Tag Archives: typhoon

Sanma Matsuri and Typhoon 17

On September 30th, there were two events.  One was local, the other was major.

First, in Ofuna, Kamakura, there was a big festival.  This was the Sanma Festival.  Sanma is the Japanese name for a fish called Pacific saury.  But not only was this a festival about a small fish that’s grilled on a stick, it’s also a friendship festival between Ofuna and the city of Ofunato in Iwate prefecture.  Ofunato was one of the cities devastated by the tsunami of March 11, 2011.  Ofuna and Ofunato share the same kanji (大船 and 大船渡).  I managed to take a few pictures of it that afternoon.


It’s a busy festival with lots of food.


This intersection was being controlled so festival-goers weren’t hit by traffic.


This banner flag says “Sanma matsuri.”


Look at all that food.


Finally, a picture from down on the street.

The festival ended at 3pm, which is quite early.  The reason was that Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) was on its way.  When it hit Okinawa, it was equivalent to a category 4 hurricane, and was called a super typhoon.  There was plenty of damage and power outages in Okinawa, but in the Tokyo area, we didn’t have to worry very much.  It rained a lot and the wind was strong, but it was pretty brief.


A wet window during the typhoon.

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Filed under Culture, Festivals & Events, Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Weather

2012 Picture of the Week (25/52) – Typhoon Guchol

Typhoon number 4, or Guchol, hit Japan a few hours ago as a tropical storm.  It was earlier a super typhoon that passed by the Philippines.  While it wasn’t a direct hit to the Kanto region, it did dump a lot of rain here.  Last September, I got stuck at work during a typhoon, as the trains weren’t running.  This time, the train was running.  During my ride home, the train had to stop at one station before continuing on on an elevated rail.  While the train was several metres above the ground, the wind shook the train and even caused the windows to flex inward.  I couldn’t believe it.  I finally reached Shonandai, but was faced with a problem.  The line for the bus was incredibly long.  There were no taxis and a long line to take one.  I took shelter in one of the train station entrances while waiting for the bus to come.  That’s when I took this picture.

This picture doesn’t do the typhoon justice. It was incredibly windy with very heavy rain.

I was able to get on the second bus, which ended up being so full that many more people waiting in line couldn’t get on.  It’s difficult to stand on a bus that full.  I had no way of moving.  When it reached my bus stop, I had to push my way through all the people in front of me.  Some seemed quite annoyed, but there was someone behind me also pushing.  I quickly ran to my apartment, where I assessed the damage.  My legs, shoes and bag were soaked.  I took out anything important from my bag and hung my pants up to dry.  Not sure what to do about my shoes.  They won’t be dry enough by the time I go to work tomorrow.

This typhoon is quite unusual.  It was a very powerful typhoon, but what was unusual was the timing.  It’s only June, and we’ve already had our first typhoon.  Unbelievably, there’s a second typhoon headed toward Japan, and we’ll get wet again on Friday.


Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Weather

A look back at 2011

It’s the final hour of 2011, and as I think about the past year, I’m amazed about how much has happened.  It’s been a year of some amazing highs and incredible lows.

The highs

I couldn’t have expected such an incredible year.  This year, I got engaged, then found out we were having a baby, then got married.  Getting engaged was interesting.  I had to figure out how to ask my wife to marry me, but thought about our first date.  We were at Yuigahama Beach in Kamakura, and that’s where I proposed, close to a year later.  It was a beautiful early February day, though a bit cold to be at the beach.

Later, in the spring, we found out we were going to have a baby.  I’ve chronicled this adventure on my other blog.  To put it into a few words, it’s been amazing watching how my wife has been getting a bigger belly, feeling the baby move, and seeing the ultrasound.  Now that the birth is only about 3 weeks away, it’s getting so very real.

Getting married was a big day, too.  However, it seems that many people don’t even realise that we’re married now.  I’ve had a few friends surprised about it, because they’d missed the announcement.  We actually got married at city office.  We had no wedding, though we’re planning to in the future.

Some other good things that happened were discovering Instagram and this blog becoming more popular.  Of course, that’s what I’d hope!

