Friday, May 7, 2010

Sapporo - The Storm Hits

8th Jan, 2005 - The day starts with a cold wind, and the bit-between-my-teeth, I head out to exhume the car. I felt like some very badly dressed (and not so handsome) Indiana Jones... in search of some lost ancient treasure. Anyone seen a Toyota around here?... Ah... there it is.

We were going shopping today, and that meant using the car. The weather wasn't great even as we headed off....

The futility of a snow-dump-truck trying to quickly offload it's not-so-precious cargo whilst another countless tonne of snow started falling down upon the city did not elude me.

It's funny how our perspective becomes slave to habit. I can't help tilting my head every time I see this photo. Not sure if this is common anywhere else in the world (but in Australia we like our traffic lights vertical).

It starts - all of a sudden - getting quite dark, and the snow starts sweeping in over Sapporo. It's fubuki... a snow storm.

Actually, the photos most probably give a slightly better impression than that which I had being a passenger in the car. Visibility was very limited (and the wipers were going like they were trying to take off) - and T-chan had to drive very slowly. Whilst this driving is quite dangerous if you're not used to it, it's not as bad as black ice, which typically occurs at night and in the morning when the snow/water melts and re-freezes on the road. Hard to see and incredibly slippery. Thankfully, most cars in Sapporo are either 4WD or AWD, and just prior to winter everyone changes over to their winter tyres. You just need a lot of patience and a little bit of courage...

We arrive at the shop (a nearby Sanwado)... to be honest - as I write this, I wonder what it was that we wanted from the shop so badly that we thought it a good idea to brave the snow-storm. There is a Mister Donut here... but I don't think even I am that big a fan.

T-chan looks quite casual - however - that was largely due to the cold locking all of her joints together. Of course, for local dosanko (person from Hokkaido), this is just another Winters day. Actually the name dosanko derives from the name for the famous Hokkaido horses, also known as the Hokkaido Washu. Not that flattering a connection really. 
Hmmm... T-chan's not very happy being compared to a horse.

The strange thing was that after spending perhaps an hour or so shopping, we left to find the skies almost clear.... the snow storm was over.

Literally within the space of about 10-20 mins, the day had suddenly turned clear; the fresh winters air teasing your senses and your exposed skin... It's amazing to me that the day could transition so quickly, as if the city had spent all of it's fury and passion, and now exhausted, had changed it's mood into a benign, even happy one.

The only reminder that there had been a snow-storm was the tonnes and tonnes of piled up snow.

Ah - home sweet home. Who would have thought that the weather had been so bad earlier in the day.

Despite the bad weather, there's something exciting about snow-storms. If you've seen the movie the Ice Storm (another great Ang Lee movie), you know the feelings of tension that can build prior to and during a big-freeze. Then again, these sorts of storms are pretty regular in Sapporo, so the tension never gets a chance to build up too much. Plus, there's enough clear days to get and about and blow off some steam. Or in this case, snow.

Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment