I don’t know how I manage to be continually surprised and awed by the fact of snow. I wake up and lo, the world is made new. Sure, walking outside it’s a mucky wet mess and I still haven’t bought my big boots and my socks are soaked through and I’m shivering and the hot water shoots up like steaming piss from roads the Japanese insist on being “washed” of snow…but sitting up in bed, peeking outside to this strange and silent landscape…all the edges smoothed, the sparse colors brilliant in relief, the sudden softness of it…I sit for long hours just watching it. Of course, I have plenty long hours to do so. I sift through the days in a random order of the same actions: teach, computer, guitar, run, snowboard. Rinse repeat. As so often happens this time of year in Japan, my life strips down to the bare minimum required. There is a humming kind of rhythm through it all, like the deep breaths of a hibernating animal. I maintain stasis without trying, without thinking, until suddenly, I see snow and stop, amazed to be here, to be breathing hot steam into the cold whiteness of the world.