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JapanFocus
Massive Snowfall Blankets Tokyo
Heaviest snowfall in five years
David Michael Weber (crossfire)     Print Article 
Published 2006-01-23 17:30 (KST)   
Tokyo trains slush through a rare Tokyo snowfall
©2006 D.Weber
Tokyo received its heaviest snowfall in five years as nine centimeters of snow fell on the capital on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Rare Snowy Evening in Tokyo
©2006 D.Weber
Cancelled flights in Narita and Haneda left thousands stranded at the airports. Over a hundred Tokyo residents have been injured from slips and falls. Although the snow began melting by Sunday morning, dangerous patches of ice on roads and sidewalks remained.

A crow in a Tokyo cemetary braves the snow
©2006 D.Weber
While Tokyo is not unaccustomed to some light snowfall in winter and the odd occasional spring snow, this winter has been more than a little unusual. In the Northwest section of Japan, over a hundred people have died in snow-related incidents as record-breaking snowfalls have blanketed areas with sometimes up to four meters of snow.

A snowman built by those whose spirits were obviously not dampened
©2006 D.Weber
Tokyo, while snow-free until Saturday, has been much colder than usual this winter, driving up heating bills.

A trio of snow-covered Buddhas in Tokyo
©2006 D.Weber
Japan is suffering from part of the cold wave that is affecting much of Asia from Japan to Northern India. China is seeing record snowfalls in the northwestern province of Xinjiang and the eastern province of Shandong, while temperatures in some regions have been at their lowest in 20 years.

A pagoda at Ueno Zoo
©2006 D.Weber
Russia's winter is hitting low temperatures that haven't been experienced since 1927. Dozens have died due to exposure from the harsh weather. Others have died in gas heater explosions.

A vibrant Peony Flower covered in snow
©2006 D.Weber
Dozens have died across India from exposure. In the earthquake-stricken area of Kashmir, a number of emergency tents have collapsed under the weight of the snow. Dal Lake in Kashmir has frozen over for the first time in ten years.

Ueno Park's Cherry Blossom Trees snowed over
©2006 D.Weber
In sharp contrast, Australia has experienced roasting heat waves in the mid-40s that have killed elderly people, started bushfires, and affected the Australian Open.

Benten Temple in Ueno Park in the evening
©2006 D.Weber
The cold wave, which according to meterologists originated in Siberia, is to blame for this winter's extra sharp bite. It also pushing into Europe, affecting Belarus, Estonia, and Poland.

Snow falling on Benten Temple in Ueno Park, Tokyo
©2006 D.Weber

©2006 OhmyNews
A native Tennesseean, David M. Weber is currently at the grammatical grindstone cranking out gerunds, dangling modifiers and perfecting tenses as an English teacher in Japan. In his travels, he has hiked the Inca Trail, been mugged in Mexico City, broke his leg in Switzerland, attempted to bike through Mexico and failed, climbed Pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, drank great quantities of beer at Oktoberfest and gambled at Monte Carlo.
Other articles by reporter David Michael Weber

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