台風の季節 – Typhoon Season

While you lot in the States were fretting around with Irene, I was facing the likes of Number 12.  A typhoon is exactly the same as a hurricane, just that it occurs in the Pacific rather than the Atlantic.  And it happens that Japan sees a number of them.  The last two days it’s been as if the floodgates were opened, with us being pummeled nonstop.  On Friday, all the schools in Takamatsu released their students early from classes to get home.  It was only some wind at that point, but seeing as they all either bike or walk home, giving them a chance to start coordinating rides seemed like the right things to do.  I of course had to remain at work, doing nothing.

The storm passed directly overhead

That night is when the storm truly kicked into gear, with the squall producing more rain than I’ve ever seen before.  The wind was actually quite tame, meaning the ferocity of the rain was caused by the shear volume pouring from the sky.  I was rather in awe.  In the evening, I drove over to someone’s house to give them something, and that’s when I was made aware to what was happening outside.  Rain aside, there was flooding in the streets, carrying sediment and bamboo poles.  By the time I got home, things had reached another level.  Because I live in a mountain valley, the fantastic sums of rain that were falling all around me were flowing down to my main road and the river behind my house.  The river was running extremely high, but most impressive was all the water that was flowing into the road, and around the houses.

Me being me, I got an umbrella, a flashlight, and my camera and set out to capture the scene.  With gravity behind it, it was as if the intense flow was bursting from the mountains.  One of the places I went was my nearest school, Yasuhara Elementary.  Walking around the school with water up to my knees, I was peering in and could see that the school had taken on water.  From there, I walked down the street a bit, to see people scurrying about, trying to redirect the vicious flow with sandbags and whatever they had around.  I helped a little bit with some sandbags that the fire station was distributing.  After sauntering about, I took my car over to the Kaminishi area to check out the Naiba dam, which had opened its doors to release some of the lake behind it.

The flow against my feet.

The weather was pretty cool to walk around in, and I’m sure I shocked a few old people when they saw a foreigner out for a stroll on such a night.  I ran across a couple of my students doing the same and showed off some of the pictures I had taken.  It was a good night, and certainly a direct hit from the typhoon.  Exciting stuff.  I suppose it was more interesting to me, since my apartment didn’t experience any of the flooding.  In years past Shionoe was hit hard and the place flooded though, now portions of my floor are sunken and discolored.  All in all, its fun to be subjected to a different set of natural disasters.   I’ve gotten typhoons and earthquakes here, two significant things that I’ve never felt in Michigan.

Bikes going under

Clips from the night.

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