Tokyo Snowpocalypse Experience

Snow in Tokyo is a rare occurrence, except for February 8th. It was said that this was the most snow that Tokyo has seen in over 45 years. Now, if you’re from Canada or anywhere where snow is the norm during winter, then this will sound like nothing. There has been light snow over the course of winter but nothing like this. Here’s a photo for comparison.

Vending Machine With Snow
The before and after of the vending machine outside my apartment.

I am used to fluffy and dry snow back home, but the snow here was sticky and wet. This made for a slushy mess everywhere. The pathway from my apartment to the train station was nothing but slush and if you were not wearing boots, your feet were going to get soaked.

Slushy Snow in Tokyo
Wet and sticky snow makes for some wet feet unless you’re wearing boots. This is right infront of my apartment.

For those who deal with this every year, then this is nothing. But, Tokyo and the surrounding areas are not well equipped or used to handling such a huge amount of snow in such a short time span. What affects the most people is public transportation. Now, you can call me crazy but I was brave (or stupid) to make my way to Tokyo Disneyland. Since this amount of snow is rare, I had to take photos.

Snow day at Disneyland

Snow at Tokyo Disneyland
There was a ton of snow at Tokyo Disneyland along with adorable Mickey and Minnie Snowmen.

I expected there to be train delays, and going across Tokyo was not bad at all. Granted this was earlier in the day. My train line Keio, was delayed only by half an hour. On the way back from Disneyland, that is a whole other story in itself.

4 Hour Commute Home

Maihama Station Coved in Snow

Maihama Station train platform completely covered in snow. That train was there for almost 30 minutes.

As a friend and I were enjoying Tokyo DisneySea there came an announcement throughout the entire park. They were warning guests that due to inclement weather, the trains and buses may stop for extended periods of time. They were politely telling us that if you need to take public transportation home, you better leave now.

Not knowing how much of a delay I was going to experience it was in my best interest to start making my way home. When I arrived at Maihama Station, it was completely full with people who were at Disneyland. I waited around the train station for about an hour before the next train would come by. The one train that was going the opposite direction of me was stopped at Maihama Station due to wind, and they were waiting for it to die down before proceeding to the next station.

If you’re unfamiliar with Tokyo Disneyland, it is located in Tokyo Bay. Which means there is a lot of wind.

Finally, after an hour our train, bound for Tokyo, finally arrives. Since there was so many people waiting, you bet the train was crowded just as if it were rush hour on a weekday. The train was packed with people holding onto their Disney purchases, which made it just that much more crowded.

Snow Covered Train Platform Stairs in Tokyo
Employees were constantly clearing the snow.

We slowly make our way towards Tokyo Station, when at the last stop before our destination an announcement comes on. It was telling passengers that Tokyo Station was completely full, and that we had to wait for an undetermined amount of time before we could get to the station. We were advised to transfer to the subway at this stop.

Myself and a couple hundred other people got off the train and made our way to the subway station. We get to the ticket gates and the area was at a stand still. The employees locked the ticket gates because the platform for the subway was completely full and we had to wait for it to clear. Now, I am standing with at least another 200-300 people, all crowded in this tiny space waiting to get through. Not being able to move, literally.

After about 10 minutes the employees open the ticket gates to begin allowing people through. There was such a push to get through the gates that you had no choice but to go with the flow, regardless if you even had a ticket to get through or not. Eventually the employees opened ALL the ticket gates. Since there was such a flood of people, no one was able to either tap their commuter pass cards or insert their tickets. Everyone just went through the gates.

After flowing down the river of people to the subway, I got on and made my way to Shinjuku Station. Once I got to Shinjuku station I transferred to the Keio Line, which was only running local and semi-express trains. Normally there are Special Rapid trains, but not that night.

Nearly Missed Last Train

Too Much Snow in Tokyo
When they said there was a lot of snow, they were not kidding. This is almost Saskatchewan snowfall!

I get on the train and continue on the last leg of my journey home. I had to make one transfer in Chofu before I could get home. When I transferred I noticed that the train I was going to be taking was the last train of the evening. Service was being suspended after that due to weather. It was only 10pm. Normally, the last train from that station is particular is 12:43am.

Finally Home

Grocery Store Covered in Snow
The grocery store in front of the train station looks completely different with all the snow.

Finally, after 4 hours I got home to my station. Normally it is only a 1 hour journey. But, the fun was not over yet. There was so much snow that the area I live in was completely transformed by the snow. It looked like the Apocalypse had hit. All the stores were closed (expect 7-11) and there was wet snow up to your ankles.

Pathway Home
The pathway home was wet and sticky. My already soaked feet got even more soaked.

The pathway to my house was a wet and muddy mess. My shoes got completely soaked. It was only 10pm but there was not a soul in sight. I guess they were the smart ones.

Not Doing That Again

The snow was nice as it reminded me of home. But, I do not want to have to experience this again. Wet and sticky snow is terrible, and I much prefer the white fluffy stuff we get back home in good ole Saskatchewan.

