It’s the “he” part of the blog team, writing this as Typhoon Jongdari is making its way across Japan.
As typhoons go, this is a strong one, with very heavy rain and winds of around 125 km/hour. It looks like the center will make landfall just south of Tokyo, and move across the island, past Osaka and down the coast toward Hiroshima, curving on into Kyushu before moving into South Korea. That’s particularly bad news for parts of western Japan that were hit by torrential rains earlier this month.
Some flood-prone areas of Tokyo are stacking sandbags, and many of the festivals (this was to be a big festival and fireworks weekend in Tokyo) have been cancelled. Hundreds of domestic flights have been cancelled, so travel within Japan is a challenge. For many areas outside of Tokyo, the impact may be much more than inconvenience — residents are being warned to evacuate areas prone to flooding and mudslides.
Coming from the US, where storms are sensationalized by every media outlet from the Weather Channel to the History Channel, it seems harder to find current and reliable weather information here. Of course, we still have the Weather Channel app, and it is helpful. Television does have weather coverage, but there are few English-speaking channels in our package. It’s possible to get an idea of what’s going on from the Japanese channels, but my Japanese listening skill is still far slower than their Japanese speaking speed. For severe situations, we get notices from the US Embassy, although only to alert us of a potentially dangerous event. Other information sources are available, but we have yet to find one that is always our go-to channel for the most current weather updates.
Fortunately for us, the typhoons we’ve seen during our 2-1/2 years here have not had a severe impact on Tokyo. I hope that trend continues — I want to experience many things as a Tokyo expat, but cataclysmic storm damage isn’t one of them.