Yuki means "snow" in Japanese (or so I've been told), and it is also a pretty girl's name. I used to know a girl named Yuki. I also knew a Yuka and a Yoko (actually, I now know a new Yoko), but this post is not about anyone of them. It's not even about Yuki. It's all about the snow.
Since Japan stretches from north to south about as far as Norway does (not that this would be a point of reference for many of my readers, but whatever... Get a map!), it means that the climate in the northernmost parts of the country is quite different from that of southern Japan (and I'm not even counting Okinawa, which is a different story altogether). The northern parts of Japan get a considerable amount of snow each winter - many of them being the location for several famous ski resorts.
Not Tokyo, though. Tokyo rarely gets much snow, and thus I didn't plan for snow or cold weather when I packed my bags in frozen Norway more than a month ago (time flies!).
Silly me. Last weekend the forecast said cold weather, and while it was nowhere near Norway's 17 blue at the same time, the slushy snow falling over Tokyo and Yokohama (but the snow in Yokohama is another story. Possibly, probably over at the Burrow blog tomorrow) Friday, Saturday and Monday (Sunday was nice, though) was about as cold as anything I've ever felt.
"Oh, but you're Norwegian, you're used to it!" a French housemate told me. Like being used to it helps! It is still cold right here, right now! Besides, I'm not used to it, not now. One month in sunny Tokyo has more than convinced my body that it is spring, and it is not prepared for (or okay with) snow! And, in Norway I am accustomed to being able to wear warm clothes (again, I didn't pack too much of those), and most importantly, to go inside in a warm house when it's too chilly outside. I can go inside in Japan too, but my current lodging is pretty freaking cold when the temperatures fall, due to the unfortunate combination of poor insulation and a space heater that malfunctions if the outside air is too cold/humid.
"Why do you think I came here?" I replied to the French(wo)man-en-tromper (oui, je sais. Mon francais n'est pas fraîche. Me poursuivre!). I certainly did not come to have more snow!
That night I heard many cars outside my window having problems staying on the road in the relatively heavy snowfall (for Tokyo; for Norway - this was more like an "October scare"). The next morning the papers reported any number of injuries, broken bones, damaged cars, as a result of the snow.
But when I left the house that day to see remnants of snow on the sidewalk and in the street, I couldn't help but smile. Somewhere inside me, there was a child wanting to throw a snowball.
It seems I am Norwegian after all :)