It had been a very, very mild winter so far. I'd already bought seed potatoes for planting. Then winter came. We get a fair amount of snow usually, but the next day it melts. maybe once a winter we will get a heavy snowfall that stays around for a few days.
This year it snowed for a week and temperatures didn't get above freezing. As happens regularly when the weather is anything other than normal, ie if it rains a lot, is very windy, etc, the local train line stops running.
This year many places in the area suffered from burst pipes. It happens sometimes, but this year it happened a lot. Even some of the mains burst and people are still without water. We had a couple of burst pipes as our water lines are outside, but lots of people had burst pipes indoors. Most Japanese houses are not very warm.
Didn't stop the monkeys though, they need to eat and so a quick trip to our gardens was in order...