Category Archives: Weather

Still icy 3 days later

It’s been 3 days since the big snowstorm in the Tokyo area, and we still have snow and ice on the ground.  Usually it’s gone within 2 or 3 days, but it’s been quite cold this week.

The day after the snow, some of it was melting, resulting in another messy day.  I took these pictures Tuesday morning.

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Snowy sidewalks and a wet street.

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In my building’s parking lot.

All of this wet snow and melt water froze in the evening, and it was quite dangerous just walking on the sidewalk.  The melting and freezing cycle makes it difficult for people to walk, as well as drive.  It’s much better now, with just a bit of ice and snow in the shadowy areas.  It’s warming up this weekend, so it should be all gone soon.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Weather

Snowy day in Yokohama

When I experienced my first snow in Yokohama, I couldn’t believe how everyone used umbrellas.  I quickly realised why.  This isn’t your typical Canadian snow.  This stuff is wet.  It sticks to you and melts right away.  It’s just as bad as walking in the rain, and it’s often mixed with rain.  Also, the snowflakes clump together to create massive supersized floating snow structures.

Today, it snowed.  It snowed a lot.  This was probably one of the biggest snowfalls I’ve seen in Yokohama.  While it may not seem like much, it’s a big deal here.

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This morning, before the snow started to accumulate.

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This afternoon, the snow was coming down pretty heavily.

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Early evening, on my way home.

That last picture shows why snow here is such a nuisance.  It’s extremely wet.  It may look like snow, but it’s really snow coating slush.  As I was crossing the street, I stepped in what appeared to be pretty solid snow, but ended up being a 10 cm deep slushy puddle with white snow on top.  I completely soaked my feet, and had to endure a 30 minute train ride, a wait for the bus, and a 10 minute bus ride.  When I got home, my feet were so cold, I took a quick shower to warm me and my feet up.

I’m looking forward to several days of sunny weather.

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Filed under Japan, Kanagawa, Nishi-ku, Weather, Yokohama

2012 Picture of the Week (51/52) – Frosty

My previous post was about the cold winter we’re about to have here in Japan.  Well, this morning, I saw something I’ve never seen in December here, frost.  It’s usually not this cold in December.  Frost and snow is usually around in January and February, not December.  Also, it’s expected to be -3°C in the morning.  Many people I’ve talked to in Japan have never felt a temperature colder than -10°C.  I’ve experienced -42°C.

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Frosty ground!

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Weather

How about some wind to go with the cold?

It has been a cold November and December so far.  From what I’ve heard, October was one of the warmer Octobers on record, while November was one of the colder ones.  The Japan Meteorological Agency is predicting that this winter will be colder than last winter.  Last winter was a cold one!  And then today, we had an incredible amount of wind.  Goodbye leaves.

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The wind was devastating to the gingko leaves.

It’s funny how the temperatures we’re getting now are cold to me.  In Canada, this kind of weather, averaging 9 to 14 degrees Celsius, would have been balmy at this time of year.  It’s been extremely snowy and cold in Canada so far this fall.  But here in the Tokyo region, we rarely get snow.  So why is it that I feel so cold?  Of course, today’s wind made it feel very cold.  But even when it isn’t windy, I feel very cold.  I think it has to do with the environment I live in.  This kind of weather would have felt cold in early October in Canada.  However, it would feel warm in December.  It’s all in how you perceive it.  It’s what you’re used to.  By this time, below 0 is the norm in Canada, so above 0 would feel warm.  However, we have yet to feel a significant amount of time at this temperature, so it feels cold.

But another big difference is inside the home.  In Canada, thanks to central heating and good insulation, it’s always warm inside. In Japan, homes are built to allow air to move freely during the extremely hot summer months, but they don’t seem to take into account that it gets cold in winter. No central heating, except in the north.  Poor insulation is a big problem here.  Some people have suggested that insulation isn’t used much here because of the humidity, but I don’t buy it.  Vancouver and Victoria are very humid for half the year, yet they have good insulation.  In the 5 years that I lived in Victoria, I had no problems with insulation.

Inside in Japan, it is cold. This can be alleviated by using kerosene heaters, electric heaters, air conditioners, or kotatsu (tables with heaters underneath).  Some people even have heated floors.  But I think one of the best things is to have some nice hot food, such as ramen, nabe, udon, or curry.  That’ll heat me up.

What do you do in cold winter months to keep yourself warm?

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Filed under Daily Life, Japan, Weather

Sanma Matsuri and Typhoon 17

On September 30th, there were two events.  One was local, the other was major.

First, in Ofuna, Kamakura, there was a big festival.  This was the Sanma Festival.  Sanma is the Japanese name for a fish called Pacific saury.  But not only was this a festival about a small fish that’s grilled on a stick, it’s also a friendship festival between Ofuna and the city of Ofunato in Iwate prefecture.  Ofunato was one of the cities devastated by the tsunami of March 11, 2011.  Ofuna and Ofunato share the same kanji (大船 and 大船渡).  I managed to take a few pictures of it that afternoon.

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It’s a busy festival with lots of food.

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This intersection was being controlled so festival-goers weren’t hit by traffic.

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This banner flag says “Sanma matsuri.”

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Look at all that food.

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Finally, a picture from down on the street.

The festival ended at 3pm, which is quite early.  The reason was that Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) was on its way.  When it hit Okinawa, it was equivalent to a category 4 hurricane, and was called a super typhoon.  There was plenty of damage and power outages in Okinawa, but in the Tokyo area, we didn’t have to worry very much.  It rained a lot and the wind was strong, but it was pretty brief.

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A wet window during the typhoon.

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Filed under Culture, Festivals & Events, Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Weather

Where are the cicadas?

This is the time of year that the sound of summer fills the air, cicadas. But where are they? I haven’t heard any. It’s eerily quiet.

So, why are they late? Could it have something to do with the unusually cool weekend we had? It was hot enough last week to bring them out, but nothing. I think it has to do with the cooler than normal spring and rainy season.

Hopefully, they’ll be out soon and we can hear their constant noisy song. I kind of miss them.

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Filed under Nature, Weather