Slice of Life: Snow Days in Takayama

About a week or two ago, photos of ‘snow’ in Chicago started popping up on facebook along with heavy usage of capitals and exclamation marks (OMG SNOW!!!!). \(O.O)/
From the looks of things, there was maybe an inch of snow on the ground.
Seriously. an inch. in Chicago. (‘-‘) I’m not impressed.

It was right around this time that I also was reminded, thanks to the Chicago Tribune on Google+, of Chicago’s massive blizzard of 2011 that shut the city down for a couple of days. They said ‘more than 20 inches of snow fell’ during this blizzard. Keep in mind that this is Chicago & we are pretty much used to snow.

Now take a look at a picture of my car, also taken at the time of these snow exclamations:

Takayama Japan Snow, Takayama Winter, Snowmageddon
That is a good 12 inches of snow that fell, and this is at least the 3rd time we’ve gotten this much snow since early December. According to the locals here, this is only ‘a little bit of snow’ – usually it’s much more! During the first good snowfall in December, we got around 55cm of snow here (21.6 inches!). During the most recent snow, I finally had to ask: how often do schools close due to the heavy snow or extreme cold conditions? Their answer:

NEVER.

Schools NEVER close due to snow or extreme cold!
The students are still expected to be there.
How are they are getting to school? Many of them are still walking or riding their bicycle! Some will get a ride from parents in adverse weather though.
I can’t even count how many times I would get up and instead of getting ready for school I would watch the news with hopes of seeing my school’s name scrolling across the screen in the list of school closures. SNOW DAY! The idea of a snow day doesn’t even cross their minds. So, the next time you want to skip class, or work due to some wimpy reason, think of the kids here and toughen up! 🙂

Can you guess how the roads are cleared of snow?
City snowplow? No.
Some people with oversized pick-up trucks with a plow on front? Nope.
Usually the older people (who generally aren’t working these days) are out shoveling as soon as the sun is coming up – it’s a social activity from the sounds of it. Almost a contest of who can shovel the most snow into the drainage canals! There is a small plow truck that comes through later in the morning, but it’s mostly the residents handling the side streets. The bus drivers for one of the kindergartens in the area even get out on the street at 4 or 5 am to clear the snow and ice from the steep windy road that leads up to the school! It’s pretty amazing how much energy and strength these older people have here in the mountains!

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