The Japanese are a very organised nation, but when the snow hit Tokyo in the middle of January, I felt like I was back home in the UK…
The snow wasn’t forecast, so on that Monday morning when I dropped the girls off at school and it was grey and beginning to rain, I was thankful that I had a lift to school and home. A was home that day as it was a national holiday and he was enjoying the quiet (can a house be quiet with a 2-year-old in it?) while catching up on UK work. I busied myself with those wonderous Monday morning tasks- tidying from the weekend, washing etc…
I looked out and spotted that there were beautiful large snowflakes falling, but not settling… Within half an hour it was beginning to settle. At 10:30 I took J out for a quick play and by late morning it became a full-blown blizzard.
I popped out to pick up a birthday gift for a friend and my jeans were soaked by the time I had completed the walk. Normally it takes me 10 minutes to walk to Omotesando, but this day was different. I couldn’t look ahead as the snow was blowing so hard into my face and the path was rather treacherous. I did regret not coming out with an umbrella like the Japanese.
The community bus had stopped running by the time I had finished shopping and the roads were already showing signs of accident build up. When I arrived home, A was just leaving to collect the girls as school had closed early. It took them an hour to walk the usually 20 minute journey and the girls were in tears when they arrived home.
(Thankfully nothing that a warm bath and hot chocolate couldn’t cure!)
Clearly, snow in Tokyo isn’t that common if the posts on Facebook are anything to go by. That said, an expat friend did say that this was the heaviest snow that she has seen in the 2 years she has been here. Our evening plans had some serious adjustments made as of the 12 couples going to celebrate a 40th, only the guest of honour and us still had sitters by 5pm! So we decided to stay local and not risk any form of transport. We had a great evening and the snowball fight on the way home was lots of fun too!
Tokyo doesn’t have gritters or snow ploughs so the roads were in a bad way, but things were generally ok by the next day (Roppongi, however, was gridlocked for most of Tuesday) Unlike the UK schools, the children were back at school on Tuesday, but with a later start.
I couldn’t say whether flights were cancelled, but for a time, the train lines were down, the buses had stopped and Tokyo came to a halt…
And by the end of the week, the UK had their first snow of the season and ground to a halt!