Sunday, September 9, 2007

Typhoon #9... September 6-7, 2007

I forgot to tell you about Thursday's massive typhoon. Or taifun, if you prefer. It came ashore just east of Hamamatsu. We got the left side of it, which I'm told is the weaker side. Traffic standards came down in Tokyo. At least 2 people died, including one elderly man who was hit by a falling tree.

Here in Hamamatsu, we had rain on and off all day Thursday, with the worst hitting right around 9pm that night... right as I was leaving work. I stopped by Popeye Media Cafe to avoid the rain, check my email and say see ya to a friend of mine who was heading for Rome and Paris the next day.

I hope she made it. The shinkansen stopped service during the typhoon, no doubt stranding thousands on various train platforms throughout Honshu.

After I left, I got lashed by rain and wind. The front metal spines of my cheap convenience store umbrella bent under the stress and in trying to straighten them, I almost destroyed the whole flimsy thing. The streets were mostly deserted; even Ohgiya had just one customer and looked like a warm, glowing oasis in the blueish gloom of a stormy night. I only met a couple of pedestrians and a few suited salarymen huddled under the shelter of the bus stop in front of CompMart.

Riding a bike in hurricane winds and rain is an exhilirating experience, but I made it back to my apartment wet but safe. I even managed to buy some groceries at Circle K along the way and get it home undamaged. The rains and winds continued all night, into Friday morning but by the time I went to work that day you would never have guessed anything had happened.

We've had rain and clouds on and off since then, typical of September.

I've lost count of how many typhoons I've been in since I moved here in 2004. The wildest ones were that first year, including one during the day where the windows of Nova looked like glass walls of an aquarium and I taught my morning classes soaked from the shoulders down as if I'd walked across the middle part of a swimming pool on my way to work that day. Considering how close it made landfall to us and the damage done in Tokyo and other parts, Hamamatsu got off lightly this time around.

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