The Snow Dance
|Introducing a popular feature article from a number of years ago, as relevant now as before ---- introducing...
The Snow Dance!
Those of us who like me are forced to live on the terms of an ignorant society that fails to recognize the unpredictable and desperate importance of snowfall and therefore can only snowboard on the weekends will surely have noticed a startling trend. 2002 was marred by a persistent pattern in the weekly weather whereby it would snow on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the warm up for Fri and Saturday, sometimes bringing rain. Sunday would be clear and warm then, the temperature would drop again on Tuesday and the whole process would start over. If this had happened once or twice, I would have chalked it all up to bad luck but, depressingly, I noticed this disturbing trend at least five times in the past year! It was almost as if someone was ordaining it, as if we weekend warriors were being… punished.
I can’t claim to understand exactly how weather patterns work and why snow falls on any given day but, after this past season I know better than to merely attribute it to random wind patterns, air masses, and pockets of moisture which are unwillingly bumping each other across the globe and fortunately, I am not alone in my suspicions.
Fellow Tokyo resident Charles Miscampbell got tired of dropping several thousands of yen on bullet train tickets and accommodations only to come across a mountain of slush and rain so he decided to do something about it. After days of intense study of ancient cultural weather beliefs, nights of modern hip-hop training, and liters of low-grade whiskey, he developed a snow-dance so versatile and simple that anyone can learn it and fit it to any music they like.
Charles brought his dance with him on a snowboard/ski trip to Hakuba to test it out. Dancing furiously in his hotel room the night before, he spent the next day hiding from the rain in a mountain top coffee shop, but he knew it was too soon to except failure. "Ancient cultures never did these types of weather dances solo, they always had a big group of people doing it. It isn’t easy to get the attention of the weather controlling gods by yourself, but if you can get a big group together you usually can get the message across." That evening he went out to the streets and taught an entire local bar filled with people his sure-fire snow-dance. "There must have been 30 of them there, and they were all eager for snow so they were happy to learn the dance!" The next day, the snow did not stop falling for 13 hours. "People kept asking me how to make it stop but I prefer to keep that dance a secret."
"So many people grumble about the weather which is just so stupid. The 2001/2002 was amazing, record snowfalls all around the country, but still some people still managed to complain about it, the snow gods don’t like that." Charles lowered his voice to explain, "The gods are pretty temperamental, the smallest things really just pisses them off. Fortunately, this dance helps to appease them."
Charles explained that many arrogant people in the cities are the main problem behind the weather. "People in the city are used to having everything brought to them on a silver platter but the gods just don’t work that way." He explained that most people make sloppy demands on the weather, praying for snow or sun in exchange for being good. In many cases people think that spending lots of money on hotels and trains somehow makes them deserving. "Hell, the gods don’t care about any of that stuff, they want to DANCE! People don’t even know the names of the gods that they are praying to! "If you were a god, what would you do? I don’t blame them at all for their performance this season."
I had scarcely heard of the gods myself but there is an international forum of gods who work in cooperation to develop the snows around the world. At the top of this icy ladder of deities is Ullr from Norway, who is known for his deep love of snow and for his prowess at traveling very quickly through it. Ullr is assisted in the creation of snow by a pantheon of international gods like Kun from South America, Sadwes from the Middle East, Tung Lu in China and of course Kura Okami in Japan. "Kura Okami is difficult to appease, he has had a rough upbringing." Charles explained. I checked it out later and discovered a small piece of information about Kura Okami’s difficult childhood in the Japan\s ancient creation myth, The Kojiki. Apparently Kura Okami’s grandfather, His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites, chopped off his own son’s – Kura’s father, Shining Elder’s – head off and Kura Okami and his brothers and sisters were all born of the blood that dribbled out of their fathers body. "That kind of thing can mess up a guy for a good long while. Dancing helps him take his mind off things, you know" Charles explained.
As you may have guessed, I’m standing behind anything that brings snow to Japan, especially if it is something as simple as this dance. I think that we, as snowboarders, owe it to ourselves and to the community at large to appease the snow gods. You should all learn this dance and practice at each available moment! I have described it below and it is quite simple.
The Stomp helps get the attention of the gods.
The entire danced is performed in a low posture as if you are snowboarding. The first step is to lift your left foot off the ground while raising your right hand and elbow up like a salute to your forehead. Return your left foot and right hand while lifting your right foot and left hand the same way for Step 2. Steps 3 and 4 are the same as Steps 1 and 2, you should repeat this sequence of four steps twice.
The Search tells the gods that you are in need of something.
This one is easy. As if you are looking for something, bring your hand up to your brow and search. The first step you search to the right, and lean into it. The second step, you search to the left. It looks as if you are searching for snow. Steps three and 4 are the same. Repeat this sequence of steps twice.
The Wind tells the gods that you need help with the weather.
Again this is easy. First step, hold both of your arms out to the right and wave them in a hula motion, as if the wind is coming and blowing them to the right. Step to is the same to the left, make sure to make the transition smooth as if the wind has changed directions. Again, steps three and four are the same. Repeat this sequence of 4 twice.
The Snow tells the gods that you need snow.
The Snow ends in a Japan Grab, to let the gods know where you need the snow to fall. If you want it to snow somewhere other than Japan, don’t expect this dance to help you.
The fourth sequence is crucial. Raise your hands high in the air and then, waving them quickly as if to mimic snow falling then, you slowly lower your arms down to the ground. Go from standing on the tips of your toes and follow your hands all the way down to the ground. When you get down there, jump up smoothly with the music in a triumphant ‘Japan Grab.’ The Japan Grab is when you jump off the ground and bend your knee so that your lower left leg so that your foot goes back and to the side, like a J, reach down quickly before you come back to the ground and grab your left foot to the side with your right hand. Your left hand should be raised in triumph. When you get back down to the ground, everyone claps once together. Then, repeat the whole dance from the beginning until you notice a drop in temperature.
That is it, the best thing you can do to help improve your chances of a weekend snow!