One day in Amsterdam some 35 years ago, with a heavy grey sky overhead and the wind blowing the sleet into my ears, I swore I’d never again put up with a North European winter… and so it has proved to be, barring a couple of Christmas visits. The wind, the wet, the short dark days: sorry, it might appeal to the poetic side of some people but I set out for Asia that Spring. Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India: each country was warmer, and cheaper, than the last and eventually in the South of India I was living in paradise, on about $30 a month.
Of course that can’t go on indefinitely and I wound up in Japan in search of some gainful employment. Now here there is a winter I have to admit, but it’s much more tolerable, at least in Nagoya. For a start, it’s dry with plenty of sunny days when it can be quite warm outside in the daytime. With the latitude of Crete, the sun here is a good bit higher in the sky than in the UK. It can be windy sometimes, but it’s really not so bad, and quite short- from December to February, roughly. On the Sea of Japan side it’s a different story though: there the wind comes in across the sea picking up lots of moisture which it drops when it hits the mountains, and that region gets some of the highest snowfalls in the world! Just in the last two days they got over a metre in the north of Gifu prefecture, not all that far from our country place; that same cold wave gave us a foot or so at the farm and even Nagoya got a sprinkling.
So when we drove up on Sunday it was still overcast, and as we got into Gifu there was more and more snow on the fields around. Luckily the snowploughs had been through and we didn’t need tyre chains – putting those on in freezing winter weather is one job I hate – but the entry to our side road needed clearing with a spade so we could park the car. Once you get inside and the oil heater cranked up it’s quite warm enough though.
On Monday we were back to the norm – a beautiful day in fact without a cloud in the sky and the snow was dazzling. It was worth driving out after all!
Min temp -3.5°C max 2.5°C