I Love Winter

No, I don’t like winter despite having spent five years here. Or rather, because I’ve spent five years here. Like I’ve said, apart from being able to go snowboarding, winter does nothing for me. I actually dislike it enough that I’m bordering along the lines of hate.

I can withstand heat better than cold, and I don’t get sunburns in the summer as much as I get frost nips in winter. Electricity bills are higher in the winter because I constantly need to keep myself warm unlike in the summer when I only occasionally use the fan because I’m pretty ok with heat. I have the option of showering in cold water in the summer so that cuts down my gas bills but I don’t intend to kill myself with that in the winter.

When I see travelers from nations with warm climate (i.e. Singapore) declare “I love winter” on Facebook, it reminds me of the time when I first visited Japan. I think you don’t know winter until you’ve lived here.

It’s like you try the ramen at Ichiran and you claim they have the best ramen in Tokyo when there are close to 4,000 ramen shops here even Japanese people can’t decide which the best is. It’s like you come here for 10 days and announce Japanese trains are never late; always on the dot, when trains here are late on a daily basis. If it’s not this line, it’s that line. At any point in time, some line is delayed somewhere. Their recovery speed is impressive though.

When I first traveled to Japan in early spring in 2003, it was 8 degree Celsius. I walked along the streets throughout my trip in a T-shirt, a pair of berms, and a pair of sandals. It was cooling for me. When I get back to the hotel, I have a warm room to sleep in. The air-conditioner is on 24/7. When I step out again, I can survive with at most another windbreaker over my T-shirt. When you go snowboarding, you are in warm ski clothes and gloves. The snow on the mountain is a beautiful stretch of white. The more snow there is, the more welcomed it is as snowboarding is no fun on hard ice. I loved the weather. Because I didn’t live here (and also because it was spring).

When you live here, you don’t step into the cold with a warm body from a warm country everyday. Your body slowly eases into the cold starting autumn and arrives at the state of low temperature by the time winter arrives. You return to your room everyday where you have to pay your own electricity bills so you don’t leave the air-conditioner on 24/7. Your room is not always warm. In fact, it is mostly coldsometimes colder than the outside temperature. Taking a shower is sometimes a pain because you have to get naked in the cold before warm water hits your body. Water takes time to heat up even with the heater. When you have to commute, snow sucks balls. You can’t cycle, and walking is sometimes a pain as snow forms obstacles, sometimes making you slip and dirtying your shoes and clothes. Wet, dirty, and cold is not the best combination. On the roads, snow looks like crap. They’re just black, watery mush all over. If you’re sensitive to the cold, like me, your feet freeze up from walking on the snow even in your shoes.

So, no, you don’t know if you love winter until you lived somewhere cold.


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