Winter’s Losing its Grip…

Some years ago I lived in the little town of Asago, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.  Asago’s not so little anymore since it gobbled-up (annexed, merged with) its larger neighbor to the north, Wadayama, and a couple of other nearby towns in 2005.  I’ve written about Asago before, using a different name.  In Japanese you write Asago like this:  朝来市, with the first character (asa) meaning “morning” and the second character (go) meaning (ironically for English), “comes.”  The last character, 市 (shi) simply means “town.”  Back to that middle character, 来.  More typically in Japanese the  来  character is pronounced “ki” (kee), not “go,”  so most Japanese who aren’t already familiar with Asago, which lies deep in the midst of Hyogo Prefecture’s Chugoku Mountains, mistakenly pronounce it “Asaki.”

The principle point of this post is to say “So long” to winter.  A couple of nights ago winter threw one more little, defiant tantrum in Birmingham and blanketed the area with about 2 inches of snow.  It remains cold.  But March is less than 3 weeks away, and with March comes warmer days, spring and, then . . .  Anyway, I offer these two photos below from Asago, from years ago.

Nii Station (as I walked from my house to Asago Middle School, where I used to work) in February:

Winter in Asago.

Which eventually gives way to . . .

. . .  planting flowers (cosmos, in fact) along the road in Asago, late summer, a stone’s throw from the Station pictured above.  The mountains are the same as those snow-covered ones in the background of the Station photo:

A hot summer day. Planting flowers along the road. Asago.

.     .     .

FEBRUARY14-15 UPDATE:   As expected, the high for Birmingham, Alabama (where I currently reside) will be 66F today (14 Feb), 63F tomorrow, ~18.9C and 17.2C, respectively.  Still chilly in mid/northern Hyogo Prefecture, though, where tomorrow’s, 15 Feb’s, high will be around 7C (45F).

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