Waiting for the typhoon.


Japan is bracing for the arrival of Super Typhoon Lan. Lan has been spinning in the Pacific for several days, but now is headed toward Japan. It should reach the southern islands — including Okinawa — within the next 24 hours. The main Island of Honshu — where Tokyo is — will be impacted within 48 hours and Hokkaido will be brushed as Lan turns more easterly in about 72 hours. This is the strongest typhoon we have had so far this year. We had several storms last fall — including 5 small ones within a two week period — but I think this will be the strongest storm we have experienced since moving to Japan.

We both use The Weather Channel app on our phones for weather information here in Japan, but sometimes it is pretty hit and miss. I can’t help but think that TWC focuses more on US weather than on the weather here in Japan. We do get alerts and warnings from the US State Department, and we both received email about this storm with links to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Last we checked, top winds for this storm would be about 135 mph… but by the time the storm reaches Tokyo on Monday, the winds are expected to be more in the 40 to 60 mph range. Total rainfall for our area is predicted to be about 10 inches or so… and a possible storm surge of 3 to 5 inches. Last years storm winds produced a noticeable swaying here in our high-rise apartment building. It will be interesting to experience a storm of this magnitude.

But — no one here in Tokyo seems to be particularly alarmed about the storm. As far as I know there are no evacuations or warnings out for our immediate area. There will be strong winds, and heavy rains, that will no doubt disrupt travel for the Monday morning commutes to work. My husband has been told to watch the weather, and not take any chances getting to the office on Monday. We can see his office from our apartment. It is a short walk, but even a short walk in those weather conditions could be hazardous. No doubt those employees commuting in on the trains will not be able to get there, or will at very least be delayed.

Other than that… it seems business as usual. Raingear is taken very seriously here, with most people on foot (without access to cars.) We all have raincoats, boots and serious umbrellas. Everyone has an umbrella. Even small children carry there very own umbrella… no sharing. Despite the weather, people still have to get out and about to the store, to work, to school. Wearing raingear, and having access to an umbrella is a routine part of life living in this urban area. Something that we often neglected when we lived in the US and had our warm, dry cars to travel around in.


It has been raining here since we got back from South Korea day before yesterday, and looks like we still have another two or three days of wet weather to come. We will be keeping the umbrellas handy.


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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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