Jan 27, 2018
The relatively heavy snowfall in the Greater Tokyo Area this past week did little to disrupt our way of life. I had expected it would. And looking at news coverage of Tokyo it would seem many a commuter experienced hours of wait due to disruptions in urban areas. However, here in rural Saitama, daily life continued as normal, except for the cancellation of kindergarten.
Kids set off to school
Despite a foot of snow the kids set off to school. In Japan, children walk to primary school in walking groups. In the morning, they walk with other kids that live near them, no matter the grade. In the afternoon, they walk home with children from their own grade. I collected my children and their walking groups on their way home, which isn't common, but I do know of another couple of Japanese Moms who did the same.
Adults set off to work
In the early hours of the morning, before the community got out to clear the snow I spotted this man trudging through the snow to get to the nearby bus stop. He wasn't the only one either. Quite a lot of people were lined up at the bus stop earlier than normal, allowing themselves the extra time to get to work should there be delays later in their journey.
People also drove despite the treacherous conditions. I discovered these tyre tracks in the very early hours of the morning. Evidence of a neighbour making the commute to work despite the snow. A couple of hours later all the driveways were empty on our stretch of road as the working wo/men had gone into work just like any other day.
The bus runs as normal
We live beside a bus stop and I was quite surprised to see the buses running as normal throughout the snow this past week and in the past too. They have snow chains on their snow tyres allowing them to navigate the icy roads. Plus the snowploughs are out before sun rise to clear snow on major roads.
I have lived in other areas in Kanto, the Greater Tokyo area, over the years and it was the very same as our current neighbourhood. In the past, I myself had to get up earlier than normal to allow extra time to get to work on a snowy day. I would take a bus on hazardous urban roads to get to a busier than usual train station to make my way into Tokyo. Although, in my home country even a few centimetres are a great excuse for a day at home, when in Rome as they say. Like millions of others I didn't, couldn't, allow a couple of feet of snow disrupt my daily life in Japan.
Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.