Today started off fine. We packed up & shipped out, stopping at a couple of boatyards for a quick shoot. The sky was cloudy, snowing lightly but not threatening. Within 5 minutes of of me getting to the furthest point away from the bus maybe 300 metres, the weather turned in the blink of an eye. It started to get gnarly and then went gale force spectacularly quickly. I had walked in a rough rectangle & rather than trek 3 sides to return I went forward to the road to take the shortest distance back to the bus. I didn't want to be on the roadside but it was the quickest way back & whichever way I went meant face first into the gale. I literally staggered along unable to see for the driving snow, one arm out touching the snow bank to my left and my other holding my hood down and trying to shield my face from stinging snow, keeping the dark ice patches on the road, to my right. The advantage of a bright red coat was that Atushi, our bus driver, saw me 5 metres out and came to help. I was worried that if a car loomed out of the snow & suddenly saw me they might brake & go into a skid. It was scary & disorientating. The others said they tried to follow their tracks back but they filled in so quickly. The camera was fine, I slung it across my back & it was protected. I can see how easy it is for people to be lost in a snow or sandstorm and die.
We drove on a for a bit and stopped for a loo break at the northernmost tip of Japan (that we couldn't see). Martin decided it was too dangerous and we returned to the hotel at a very slow 15 kph. Roads to the south & north west of us are closed so it was definitely the right choice.
It'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow!