Snow falls long and hard in Aomori, the snowiest city in the world? Unquestionably very true. The snow crazed inhabitants of Aomori amaze me with their dedication and will power to live on in this never ending falling white blanket. The shoveling begins before sunrise and goes on well into the darkness of the nights. They become a closer community than ever, working together, like quiet beavers they dig and dig and never let the snow swallow them. The young and the old, the single, married and widowed take to the streets to release their city from vanishing beneath the white. They remind me of an ancient tribe, rich in diversity they use the skills of many before them to keep them and their families alive. To stay alive in a place with such huge amounts of snow like this is a challenge that they have come to conquer after hundreds of years of practice.
I am so amazed by this place, it makes me think of how easy we have it in cozy Ireland. A mild climate for sure, we barely have a winter or a summer it’s all just luke warm rain. Ok slight exaggeration, but after growing up in Ireland all my life and getting used to the nation shutting down after a few feet of snow it made me feel almost embarrassed at our snow freak outs. (Note: I am not an embarrassed Irish woman, I am proud of Ireland, just not our snow tantrums.)
Aomori often seems so full of endless struggles yet so un-affected by them, the people of this crazy city have given me a deep insight into the strength and courage that people can build together.
It is said that the people of Aomori hibernate when the snow comes, I don’t think they are all hiding I think they are just busy at work keeping their lives at visible non snowy eye level. The shops are still thriving, the buses and trains all run and the schools are at their busiest. Once the snow melts I’m sure I’ll see many more people out and about but that will also be because there won’t be huge 10feet tall piles of snow hiding the path ways and streets!
Until then I will try my best to do my bit in this tribal city, if it means pilling on the layers and facing the blizzards to clear the snow from the pathway to my apartment then that’s that, no more hiding or moaning.
The people of Aomori/Northern Japan are truly an inspiration.