Typhoon 18 / Typhoon Phanfone
Typhoon 18, also called Typhoon Phanfone, dumped heavy rain on us on Sunday, October 5-Monday, October 6. When the rain started on Sunday 5th I had to be out and about for two part time jobs. It was rainy but humid. The best place to be was in the subway system, out of the rain. But the underground is a humidity trap and although it was dry it was not comfortable.
It was not a direct hit on Tokyo, merely a passing storm. We caught the edge of it. My children were notified on Sunday 5th of school cancellations for Monday 6th, but no one notified me. So on Monday morning despite heavy rain and growing wind gusts I had to get myself to school by 8:00 a.m. to prepare for 8:35 class time. Never be late in Japan. That’s the rule. I arrived sopping wet. I could tell on the subways that schools were cancelled because of the total lack of school uniform-wearing teenagers doing their morning commute. When I exited the station and was making my way to the high school it was even more apparent because at that time the sidewalks ought to have been filled with students trekking in the same direction, and the local intersection ought to have been manned by adult crossing guards for students at the neighbourhood elementary school. But there was nothing like that: no crossing guards; no elementary school children; no high schoolers. When I got to the school the main gate was shut but a small side door was open and all the teachers were there in the teachers’ room. I was informed that there were no morning classes, they would decided by 10:30 a.m. about afternoon classes. They were surprised that I even came. “No one told me,” I said. Apparently the students took their no-classes cue from morning television news.
“Why are you here?” I asked one of the English teachers.
“Oh, the teachers still have to work.”
So I waited until 10:30 and returned home after getting the green light to do so. They could have told me that at 8:00, but they didn’t want to make a decision about my presence on their own. The school vice principal wanted to wait until after the Board of Education office opened at 10:00 so he could consult with them.
I got sopping wet again trekking back to the subway station. At home I needed a hot shower and a change of clothes.
My usual subway, the Marunouchi Line, was running on time, but all surface trains and most other subways were delayed. They were not crowded, however. On my trip home after 10:30 I was surprised by the general emptiness of the stations and the trains. It was weird. In Shinjuku Station I took a picture of a train status board whose highlighted markings showed delayed trains throughout Tokyo.
By noon the wind and rain had dissipated and the sun was even starting to peek through. Conditions changed really fast.