Friday, 23 November 2007

Powder Snow

Snow in Birmingham, snow in Sapporo… does the world get anymore beautiful? Now that it has started snowing here it seems to be doing it fairly regularly, but not in any great quantity. People tell me that it’ll keep settling and melting for another few weeks before it really sticks around before Christmas, but we still get days like today when there was a full scale blizzard, with stinging winds whipping big, arcing, curves of snow into the air. It snowed heavily on and off all day, and walking home in it was just… awesome. This post - pretty much an excuse for pictures of snow really.

I’m getting the hang of this powder snow business too. Hokkaido is super-popular for winter sports because it has dry, powder snow, not wet snow. I imagine it has ‘bitchin’ powder snow if you’re that way inclined. Anyway, I thought I could guess what that was like, but now that it’s started falling it’s actually dryer and more… powdery than I expected. It gets blown around by the wind a lot and it accumulates in corners like beautiful… white… dust? Sand? Once a layer of it has settled it acts more like the snow I know, but a bit lighter.

I promise, I won’t spend the entire winter clogging up facebook with posts about snow. I swear. But I’m pretty sure I’ve got to buy a camera now.

Here’s some of that beautiful serendipity that just kicks you in the teeth: one night this week Tara and I decided to head a couple of stops south for dinner at a tiny, wonderful Mexican restaurant. The whole place is basically a bar with some stools around it, and it’s run single handedly by the woman that owns the place, who speaks pretty good English and who we chat with when we eat there. So - we’re all freezing cold, but stoked for hot Mexican food, we get up to get off the train, the doors open and we’re face to face with the lady who runs the Mexican restaurant we’re aiming for. We were all: “Oh hi! How are YOU?” on the outside, while inside we wanted to grab her by here shoulders and march her back to work. Instead we were left on the platform trying to formulate new dinner plans.

There are plenty of places like that here, so tiny as to be handled by one person cooking and serving everything – but you always have to be prepared to wait for a lo-o-ong time. And since they’re such small scale operations they just close at random sometimes.

Some of my kids this week took great pleasure in showing me the spikes on their shoes. Since this city is going to be evolving into an ice-rink pretty soon you can get shoes with little spike things that you can flip out for traction. For kids these get built into trainers, like those trainers with the built in wheels but for junior mountaineers instead. It may not be easy to find any in my size, but I’m going to try coz I covet, I covet, I covet.

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