Today, I opened my door to beautiful surprise. Snow covered everything as far as the eye could see. My mouth actually dropped open in surprise. My neighbors were outside, too, looking just as shocked as I was.
In Itako, it maybe snows about two times a year. Usually, it’s only a slight powder that quickly turns into this gross brown mush on the sidewalks and streets. It never gets to the point where it can actually affect anything.
And yet for some strange reason, Jack Frost decided to pay us a visit early this morning, giving Kashima City its first snow day in who knows how long. Where I live, the school decided to have a late start, at 11 a.m, with only three class periods today.
Back in Kentucky, this snow fall wouldn’t even be considered for a snow day, but Itako doesn’t have any removal teams. There’s no snowplows that go through the streets, just sometimes poor, unfortunate teachers and/or volunteers that come out with gardening shovels to remove the white stuff. Sidewalk salt is available at the drug store, but nobody actually buys it (until today).
I love it so much! I wouldn’t want it to last forever, but this kind of snow reminds me of home. When I went back to the U.S. for Christmas, I got to have snow. When I came back to mainland Japan, I felt instantly a little homesick because of the lack of snow. Not that I’d want to live in Hokkaido, the supposedly ever snowing north lands that could rival the cold of The Wall from Game of Thrones, but I missed the sight of snowflakes falling on the wind. I also found that I missed good ol’ fashioned snowball fights.
Luckily, some of my students were more than happy to hit me with a snowball today. I ended up going outside to welcome the kids for our late start. Some students looked absolutely pissed about the fact they were cheated out of a real snow day. Most kids, however, chose to get in as many snowball fights as humanly possible before they absolutely had to go to class. When I asked students how they were, most said, “Happy!” Some students playfully threw snowballs at me, so I shocked them by retaliating. We ended up having a small fight before they had to leave for class. I felt so, so happy, right before I got a shovel and started helping out my fellow teachers make the sidewalks snow free.
I will look back fondly on this day, but I will admit I won’t be terribly upset to see it go. I’m thankful I got to have a little fun with my students, and that I got a small reminder of home at my second home. Still, I know that just like back home, I would get so sick of the stuff within a week.
So thanks for the lovely present, Jack, but you can go now.