Thursday, August 23, 2001

After the Passing of Typhoon

The Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters offices were closed on August 22nd due to a major typhoon. It was a slow moving one, traveling at a speed of 15 km/hour, but it didn't show any signs of weakening, and kept pounding Japan with torrential rains. Since the Kanto Region had a serious water shortage this summer, this rainfall was very much appreciated. The 23rd was my day off, though, and my daughter, wife and I had initially planned to go to our villa in Ohizumi village on the evening of the 22nd. Due to this slow moving typhoon, though, it didn't seem as though we'd be able to go at all. In the morning of the 22nd, the typhoon had reached Mie Prefecture, by noon it had gotten to the Izu Peninsula, and by 3 pm it had hit Tokyo. However, it was only sprinkling in Tokyo at this time, with moderate winds--nothing at all like a typhoon. My wife phoned an acquaintance living in Ohizumi and asked how the weather was there. "Oh, I can see the blue sky among clouds," was the reply and the TV reported that there was "No danger of storms traveling at over 25 meters." So, we decided to leave in an hour.

We left our house at 4 pm, and traveled straight down the Chuo Expressway. Thanks to the typhoon, traffic was light, with very few big rigs and families going on outing. We saw some signs indicating "Rainy weather--50 km speed limit", but, since it wasn't raining, we drove normally. The hurricane clouds coiled and spiraled throughout the blue sky. The misty vapor coming from the rain drenched mountains reminded us of a person just coming out of a hot bath. The clouds and the misty vapor caught the light of the sun from the west and glittered with a shimmering golden glow. "Wow!" "My, how beautiful," my wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat next to me, exclaimed repeatedly. But, since I was driving, I didn't have an opportunity to appreciate the scenery. After about two hours, we got to Ohizumi, bought something for dinner at a convenience store, and the three of us had dinner out on the deck of our villa. The clouds were moving from south to north and the rain had stopped. I took a bath after dinner and came out and found the room in total darkness, and my wife and daughter were outside on the deck exclaiming in wonder. They said that they couldn't see the stars as clearly if the lights were on. I went outside, looked up and saw a beautiful glittering starlit sky.

The next morning--in other words, this morning, I woke up when my wife got out of bed. It was before 5 am. She likes to go out on the deck early when we're staying here, and likes to enjoy the beginning of the morning in the mountains. I dozed off for a while again but ended up getting up about a half hour later. The south side of our villa faces the Southern Alps and Mt. Kai Komagatake, but in the summertime, with the high levels of humidity, you rarely see these mountains. But, we'd seen all those stars the night before--So thinking, I walked straight out onto the deck, and saw the green Kaikoma clearly, bathed in the brilliant morning sun.

- MT

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