Tokyobling's Blog

Snowy Streets and Sidewalks – Pitching In

Posted in Places by tokyobling on February 12, 2014

Last weekend Tokyo saw a fairly massive snowfall, the largest in 45 years it seems. It is not unusual for Tokyo to get one or two days of snow where it actually stays on the ground, but usually not in amounts to make the traffic situation difficult. Whereas the northern prefectures of Japan where they get several yards of snowfall each winter are famous for their skilled snowplow drivers here in central Tokyo we do not have a single dedicated snowplow. There seems to be one machine on hand in the far western part of Tokyo, in Okutama, where they get more snow on the narrow mountain roads.

Instead of relying on city snowplows, the people of central Tokyo have to take the matter into their own hands, and starting Saturday morning when the snow really kicked in, all the way to Sunday evening I could see people outside shoveling snow, scraping roads and clearing streets, all by hand or whatever kind of tools the could find. Some people had proper shovels whereas others used metal dustpans. I saw one older man with a hammer attacking the ice in the street in front of his house while his wife carried the blocks of ice away. By noon on Sunday when I took these photos most streets had been sufficiently cleared for foot traffic. The sidewalk in front of a building is considered the responsibility of the building owner so house owners, shopkeepers, shop staff, even monks were out to clear the sidewalks and in some cases whole streets together. There’s nothing like a little natural adversity to bring out the best in people!

Despite the hard work of clearing streets it doesn’t mean that people don’t want to have a little fun though. I saw lots of snow sculptures, snowmen and even snow shrines, like the one in my photo dedicated to the grandiose Japanese talk show celebrity Matsuko Deluxe, built in front of a little hair salon.

I took these photos as I walked from Edogawabashi Station up towards Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka and the maze of little streets in between. More photos of Akagi Shrine shrouded in snow to come!

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10 Responses

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  1. C said, on February 12, 2014 at 5:09 am

    The best one in my neighborhood was a Jabba-the-Hutt snow blob holding a ton of snowballs, sporting a hat made of an upside-down tin bucket!

    What was annoying: people only half-clearing snow — made for slick spots that were dangerous. Either clear it completely or let it be (a lot easier to walk on powdery snow instead). What was amusing: people trying to sweep away snow with brooms 🙂

    It was interesting to see dogs out in parkas, skidding around in rain boots. (Just when I thought I’ve seen everything…Wellies for dogs?)

    And it was definitely scary having a tree crash to the ground from the weight of the snow. Lucky for me, it was across the street — and lucky for others who missed being severely hurt by a few seconds.

    Epic storm!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:46 am

      One of the trees near the shrine?! Wow, I missed that when I took one of my long walks the other day. So many things to see, so little time! (^-^;)

      Like

  2. samokan said, on February 12, 2014 at 5:32 am

    we had a small one last Friday night here in Osaka then it rained the next day, so it was all gone by the time I woke up

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:46 am

      Osaka! I really must visit soon (I say that every week…). Too bad, maybe more snow next winter! (^-^;)

      Like

  3. pk1154 said, on February 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    That snow shrine–my first laugh of the day.

    (There was ice fog here this morning.The trees branches are traced out in rime ice.)

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Yes, the perfect shrine for a lady like her! (^-^) Ice fog, I have never seen it in Japan but I am sure they get it up north…

      Like

      • pk1154 said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        Ice fog is a rarity here, but with the persistent “polar vortex” and frozen Great Lakes the weather is truly arctic this winter.

        What I’d be interested in witnessing is “diamond dust” (ice crystals falling from a clear sky) but that’s rare, outside of the Arctic or Antarctic. And not this year, please! It’s time for a warm up!

        Like

  4. astralla said, on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Tokio is One of my Dreams…. Mayby One day….

    Like

  5. […] appeared around Tokyo after the last big dump of snow – from transforming Snow Pikachus, to Snow Shrines Dedicated To Crossdressing TV Celebs – but this one is my favorite! If you’ve ever been to Shibuya, you’ll recognize the […]

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