Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Country

Snow Country   雪国

"The train came out of the long tunnel of a border area into the snow country."
That is the famous opening of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kawabata Yasunari's masterpiece "Snow Country".
 This phrase accurately indicates a geographical feature of Japan.
In winter, a chilly seasonal wind blows from Siberia, striking the mountain range that runs through the central part of Honshu from the northeast to the southwest and causing heavy snowfall on the Japan Sea side.
There is not much snowfall on the Pacific Ocean side of the mountain range.
Thus, when one comes out of the tunnel from the Pacific side to the Japan Sea side, the yuki-guni with snow piling high appears dramatically.
The term yuki-guni therefore indicates the regions on the Japan Sea side of Honshu, the Tohoku area and all of Hokkaido.

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