Tag Archives: snow

Snowy Day in Tokyo

18 Jan

The weather forecast yesterday said that it was going to snow in the Tokyo area this morning, so I wasn’t surprised by this morning’s snow.

It snows a lot in northern Japan, but only a couple of times each winter in Tokyo. And when it does snow here, it’s normally not very much. I have seen blizzards and heavy snow in Tokyo…but not so often.

Because it doesn’t snow so much here, Tokyo isn’t as prepared for it as they are up north. Most people don’t own a snow shovel here. You can often see people using dustpans to move snow from driveways.

And, the buses and trains will often be delayed when there is a lot (by Tokyo standards) of snowfall. There were a lot of delays this morning.
Though train and bus delays are an inconvenience that we’re not so used to in Japan (due to the extremely punctual public transportation system here), no one complains…everyone understands that the train and bus workers are doing their best to deal with the weather. Better “safe than sorry”.

2016-01-18 10.34.36

A picture I took this morning of someone’s flower garden covered in snow.

Snowstorm of 2014 Feb 8th

10 Feb

Last Saturday (2014 February 8th), as forecast, a heavy snowstorm hit Tokyo!

It was the biggest snowstorm to hit the Tokyo area since 1998. I remember that ’98 snowstorm! I had tickets to a KISS-Fest in Yokohama the next day. It was difficult walking in the deep snow to the venue from the the train station!

Last Saturday’s storm was just as bad! Strong wind and 27cm (11″) of snow covered Tokyo.

I grew up in Florida so my only experience with snow is in Japan. I’ve been to really cold places in the wintertime a few times…Hokkaido, Niigata, and Nagano in Japan, and New York in America. But those were only for short trips.
I’ve lived my whole adult life in Tokyo…so I’m used to Tokyo’s weather more than any other place.

It normally snows once or twice every winter in Tokyo…but not very much.
Snowstorms like last weekend’s are, thankfully, very rare here.

Here are some photos I took:

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2014-02-08 17.02.14

2014-02-08 17.14.42

2014-02-08 17.40.372014-02-08 21.06.22

2014-02-08 20.54.11

2014-02-08 21.06.50

 

Father gave his life for his daughter

6 Mar

Unlike down here in Tokyo, where the weather has been very mild recently…there was a snow blizzard in northern Japan a couple of days ago.

I watched a heartbreaking story related to the storm on the television news here in Japan yesterday.

I edited an article from The Telegraph about it:

Father freezes to death protecting daughter from blizzard in Japan

A nine-year-old girl has been found weeping in her father’s arms after he froze to death sheltering her from a blizzard in northern Japan, it has emerged.

(Policemen try to dig out a vehicle in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido (photo: AP))

 Mr. Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 109 kilometers (68 miles) per hour, as temperatures plunged to -6°C (21°F).

Mr. Okada’s body was uncovered by rescuers looking for the pair after relatives raised the alarm. Natsune was wearing her father’s jacket and was wrapped in his arms, newspapers and broadcasters said.

The pair had last been heard from at 4PM on Saturday, after Mr. Okada, a fisherman, picked his daughter up from a school where she was being looked after while he was at work.

Mr. Okada called his relatives to say his truck had become stranded in the driving snow, which was several meters deep in places. He told them he and Natsune would walk the remaining kilometer.

The two were found just 300 meters from the truck at 7 am on Sunday.

Mr. Okada was hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter.

He had taken his jacket off to give to his child.

Rescuers said she was weeping weakly in his arms.

The young girl was taken to hospital where she was found to have no serious injuries. Her father was officially pronounced dead by doctors at the same institution near their home at Yubetsu in Hokkaido.

Natsune’s mother had died two years ago from an unspecified illness.

Neighbors said that Mr. Okada had been a doting father who would often delay the start of his working day to enjoy breakfast with his daughter.

His death came as families all over Japan celebrated Girls’ Day.

He reserved a cake for his only daughter and was looking forward to celebrating Girls Day together,” a neighbor told the “Yomiuri-Shinbun” newspaper.

Snowy Adults Day

14 Jan

Today is a holiday in Japan.
It’s 「成人の日」(“Coming of Age Day” or “Adults Day”).

In Japan,  twenty years old is the legal age of adulthood.
The drinking and voting age is 20 in Japan.

On the second Monday of January (today), twenty-year-olds in Japan dress in kimono and attend a special ceremony.

My oldest daughter will do it next year!
I can’t believe how fast they grow up!

Anyway, every winter in Tokyo it usually snows once or twice.
It’s snowing today!

The weather had been so nice everyday recently and then, on the day that so many people dressed up for a special day, the weather went downhill.

image

I feel sorry for them!

I hope the weather is nice on this day next year and the following two years … for my daughters’ ceremonies!

Winter’s back

7 Mar

Yesterday (Sunday, March 6th) was a nice day and it was pretty warm. My wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno, Tokyo) and walked around (my kids stayed home and studied for their final exams this week).

Ueno train station (Tokyo, Japan)

It was so warm that I began to think that spring has come. But this morning I saw the weather forecast on TV that said it would be a cold and rainy day today…and from about 9:00AM – lunchtime, it would snow!

