• Maria Nightingale

Japan in the Snow

Good afternoon,

I'm still working on more detailed posts but I thought I would tell you about an experience I had yesterday. So yesterday was a Monday, and if that wasn't bad enough its winter. The weekend had been cold but it wasn't that bad.

Then on Monday morning I woke up to Utsunomiya blanketed in snow, with no warning it had snowed around 20cm! As anyone would my first thought was no school/work, and if you don't your lying. Unfortunately as I picked up my phone and was about to get into bed I had a Email. *ping* SCHOOL IS OPEN.

Well that killed it, it was time to put as many layers on as possible and head out it to the big white world. As you all know my journey is already quite a long one and in England I would have never bothered to try, as when it snows; Britain tends to shut down. But I thought thought 'this is Japan they get snow all the time, they'll be prepared' I couldn't have been more wrong.

As I started the journey it wasn't that bad, I did get the earlier train just in case, the Shinkesen was a tad late and travelling slightly slower but who can blame them. In fact, while waiting at the station freezing my butt off I saw a train wiz past and I have to say it did look quite cool, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture.

< Bit like this but cooler

The issue became apparent as soon as I got into Tokyo. I think its strange how the fastest train in the world can cope in the snow but the small city trains have so much trouble. I know why but it doesn't make sense to me at least. First issue, the Yamanote line, famous for being overcrowded, and unreliable but I hadn't encountered it until now. The queue was astonishing, the lines for each platform merged into one, but as comically Japanese culture is always portrayed they were stood dead still in immaculately straight lines with little attitude; can you imagine. Once I was finally on the train I was flung into the train just by the force of people that wanted to get on this train, we were way over capacity, I don't think I've been that squished in my life. My feet were no longer touching the floor!

Now of course the journey once on the train was far longer than normal, by this point I was already at least 30 minutes late to school, spending ridiculous amounts of time at each station and trying not to be swept away by the sea of people getting off at various stations. When I finally got off the train I was relieved, home stretch only 15 minutes left, but I forgot this was not a normal day. It seems i take the two busiest train line in Tokyo to get to school and it was mayhem.

After what felt like a lifetime I reached Sangen-Jaya station and a I left I noticed there was a hold up getting onto the station platform. The police had stopped people entering the station and as far as the eye could see and further there were crowds of people, waiting. I have never heard that station me so quiet, hundreds of people yet a dead eerie silence in the air.

^ Snaps of my first snow journey experience.

So in the end it took me 4 whole hours to get to school instead of the normal 1 3/4. And I thought i had it bad one of the guys from my school got held up even more missing both his lessons. His journey normally take 20 Minutes, that fateful Monday morning it took 3!! I suddenly felt like i was unable to complain especially when he showed me the pictures.

All part of the experience I guess, and no doubt I may encounter the snow again, one of the hazards of winter. To finish of the day I was treated on the shinkansen to a beautiful view of Mount Fuji in the sunset, I have noticed that because occasions of seeing it are becoming more frequent as it get colder as there are no clouds, so I'm sure I will have way too many photos of the volcano by the end of winter.

Thanks for reading my rather hilarious story of my time with transport in Japan in the snow,

Maria x

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