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Dec 3, Aomori: It's been between -2C and 6C the last couple of days, which isn't too terribly cold, but there's a fairly regular wind that drives that chill factor way down.

Dec 4, Taidong: There has been full-strength dong bei ji fong blowing the last several days and in fact it has been a bumper season of it - I assume this has something to do with the La Nina. Normally the wind would be tapering off by now but it's showing no signs of abating this year. Hand-in-hand with that is the continuing dry - when it's windy here it rarely rains. The north-east of Taiwan though has been getting drenched - heavy rain there every day for the past two weeks. Another probable marker of La Nina is a total absence of typhoon activity - since early October. Although you wouldn't expect a typhoon to come here they should still be forming and impacting PPE (and kicking up some rain for us) but that hasn't happened'

Dec 12 Aomori: So far the weather has been very consistent with highs between -3 and 8 C and lows... about the same, on the lower end of course. The main variable is wind. When it blows, you know it.

Dec 15 Aomori: Weather continues to be consistent with regards to temperatures, ranging between -3C and 3C day and night. I've never lived anywhere with this sort of climate. Very interesting. It's like the US Pacific NW but about 12-15 degrees F colder and slightly less wet. It doesn't get bitterly cold, at least hasn't so far. When the wind blows it can sure feel cold, but generally, it's stays just around freezing with frequent precipitation. Slush. Lot's of slush. Which turns to bumpy ice, of course, when it freezes. But the proximity of ocean and mountains lends a certain bit of perspective. You know it's way colder not far away in the mountains.

Dec 19, Taidong: Windy, Dry, and Cold are the continuing themes for this winter. We are now nine weeks without rain and as we are just entering the dry season there could be a long way to go yet. A minor typhoon went through ppe but too far south to kick anything up. Dbjf is blowing strong nearly every day - and some big ones coming through - wind gusting over 120kph today on Orchid Island. Hard to quantify but would seem to be the strongest ever season of the north easterly and this corresponds to the drought. Whereas El Nino involves a reversing of the trade winds, this year is La Nina, which seems to mean full speed ahead for the winds. First appearance of mongoose (or possibly civet - didn't get a clear look) in new chook shed - didn't kill anything as I was on to it quickly when noticed the chooks reacting. Problem is that it has made the chooks nervous about sleeping in the shed - have set the trap and locking the chooks up each night. Green fireflies have finished - seems they go for about two weeks. Been a year since the big earthquake and hardly a tremor since that night - certainly none of those 'right here' ones - touch wood - compared to last year when we had dozens of quakes leading up to the big one and they all seemed to emanate from this area

Dec 23, Aomori: Winter here is shaping up to be quite predictable and boring. Every day the lows are around -3 and the highs normally around 3-5, but today got up to 8 (whoo hoo!). Winds are actually coming out of the west and they pick up every afternoon. There are some big birds around here I need to identify. I'm pretty sure I've seen an eagle or two and quite a few hawks. The ravens are enormous and everywhere. They look very smart. But things will almost certainly change soon. They have 4 foot stakes along the side of every road and flag extensions on all the fire hydrants. This is so you can find them in the snow. But it doesn't get too cold for very long so it will be interesting to see what Jan and Feb are like. According to the stats and my observations, it appears that we can get huge snowfalls, like 2-3 feet at at a time, that then melt rather quickly before the next. The stats show that we just don't have prolonged low temps that would support massive accumulation over time, but the flags on the hydrants indicate that accumulation does happen, so it must be rapid. That could be fun. At least it will break the monotony.

Dec 24, Taidong: Finally bagged my mongoose - it was in the trap this morning - looks to be a big one - will release it tomorrow somewhere far away. A rare non-windy day today though another cool change is blowing through this evening. Still no rain - grass is dying off - first time I have seen that. Due to the strong dbjf there has been big surf this year - most consistently big I've seen - can add that to the basket of trade winds-La Nina-dryness First tomato! Which is very early - never had a tomato ripe by Christmas time - didn't plant until after the big rain in mid Oct so pretty good going - also carrots coming through plus cucumber and snow peas - though the snow peas were a bit disappointing this year compared to last year.

Dec 27, Aomori: I'm jealous of people who live in a place in which they can grow vegetables outside in the winter. This is absolutely, by far, the snowiest place I've ever lived, and apparently the winter hasn't even gotten started yet. It doesn't get that cold. Today was -7C. That's cold, but not bitterly so. But the wind, wow, that takes that chill factor way, way down, and it's a constant, very similar to dbjf but from the west or, even worse, northwest, which I guess makes it not similar at all except for it's near constant presence. I grew up in place with cold winters so this seems oddly familiar. You know that biting heat you get in the tropics? Like when you leave a store or get out of your car or just, you know, go outside? Well this is just like that but opposite. The thing we miss the most is just seeing LIFE! I miss geckos, birds, snakes, turtles... no wonder people started keeping animals as companions. I'm considering an aquarium but I'm afraid it would freeze over if the electricity ever went out. So, to summarize, this is just like Taidong but the dbjf is a xbjf, it's freezing cold not hot, and very wet not dry. It snows every day.

Dec 30, Aomori: Less wind, temps -3 to +3 with occasional highs to +5-7, that seems to be the pattern. The mountains west of here apparently have some of the best skiing in the country. I'm going to look into cross country skiing. It would be great to be able to cross country ski to work, but the odds of that are slim. Clearly though, I have to do something for exercise in this weather. Indoor swimming is a possibility but it sucks swimming in cold weather, even indoors.

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Page last modified on December 30, 2017, at 04:30 AM