When I woke up this morning, I wondered why it was so dark outside. As far as I knew, rain hadn’t been part of the weather forecast last night. So I pulled back the curtains to peer outside and was pleasantly shocked to see a flurry of white snowflakes raining down on the surrounding buildings and people in the streets. This was sometime around 9AM, and even now – at nearly 3:30PM – it is STILL snowing! Not only is it peculiar for snow to appear so visibly in Osaka (those snowflakes are quite large, falling in almighty clumps, and the snowfall hasn’t let up for the last 6 and a half hours), but it is also accumulating. From the window, we can see snow covered rooftops, bicycles sitting cloaked in white blankets, and people struggling through the slushy streets with their umbrellas held determinedly above their chilled faces.
What a magical event for the people of Osaka! Everywhere, people are staring out of their windows in bewilderment, children are packing snow into snowballs to throw at each other, or making little snow creatures. When I arrived at Smith’s School of English Kyobashi, I was slightly worried that it might stop snowing while I was in a lesson. I haven’t seen snow, especially on the ground, since the last time I was in Canada during the winter. And I really wanted to share the joy of snow with the students, so I gathered up some snow from the window ledge and made a snow bear. My hands suffered a bit of heat loss from handling the wet snow without gloves but it was well worth it to see the bear on display in the lounge. As students came in, he sat there on his pink plate, waiting to greet them.
In the classroom, the students were eager to discuss the odd, unexpected snowfall, and how they felt about it. My first student of the day said she was going to make a snowman right after her lesson. Nearly all of the students, and some of the teachers, had taken some pictures of the snow and sent them off to friends or family. I received one myself on my cell phone earlier this morning from another teacher at Smith’s School of English Kyobashi. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was so ecstatic over this unpredictable weather condition. In the four years that I have been in Japan, I have never seen this much snow, neither has another teacher who has been here over five years. As for the permanent residents of Osaka who have lived here all their lives, they can’t remember the last time – if ever – that Osaka has been the lucky recipient of so much snow. One student actually went as far to say that in the 25+ years that she has lived in Osaka, she has NEVER seen anywhere near this much snow. I’m hoping that it will continue to snow tomorrow so that everyone with a day off on Sunday can have some fun with it.