. The main roads and bridges in my town have sprinklers, which works to some degree by melting the snow. (Of course, if we did that in Michigan at -10 C, the whole state would be iced over.)
Unfortunately, the one place I really wanted to go was the pool, but since my “gym” is in the next town, I couldn’t get there because of the roads. The worst part was the fact that it would NOT stop snowing. I’d look outside, and it would have stopped and the roads would be clear, so I’d get all excited for swimming instead of dong at-home calisthenics for the fourth day in a row. As soon as I thought that, it would start snowing again. 落ち込んだ！
On Friday, I decided that the roads were clear enough to attempt the trip, but around the halfway-point, it started snowing so hard that, not only could I barely see, I thought I might be driving into a snow vortex to an alternate dimension. That might have been fun, but I don’t think they have a pool there, so I turned around and went home.
Luckily, this weekend, the weather and the roads cleared up enough for me to drive to the pool–finally!– and to drive up to the town north of mine to meet up with a friend for dinner. Since I was coming from the pool, I had to switch between a number of much smaller back roads to get to the northern town. I’m glad I went that route. The snow covering the pine trees, the temples and the shrines along the way was gorgeous in the setting sun.
Of course, then I wiped out on some black ice this morning on my bike, so while I’ll try to enjoy the snow while it’s here, I’m very much looking forward to spring.