Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow much fun...Japan style!

View from our balcony
After a year in Japan, we had our first major snow storm.  I think we were predicted to get about 6 inches.  I'm not sure we actually got that, but it was probably close.  Friday night the snow started just after midnight.  Kris and I laughed and joked about how none of it would be there when we woke up. Well, we were wrong.  When we got up in the morning there was about an inch or two on the ground.  The snowflakes were HUGE and they were coming down, well, I should actually say they were coming in sideways at a pretty rapid rate.  The wind was around 10-15 mph when we got up.  The kids begged to go outside, but I needed a couple cups of coffee to wake me up and to convince myself that it wasn't as cold and horrible as it looked outside.

I managed to hold off the kids until after lunch.  Finally, they asked me enough times that I got out all the gloves, hats, scarves, sweatshirts, extra warm socks, boots, and jackets and we headed out.

 It was pretty cold outside, but the wind was what gotcha.  We would be fine and then a 20mph gust would hit us and we would squeal in pain.

We saw a ton of kid out playing earlier in the morning.  That was when the wind wasn't blowing like crazy.  We went out when the wind was up around 20-25 mph with gusts at 30.  What's fun in the snow without a little adventure!  When we made it outside there were no kids in sight.  And, the snow had come down enough that there weren't any footprints out there.  Yay!  Fresh snow!

First thing we HAD to a couple snowmen.  Garytt rolled one part and then left us to explore.  Mackenzie worked on her snowman.  When she was done she put her hands on her hips and said, "Um....did you remember to bring a carrot for his nose?"  Oops...Then, she insisted she leave her hat on his head because he would be so cold in the wind.  I managed to convince her that snowmen like the cold, but little girls would get sick if they didn't cover up good enough.  She bought it...
The picture to the right shows Garytt, then in the background you can just barely see the weather building on top of the hill behind our building.

I found sticks that were acceptable enough to be appendages and a nose for Kenz's snowman.
 Can you tell which way the wind was blowing?

 Snow Angel time!

Mackenzie's favorite activity:  eating snow!  She met her daily water requirement for the day just by eating snow.  
 This is the climbing tree behind our building.  There are always kids in this tree.  Not today though.  He looks kinda lonely.
 This is a look to the left of our building...toward the tunnel.
 This is a look to the right...towards Kris' work.

About an hour after we were outside Garytt found a few kids that were building a fort.  Garytt got in on the action and they kept telling him he was such a good worker.  Mackenzie wanted a fort too, but she wanted her own, so she and I started working on one.  I looked over at one point and all the kids Garytt was helping were throwing snowballs while he was doing all the work.  He didn't care, he was having a blast building.  Mackenzie helped me for about half of the fort.  When I realized she wasn't putting in nearly as much work as me I started curving the backside in a little more so it was a two kid fort instead of a ten kid fort.  She didn't notice.  The wind on this side of the building wasn't as bad as the other side.  We were blocked from the wind a bit.  Then, inside of the fort there was almost total wind blockage.  Both kids got down inside the fort and said they were ready to go in.  So, I made them pose for a few pictures with the fort and then we headed inside...freezing cold, a little wind burned, soaked to the skin, and with numb fingers and toes.  But, we had so much fun!

I didn't realize that Mackenzie threw 
a snowball at me when I snapped this shot.

Garytt refused to get in any of my fort shots, so I pretended I was taking my own picture so I could get him in one of the pictures.

Boy has such sensitive skin that I coated his face with Vaseline before we went out to keep some of the wind from blistering his face.  Well, the Vaseline caused all the water on his face to bead up.  It looked funny.

Here's our after-shot.  Garytt was crying because he was freezing cold.  Mackenzie was annoyed that we were making her stand there for a picture...she wanted out of her wet clothes immediately.
And, then all was right with the chocolate with rainbow marshmallows!  

He was so upset, crying and mad because he was cold.  So, after our pictures he went to change.  He came out in shorts!  

Today (the day after the storm) the snow is quickly melting.  I think the temperature was supposed to be in the upper 40s today.  I've read reports today that said this is the most snow Tokyo has seen in 16 years!  The wind picked up pretty good last night.  I think they were 30 mph and around dinner time our lights were flickering and even went off a few times, but just for a minute each time.  The Japanese electric company, TEPCO, said that about 12,000 homes out in Yokosuka City lost power completely last night.

Kris dodged a bullet coming out of Philly, where a few hours after he left an ice storm hit and knocked the city to its knees.  Then, a few hours after he landed here a snow storm knocked this area to its knees.  Shew!!'s where they passed out within an hour of getting back inside.