Big Tokyo snowstorm
Today was the national public holiday called “seijin no hi”or Coming of Age Day. Many young adults - people who turned 20 during the past year - attended “seijishiki,” Coming of Day Ceremonies at local public halls. Young men habitually wear suits, and many young women still gear up in fancy kimono.
But today we got hit with a heavy snowfall in Tokyo, which happens sometimes. The temperature was 4°C, but it snowed heavy, wet snow all day, with driving winds. Tokyo has no snow removal equipment and the slush accumulated in the streets pretty fast. By mid-morning there were surface train delays, and by late afternoon there were commuter train stoppages. I was working all day in a hotel
near Tokyo Station and I could watch the streets from the 27th floor. Then when I left I used the subway all the way home. There was no problem with the subway because it’s under ground and unaffected by surface snow. Walking home from the local subway station was a treacherous affair, though. The streets were filled with icy ruts down the middle and these ruts prevented melted ice at the curb-side from draining away. So the edges of the streets were like lakes for people like me in street shoes, not boots. It was terrible weather for young women walking around in fancy kimonos for their Coming of Age Day ceremonies.
I saw several cars abandoned - because they became trapped by the snow - on the streets. I don’t mean parked at the side of the street. I mean really abandoned. Taxi cabs and buses were quick to put on chains, and the vehicular traffic was ringing with the clinking sound of chains slapping the pavement. By late evening road traffic was creeping along very slowly and carefully. Many householders were clearing the streets directly in front of their homes with shovels and brooms. It is a holiday, so there was no issue of having to cancel the school day or dismiss students early.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is for 8-degrees Celsius and sunny, but it will take days for today’s snowfall to melt away. In addition, it will freeze tonight so that tomorrow morning all of today’s slush will be frozen. Walking will be treacherous.