Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Only in Japan: Snow Walls and the Shogun of Winter

Cars travel the romantic road north for holiday in Japan's scenic snow wall pass



Winter is in full swing as Japan enters the month of February.  While Japan varies in climate between north and south, winter is usually considered to be a time of celebration. One of the biggest holidays for Japan is the New Years' Day.  The northern areas of Japan receive a lot amount of snowfall in winter which leads to the amazing photo you see above.  There is so much snow that sometimes these snow walls can climb up to 30 feet high.  People often travel this road to resorts where time is spent relaxing in hot springs, hitting the slopes, or enjoying the scenic beauty.

This year is an extremely cold winter in Japan and has been especially hard on those areas attempting to recover after 3/11. Many hope that business will pick up and once again tourism to the disaster stricken north will return, but it has been difficult.

In Japanese winter is called Fu-yu 冬.  A very harsh winter time can be referred to, or attributed to the Shogun of Winter 冬将軍, Fuyu Shogun. It is a phrase that Japanese say amongst each other as way of complaining of the harsh weather.  It personifies the severe weather as a harsh general.  The Japanese winter is often accompanied with a freezing northern wind. 北風 Kita Kaze.  This seasonal wind has also been personified into a character.  The character Kita Kaze Kantarou has been around since the 1970s as a popular song and way to refer to the coming of the wind.







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