Monday, December 22, 2014

It Snowed in Hamamatsu!

prints on snow

*Originally intended for posting on Dec. 18

It snowed in Hamamatsu! Yay!

I've lived here for almost 3 years and this is  the first time I saw a considerable amount of snow. It snowed enough to cover the grounds in thin white blanket. When I walked to school this morning, it looked winter-picture perfect. Soooo lovely and a little slippery. 

Snow Surprise

Hamamatsu is on the coast of the Pacific so it rarely snow like this. It doesn't snow in Shizuoka prefecture actually. Most cars in Hama are not equipped to deal with slippery roads. The result? Heavier traffic than usual. Even the buses are slower than their usual turtle pace so they are late. Because the bus was late, I was late in going to school. It was just for 5 minutes though so the vice principal didn't mind it. Other teachers were late too. 

This is the snowfall data from Current Results. See, it doesn't snow in Shizuoka where Hamamatsu is. 


Average annual snowfall
  25Aikawa, Sado Island  46.9119
  13Gifu  18.5  47
    6Nagoya    6.3  16
    0Shizuoka    0.0   0 

This sudden snow explains why it has been terribly cold the previous days. Winter is cold but it's too early to be this bitingly, chillingly  and inescapably cold. Here's a tangible effect of climate change, I guess. Even other parts of Japan had an earlier snow fall than usual. It's expected that areas which usually have snow can expect heavier snow fall. It's gonna be a snowy winter in Japan. 

Snow and School

I pity the students. Japanese public schools in Hamamatsu don't use heaters in the classroom. Only the staff room is heated. How do the students can study in this weather is a mystery to me. I noticed that students come more often to the staff room to ask something or pass something in winter. Then they would linger and hang around. Talk to me sometimes. I bet they want a taste of warmth!

Two days ago there was a school announcement. The announcement goes something like this in English, "If it's too cold, no school." The temperature dropped to 2 then 1 then 0. Still, we have classes. Students even have club activities on the cold windy school grounds. How they manage to do that is another mystery to me. A third mystery is what does "too cold"  mean for the school. It would be nice to have an extra day just snuggling. Especially in this weather. Classes will be over tomorrow so maybe that "too cold day" will be for next year. 

Sweet Sayonara

It's funny what this snowy day did to me. It reminded me why I love living here. There are four seasons, all lovely. I've lived most of my life in the Philippines where summer is eternal. I'm actually flying there tomorrow and won't be back til next year. I'm excited to see my family and friends but Japan is home, too. In fact, the more I stay here, the more I feel this is my home. The snow today feels like a sweet goodbye... for the meantime. The snow made me smile and made me remember to come back. 

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