Category Archives: snow

Every Snowfall in Heian Japan was a Snowpacalypse

To all of those readers in the Northeast, Midwest, or any of the states currently buried in snow, bored out of your minds,  and experiencing serious cabin fever, think about this: the walls in Heian homes were generally made of very thin screens, or paper, at least inside. That’s right – PAPER. Your house doesn’t seem so cold now, does it?

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Heian Kyo in Winter

Snow falling on the Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto.

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Filed under Kyoto, Shinto, snow

In Winter, the Early Mornings…

Last night and into the morning, a new blizzard hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, bringing with it a good half foot of snow or more. While this winter has been particularly cold, and being cooped up indoors induces a form of winter madness in all but the hardiest souls, waking up to newly fallen snow is an undeniably joyous aspect to an otherwise frozen, barren season.

“The Pillow Book” famously starts with the line “in spring, it is the dawn”, as Sei Shonagon poetically describes the loveliest time of day per season. In winter, it is the early morning:

“In winter the early mornings. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is simply very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up fires and bringing charcoal, how well this fits the season’s mood! But as noon approaches and the cold wears off, no one bothers to keep the braziers alight, and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes” —-Sei Shonagon

Frozen salt marsh.

A flock of crows on slushy ice of brackish water.

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Filed under beauty, sedentariness, Shonagon, snow