Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter is Coming? It 's here.

     I apologize for the bad Game of Thrones joke, but I can't help but think I'm north of the wall and am going to see a white walker when I look out the window. As some of you have told me via Facebook, the news of the record breaking snow in Japan has made it to the U.S. which is a big deal. Here, it's not unusual for the Japanese to be extremely aware of U.S. news and policies (I've had discussions started by my coworkers asking about how many states gay marriage and marijuana are now legal in). I couldn't even begin to speak about what are the big issues in Japan, besides the snow, and I'm living here! To put you all at ease, I am doing perfectly fine. I haven't lost heat or power despite Mother Nature giving it her best attempt, as you tell from this article from Reuters and this article from The Japan Times. If you remember from a few posts ago Kiyosato is in the Yamanashi Prefecture, capital Kofu, which are both the focus of the articles. The amount of snow, 114 centimeters, closed KEEP. Most all of the offices closed on Friday when the storm hit and today was the first day a few of the offices reopened. So what has that meant for me? Well after finishing up my time at Shizen Gakko last Tuesday, I had three days off before I was supposed to go back on Saturday. Obviously, programs were cancelled due to weather, so there was no one to cook for, so I've been hanging out in my dorm for the past nine, NINE! days. I've gotten really into watching West Wing online. I did make it out to the 7-11 to get more food and it looked like the apocalypse had hit. All the bread and cereal AND cookies were gone along with most everything else on the shelves.The creepiness was taken to another level when the only other person in the store at 9:30pm with me was the store clerk who had a face mask on. While I know it's a polite thing to wear when you're sick, it just made me feel like I was in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Yesterday I couldn't really handle the cabin fever that was setting in anymore, so I bundled up, grabbed my camera and headed out around KEEP and walked down into Kiyosato itself to check out the storm damage. It's mostly pictures because talking about how many times I've painted my nails or done pilates in my room can get a little boring.

The path from the front door towards the bigger path that leads to the main road.

I totally understand how these things can kill you!

The path that's usually a road to drive to our dorm.

Looking from the road, over what is usually a parking lot to the restaurant of the Siesen Ryo Annex.
Climbed on top of a 7 foot snow pile to look out over the usual parking lot.

Because we're in the mountains, the wind whips around and creates these HUGE snow dunes.
Street sign that's about the height of a US speed limit sign.

Not quite sure of the type of bird--I'm not well versed in Japanese fowl yet, I apologize.

I should have know I was gonna see some wild life.

I believe the bakery has been open the whole time because I've 
heard my roommate get up every morning for 
her 4am shift-it's those West Wing binges.

More killer icicles that haven't been ripped off the roof by a nervous American.

The sign for church.

I now know the hill to church is do-able.

I may be able to get TO church, but whether or not I'll be able to get IN is another story.
Crossing over the railroad tracks walking into town.

While the town is pretty dead in the winter with most of the shops closed, the snow makes it even eerier. 

I'm really excited for summer to come so I can go to the Milk Pot...
who wouldn't want to go 
somewhere that's shaped like a tea pot?

My favorite building besides the Milk Pot--the Green Prah. Have yet to figure out what it is.

We have one police car in Kiyosato. It will make it much easier to creep when I hear sirens.

Hill leading up to the train station. 
Truck taking away plowed where? I never found out.

Decorative train engine, but it gives you a scale of the snow amount.

What's normally, I would assume, a picturesque, lush, verdant area in front of
the train station. I wouldn't know it's
been covered with snow since I got here.  
Looking down the road through town that leads to KEEP.

Headed back up the hill...clock tower next to the Milk Pot.

The mountains over never gets old.

On the way back they had brought out the snow plow train.

Looking out over the mountains to the south.

I found someone's polar bear that escaped to his natural habitat.

The field where County Fair is usually held.

Three days ago every single one of those cars was covered in snow to their roof.
I don't know who did it, but they
 deserve my first born.

The path back to Lancaster.

I went out again today anticipating exploring up the mountain, but after I started and the road became not as cleared, the warning from my manager in an email saying "Don't go anywhere in the snow without staff" started repeating in my head. I decided to just hang around the rotary by the old Seisen Ryo building and watch the sun start to set. It's my favorite part of the day with the sun going down over the mountains. I climbed a huge snow pile and just sat and watched. 

The old Seisen Ryo lodge with the Paul Rusch statue. 

The Paul Rusch statue in the middle of the rotary.

View from atop my perch.

This couple tried to make their poor dog walk in the snow. It didn't work so well.

View of the Jersey Hut where they sell the famous soft cream.

Just wanted to send a post out to show I'm alive and well even in the heaviest hit area of Japan. 

Until next time,


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