Typhoon 26 , Typhoon Wipha
On Monday 14th the television news reported the approach of Typhoon 26, also called Typhoon Wipha, projected to pass right over eastern Japan, including the capital. On Tuesday 15th it was cool and rainy. The rain started in late morning and slowly grew heavier after that. During a brief visit home in mid-afternoon after one job and before another I checked my E-mail and found a message cancelling my Wednesday school and asking to re-schedule on the December Wednesday already set for my eye surgery (and after which I cannot
work for an entire week, which spoils two December Wednesdays). Maybe the surgeon thinks the date is fixed, but I’m only thinking of it as tentatively set, still open to change or cancellation. It won’t be absolutely fixed until my wife and I see him together on the first or second Saturday of November.
On Tuesday my children's schools were also cancelled for the next day. Comparable to a Snow Day in Canada. Tuesday night (last night) was filled with strong rain, and that turned out to be all the strong rain there was because Wednesday 16th itself saw practically no rain at all. Strong wind blew all day and the sky slowly cleared so that by mid-afternoon there was blue sky and sun. So the three of us were at home together while my wife went out for her usual elderly home care work. She is a Home Care Manager these days, which is mostly an office job. She rarely services elderly customers in their homes anymore. (She is no longer in a position to discover elderly customers in the morning who died alone in their homes during the night, and then having to call an ambulance and police.)
I worked an evening job as usual near Ogikubo Station in Suginami Ward.
When I went to the local Family Mart convenience store Wednesday morning for my morning
paper and drink I took several empty plastic bottles with me in my bicycle basket for disposal in the store’s garbage buckets. I always do. Even though we can dispose of our empty plastic bottles outside our building in the regular Saturday morning garbage pickup they accumulate so fast that I prefer to get rid of them daily at the Family Mart. But this time I discovered when I arrived at the store at the major Nakano Dori-Honan Dori intersection (in Nakano Ward, which is a couple hundred meters down the street from my apartment) that the garbage receptacles were removed because of the storm and I would have to take the bottles home again. I knew there was a risk of the wind toppling my bike and spilling the bottles if I left it unattended while I was in the store. But it would take only between one and two minutes, so I went in for my paper and drink (a new plastic bottle).
Of course when I came out my bike was blown over and the bottles were gone. I don’t mean that they were scattered on the ground and stuck in the road-side bushes. I mean they were completely gone, like they had evaporated or were sucked up into space or something. I looked around. I looked around the corner. I looked across the intersection towards the Police Box. I looked down the streets in four directions. But they were absolutely gone. I felt bad about the litter, but not for long.
A story in today's Japan Times newspaper called this the strongest typhoon to reach the capital in ten years ("Largest typhoon in decade heads toward Tokyo," Wednesday, October 16, 2013). Well, I don't know about that. It didn't seem so to me, but technically - considering the air pressure at the center of the storm, or the maximum sustained air speed - maybe so. The front page story of the Thursday, October 17 Japan Times newspaper reported 17 deaths resulting from the storm and many missing.
The weather forecasts on television on Thursday 17th night were already reporting the formation of Typhoon 27 in the South Pacific and its expected impact on mainland Japan next week. It’s much too early yet to say exactly when and where it will arrive. This far in advance it could go anywhere: stay out at sea; veer off to the Philippines, or Taiwan, or China.