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japan in crisis

Forget bird flu. That's kids stuff. Mad cow disease? You're having a laugh. Cerebral aneurysms? If you're lucky.

Let's get something clear. The single biggest threat to life in Japan today is none of your namby-pamby illnesses of a terminal nature. Not at all. It's the white stuff. No, I'm not talking about crack cocaine, although that can cause more than an upset stomach if used irresponsibly. I'm talking about snow.

Of course, one snowflake by itself is a stunning, awe-inspiring miracle. But put a whole lot of them together and they become a giant killing machine, wreaking havoc and destruction across a freezing nation which is literally creaking under the sheer weight of this messy mass. Yes, the Japanese enjoy their winter sports, but this is taking the piss.

Osaka hasn't seen much of the action, so I decided to escape the city and see the carnage first hand. I found myself in a snow-covered coastal village along the Sea of Japan. To me, the place was a beautiful winter wonderland! But to the people that live in these towns and villages, it's nothing less than the embodiment of evil. Amid the heaviest snowfall on record, houses are collapsing, people are falling into ditches and off roofs, and small animals are getting a tad chilly. Villages have been cut off. Seventy people have copped it.

It's getting so bad that some salarymen are leaving for work in the morning only to discover upon their return that their house has disappeared, along with their wife and child. No, they haven't literally left (well, some of them might have), it's just that everything is covered in snow. As I type, there are countless salarymen wandering the snowy streets of coastal Japan carrying nothing more than a briefcase and a manga book, lost, bloody cold, calling their wife's name. And still the snow falls.

Hopefully spring will come soon this year. But not too soon, for if the temperatures rise too quickly, there'll be avalanches and floods all over the place. Not forgetting the constant threat of quakes and volcanic eruptions that everyone has to deal with. And typhoons. It's a roller-coaster ride here sometimes.

More than a light flurry.

A river runs through it.

She must be freezing her bits off.

Becoming problematic.

A London cab in Japan? Must have been one hell of a fare.
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On Saturday, 14 January, 2006, Blogger Eric said:

Thanks for the snow photos. We've been hearing about it over here, but these are great shots. They've been mentioning the avalanche threats as well. Stay warm!  

On Monday, 16 January, 2006, Blogger Lewis said:

That reminds me, I saw a London cab in Kobe - I wonder how many of them there are over here?  

On Friday, 10 February, 2006, Blogger Gunnella said:

Gorgeous shots!!  

On Wednesday, 22 February, 2006, Anonymous James said:

'Becoming problematic' made me laugh out loud.  

On Monday, 27 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Those are some pretty amazing pictures. ^_^
As for the snow cutting off villages and such... I can beleive it, though it seems kinda crazy to me. Then again, I live in Wisconsin, land of deadly winter. Seriously. It's spring here and it's still 30 degrees out! ^_^;

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