Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brrrr. 52 degrees out

I am beginning to feel like I am in Texas---where I spent a few years some time ago. Back then, after suffering through summers of repeated days of lows of 75 and highs of 95, when October came and the temperature dropped to the 80s, I could convince myself it was cool. By the time temperatures dropped to the mid 70s, you'd see folks breaking out jackets. I never went that far.

Tonight there is a strong wind blowing and you can smell winter in the air. Or winter as it is in Tokyo. Snow is rare here, maybe once or twice a year. Occasionally, a big storm will hit and drop deep, wet snow which pretty much paralyzes the city. I have been very lucky and not been caught in that on a work day.

I read something by a nihonjinron fundamentalist the other day that the seasons were becoming less distinct in Japan due to global warming. That must explain it. Soon, Japan will be like all the other places on earth with no clear distinctions between seasons. You'll be able to go outside in October and wonder if it is autumn or summer or winter. In old Japan this confusion never happened.

Strangely though, when I lived here in the early 90s, I never noticed the especially distinct seasons. Even when I lived in Toyama. It snowed a lot, but it never really got cold. About freezing was as cold as it got. They even kept the sidewalks clear of snow with water. There were nozzles in the sidewalks which they turned on when it snowed and the water kept the snow from sticking. Gotta go up north to hit real cold.

My very first trip to Japan was in 1977. It wasn't really a trip to Japan, we just transferred at Haneda. I don't remember much about it except for the fact that I thought it was unusually warm for November compared to November at home. Global warming has been around longer than we realize, I guess, and it has probably affected Japan in a unique way.

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