Typhoon Jelawat

Monday, October 1, 2012
台風17号 ジェラワット

With 2 deaths attributed to it, and over 180 injuries, Typhoon Jelawat has just swept Japan. The weekend was one of, at worst, destruction - as in Okinawa, and at best, strong gusts and heavy rain - as in Tokyo.

Typhoon Jelawat is more prosaically known in Japan as Typhoon No. 17. It was characterized by winds of up to 180km/h, most memorably illustrated by amateur footage of a parked car on a US military base in Okinawa - the worst hit prefecture - that was rolled like a toy for about 100 meters by the winds.

However, today, Monday, was characterized by that welcome aftermath of fierce weather: clear blue skies and autumnal balminess (see picture above taken in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo) , making for an unusually starry night last night, and a particularly striking rising moon this evening in Tokyo.

The Japanese are particularly fond of talking about the weather. "Atsui desu ne!" ("It's hot, isn't it!") and "Samui desu ne!" ("It's cold, isn't it!") are standard greetings (oddly you never hear "Kyo no tenki wa chodo ii desu ne" ("Today's weather's just right, isn't it!)) - so the typhoon provided considerable grist for the phatic conversational mill at the office today. But, in spite of autumn having begun"Mada chotto atsui desu ne!" ("It's still a little hot, isn't it!).

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