The lows

While my personal life has had some amazing highs, Japan itself went through some unbelievable lows.

March 11 was a day I’ll never forget.  Biggest earthquake recorded in Japan and 4th largest in the world, plus a giant tsunami that killed over 20,000 people, and a nuclear disaster.  It’s been difficult for Japan, which has been going through a recession it just can’t seem to pull out of.

If the earthquake wasn’t enough, the Tokyo area was hit by the most powerful typhoon to hit the region in a few years.  There was more damage  from the typhoon in the Tokyo region than there was from the earthquake.  It certainly was a surprise to experience such strong disasters this year.


So, what’s coming for 2012?  Well, hopefully bigger things for this blog, but the biggest thing for me is the birth of my daughter in the first month of the year.  I also plan to work hard on studying Japanese.  This blog will see some new things, and hopefully a return to frequent posts.  I think 2012 will be another year to remember.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Filed under Daily Life

Typhoon 15 (Roke)

September 21, 2011 was the day that the Tokyo area experienced one of its strongest typhoons in years. Typhoon. 15 was a strong typhoon when it hit the region in the afternoon and left quite a bit of damage, though not so serious. It looks like a mess outside, though.

I was at work when the typhoon hit, and all the trains that I could take to get home had stopped. Most train lines in the area had stopped due to very heavy rain and up to 144 km/h winds. I took a couple of videos with my phone during my break, which I will post soon. In the evening, I was able to take the train home, but it was crowded and very slow. The rain had stopped, but the wind had continued. At my station, there was an incredibly large line waiting for the bus, so I walked home. I decided to take pictures of the damage. This is what I saw. Sorry for the low quality for some photos. Low light isn’t the best for iPhone cameras.

I saw several benches overturned.

This parking garage had plenty of debris.

The shutter frame on this building was ripped out.

The first of many damaged fences that I saw.

Lots of shredded leaves everywhere.

A restaurant's flag and completely empty sign.

A small tree had fallen on the sidewalk.

Many bicycles were knocked over.

Another tree knocked down by the wind.

This fence was damaged by a rather large tree that had fallen. You can see part of it behind the fence.

This fence has also been damaged by fallen trees. They've been cleared out, though.

It's hard to see, but this is a large tree that's partially blocking the sidewalk.

There were many branches around here.

This is a rather large metal box leaning against the sign.

A portable toilet at a construction site that was knocked over.

This is outside my apartment. Almost all of the trees around the building were knocked over like this.

Just outside the main entrance of my building.


Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Weather

Picture of the Week 25 – Stormy Weather

A typhoon came by the Tokyo area today, so I thought this would be an appropriate picture. This is in Futamatagawa in Asahi Ward, Yokohama.

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Filed under Asahi-ku, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Weather, Yokohama

An effect of typhoons

One of the effects of a typhoon in Japan is train delays.  There’s a storm going over Japan right now that was a typhoon, but is now a tropical storm.  As I was coming home, I couldn’t take the Tokaido Line, as it was stopped or delayed.  I wasn’t sure.  So, I took the Yokosuka Line, which travels in the same direction.  The train was absolutely packed.  It was so full that many people were unable to get on the train, so they had to wait for the next train.  On the train of 15 cars, there were probably more than 2000 people on board.  When I arrived at my station, I saw the Tokaido Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line schedule board in the station, and noticed the backup of 9 Tokaido Line trains.  That’s 1 1/2 hours behind schedule, and none of them were running.  The Tokaido Line had been stopped for quite some time.  Unfortunately, that line frequently stops for weather related issues.  I took a picture of the schedule board, which is below.  The orange ones are Tokaido Line on platforms 1 and 2.  The green one is the Shonan-Shinjuku Line on platform 5, and it had a time listed.  Notice that it’s 13 minutes behind schedule.  Weather like this really makes the normally very punctual Japanese train system into a mess.

Tokaido and Shonan-Shinjuku Lines schedule board

The orange is all Tokaido Line. There are no times listed for them, so it's stopped, and 9 trains behind schedule!

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Filed under Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Weather