This is Life

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Sky Is Falling

Normally, I would say it is just plain silly to say something like "the sky is falling" because we all know that that could never happen. Sometimes people say this when it is snowing or raining really hard, but like I said, that`s just plain silly.

In my case, however, it is the only way to describe it. Some people around here say, "Ooh, it is snowing really hard, isn`t it?" I just give them a weird look like they are crazy because this stuff they call snow is obviously not. Nope, I know it as "white cement." It probably isn`t actually cement, per se, but my theory is that it is Elmer`s white glue mixed with a little bit of water and maybe some cornstarch.

It is so heavy that several people in my town were killed by stray "snowballs" that weren`t thrown by me (that`s my story and I`m sticking to it). Another time, I saw a few "snowflakes" land on the ground and they actually made craters (it was dark, but I think that is what happened). And another time I saw a snowplow pass by and it threw up a pile of "snow" and it burried and entire village. I am telling you, this stuff is heavy. It is no wonder that half of the old people around here are hunched over. In the summer they are working in the rice fields and in the winter they are trying to shovel this white cement. Half of the people here own bulldozers, I am pretty sure.

Anyway, it is nice driving around in my 4-wheel drive Toyota Echo. It is called a Vitz here and as a definite sign that I am not in Kansas anymore, it turns out that this car is actually considered cool (in some circles). Mine is red and is an RS version. It even has a red steering wheel and red-trimmed interior. Now, as for the all-road aspect of it, well, I don`t know about that. I will be completely ashamed if I ever get stuck or spin out here. A Canadian boy who has been driving in winter conditions all his life should never let this happen. Nevertheless, this white cement "snow" is pretty ominous. The good thing is that they now have bumpers on all of the roads. They aren`t actually rubber bumpers though. What I am referring to is the wall of snow on each side of the road. You can just take your hands of the steering wheel and just trust that the wall of snow will keep you on the road. I`m not actually going to try that, but I will recommend it to everyone I know.

Oh, and the other great aspect of driving in Japan in the winter is the free car washes. Since it doesn`t get too much colder than they just have hot sprinklers going all day. Running up the centre of the road is basically a long strip of mini-sprinklers. It is so strange when you first see them because you think the road has sprung numerous leaks, but no, they are just sprinklers. This keeps the snow from piling up on the roads and unfortunately, they aren`t on every road, just the major ones.

Now, before I forget the very best aspect of winter in Japan, well, let me tell you now (not that I was actually going to forget this). The best part of winter in Japan is that you get to pretend you are a fisherman everyday. What I mean is that you have to wear hip-weighters everywhere you go. On account of the mild temperatures, the heaps of "snow" and the incessant sprinklers you constantly find yourself getting soaked. In truth, they are really just rubber boots, but I have so far been too proud to wear them. Instead, I like to show up to wherever I am going half soaked (only my bottom half). I am hoping it will be one of those trends that will catch on, but maybe this one is already dead in the water (please excuse the pun). Now of course since we are in Japan, after all, there is something strange that you would expect to see. It may not be strange for you, but when I saw Kappa rubber boots I had to laugh. Why is one of the most well-respected Italian soccer equipment manufacturers producing rubber boots, which are likely solely for Japanese consumption? That is like Boeing making cheese knives for Calcutta street kids (maybe I exagerate a wee bit, but you get the point). I had to laugh.

Okidoki, gotta get back to doing pretty much nothing (just for the rest of today). Don`t forget that I`ll be back in Calgary from December 21st to January 8th. Please come and visit me and buy me pizza and slurpees.


At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Crustytuna said...

I think I would make fun of you if I got to see your red toyota echo with the red steering wheel. But then I'd buy you a slurpee and maybe and A&W milkshake too to make you feel better.
drive safe. and happy christmas.


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