So far, Jen and I have been pretty lucky weather-wise this winter–this has been an unusually warm season. All the locals have been going on and on about how much warmer it’s been than it last year (which was one of the coldest winters for years). So our home has stayed relatively warm, and walking to and from school hasn’t been the ordeal we thought it might be. But sadly, there’s been hardly any snow this winter, and what little has managed to fall from the sky has quicky melted away into nothing. And apparently it’s not just us; all the ski resorts in the northeast of Japan have been in a bit of a pinch this year, and almost all of the annual snow festivals have been cancelled due to lack of the all-important white stuff.

So when finally got some more snow the other day, I jumped at the chance to take some pictures of winter in Takine (where I teach Junior High school). This particular snow was the powdery, dry kind, and while it fell fast it also melted fast, so I was in the right place at the right time. Granted, I had to climb about 100 snowy steps and fight through blowing snow and bitterly cold winds in order to get these shots, but it was all worth it. Besides, I got to have a sort of Luke Skywalker On The Planet Of Hoth moment, which is always cool. 🙂

Enjoy!

Mike with Sunglasses

Here’s me with my dollar-store shades looking like a slightly happy Secret Service Agent. Japanese folks love these shades–I’ve gotten more complements on them than my entire wardrobe combined. And they’re from the dollar store in Long Reach! Maybe I should buy all by clothes there… I’d be a superstar! 🙂

Atagoyama Park in Winter

Welcome once again to Atagoyama Park. This is at the bottom of the 100-plus stairs. Whew, it’s cold just standing here–let’s get climbing!!!

Takine in Winter 1

Huff, huff, huff… Man, that’s quite a climb……huff, huff… Ok. Whew. So here we are at the summit. You can see, right in the middle of the frame, some snow-covered rice fields–a very Japanese-wintery sight. And you can see some blowing snow to the left if you look on the left.

Takine in Winter 2

Sure is purdy, eh? This is the town of Takine, covered in a white, powdery blanket. Look at those mountains…incredible. Just pretend that those ugly green chemical stacks aren’t there…

Takine in Winter 3

Here’s another shot of the town. This time Takine Junior High School (my school) is smack-dab in the middle (it’s the long white building). You can just barely see some students walking into the entrance from here. Check out the huge billows of blowing snow in the background–glad I wasn’t there!

Blowing Snow

Ah! It found me out! Brrrr, that blowing snow sure is cold! It’s really pretty, though. Ok, I’m freezing, and I think I see old Ben telling me something about going to the Dagoba system or something. Time to head back down! 🙂

Mt. Takine in Winter

Ah, that was fun. Hey, just for kicks, here’s a random picture I took in the afternoon of the closest mountain to my school, after much of the snow had already melted. This is what’s great about being in the mountains–you get to see stuff like this every day. Ah…

Gotta love the adventure!

-Mike