Tokyo's weather forecast for 2011 March 7 - 14.

The weather forecast was exactly right. It was quite cold today and it snowed all morning starting at about 9:00AM.

I’m happy to see that it’s not forecast to rain or snow anymore for the rest of the week. It’s be sunny most days…and start getting warmer again. Next Monday is forecast to have a high temperature of 16°C (about 61°F).

How’s the weather in your city now?

How to stay warm in winter…Japanese style

13 Feb

The day before yesterday, it was snowing in many parts of Japan…including Tokyo.

(That day (February 11th) was also a holiday in Japan, so we didn’t have to go to work or school in the snow.)

Does it snow in the winter where you live?

It normally snows one or two days each winter in Tokyo. And not a lot of snow. The snow that fell here Friday melted later in the day.
(It does snow much heavier in northern Japan, though.)

How do you stay warm in the winter where you live?
Do you heat your entire house with electric central heating? It’s a waste to heat the whole house all day…especially parts of the house that are unoccupied.

In Japan we stay warm in winter a bit differently.

First of all, rather than heating unused rooms of the house with central heating, homes here use either an electric wall-unit air-conditioner / heater or a gas heater and warm only rooms with people in them.

Japanese wall-unit A-C / heater is high-tech with a timer and remote-control.

The same gas room heater that we have.

The heater isn’t on all day and night. Once the room is warm enough, it’s turned off. Saves money.

But this isn’t the only technique used here.
We also use:

Heated carpet

炬燵 (A "kotatsu") traditional Japanese table with a heater under it to keep you warm in winter and a blanket to keep it's heat in.

"Hanten" winter room coat

湯たんぽ (Hot-water bottle)

Also, bathtubs in Japan are separate from the shower and they have a thermostat that keeps the water warm…so, unlike bathtubs in America, Japanese baths are used daily—especially in the winter.

Outside the house, during the cold months in Japan you can buy hot canned coffee, tea and other drinks from vending machines.

And many people carry 「ホカロン」 (charcoal hand-warmers).

Charcoal hand-warmers

Does your country have any useful techniques like these to stay warm during the winter?

比田井隆

20 Feb

It snowed again in Tokyo the day before yesterday. There was only a few centimeters of snow on the ground when it stopped snowing at around 9:00AM…and it was all melted away by that afternoon.

But I took a few photos of the snow with my cell-phone camera while I was on my way to work.

At the train station

The weather was much nicer yesterday and this week’s forecast says it’ll be sunny everyday. 🙂

I considered writing a post about:
the news that the Australian government is trying to force Japan to end it’s whaling,
or about Toyota Motor Company‘s recent problems with massive car recalls around the world and the news that the company’s president will be traveling to America soon to testify before the U.S. Congress,
or that the Japanese Olympic team got their third medal yesterday…this one in Men’s Figure Skating (Click here to see Japan’s 2010 Olympic medalists…and here to see the total number of medals each country has so far.)

But there’s enough written on the internet about all of those stories already.

I want to write about someone that you probably haven’t heard of.

「比田井隆」 (Takashi Hidai).

He’s a member of Japan’s 2010 パラリンピックス (Paralympic) “Wheelchair Curling Team“.

「比田井隆」 (Takashi Hidai)

Do you know what the パラリンピックス (Paralympics) is?
It’s the Olympics games for athletes who are physically handicapped or blind.

These games are sometimes confused with the “Special Olympics“…which are the games for athletes who are mentally handicapped.

I think the athletes who participate in both the Paralympics and the Special Olympics are amazing.

As I said Takashi Hidai will be participating in the 2010 Paralympics Games, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada from 2010 March 12 – 21. Shortly after the “regular” Olympic Games are over.

I heard about Takashi Hidai in the Japanese news.
He’s 75-year-old. The oldest person to ever join the Japanese Paralympics Team.

When he was 31 years old, he was working in Tokyo as an electrician on a construction site when suddenly a crane fell over on top of him and fractured his spine…paralyzing him from the waist down.

He credits the love of his wife and daughter (who was three years old at the time) with helping maintain his positive attitude after his tragedy.

About ten years after the accident, someone at the physical rehabilitation center that he was a patient at suggested he try his hand at archery.
His family agreed that it sounded like a good idea so he bought a bow and practiced earnestly.
He enjoyed it alot and became skilled at it and in 1980, he entered the National Archery Competition…competing against non-handicapped archers.

About five years ago, an acquaintance who participated in a local Wheelchair Curling workshop suggested Mr. Hidai try it.
He doubted that he would be able to maneuver his wheelchair on ice at the age of seventy…let alone compete in such a sport against people forty or fifty years younger than him.
But he went ahead and tried it and found that he really enjoys it…not to mention, excels at it.

Mr. Hidai also went to England in 2005 to compete in the World Archery Championship.
He said “Being 70 years old (at the time), I was really surprised to make it to the World Championships!”

But fate dealt Takashi Hidai another blow.
His daughter, whom he said constantly encouraged him with a smile, died nineteen years ago of cancer.
She was only 28 years old and had just became a mother only six-months prior.

He wishes she was still here to encourage him when he plays at the 2010 Paralympics in Canada next month.