Thank you, Birma.
Henry, it isn't unusual at all. Istanbul, under normal climate conditions always had serious snow accumulations but usually after snow it gave way to frost which means less snow and more thin ice that one can skid on. That can be very dangerous since we have very sloped roads around our buildings.
The snow in the photos lasted from 8 Jan. to 10 Jan. but it snowed non-stop. I remember that it measured up to 2 feet/around 60 cm. in parts that humans didn't have to walk. What you see in the photo is the lesser of the snow, actually, because it stopped for a while giving the impression that it was over, then by 4pm started over again, hence the puffy/fluffy look of fresh snow. It was so cold nobody would dare go out and tread on it. The stairs in the garden and all the routes were covered in 35-40 cm snow. It became a guessing game finding the stairs and where exactly to put your feet while walking. It was so soft that it just 'swallowed' you like a white soft swamp.
I almost took these photos in slow motion, first finding a steady ground to stand on.
I remember one year when it snowed 9 days non-stop and my university as well as some others had to go on temporary 'holiday' because public transportation became impossible or didn't help much. There was a good chance of being stranded.
I hope we get some more snow this year but who knows?
If not as much, at least to give the season its natural boost than be a dry winter period.
I hope you get some chance to shoot snow in Japan as well because with the architecture and the neat landscapes, I'm sure snow would enhance the scenery. Good luck! : )