Friday, January 24, 2014

I Need Some of Those Ruby* Slippers

I live in Iwamizawa and the circle that Iwamizawa sits in gets more snow than anywhere else.  We had a ton of snow last week, followed by a few days with no new snow fall. On the days it doesn’t snow, people are busy digging out and giant trucks are busy hauling away the snow from the streets.  It’s hard for them to keep up.  Wouldn’t you know, the day I have to go to Sapporo, I looked out and saw we had gotten about five or six inches of new snow overnight and it was still falling.

That rectangle on the left is the roof of the bike garage.  No bikes can come out until spring, maybe summer.
I got to the bus stop with time to spare, but the time for the bus came and went and there was no bus.
This is very unusual in Japan, where public transportation is on time. The bus finally arrived 20 minutes late. There weren’t many vehicles on the road.

When the bus driver announced we wouldn’t be taking the kosokudoro (expressway) because of the snow, I was thinking I should have stayed home. It took me 2 ½ hours to get to Sapporo by the back roads and I was 45 minutes late for Japanese class. It was really no surprise that the sky was blue and the sun was shining in Sapporo. Snow did begin to fall before class ended and my friend and classmate Jamie said I could stay with her if I wasn’t able to get home later. I was concerned that if it was snowing in Sapporo, it would be dumping snow at my house.

So, fast forward through the rest of the day, I finished teaching at the children’s English school and walked the 30 minutes to the bus station, only to find out that all busses to my town had been cancelled. There were no other cancellations, just the busses to my town. It was starting to look like there'd be a pajama party at Jamie’s, but I thought maybe the trains would still be running, so I walked as fast as I could from the Chuo bus station to the train station.  Luckily, we are learning the verb ending for “want to” in Japanese class. I was able to tell the man in the information booth (in Japanese) that I wanted to go to Iwamizawa and ask about the train. He said yes, one local train and wrote down 20:11, 10, 810, which meant the time, the track, and the cost. (Local train means it stops at every station).  I bought a ticket from the machine and ran up the stairs to the track.  Long story short (I know, too late), I got home that night.

I really need a pair of Dorothy’s slippers so I can click the heels together – there’s no place like home…..

*If you’ve read the Oz series by L. Frank Baum, you know the slippers were really silver, not ruby.


  1. Wow, that is real snow! I'm glad you got home safely. I know that sinking feeling when you think you might not make it, and are casting around for a solution. Stay in and stitch, and drink tea: you will have deserved the Spring so much more than others! We have a miserable inch or so promised for tomorrow... xx JJ

  2. This winter is obviously going to be blizzards for you. I know how you feel but well done on your resourcefulness and using your Japanese language. Ted would have been pleased to see you home safely!

  3. I can not imagine the struggle you have to put up with! When did we last see a snowflake in Tokyo!
    I'll keep my fingers crossed that snow fall will ease up.