For me December has always been a time of warm sunny days that are spent relaxing at home with family or hanging out with friends at the beach. Japanese winters though are a beast of a different nature.
Especially now that I’ve moved to central Japan where snow is all too common during the winter months I’ve found it pretty tough to drag myself out of my warm futon to try and brave the blizzards and icy walkways on my way to school in the mornings.
Back in South Africa I never had to deal with anything approaching sub zero temperatures or even snow. On the one hand I’m pretty much like a small child when it comes to snow, all gleeful laughter and running around in the new fallen snow, but on the other hand I’ve come to realize that snow is the icy god that freezes us without mercy like some sort of terrible force taken from the Game of Thrones.
Driving a car in snow has also been somewhat of an interesting experience to ay the least. Each turn has to be taken slowly lest you spin and careen off into the distance as the drivers behind you look on with merriment. Your front window also seems intent on freezing over no matter how strong your car’s heater blasts it which means that driving at anything above 30 km/h is akin to saying you want to meet an early death.
Surprisingly though, I’ve yet to witness any major accidents despite the roads being predominantly filled with older drivers who would presumably be slower to react to any dangers on the road. Probably the rather strict speed limits have something to do with it as well as the fact that drivers seem to know that if they drive recklessly they will more than likely injure someone else which would cost them a lot of money.
And despite the freezing cold, the slippery roads and the nights that seem to be more suitable to the North Pole than Japan, I find myself enjoying the winters here. As long as I have a warm cup of tea or coffee with a thick jacket and warm gloves I’m pretty sure that I can survive until the summer humidity arrives in May!
If you want to read about Christmas in Japan and how exactly it’s different from the rest of the world then be sure to check back next week!