Downtown Tokyo saw its heaviest snowfall for years this Monday, causing travel chaos throughout the city. Cars were stranded and abandoned on roads, trains stopped running and people were left stuck at the airport as 250 international flights were cancelled.
“It hasn’t snowed in Tokyo in four years,” Tokyo resident Yukimura, which coincidentally enough means ‘Snow Village’ in Japanese, told. “Four years ago we had even heavier snow and a lot less prep. This time everyone except me knew it was coming, apparently. Was a fun surprise for me though!”
What to do in the face of such a situation? Make snowmen of course! But wait, before you grab a carrot, some pebbles and a couple of sticks for arms, remember, this is Japan. Your three-ball standard fat guy snowman ain’t gonna cut it here. Yukimura explains the story behind the Japanese snowman. “The name for snowman, Yuki Daruma, doesn’t mean snowman, it means snow daruma,” she told us. “Daruma is from the Daruma doll, which is based on Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who, according to the tales, had his arms and legs fall off during meditation. That’s why Japanese snowmen have only two layers.”
It appears the Japanese attitude to snow sculptures is much more developed than what we are used to in Europe and North America. What else would you expect from the land that produces some of the most beautiful, creative and cool artworks and innovations in the world? Tokyo is dotted with snow sculptures that will put a smile on your face, and put old carrot nose in your backyard to shame. They are being shared on Twitter via the trending hashtag #雪だるま, and are proving to be wildly popular!
Did Yukimura get out and make a snowman herself? “I did! I had to clean up a bunch of snow outside of work today, and while I was waiting for a turn with the snow shovel I made up a little one for the sign leading to our cafe,” she told. “It’s not as cute as the rest though!”
Scroll down to check out some of the best examples out there. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite, and let us know what you think in the comments!