Wet and Sticky Snow in Tokyo Disneyland
Never going out in that type of weather again. Even with a raincoat and umbrella I still ended up looking like this.

Morning Commute in Tokyo

Everyone has heard the stories about how crowded trains can get here in Tokyo, especially during rush hour. People cramming onto trains and employees pushing people into the trains. I wish I could say that this is an over exaggeration, but it simply is not. Here’s a photo of how crammed it can get on my train on my commute to work.

Chuo Line Rush Hour Commute

Where I am located I have the luxury of choosing between two different train lines. One line I can take into central Tokyo, while the other helps me get to work that is north of my location. I take two lines to get to work in the morning, which only takes about 30 minutes total, which is a bonus. The first line is relatively older and during rush hour there are still seats left for people to sit on. Once I transfer over to the Chuo Line, that’s where the cramming begins.

Once the train gets to me, it’s also full to capacity but there are still a couple hundred people at this stop that need to get one. While a few people get off the train, most stay on board. But some how, every morning, we all manage to squeeze onto the train. So much, that I do not have to hold onto any hand rails and I can easily read the article the person in front of me is reading on their smart phone (usually it’s Puzzle and Dragons).

There are a few times where people that have less than ideal hygiene beside me, which can make the train ride rather long, but for the most part everyone just wants to get to work without any fuss. Thankfully I only have to endure the sardine can of a train ride for two stops. Which is nice because I wouldn’t have much choice but to get off the train anyway, since the wave of people getting off there’s not much you can do but go with the flow.

I will admit, I have fallen asleep a couple times while standing up because it was so warm and oddly comfy.

Retro Gamers Paradise in Tokyo

Today’s photo of the day comes from one of the best places to purchase retro video games and their related merchandise in Tokyo. The place I’m talking about is Super Potato located in Akihabara, Tokyo’s largest electronics district.

Super Potato
Nothing screams “retro” gaming more than the iconic Super Mario.

Looking for Final Fantasy III or perhaps a Super Mario Pocket Watch? Or perhaps that incredibly-rare-snes-game-only-you-played. You will find it at Super Potato, on one of their several floors. Each floor contains different types of games from Atari to the original Nintendo. Walls are covered in advertisements for old games and other random related material.

First you will have to find the place, it’s a tad difficult if it’s your first time in Japan, so much so that a video was made how to find it.

It is difficult to explain this one of a kind store , you have to experience it yourself. If you grew up gaming, then make sure to add this to your list of places to visit when you are exploring the urban jungle that is Tokyo.

More photos can be found on Flickr and make sure to subscribe to my journey in Japan. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to go take out a loan so I can go buy a sealed copy of the original Bubble Bobble on the NES.

Christmas to the MAX in Japan

Christmas means many different things to everybody from family to commercialism, and everything in between. For myself, Christmas is about spending the holidays with my family and friends. Which is funny since I’m spending this Christmas in Japan, away from home.

Back home in Canada during the holiday season you see the standard fare for decorations on people’s homes and in all the stores. Here in Japan the stores are decorated to the MAX (you’ll see why I keep using that word in a minute here) for Christmas. There are Christmas trees, stockings, elves, Santa, and everything else you can think of to associate with the holiday. Even though Christmas is not holiday here the decorations are really something to see.

This brings me to the photo of the day. Taken outside of a PARCO department store in Shibuya, Tokyo. It really has nothing to do with Christmas, yet it does, all at the same time.



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Enjoying Starbucks in Tokyo

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you know I share quite a few pictures. Especially since moving to Tokyo. While those are great for sharing photos in the moment, it’s difficult to put any deep explanation of the photo being shown. So, with that I’m going to give one and explain every last thing about it and why it’s significant to my daily life here in Tokyo (or wherever I may end up).

Enjoying Starbucks


I’m a huge Starbucks fan, and I will admit it’s a bit of a comfort when I’m feeling homesick. We all enjoy something that is familiar and take comfort in it. While I’m all for getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things, somedays having something (somewhat) familiar is welcomed.

Not that walking into Starbucks was easy at first, I had to learn how to properly order in Japanese. Although the names of most drinks are the same in English it’s more answering the questions the lovely baristas ask you:

  • Are you having it in or taking it out?
  • Do you already have a table? (Most Starbucks in Japan you need to have a table already if you want to stay in otherwise you wait for a table before ordering)
  • Did you want your [pastry name] heat?
  • Do you want a mug?

The first time I went into Starbucks on my own, I completely messed up and was unaware that I needed a table before I could order if I wanted to stay. The girl first told me in Japanese, but I was a bit flustered and didn’t quite understand her. She then switched to English and explained the entire process to me. I won’t lie, I did feel a bit stupid for not understanding her when she first told me in Japanese.

Now that I’m completely aware of how the system works I go into Starbucks now fully confident in my ability to order in Japanese and know to get a table if I want to stay in. So, now it’s a place of comfort just like it was back home in Canada.

Now, if only they would get the Eggnog Latte here, but I don’t see that happening. For now, the Crush Marron Pie Latte will have to do.

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