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Snow in Tokyo

Monika arrived in Japan this winter and she has just started working. Currently, she seems to be on her way out the door to have lunch with two of her colleagues, Hayakawa-san and Brian.

Snow in Tokyo

Monika

It certainly is cold today! I'd like to eat something warm as soon as possible.

Hayakawa

When I checked a moment ago, the weather forecast seemed to be saying that even downtown Tokyo will be getting a blanket of snow tomorrow!

Monika

Really? If that happens, it will be the first time that I have seen snow in my life!

Hayakawa

That is because you come from Manila, a city located in a tropical country. By contrast, for Brian who comes from Ottawa in Canada, I don't think he is very fazed by the prospect of snow on the ground here in Tokyo?

Brian

I agree. Although I am not surprised by the frequency and volume of snow in Tokyo, it amazes me that every time it occurs, chaos seems to result.

Monika

Chaos from snow? What do you mean?

Brian

With only a few centimeters of snow on the ground, Tokyo’s train network grinds to a halt. There are also many accidents involving vehicles slipping. We also hear about many folks who lose their footing. From people who are more accustomed to dealing with snow, what seems to happen every time in Tokyo is rather unbelievable.

Hayakawa

I suppose that is because snow falls in Tokyo only a few times a year. As such, it is difficult to say that we are sufficiently prepared to deal with it. In addition to the transport infrastructure, I think that idea applies to Tokyo residents as well.

Brian

Even though people must go to work, I am rather surprised when I see so many of them who persist in wearing leather-soled shoes and high-heels. On days when it snows, they should instead wear footwear that has slip-prevention features, or shoes that are solidly built.

Monika

So what about going out on snowy days, what other precautions should we take?

Hayakawa

When walking along streets that have a blanket of snow, it is safer if you shorten your stride and make every attempt to make sure that the entire sole of your shoes is in contact with the ground before taking the next step. The reason I say that is because if you walk with big strides in the snow, you will fall over rather quickly.

Brian

Furthermore, even if you do happen to fall over, to ensure against injury, you should wear a thick woolen hat and gloves. There are people that you see walking around with their hands thrust in their pockets. However, because such actions are dangerous they should be avoided. It is recommended that you use a rucksack to carry things to ensure that your hands are kept free.

The three colleagues then find themselves crossing over the road at an intersection near their company.

Hayakawa

It is also a good idea to remember those locations that might become particularly slippery should it snow. For example, there are intersections like this. From the footpath down to the level of the road, there is a slight incline. Furthermore, where the white lines have been drawn on the road is also very slippery. As such, you should walk slowly. What is more, you should think about the tiled surfaces that you find at entrances to the subway and in front of shops. They can also be very slippery. You should take care because it seems that a lot of people fall over in such areas.

Monika

Yes, I will be sure to take care.

Hayakawa

When going out on snowy days, what is particularly important is not to rush. It is important to allow enough time to do things without rushing around and trying to unreasonably push past people.

Brian

In fact, the time at which the most care needs to be taken is after it stops snowing. The snow-slush on the roads can be all trampled down and it then refreezes again into an icy state.

Monika

And that makes it especially slippery!

Hayakawa

That is correct. As such, to ensure that the road doesn’t freeze over, it is important not to forget to clear away the snow in front of your home. You should do it not just for your own benefit, but for the safety of your neighbors as well.

Monika

Hearing all that, I have complex feelings as to whether snow should be enjoyed or feared. In preparation for tomorrow, this evening I think I shall buy some shoes that can be worn in the snow.

Brian

That sounds like a good idea. Might I join you?

Monika

Thanks a lot. With your advice, I will feel safer about things!