Tokyo Snow Fallout

The morning after…

Ebisu at Dawn
Ebisu at Dawn

Well, Tokyo’s first snow storm of the season has passed, and already the melt has set in. Other parts of the country, such as Hokkaido and the Tohoku region, have more snow in the immediate forecast; here in The Big Sushi, however, temperatures should be back in the double digits by tomorrow – that’s Wednesday, Tokyo time.

Back to yesterday’s blizzard… I have to say, it may not be the worst snow storm I’ve seen in my 13+ years in Tokyo (the heavy snowfall on February 9, 2014 set a 45-year record), but it was the worst commuting mess I’ve ever experienced. I left home as usual around 6am, which normally gets me to work by 7:15 or so. Yesterday, however, what with the treacherous walking conditions and the train delays, I finally arrived at 8:35 – almost 1 1/2 hours late. Even so, I was one of the first to make it in, and as others arrived late into the morning the horror stories only got worse: longer delay times, dangerously over-crowded trains and platforms with no safety barriers between passengers and the tracks below. R. tells me she had to wait 50 minutes outside (by then it was raining) just to get into the station. From there, the express train ride which normally takes 20 minutes took 1 1/2 hours. As the over-crowded train waited at local stations with its doors closed, passengers started to choke in the unventilated cars, causing further delays as train crews had to make extra stops to remove sick passengers – which resulted in further delays and even more sick passengers.

According to the talk at work this morning, Tokyo’s train operators decided to remove trains from service in the event of such a snow crisis as this one as a result of a commuter train crash back in February of 2014. problem is, apparently, they didn’t bother to tell anyone… So it goes.

 

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