The Pacific Ocean has been very active lately. The night I was in transit to Japan, cyclone Chan-hom hit the east coast of China. About a million people had to be evacuated, and there was substantial damage. Now, less than a week later, I’m in Kobe and nervously expecting tropical storm Nangka to hit. At five in the evening I was in Kokoen garden, as the skies opened up for a while. I had my umbrella in my hand, so I managed to reach the pavilion near a pond full of koi without getting wet. The rain is a lovely sight from the balcony of the pavilion. I stood there and watched the koi swim about in the rain. Initialially the rain-drops seemed to confuse the fish, as they kept surfacing thinking that there was food being thrown in. After a while they ignored the rain and swam about just under the surface.
The bus back from Kokoen took quite a bit more than an hour, since there was an accident on the road which caused a major traffic back-up. It dropped me near Sannomiya station in Kobe. Many restaurants in Japan have red lanterns hanging outside: a lit lantern signifies that dinner is available. The wind was gusty, but not very high. The lanterns were swinging about, but safe. It wasn’t hard to find a nice restaurant. I was with friends: the Immersed and the Bear. The Bear ordered an Asahi beer. The Immersed and I shared a warm Sake. There was a variety of food, all very small helpings. We started with a platter of sashimi, my first this time in Japan. Then we went on to order a tonkatsu, and a plate of grilled octopus. The octopus in a sweetish soya sauce was new to all of us, and we liked it. We were still a little peckish, so we ordered a plate of breaded chicken. Quite a nice small dinner.
We went our own ways after dinner. It had stopped raining. I walked back to my hotel by a round-about route. The wind had perhaps picked up a little. The storm is supposed to touch land around four in the morning, a little to the west of Kobe. JR trains are supposed to stop soon. School is off in the Kansai region tomorrow. I will probably not go in to work in the morning, although I guess I’ll take the final call at breakfast. If the city transport system shuts down I could still take a taxi. But if the city thinks travelling is not safe, then it might be silly of me to take a contrary decision. Right now the wind is not very high, although the flags at street corners and snapping merrily in the gusts of wind. I haven’t slept much in the last few days, so I just might turn in early tonight.
Added one day later
Nangka was a fizzle. It turned from a category 2 typhoon into a mere tropical storm the moment it hit land. I and my colleagues were rehearsing the survivor stories we would tell back home, but now all we have to report is a day-long drizzle. Great for Japan, but terrible for a blog!