A Small Setback for Global Warming

First Snow

On the trains here there are small TV screens above the doors that display the status of other train lines. Today there were seven lines that were delayed due to “wind”. I’d never seen that as a cause of delay. Usually it’s an ‘accident’ which is a euphemism for a suicide, and sometimes it’s an earthquake, or a typhoon. The winds were quite strong today but I wouldn’t call them delay-worthy. It has been extremely cold, however, and the wind just makes it absolutely arctic. Yesterday morning I woke up to snow. It was the first snow for the first time in two years. Awesome. The best thing about snow is how it sucks up all the sound, and chases all the people indoors. Then there’s nothing left but snow and silence.

Last year there was much ado about the fact that there was no snow in Tokyo for the first time since such things were recorded. Another ominous sign of global warming. The snow yesterday lasted almost the whole day. Two winters ago, there was snow for about three days. Many of my students recall when snow blanketed Tokyo for much longer. The eldest among them remember whole winters of snow, and just a week or so of the stifling summer heat and humidity. Now it stretches for a good two months or more.

The weather in temperate Tokyo runs counter to the weather in Europe and North America. Summertime is the rainy season. And winter is the dry season. So dry in fact that I’ve had to abandon my tough guyness and buy moisturizer, applying it daily. My favorite season is autumn, but here in Japan, spring is definitely the best season. It’s sunny, mild, rarely rains, unlike in Europe and the U.S., and the whole cherry blossom thing is a blast.

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