The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Autumn of Disasters

Well, it seems I was a bit rash in disparaging the power of typhoons. The last one was the strongest and most deadly in over 10 years, causing landslides and incredible flooding. One of the most dramatic things I saw on the news the next morning was a bus load of people clinging to the top their bus, with the water level around them almost to the roof. They had spent the entire night on the roof; I can't imagine how exhausting and terrifying it must have been to spend the entire night in a torrential downpour while hurricane winds almost blow you into the water.

I was pretty ticked off that day because I walked in the pouring rain to the post office to try and send some money home; I got there around 4:30 only to discover that they only do money orders until 4:00 (for some reason). So I trudged home, cursing Japan, while the wind was whipping the rain at me sideways. Then I had to walk through 8 inches of water outside the station, so that my shoes were absolutely soaked. By the time I got home, I was pretty miserable. Fortunately, my friend Mark is from Alabama, and as a veteran of many hurricanes, knows that the only thing to do is to get together and have a typhoon party, so that's what we did. The next day, watching the news, I realized that if wet shoes are all you have to complain about, you're pretty lucky.

Yesterday, I was lying in bed watching TV when I started to feel my bed shake. Not having any familiarity with earthquakes, I had no idea what was going on at first, but the tremors got stronger and it seemed like my whole house was flexing and swaying, and I eventually got the idea that it was a quake. It lasted for about 30 seconds, so I flipped over to the news channel, and within a minute or two, they had interrupted the show for a news bulletin reporting a strong earthquake about 250 km from my place. It was magnitude 6.8 apparently, meaning it was strong enough to buckle roads, derail trains, and worst of all, cause landslides. There were a number of aftershocks - I think I must have felt about 7 or 8 over the next couple hours. It wasn't until this morning when I turned on the news that I realized how severe it had been. 15 people died and numerous people are missing. Lost of houses were swept away by landslides. They said that if it had happened in Tokyo, thousands would be dead... pretty scary stuff. At the time, however, I wasn't really scared. I was too dumb to know what was going on, I guess.

Anyway, I don't mention this so that anybody will worry about me. I'm perfectly healthy and enjoying things so far... I'll try to have happier news next time!


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