Showing posts with label Saitama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saitama. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014


It snowed heavily in the Kanto area last weekend and again yesterday. Friends residing in Tokyo and Yokohama posted photos of snow covered streets and homes. I have only experienced snow maybe five times in my life, and all those times were when I was in Japan where I lived for a few years while studying to obtain an advanced degree. I didn't count the wet snow or the icy rains (like slush) I've also experienced many times.

Following are some photos I took from February 2008, the last time I experienced and enjoyed snow. At the time, I wasn't much into checking the weather forecasts and so it came as a surprise that as I was returning home from the supermarket one evening, I felt the first flakes coming down from the skies. I didn't hurry back to my room at the International House but instead walked normally but excited about the prospect of snow. I was actually happy if it were only wet snow with the consistency of slush and it seemed that way at first until the flurries became heavier and I soon found my grocery bags starting to pick up some of the snow. I arrived at the dorm in time to watch the snow start to accumulate over the parking lot across from my room's balcony. Later that night, as the snow continued to fall, I could hear and see students playing in the snow. The following morning it seemed like everywhere was a winter wonderland and my friends and I wandered off to the university to check out the field that by then was a vast area of white.

View from my room at the International House
Posing beside a snow dog at the snow covered Saitama University field
Enjoying the snow with the wide, snow covered field at Saitama Daigaku
I lost my older photos on my experiences of snow in Japan. All were damaged beyond recovery by the floods of 2009 including photos I took with other foreign students at Yokohama National University. The forecast for Wednesday is snow in Tokyo and some more on Thursday. It would be nice to experience snow again and this time with the Clairvoyant who will also be in Tokyo next week. It will be her first despite traveling to the US, Canada and countries in Europe so it will definitely be a memorable trip for us.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I've been to Japan several times now and Saitama has been something like a retreat for me. For one, the University and my hosts have always been warm and I've found that cooperative research with the Urban Transportation Group was enjoyable as our interests converge. 

My host, in fact, is a very busy man and yet he finds time to personally take care of his students with very able support from his similarly kind research associate. The result is a laboratory that functions very efficiently and that works toward meaningful, relevant research. Such research includes community-based or participatory processes and it is clear how theory is translated into practice when the group applies what's learned in school to real-world situations. 

I had the chance to join them in one such activity in the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go in the central part of Japan about 7 years ago. My experiences there was later manifested in a similar research that focused in a World Heritage Site in Vigan, Ilocos Sur in the northern part of the Philippines.

I've found a second "refuge" in Saitama after finding a very different system in my Yokohama laboratory. It is one where I am very comfortable and where I have found encouragement in the research that I do - and I like to believe that I do very well in. I will always look forward to the next visit.