First Snow of Winter

In Japan, most people change their car tires in winter. They call them “studless” tires or “snow” tires. A lot of husbands take on this challenge themselves, probably “encouraged” by their wives. Other saner people drive to the local “gasoline stand-o” and pay a professional to do it. I’m one of the “encouraged” people and take on the job of replacing 8 tires twice a year. It’s one of those jobs that you keep wanting to put off until the weather is just right, you know, forever next weekend.

This year, the first snow to fall in the city came before I’d changed my tires. So I had to drive to work this morning in the snow with my regular tires still on. My wife was panicking a bit, giving me a shovel as well as the number for a taxi in case I got stuck. I was all bravado, “it’ll be fine!” But secretly hoping everything would be okay. I set off 30 minutes earlier than usual and guess what? Everything was fine! I took it easy and drove safely and arrived at work unscathed. To be honest, I didn’t feel any difference between the fabled studless tires and the regular ones. Hang on a minute. Is it really a clever con by tire companies and gas stations?…. “NO!” everyone in Japan screams. You gotta trust the science, right?..

Anyway, I’ll stop boring you with my tire-d story and share these pictures with you. It wasn’t a BIG snowfall. That usually hits around New Year. But this was the scene this morning around one of the public schools I work at.

My usual thirty minute commute took me 45 minutes this morning. Glad I set off early.

Thanks so much for reading!

-Wakizashi, *Scheduled to take my car to the car shop for it’s twice-yearly maintenance this evening. They are going to change my tires at the same time. So I was driving to work on the snowy roads with my winter tires in the back of my car. Yep, a strange morning!*


11 thoughts on “First Snow of Winter

  1. Good story 🙂
    Our condo bylaws forbid working on cars in the parking lot, so we always go to a tire place to have it done. The biggest issue is always scheduling. And I ALWAYS put it off as long as possible. Driving w studded snow tires always sucks…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ooo, so pretty! You got quite a bit of snow. Where I live we are actually discouraged from using winter tires because they can damage the road. Instead the cities vigorously plow the snow and salt the roads. We don’t get much snow so it works out okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Really? That’s interesting. I used to live in the UK and we didn’t change tires in winter. The UK doesn’t get too much snow but there’s often “black ice” on the roads. My Japanese friends can’t believe we drive on icy roads with regular tires.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never owned snow tires until we moved to Michigan. I spent our first winter there driving my sedan with snow tires and my wife’s 4WD SUV without snow tires. I assure you they make a big difference. We sold all 8 snow tires when we moved back south. Inclement weather here actually makes for much worse driving: no one has snow tires, higher temps means more ice, and we don’t have nearly the snow plow infrastructure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey H.P. Nice to hear from you! That’s good to know that they make a big difference. I think I was just lucky with my commute. If you want to drive up the mountain to go skiing, then you have to have snow tires on. When I lived in the UK, most people didn’t change their car tires. We didn’t get much snow but there was always black ice on the roads. You had to be very careful and it was pretty common to see cars and buses slipping and sliding down the roads. Crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reminds me of my folks telling me about Alaska in the US when I was just a baby where they sometimes had to put on chains. 🙂 I’m in Virginia now and we don’t get enough snow for the annual changing of the tires (or chains). Last week they’d been predicting the first snowfall of the season for this Thu/Fri with maybe 3-6 inches but now the forecast has shifted to all rain until the temps quickly drop below freezing on Fri. I’m hoping I’m off the roads before the temps get low enough for any standing water to freeze over. Hate driving when it’s icy… Beautiful photos, by the way, loved looking at them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Todd. I hope the roads don’t freeze.
      Are you anywhere near “the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the lonesome pine” as the wonderful Laurel and Hardy once sang?


      • I’m about 1 to 1.5 hours from the Blue Ridge. They go through Shenandoah National Park, a place I love visiting but don’t as often as I’d like. Probably a little more than 2 hours away is the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway which continues following the mountains further south.

        Liked by 1 person

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