Some of you may have heard about the typhoons (tropical cyclones, hurricanes) currently active in the western Pacific. One of them has spent the last week sitting on northern Luzon in the Philippines, basically making life miserable for thousands. Fortunately my extended family are a little further south, and live largely unaffected. The other one approached and landed in Japan early today, and has since passed through to the ocean again.

I first found out about the typhoon (presumably from the Japanese 「台風」”taifuu”) last night, from colleagues at the university. It had already been raining heavily for a week, though I did notice the wind getting stronger. By late afternoon the city office had sent cars around telling people to go home and shut themselves in, as the storm was intensifying. I remained to teach my class, but only one student appeared so we ended half an hour early.

This morning, I woke up at 6 to wind and rain beating on my building. I checked the weather alerts, and found a map of Japan marked completely red. Melor had just hit Aichi prefecture, and was expected to travel north-east directly up the middle of Honshu, the main island. This would have put Yamanashi square in its path, as well as keeping the entire island in its most intense area of influence. Naturally, the university issued an alert cancelling all classes for the day and encouraging students and staff to remain indoors.

This is when the unexpected happened. About two hours later, I wanted to find out when to expect the worst weather. Checking the meteorological alert site, I found this:

Weather alert

It turns out that Melor had decided to travel north east, but in a path that encircled Yamanashi prefecture. My guess is that because Yamanashi is entirely encircled by mountains, the typhoon was naturally directed to travel around them. We had joked last night that to reach our land-locked prefecture from the sea, the typhoon would have to get past the mighty Mt Fuji, who stands guard over Yamanashi.

That wasn’t the strangest thing that happened though. As I mentioned, it had been raining heavily for at least the last week, and lightly for the two preceding, so the entire city (and encircling mountains) had been shrouded in a beautiful (but cold, wet) mist. Today, however, it was bright and warm – even hot. The cloud cover was light and the sky clear, no mist at all. I immediately grabbed my camera, and rushed out to take advantage of perhaps the last clear day before winter.

Typhoon

Prayers

Fuji-dono

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