Monday, February 14, 2011

Niigata Prefecture in White

Looking at Mt. Yagihana covered with snow makes me feel peaceful. People from outside of Niigata may want to enjoy beautiful snowy scenes and skiing on the hills, but for most of Niigata’s residents and many other people in the northern part of Japan, this year’s huge snowfall is a matter of life and death.

My residence in Sanjo City usually does not have too much snow, but as you can see in the pictures below, my house is buried under a blanket of white snow. The snow is not what you might call a “powder snow,” but rather, it is damp and heavy. My biggest worry is that it might collapse the house so I had to clear it from the roof.

Until the early February, we were fighting against the snow, plowing and shoveling. Unlike us, some people living closer to the mountains were completely snowed in, especially the elderly. Fortunately, there is a lull in the weather.

It reminds me of the snowfalls Niigata used to receive in my youth. As the years went by, however, my prefecture has received less and less snow each year, at least until this year. Perhaps our unpredictable weather patterns are due in part to global climate change.