Happy New Year to nobody--or to somebody, if by some odd twist of fate some human being happens to read this.
We still don't have any snow.
I still remember the Blizzard of '06, whenI lived on the sandy, fish-stinking coast of Hyogo and commuted daily to Tottori for reasons I still have trouble discerning. The entire landscape was white when traversed by motor vehicle, and there was no differentiation between road and horizon, much less between lanes of the road or between the road itself and the absurd ditches along it--sometimes called 'gaijin traps' by JETs and other sojourners because they have no apparent rational purpose and seem to exist only to cause accidents for people from the English bloc, who never expect the sides of the road to have dangerous ditches where logic and safety would dictate guardrails.
It was an awful, snowy winter. I lived in the poor house with only a sand bar between the front door and the ocean. The door, ironically, opened due north, so that the onslaught of marine precipitation blasted directly into the front room whenever the door was opened. I remember it being quite a hike from there to the train station, on the days when luck had it that the trains were running--when the trains refused to run, I was obligated to drive to work, which was stupid and dangerous, but hey, I was young and my priorities were out of wack--and after fighting the head wind to get from the station to my front door, I would invariably be coated with frost and ice like the least fortunate polar explorer, and collapse in the entryway calling for a cup of warm water to pour down my throat.
We have none of that. It might as well be autumn or early spring. I don't exclude the possibility of there still being snow this year--after all, winter came more than a month late last year--but I still must remark that thus far in the first week of January, it's not what anyone would properly call winter. I even spent a good time weeding my garden yesterday afternoon, the earth fortuitously remaining damp for several days in the absence of strong sunlight to dry it; and even if winter does show its frosty face at this late hour, I should start spring with a garden relatively free of weeds and ready for the year's new planting.
The kale, bell peppers, and chili peppers continue to grow strong--but I won't post any pictures of them. That would be gloating.