Monday, January 23, 2006

Watch for Falling Snow ・ 落雪注意

Several weeks ago I started seeing new signs appear throughout the village. They said "Watch Out for Falling Snow." Now we are not talking about the light fluffy stuff that comes out of the sky in flakes. That's not too dangerous and you couldn't avoid it if you wanted. These warning signs, rather, always appear under the eave of a building and are warning people of large quantities of snow sliding off a roof all at once.

At first they seemed a little excessive, but after you have seen 10 inches of snow fall off a gymnasium roof, you can understand the need. It's not a complete avalanche, but it is seriously dangerous. I have heard that at least 3 or 4 people have died in Japan this year, crushed under falling snow. That's gotta be the worst way to die. Also I have seen a car roof crushed in to the point you couldn't get in, even if you could get the door open.

I think maybe the composer of Sakamoto Kyu's famous song was living in Aomori and worrying about falling snow when he wrote the words 'I Look up to the Sky as I Walk'. In any case, I'll be sure keep an eye to the sky and not walk under eaves.

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