Japan Blizzard Claims Father Who Died Sheltering Daughter

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From Larry Shingawa, this sad story from Japan Today about a man to died protecting his daughter from a blizzard after their truck got stuck.

MIT 1978

MIT Blizzard of ’78, droids by me

People also died in the Blizzard of ‘1978 when I was in college which shut down Massachusetts for a week as cars were stuck on Route 128 and the Air Force had to fly loaders in on a giant C-5 to dig out all of the cars, though Minneapolis schools remained open in the face of 8 inches of snow. Now I’m in Minnesota, which had a pretty mild winter snow-wise with no more than 7 or 8 inches, as  I’ve seen worse in Seattle and Boston, but the snow never really melts once you get into January, where in Seattle you just wait a few hours or days. Snow is plowed pretty quickly here and most people don’t even bother with snow tires, as chains and studded tires aren’t legal, but people are pretty shameless about driving completely rusty cars, and even some 3 year old cars start to get their fenders to rust out. All houses have water heaters and laundry in interior utility room as even attached garages will freeze, and I found out radio thermometers need lithium batteries because alkaline batteries don’t work at 10 below F. You don’t have to change your antifreeze, but you do need the -35F grade windshield washer fluid because the summer grade stuff foams and freezes. Oddly the geese and crows around here think -10F is far enough south for them, and they are always honking about no matter what temperature it is around here.

Today’s story, which I”ve rearranged in time sequence narrative:

Mikio Okada was doting father who dearly loved his 9 year old daughter and only child Natsune. They had lost her mother only 2 years earlier. He would go to his job as a fisherman so that he could have breakfast with her. A blizzard was approaching, so  he left work early to pick up his daughter at the school where she stayed while he was a work.  As he drove home, many cars became stranded on the highway in the drifting snow which was up to several meters deep.  Others died in their cars of carbon monoxide poisoning  which idled to stay warm in the temperatures which were down to 6 degrees below celsius.

He decided  that they would have to walk the half-mile to shelter. He called his relatives to let them know he and the girl were just fine. But that 4PM call would be the last anyone heard from them.  The girl did not bring her heavy jacket, so the father gave him her jacket as they set out through the snow. But it was so deep that they made little progress in the biting cold and 60 mph wind. The snow turned out to be so deep,  that they had only gone 300 yards before they had to stop. The father knew they were in trouble as they would have to spend the night without shelter, and he regretted that it might have been warmer in the shelter of the truck. It was so cold as he fell asleep feeling only the warmth of his crying daughter as he told her it would be OK.

Rescuers were alerted, but they were not found until 7AM  the next morning on Sunday. The found the girl Natsune crying, wearing her father’s jacket and in his now cold arms hunched over her against a warehouse.  They were taken to a hospital where the girl was found to have no serious injuries, but her father who had apparently died keeping his daughter sheltered from the cold was pronounced dead Okada would be one of 9 people killed by the blizzards which swept accross  Hokkaido.

Neighbors told the Yomiuri t hat that it was just short of the day for girls. “He reserved a cake for his only daughter and was looking forward to celebrating Dolls’ Festival together”

Here is another sad story, the Hans Christian Andersen tale done by a Vietnamese animator

The Little Match Girl 3D 2011 by Cao Anh

Disney also commissioned a version for a future Fantasia 2000 follow-on which was never completed, so it is only on a special edition DVD. The music is the incomparagble Nocture of the Borodin 2nd String Quartet which will forever for me I remember for the big russian Michael Sheremetiew at the Thalia Olympic Music Camp faculty quarter who was the schmlaziest violinst I ever knew and inspired my playing style. Get out the hanky for this one. And only an Asian dad would notice the girl has Asian features.

About the Author

MIT electrical engineering computer science graduate has written conservative columns on politics, race / culture, science and education since the 70s in MIT The Tech and various publications in including New Republic and National Review.