Japan

Typhoon Season: Walking around in a torrential downpour

During my studies in Japan I participated as a teacher’s assistant for an English class at Meiji Gakuin University. Once a week I would have time set aside for students to come if they had any questions but more often than not there would be no one that would come. As a result, I and my friend Becky would often sit bored for a long time before anyone (if anyone) came to ask. Mondays tended to drag on because I did not have class after my 7am class ended and had to wait until around 3pm for class to start again.

While it was already October and the typhoon season of summer was supposed to be over, several more typhoons occurred long after the season was supposed to end. In total 2015 saw 8 typhoons and several severe tropical storms hit the country. Normally the number would be almost 50% lower and would have ended by September. We were “lucky” enough to experience the torrential rains in a country with effective infrastructure and emergency response teams.

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Flooding in train stations

On one occasion, one day before a typhoon was to hit Japan, I decided to walk around MGU and explore. There was understandably quite a lot of wind and rain but amid all of that I was able to find a path that I believed went back to the school. In reality the path went around the school and through a forest. I proceeded to follow a white cat through the forest and pondered as to whether I was in the spirit world or not because the scenery started to remind me of the movie Spirited Away so I decided to take a picture of the cat just in case (it disappeared through the forest before I could).

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My failed cat picture

After some more walking I reached a clearing which I found out to be a park. The water and cold created a mesmerizing picture which seemed almost mystical as the mist and fog covered the valley between hills that made it seem both ominous and beautiful. Some more walking later brought me near some farms and finally an exit out of the forest that was close to the university’s southern entrance several kilometers from the start of my journey. Whether the white cat was a spirit or not, I never found out.

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The park deep in the hills near the university
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