Friday, October 3, 2014

Typhoon Phanfone

3 October 2014

The good news is that we have train tickets on the Shinkansen train, the super high speed Japanese bullet train, to Kyoto.  Leaving tomorrow, Saturday, a day earlier than we had planned.  And we have a place booked in Kyoto for a week, and they can accept us a day early.

The bad news is that we're leaving a day early because Typhoon Phanfone (apparently pronounced fan-PHONE, at least that's what we heard online) is heading straight toward Japan.  Phanfone increased from a category 1 to a category 4 storm in twelve hours.  While storm paths aren't easy to predict, the prognosticators expect the storm will either make a direct hit and travel along the main island of Japan, or make a sharp turn while just offshore and then travel along parallel to Honshu, the island with the major cities.  Conditions are expected to deteriorate on Sunday, with the worst part of the storm being Sunday night and Monday.

In either case, we didn't want to be in a train travelling in all that wind and rain.  Or arriving in a new city in all that wind and rain and possible flooding or mudslides.  Or arriving at the train station only to find out our train was cancelled due to impending conditions.  Or any other dire scenario.

So we contacted our hosts in Kyoto, went to the main station in Tokyo and easily booked our tickets, and then cancelled our last night here in Tokyo and received our refund.  Laundry is in the machine, we'll pack up, and be on our way tomorrow midday.  And arrive in time to get settled in Kyoto, maybe buy some food to wait out whatever storm conditions might occur.  Maybe even get some candles.  It just seemed easier this way, so that we don't have to deal with any hassles.  We can continue our relaxed and leisurely way of travelling.

This weather map shows why we're rather concerned about possible impacts - the right hand arrow points to Tokyo, on the edge of the "extreme impact" zone; the left arrow points to the approximate location of Kyoto, which I added in.  But on some models, the storm MAY pass directly over Osaka, on the bay to the west of Kyoto, and then directly over Kyoto.  So this MAY impact travel on Sunday.

And that's it for the excitement in our lives.  

We seem to have managed to hit every natural disaster Japan is known for:  the earthquake, the volcanic eruption, and now a typhoon.

But it's hard to get terribly worked up about the storm when the truck parked out front has a cute panda on the side.

Or when the weather map looks like van Gogh's "Starry Night."  I truly would like to print out this weather map and hang it on a wall.


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