It's snow big deal: Tokyoites share wintry fun

by Len Kitagawa

Contributing Writer

The Meteorological Agency issued its first heavy snow advisory in four years for all 23 wards of Tokyo on Jan. 22, sending social media sites into overdrive.

Japan Times columnist @jakeadelstein was among many Twitter users warning people to exercise caution as the snow started to fall. “If you’re commuting in Tokyo, the snow has delayed all the trains,” he wrote. “Head home early if you can.”

More than 20 centimeters of snow fell in Tokyo, leaving commuters stuck in traffic and stranding thousands of travelers in airports. Haneda airport reported that about 250 flights were canceled, with Twitter user @tasyDex saying: “I’ve been stuck in the airplane for five hours. Will it ever take off?

Despite the chaos on transport networks, many spent the evening recording the wintry scenes, capturing landmarks in the capital such as Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Station covered in snow. “It’s rare to see snowfall in Tokyo, so I brought my camera and strobe today,” @masametal wrote in a post accompanying the photos of Tokyo Station.

Tokyo Skytree, however, couldn’t quite be captured in the same light.

Some expressed amusement that Tokyo couldn’t handle the dump.

Today marks the annual tradition in Japan of the entire country rolling its eyes at Tokyo falling completely apart under 5cm of snow,” Twitter user @hikosaemon wrote on Twitter.

However, many Tokyoites appeared to take advantage of the fresh powder to create a wide variety of snow sculptures, sculpting a gaggle of local pop culture favorites such as Totoro (star of the 1988 Studio Ghibli film “My Neighbor Totoro”), Godzilla and — of course — Hello Kitty.