I am happier this winter than I have been in a long, long time.
Pretty sure you all know, but I grew up in New Hampshire. To me, winter without snow is もったいない, a regrettable waste. Thus, when two big snows hit Tokyo within two weeks, I completely freaked. We bundled up and ran outside as quickly as we could for about a week straight, frolicking while the snow fell, collecting snow for treats that can only be made with it, throwing snowballs at each other, all of the winter things that I’ve always assumed people just do.
In Japan, not so much. My teacher couldn’t believe that we went out while it was snowing. Japanese people pull out their umbrellas (!!) and rush to wherever they’re going, basically equating it to rain. I mentioned the umbrellas to her, thinking it was funny, and she didn’t even hesitate in replying, もちろん, “Of course we use umbrellas.” She thought I was nuts for going out to walk in it one evening. (Which, I submit, is pretty much the most peaceful experience you’ll ever have.) I don’t even want to know what my friend thought when she realized I’d invited her over to eat a bowl full of snow (snow cream). (On reflection, perhaps Tokyo snow was not the smartest decision, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The kids just glow a little at night now.)
Everyone I talked to could not believe how happy I was about the snow. When I told the cashier at 7-Eleven, she actually yelled over to the other cashier to tell him what I’d said. As such, my writing assignment for the week was, tell me why you get excited about snow.
When I was a child, I lived in snow country. In snow country, snow falls for 5 or 6 months. For 6 months we walk, shovel snow, and live daily life in cold weather. Gradually, we become used to snow’s bad points. Maintenance becomes part of daily life. When you become used to snow’s bad points, you can enjoy the good points. Snow makes everything beautiful, doesn’t it? While snow falls, because everything becomes quiet, it’s the most peaceful time, I think. When snow falls, everywhere is peaceful.
Next time, while the snow is falling, please go outside and taste the same feelings. Not everything about snow is bad.
I don’t think I convinced her.
On a more journaly/personal note, that first day of snow was one of the happiest I’ve ever seen Madeleine. Leslie had taken Cambria into Tokyo for a Daddy Date, so Madeleine and I went out to play together. She’s never had a real snow experience before. She just kept exclaiming, “Snowww!” I nearly cried (surprise surprise) because I am so thrilled to see that she has some northern blood in her. It sounds trivial and silly, but having lived away from home (and so far away from home) for so long, my heart just felt so much pride and comfort in seeing that she does have some roots where my own roots are. It’s so hard to put into words her first snowy experience, and I won’t try to, but it was one of the best mother moments I’ve had, watching her play in it for the first time.