In Japan, they are called typhoons; in other parts of the world, hurricanes or cyclones. Summer is the typhoon season in Japan, and when we explain the kind attendant at the Fukuoka train station just a couple of hours after landing what our plan is in order to book our seats on train rides to come, she seems impressed and worried at the same time: “I hope you ok with typhoon”. Sentence we hear again less half an hour later, after the front desk clerk of our hotel pronounces the exact same words…
As one of us tends to be slightly worried by natural phenomena that might hit, a typhoon app is immediately downloaded on the very next wireless network we find. Pardon me, not 1 but 2 typhoon apps, just to make sure they could be tracked live, and with the warning alert on, on both (a fake feeling of control as we are not connected all the time, and have 0 control over it anyway…).
Indeed, at the time, there were actually 3 active typhoons in the Pacific, and that is fairly unusual. And of course, the biggest of the 3 was to hit the coasts of Kuyshu and Shikoku in the coming week. Our plan for the coming week being the island Kuyshu and Shikoku the week after…
We keep on going with our plans, enjoying Fukuoka under a drizzle, visiting the atomic bomb museum of Nagasaki in pouring rain, and driving to Shimabara with the windscreen wipers of our rental Mazda at full speed. We are experiencing the tropical storm that is on the outskirts of the typhoon Chan-Hom which is about to hit China forcing the authorities to evacuate 850 000 people.
After all, the rain is warm, we have a proper gear and flip flops dry fast, so this doesn’t really affect our schedule. Well, with one exception: it becomes a priority to connect to the wireless to check the apps, and the most pronounced sentences become: “we should check it out” or “is there a wireless here?”
This is easy all the way to Nagasaki, but as soon as we drive away through the volcanos of Kuyshu, finding a connection is not that easy anymore. The evacuation route signs along the road don’t really help to forget about the situation, and there is more and more pressure to find a signal, especially when sleeping on the coastline with 7-meter-high roaring waves.
However, 3 days later, grabbing a coffee and connecting at last to an unstable wi-fi (I beg your pardon: grabbing a coffee TO BE connected to a wi-fi TO update the apps!), the worried one throws a casual: “oh, by the way there is no typhoon anymore on Kyushu”!
Indeed, we and the inhabitants of Kyushu are lucky enough to be spared by this one, as Nangka decided to set North towards Shikoku over the past few days, killing 2 people and injuring 31, flooding many towns. We will see next week how Shikoku is recovering.
Japan is full of surprises and natural disasters also include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, heavy thunderstorms… So be reassured, all the appropriate apps are already downloaded and regularly checked (and this started even before taking off to Japan!).
Marcella & Claire