Forces of nature

Today typhoon nr. 15, a.k.a. Roke, passed through Japan. It’s the first typhoon since we’ve been here that passed directly over Nagoya and Toyota-City, and the first one that really had me worried.

Typhoon nr. 15, Roke
You can see the typhoon passing almost directly over the area where we live, indicated by the red cross. The typhoon is now over Tokyo. Click on the image to go to the Weathernews website and see an animation of the typhoon's trajectory.

Yesterday on the news we watched images of Nagoya being flooded. And that was before the typhoon even arrived. The flooding was caused by a rain front preceding the typhoon. Now that the typhoon has passed, it seems like in Toyota City it was relatively mild. But the news constantly shows images from all over Japan with fallen trees, cancelled trains and people almost being blown over by the strong wind. Several areas around us, like Nagoya and Okazaki, experienced flooding.

This is the typhoon at its worst in Toyota City, around 3 p.m.

By 6 p.m. everything seemed fine again.

clear skies after typhoon over Toyota City
The view from our balcony around 6 p.m.

While I was preparing for the typhoon and feeling anxious about what was going to happen, it struck me how strong the forces of nature are in Japan. Earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, landslides, flooding, volcanic eruptions, … In Japan you never know what nature has in store for you. I feel I should be prepared for anything, with an emergency kit standing by at the front door. I’ve started memorizing emergency numbers and found out where to evacuate to in case of a disaster. To experience the forces of nature in all their might is a new experience for me. In Belgium nature is usually very mild.

I wonder how this ‘constant threat’ has influenced Japanese culture. This topic is broached in one of my favourite books: James Clavell’s ‘Shogun’. It is suggested there that because of the regular confrontation with the fact that anything can happen at any time, Japanese people live more in the moment. I indeed find this confrontation with the elements humbling. It makes me grateful for every beautiful day. I can imagine that experiences like this might lead one to appreciate the transient beauty of for example cherry blossoms even more.

4 thoughts on “Forces of nature

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  1. Wow, yeah I heard that the buses and trains got shut down in Tokyo. Glad to see that you’re all right.

    Over here we had some pretty strong winds and rain, but no flooding thankfully.

  2. On the news it seemed like the typhoon in Tokyo was stronger than what we experienced in Toyota City. But I see on your blog that you took advantage of the circumstances to try some new food 🙂

  3. The wind was so unbelievable strong today in Tokyo, too.

    I work on the 9th floor of a high-rise bldg which was only built last year and I was getting kind of sea sick, similar to that feeling when we had many aftershocks after 3-11 and you felt everything was constantly shaking, because our bldg was swaying from the strong wind.

    By the time I left the office a little before 8 pm, the rain had gone but the wind was still blowing strong. And there was chaos everywhere.

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