16 January, 2013

Another blip, but this one less sinister

It's been another unusual week. With a student-free day on Friday, it was already a four day week for me, but when I started snowing on Monday morning and didn't stop for five hours, the geography of the week quickly changed.

Sorry for the blurry photo, but this is what it
looked like on a local lane-way on my
way home from walking out to buy
milk on Monday afternoon.
Early closure of school
School closed early on Monday, due to many of our students and teachers commuting from a distance and the difficulties they would encounter getting home. As it was, some people didn't make it home (stayed with friends). Some pushed their bikes a long way home and others took hours to drive what would only have taken a few minutes in ordinary weather.

Yes, snow in Tokyo quickly causes chaos. It is unusual for it to snow so long and so much. We've had winters here that haven't produced any snow at all. The main reason snow produces chaos (where it doesn't further north) is that it is such an uncommon event that we're simply not set up for it down here. No one has snow tires, there are few snow ploughs, people don't have the footwear for it and most of all, there is nowhere to put the snow when you shovel it.

More changes to school opening times
During the afternoon we heard that school would be starting later on Tuesday and then after 9pm we heard that it was declared a Snow Day i.e. no school at all.

The bigger problem for me was that I'd committed to play the piano for a prayerful gathering of missionary women the next morning. About 9.30 I found out that my lift had decided not to drive. With school shut several other friends couldn't go either, as they had to look after their kids. One advantage of having a teacher-husband at the same school is on days like this, he'll generally be around at home.

So late on Monday (late for me, I'm a not a late-night person) I tried to hobble together a plan that would get me to the venue close to 9am.

Same lane-way as above, taken today.
Residents have cleared this passageway
with spades over the last day and a half.
Getting lost on foot
Well, the short version of the story is that not only did I fail to get there by 9am, I managed to be nearly two hours late, after following a Google map, on foot, that had its "pin" in the wrong place. It is one thing making an error like that in a car, it is a completely different story when you make an error like that and you're traipsing icy streets on foot!

The good news is that not only did we get there (I led a friend astray too), but we were uninjured. Hospitals saw hundreds of injuries resulting this one weather event, so no injuries was not a given. Not to mention the fact that at one point, while on my mobile (US=cell phone) trying to get us un-lost, I walked across an intersection where the cars had green lights!!

Looking down the road at our train station,
you can see how a path has been cleared.
Snow gradually disappearing
Today it was easier getting around out there. I even managed to ride my bike to the gym and the shop. Tokyo-ites have done a great job in clearing passageways in the ice. Last winter we were surprised by a snowfall that stuck around for more than a week. It produced some very slippery roads and footpaths. This is very unusual in Tokyo, usually snow melts within a day or so. This time people were more prepared and got into snow clearing pretty quickly. Already many places are very accessible by bike.

The upshot of it all, however, is that I'm having trouble getting into my work today. I struggle when things get out of routine like this. Last Thursday and Friday we had the safety scare at school. Then Monday and Tuesday we have snow. Today's the first totally normal school day for a week! Tomorrow should be normal too, then it is the student-free day, when I'm not likely to get a lot of work done!

Evenings coming up
Add to that some different night-time events.

Tonight CAJ hosts another short wrestling meet for the high schoolers. We're going along to support the team, it's only a small team and they need all the support they can get when they're at home!

Tomorrow night we're going to support the girl's basketball team, who also have a home game, that doubles when we buy our dinner at the "concession stand" (food stand) and support the Seniors in their endeavour to raise money for their ministry trip to Thailand in March.

Friday night is the annual Senior Talent Show, another fund raiser for the Thailand trip, but also usually a rollicking good time.

Saturday is another early start as we head to Yokota US air force base for a Middle School wrestling meet.

Phew, I'm tired just writing about it. I'd better get back to the other things I need to get done today before the guys get home in under an hour.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Wow, interesting. I didn't think I'd seen many posts from you about snow in Japan, now I know why.

Hope you can achieve something productive out of the unexpected week in the next few days :)