An earthquake a couple of weeks ago, followed by a typhoon whose influences have spawned a monsterous storm system over much of Japan that is hovering in place and laughing down at us while producing massive flooding and prompting evacuation orders. In Osaka, where people are still recovering from the earthquake, 9,700 people were told to move to evacuation centers. In Kyoto, where I work, 143,000 were ordered to evaculate.
Last night, I was jolted awake twice by my son’s cell phone, when warnings to evacuate were issued after a blaring alarm. Then, moments after I finally yet again got to sleep at 3:00am, the neighborhood warning system roared from the big clock tower nearby with three deafening chimes (BING! BONG! BOOONG!). A ponderous male voice, his baritone deepened eerily to an even lower octave because he was speaking in slow motion (they still use a cassette tape on a machine that doesn’t work properly) then fingered into my dreams to convey a generic warning: “In Nara Prefecture (IIIIINNN NAAARRAAA PREEEEFEECTUUUUURE), a warning has been issued, possibly for an earthquake, or a flood, or a typhoon, or a tsunami, so avoid going outdoors.”
Because people usually go outdoors at three in the morning in heavy rain. The only thing I avoided was sleep.
But, to focus on the bright side, three-day weekend!