It starts snowing and my brain goes into survival mode. My t-shirt reads “I survived Snowmageddon”, but snow is as alien to me as a South African in an izakaya. We don’t get snow in South Africa—at least that’s what I tell people—but speaking for myself, it’s more that we don’t “get” snow. Snow is the white stuff we spray on shop windows at Christmas time, when we’re heading to the beach to surf and escape the heat. So, if you’re as new to the falling white stuff as I once was, here are some of the things I’ve learned during my five years in Japan.
Waterproof outers will keep you dry, because body heat melts snow faster than you can say “Olaf”. Keep a spare pair of socks and jocks (underwear) at school so that you can change out of wet ones. An umbrella is pretty useful for repelling water in its frozen form too.
Freshly fallen snow is soft and fluffy—and light. Move it before it becomes hard, heavy ice that’s impossible to move and terrible to walk on. If you don’t have a snow shovel, a chiritori (dustpan) is the best life hack out there.
In 2014 we had a massive snow storm, the infamous Snowmageddon, which crushed car shelters, smashed windows and closed convenience stores. You know things are bad when the convenience stores close! Because trucks couldn’t get through there was a limit to what you could get when the stores opened again, so stock up on the essentials. White gold (toilet paper), candles, bottled water and instant ramen should get you through. And this is Japan, so they’ll always be useful to have on hand. If you have very young kids, extra diapers and baby food are a must.
With a little preparation, snow can be a beautiful inconvenience—or the blur below your board (queue Lords of the Boards a la Guano Apes)—and not the mind boggling abomination from above.
Do you have any advice of your own, or a personal snow themed horror story? Channel your inner Ray Mears and share your wisdom in the comments below.
When Rodney isn’t delivering a flying elbow to snow’s cold, icy groin or teaching Senior High School, he’s talking games on www.risingphoenixgames.com, come say hi.Gunma, Japan, Winter