Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow in Akita

As I wrote in the previous post, hubby and I had been to India during the New Year holidays. We were in India for a week about which I will write in the next few posts. We returned back to Akita on 9th January and were surprised to see the massive amount of snow at Akita Airport area. The amount of snow was too much considering the fact that it was just the beginning of January. The weather here was drastically different as compared to India. That day the temperature in Akita was 35 degrees Celsius lower than Mumbai, and hubby and I felt so cold.
Akita Airport

Akita Airport

Snow covered cars at a parking area near airport

People removing snow from their car

Winters in Akita prefecture are reputed to be among the snowiest and coldest in Japan. Winter is long and too severe with the temperature staying at sub-zero levels throughout the months of January and February. While driving back home from Akita Airport, we saw blankets of heavy snow all around us. There was deep snow and everything seemed to be purified and white in color. I took several photos of the snow around us. I also compiled a video of the snow covered Akita that I took during our car ride.

A few photos of snow covered Akita that we clicked during car ride from the airport to our home

Video of our car ride in snow covered Akita

After reaching home, I had to immediately turn on the kerosene fan heaters as all the rooms were freezing cold. This is because in Japan generally there is no central heating facility or thermal insulation of homes. Therefore, kerosene fan heaters are essential part of our lives during winter season. Such stoves keep the rooms warm and have proven to be real life savers for us in a cold place like Akita. I have written about such fan heaters in an earlier post which is here.
Kerosene gas heater

This year the amount of snow that has fallen in Akita and other northern prefectures is almost double as compared to the same time previous year. Nowadays I can see our neighbors shoveling snow a couple of times in a day and about 3-4 meters of snow is piled up near our home area. We are in the middle of harsh windy cold winter here in Akita.
Piled up snow near our home

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tokyo Sky Tree

Hubby and I had been to India during the New Year holidays. The domestic flight from Akita Airport was scheduled for the morning of 30th December. We expected flight delay or cancellation due to heavy snow in Akita. But the flight left Akita at right time and reached Haneda Airport at 11.30 am. Afterwards we took a taxi and went to a nearby hotel where we were going to spend that night. We left our baggage at the front desk of the hotel. We had the entire afternoon free and so we decided to visit Tokyo Sky Tree.

Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcasting and observation tower being constructed in Sumida ward of Tokyo. The construction of the tower was started in July 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2011. The main purpose of this tower is to serve as a television and radio broadcasting tower. Tokyo Tower, the current broadcasting tower, is 333 meters high and no longer tall enough to give complete digital television broadcasting coverage as it is surrounded by many high-rise buildings. Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest artificial structure in Japan since 2010. When completed, the tower will have a height of 634 meters. The tower is scheduled to be opened in the spring of 2012.

From Haneda, we changed trains several times and reached Oshiage railway station which is adjacent to the site of Tokyo Sky Tree tower. As soon as we came out of the railway station, we were struck by the hugeness of the tower under construction. The day we went to see Tokyo Sky Tree, it was 533 meters tall and looked massive from such a close range.
Tokyo Sky Tree as viewed from just outside Oshiage railway station

Upper portion of Tokyo Sky Tree

We walked towards the tower and took a few photos. It was rather difficult to have the entire tower in one frame as we were too close to the tower.
Tokyo Sky Tree as we walked towards the tower

I am standing in front of the tower

Tokyo Sky Tree from another angle

We walked up to the nearest point of the construction site of the tower and again took a few photos.
Tokyo Sky Tree as viewed from the nearest point of the construction site

Another view of the tower from the nearest point of the construction site

I am standing in front of the tower

Hubby (only part of his face seen) standing in front of the tower

We enjoyed Tokyo Sky Tree and it surroundings for some time and then returned back to the hotel.
Good bye Tokyo Sky Tree