Snow Panda

Haha, in all the years I’ve kept this blog, I don’t think I’ve posted as many photos of myself as I have in this entry (and the previous one). Is the panda blog turning into a venue for indulging my inner narcissisist panda? Oh my goodness, look, I can never spell that word. Narcissist. Ha. That’s it. Thank goodness for spell check.

snow panda!

Clearly the thing to do when surrounded by snow is to make a snowperson

Last weekend I drove up to Gokayama, in Toyama prefecture to see what I could see. What I saw was a lot and lot and lot of snow. It snowed exactly once all winter in Tokyo. By comparison in Gokayama there were snow drifts taller than me – and in some places, taller than the car.

snow panda!

Oh look! He’s mah buddy!

The journey through the winding mountain roads reminded me of the harrowing trip I made to Eiheiji temple a few years back in so far as the entire way I was certain that I was going to die in some snowy, horribly cold way, either by sliding off the icy roads to the frozen lagoons below (itself recalling uncomfortable allusions to the Cliffs of Death journey also undertaken years prior) or else by inadvertantly triggering an avalanche or driving into a 4 meter tall snowbank at full speed never to be found until the spring thaw. However, by the grace of providence, I somehow made it (there and back, as it would appear), with only a few scary “oh hey look, we’re sliding into the next lane and here comes opposing traffic!” moments in between.

snow panda!

Mistar snowman becomes a juggling accessory…?

Gokayama itself wasn’t that interesting – it is technically a World Heritage Site, but pales in comparison to others I have been to. It’s main claim to fame is its collection of gassho zukuri grass thatched old style Japanese farm houses originally designed for silk worm harvesting or something like that (I vaguely remember reading that somewhere). The problem was that when I arrived everything was buried under meters of snow, it was well cold, and also, unfortunately, I had already seen a much larger collection of gassho zukuri houses during a previous trip to Hida Takayama with mah good buddy KC. Jeesh, what is going on here? I’ve just scattered like three or four links back to previous posts I have written in between a bunch of pictures of myself in this entry. Goodness, this blog is turning into some sort of self-referential exercise in narcissistic exhibitionism. Sorry about that folks :P

snow panda!

But it appears he shall have his revenge in the end…!

And while Gokayama might not have been as interesting as I imagine it would be during the summer/had I not already seen enough gassho zukuri to last me a lifetime (and mind you, I’m not trying to dissuade you from going – if you’re in the area (errm, for whatever reason, like say you’re lost in the mountains of north central honshu), by all means, swing by and visit it!), this is not to say the journey was bust! Because despite having spent several painful years of my childhood fleeing from wild cow stampedes in the frozen blustery farm fields of northern wisconsin, it had actually been a few years since I’d seen some proper snowfall, so it seemed to me prime opportunity to engage in a bit of snowpanda tomfoolery. You know: snowball fights, snowjumping, making snowpanda-angels, that sort of thing. :)

Well, I don’t really have much else to say, so umm, onto the pictures!

snow panda!

*sigh* “I warned him about throwing snowballs up in the air like that…”

snow panda!

“Speaking of throwing snowballs… take this!!” HYAAAH!

snow panda!

What the…!!?? AAAUUUGGHH!! mmmphhh…!

snow panda!

“Hahaha- AAAUUUGGGHH!!!

snow panda!

“How do you like them apples? Who’s the snowball fight champion now, huh?”

snow panda!

The backdrop for snowpanda fun adventure. White. All white!

snow panda!

A snow covered gassho zukuri house.

snow panda!

… and another one. Notice the height of the snow in relation ot the doorway on the right.

snow panda!

Taking a picture of a picture of a… ditch?

snow panda!

Snow jump!!!

snow panda!

Snow jump panda!!!

snow panda!

It’s all fun and games until someone gets a mouthful of snow…

snow panda!

A creepy tanuki by a gift shop. Looks… bohemian?

snow panda!

Those icicles could really hurt you if they fell on you…

snow panda!

Getting in the car for the slushy ride back…

snow panda!

A final sweeping snowy farewell.

snow panda!

Elevator shot snow panda. Because it’s not good enough for myspace unless you’re holding the camera and shooting your reflection in the mirror…

And that about wraps up this entry! Thank you for reading!

Now listening to: “Above & Beyond – Air for Life”

7 Reactions

  1. momo

    YEAH! I really like the effect that the lens is giving youuuuu. I have a 50mm now, but with my camera it is aalllll MANUAL focus. Still, those prime lenses are really something.
    We always need more picture of you!

  2. jessica

    i live in switzerland and i never see snow like that . What the F, I ask you. What the F?!

  3. Jacinda

    Aaagghh… fresh white snow before pollution tarnishes it and turns it brown. Did you get my email with the photo of traffic sign buried in the snow pile?

  4. Shay

    Man, it’s snowed quite a bit where I’m currently at (Laramie, WY) but it never was that fun. Nice job making me want to play in the snow just as it melts away and gets sunny :P nice… lol
    Great pics as always and cool pics of ya

  5. Ben

    It’s getting much better here in Western Canada. Two weeks ago was crazy.
    And I hate it when cars drive over the snow. Ruining the beautiful view.

  6. sabineM

    Fabulous snow shots! Makes me miss the snow in this 80 degree California weather!
    Some of the landscape and the houses made me think of Switzerland.
    REALLY amazing snow shots! What is a Tanuki?
    And JEss, the reason you don’t see snow like that is because you are not at high enough Altitude..Go up to Valais! ;-)
    Though I don’t think Switz has had the snow it used to get, it is not Global Warming, it is the earth Shifting…all of the Swiss Snow is now in Japan. Instead of the Japanese tourists going to Switzerland, it will be the other way around soon! ;-)
    Thanks for the great photos Panda! I bet Pandas love the snow

  7. SakataMon

    Your photos are wonderfully clear!
    Looked like a fun trip! I wanna see those houses in the snow actually…
    Already seen the Gifu ones in the summer.
    Was your friend okay that day? She looked underdressed!