12 Days of Christmas in Japan #6: putting the 'no' in snow
See all posts in this series via the '12days' tag.
This is a series about some of the things that happen at Christmas in Japan.
What about things that don't happen?
'White Christmas'. One of THE iconic Christmas songs. Up there with 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day', 'Mistletoe and Wine', and, erm, 'Proper Crimbo (Selecta)'.
We got snow in the Tokyo/Yokohama a few weeks ago. The first November snow in the region for over 50 years. It didn't settle on the ground, but it turned rooftops white.
I shouldn't be surprised or enthralled by snow at my age. But knowing it hasn't snowed here at that time of year since the 1960s? You bet I put that straight on Instagram.
Some regions of Japan are no strangers to snow.
Sapporo has a Snow Festival with an ice sculpture contest, but that's held in February. The north gets more snowfall because it's closer to Russia, and the path of Siberia's freezing cold air.
Then there are ski and snowboarding resorts. Nagano's a famous winter sports destination, having hosted a Winter Olympics. The Hakuba and Karuizawa resorts in the region are some of Japan's most famous skiing destinations. Of course they have snow.
Other big cities, like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, don't get much snow at all. You can see some, sure - look out the right way from Tokyo or Yokohama and snow-capped Mt. Fuji will be right there.
A Tenki.jp weather report in 2014 put the % chance of Christmas snow in Tokyo at... 0. It's based on snow reports from the last 30 years. Once you know those numbers are percentages, the diagram's easy enough to understand.
The sudden spike to 40% directly to the left of the wider Tokyo area is Nagano. Look at the island of Hokkaido at the top, and there's a full 100 smack in the middle.
The rest of the country's not encouraging. If you plan to stay east, central or west over Christmas, the best odds you can expect are roughly 1 in 3.
The chance of seeing a white Christmas in Japan - outside of a ski resort or Hokkaido - is pretty low. That WILL NOT stop the endless references to snow in Japanese Christmas songs. Ever.