A byte of life from the Land of Sumos and Sushi

Friday, February 10, 2006

Living in the winter wonderland of Ono, where over a meter of snow blankets the ground for 3 months a year, I have been diversifying my outdoor activities. Enter – the snow shoes.

One of the things I miss most from jolly old England, is being able to roam the rolling hills and meadows of the green and pleasant land. Although Ono has large areas of greenery in summer, (Ono literally translates as “Big Field”) it is misleading to think that you can get out and enjoy it. The rice paddies are strictly of the ‘look but don’t touch’ variety, as they are completely out of bounds. The rice farmers would not take lightly to people trampling their crop, and the paddies are waterlogged and muddy anyway.

But heavy snowfall has a dual effect on the town. With the one hand, it blocks off roads, cuts off railways, and prevents pavement access, but with the other, it opens up the huge expanse of rice paddies, creating one massive footpath on previously inaccessible terrain.

I’ve been taking advantage of the white freeways by strapping on snow shoes, grabbing a pair of poles, and roaming the paddies far and wide. On a cold crisp day, crunching over the snow, through beautiful snowy bamboo thickets, makes for an invigorating walk on the white side.


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