It’s been snowing here on and off for awhile, but we got our first real blizzard this weekend. Apparently it only amounted to about 5-7cm, but the wind had its way and the town looks coated.
I decided to tromp around and take a few pictures. Originally, I was only going to go down to the river so I could get some open shots, then head over to one of the shrines, but the frozen river made me interested in exploring a bit more.
After seeing that, I decided that I really needed to see where it joined up with the ocean.
On the way, I ran into something I’d promised to show – one of the ways Japan deals with the weather. Right now, the wind coming off the Japan Sea is wicked strong – one has to actively stand against it. It’s especially strong coming over open ground, near the rivers for example. Now, the last thing you want when you’re driving along in winter is to be shoved unexpectedly into oncoming traffic, so there are these special fences erected along coastal roads. They’re typical, knee-high barriers most of the year, and then they unfold accordion-style in late-fall to high fences.
From there, I decided to check out the port and maybe get some pictures of the beach. The snow along the path there was almost undisturbed, with these neat scale patterns.
However, I was sick of sinking in up to my ankles and decided to switch to the other side of the road, where the snow looked shallower…
…right. This is me sunk in up to my thighs. Shortly after taking the picture, I sank in up to my waist and shortly after that some wiggling helped me become a head and pairs of arms (one holding the camera out of harm’s way) flailing above the snow. I had stepped into a snow-filled ditch.
I admit the only PG thing running through my head at that point was ‘Darwin Award’.
I wrapped the camera in my hat, set it aside, and then flopped as hard as I could toward the road. From there, all I had to do was worm my way on my belly out of the hole. After that, I walked in the street.
I decided I wasn’t up to going to the port at that point and wandered back into town. A lot of people had set up structures over their plants back in October, to protect them from heavy snowfall.
The plows were out…finally.
Here’s one of the shrine’s in Otobe:
Pretty much no one is around unless there’s a festival. With New Year’s coming up, every will be hanging around until midnight, ready to ring in the new year with the shrine’s bell.
I stopped on the way home to get bread from the bakery and some hot cocoa from a vending machine. We often carry around the hot cans to keeps our hands warm, but I must have looked a little odd holding mine against the tip of my nose.
One last picture, of the Otobe cliffs in their winter finery: