Saturday, January 07, 2006

Still Snowing

The amount of snow falling from the sky in my little part of the world is beginning to get a little ridiculous. It snowed all day on Thursday, we had a little (and I do mean just a little) lull in the snowfall on Friday, and it snowed all day yesterday.

Some of the snow has melted, but in most places it is about three feet deep. Some of the snowbanks along the busier roads are piled well over my head. It's unbelievable.

My favorite thing about the snow is that it is still white. Those of you in Florida and Saipan might think that this is a stupid thing to say, but those of you living in Massachusetts know that it usually takes about a day for snow in the city to turn into a nasty, brown, muddy mess. Takaoka is a city the size of Worcester, but the snow is as white as they day it fell. I'll have to see if this lasts into March and April, or if the snow is only staying white because of the daily snowfall.

The Japanese do an amazing job of getting rid of the snow (in the places where they don't want it). All of the roads are equipped with what I affectionately call 'dancing road spiders,' which are little water fountains placed in the pavement about every 3-4 feet. They turn them on as soon as it starts snowing and then the cars driving over the wet snows melts it. A lot of the sidewalks also have these little water fountains.

I'd love to know what percentage of daily water use in Takaoka is dedicated to melting snow in the Winter. I'm sure that it is a double digit number.

When people clear the sidewalks in front of thier house or business, they just shovel the snow into the road. The water fountains melt it. I've also seen them open up the grating that leads to the drainage ditch for the road and dump the snow in there.

Usually, by the end of the day (when it hasn't been snowing), most of the sidewalks and roads are completely devoid of any snow.

I guess this system works fine as long as none of the pipes or melted snow freezes.

(They also use plows. Although I haven't seen an American style plow, ie a pickup truck with a plow attached to the front, I have seen them using a front end loader to move snow on busy roads and in parking lots. The funny thing about the front end loader though, was that they were loading the snow onto a dump truck. God only knows where they dumped the snow.)

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