Wet and Messy

The warm weather has made all the unremoved snow in the streets melt and the vehicular traffic has churned it into a brown slurry.  The snowpack on the sidewalks are corny slush in the sun or slick ice-slides in the shade.  I’ll never understand the half-measures in this city.  It’s not like it has never snowed before.  It’s not like they don’t have front-end loaders and dump trucks.  They’ll clear the center turn lane and the inner traffic lanes of a four-lane highway, but leave mountainous piles of snow in the outer lanes.  I can understand just getting some lanes open immediately after a blizzard, but that’s where the work stops.  They don’t clear the remaining mess in subsequent days and it just keeps piling up.  When the temperatures drop next week, all that slush in the streets will harden up into an ankle-twisting egg-crate of ice.

Dropped by Taj Mahal in the Factory mall for the buffet lunch (1150-yen plus 130-yen to add a masala chai).  Today’s selections included a great keema (ground lamb curry) and aloo palak (Punjabi potato and spinach curry).  The aloo palak was outstanding!  After lunch, I took a look around the Mont Bell store and outlet.  There were some nice tactical tan Gore Tex ballcaps, but the 3L one had reflective logos and an unstructured brim, and the structured one was 2L with a mesh liner.  I’m not particularly fond of 2L, so I passed.  Again, they had softshell pants and pants with gusseted crotch construction, but those two attributes remain mutually exclusive.

The walk from the Shiroishi subway station to Shuugakusou was treacherous as usual. Uphills were generally slushy, and downhills icy and off-camber.  Luckily(?), those enormous piles of snow left at the curbside prevented me from sliding out into the street.  Right in front of the family restaurant, I went sliding and spinning down the hill like Hanyu Yuzuru in tactical pants and a combat pack.  I stayed fully upright and didn’t fall and break my ass.  That was a medal performance.

After all that work, I didn’t find anything I wanted.  The new snow*peak silicone cooking utensils were PRC.  They had the Helinox tactical chairs in black on closeout for less than US prices, which was amazing in itself, but under close examination the fabric portion of the chair was sourced and sewn in the PRC, and it was unclear how much of the rest was produced in a Korean facility by Helinox’s parent company, DAC.  I really wanted a chair: I’m tired of sitting on the floor.

The return trip was a little easier with less acrobatics, but back near the FOB, the streets were even more messed up than when I left, with dislodged ice chunks floating in the slush and brown crap-water like icebergs.  When I crossed the street to go to the convenience store for a drink, a dude with fists balled up in the wrists of his gloves running like Roy doing his “I’m a gay robot” thing flew by me.  Really?  Is this how I have to move on the slippery ice and not fall down?  Guess I’ll have to experiment with that…

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