Categories
Chiba Japan: Living

Floods

It’s been raining hard for four weeks now and made it impossible to enjoy camping, but for the last two days things have gotten totally nuts. Record rains with constant thunder and lightning. Most areas have been getting about 100 millimeters in one hour, one area got 200 millimeters this morning. Earlier today many areas in Japan were inundated in major floods. Houses have been washed away and thousands of people have been evacuated. The area that I live in, Sammu city, Chiba prefecture, is set to have rivers overflow their banks tonight and all the trains have stopped. I wouldn’t even think of going up to the mountains again this week. Mudslides and landslides are bringing mountainsides down everywhere.

I’ve never seen anything like this in Japan. Just seeing how easily all the trappings of society get completely turned upside down makes me wonder what will happen when the sea levels really begin to rise. We are so fragile.

Categories
Hiking Japan: Living

Thunder and Lightning

i am on the train writing from my cell phone. an hour ago i took off in the night from my apartment in the country to the train station, to head into tokyo before heading out for a five-day walk in the mountains west of tokyo early tomorrow morning.

for three weeks now thunderstorms with incredible lightning displays accompanied by the heaviest torrential rains on record and, when not raining, the highest temperatures on record, have been hammering the islands. even as i write the train rides through a lashing rain that obscures the lights of the city outside, but lights up every now and then with flashes of daylight. thunder pounds against the roof of the train.

it’s almost a dream, sailing blithely through the night land while the gods stamp about among the rooftops, hurling spears and roaring in anger. around me in the train car passengers doze and glance up sleepily when a lightning bolt stabs the roof of an apartment hi-rise. the world could be sinking into the sea for all they see. in the seats across from me a baby snoozes in the arms of her mother while the mother watches tv (the olympics most likely) on her cell phone. nothing is really there.

the rains and lightning may hold me back from climbing this week; i’ll have to keep an eye on the sky. but at least i’ve broken out of this two-week shell and will feel whatever may come against my skin. there is nothing like the rake of the immediate world.

Categories
Journal Musings Nature

Cockroach Spray

The whole world seems to have plunged into a kind of “devil’s advocate” weather pattern: huge storms in Asia, freezing weather in the Eastern United States, record temperatures in Europe, and unending grey days in the middle of summer heat season, Japan. I think perhaps the Earth is finally coming around to making her opinions heard concerning all the hoopla from us headless-chicken mites swarming over her sensitive back these last two years. The New York tragedy must have startled her awake (“What’s all that fuss in the airwaves?”). The din of voices following, right past the attack on Afghanistan, must have made her sit up (“Now what?!?”). And the bombing of Baghdad must have sounded like a great banging on her door (“This better not be another oil salesman!”). When she opened it and witnessed the mess in her living room, well, Gaia just doesn’t like rude visitors, especially ones that don’t clean up after they spilled something. I take it that she reached behind the refrigerator, up there just past the Antarctic Circle, and brought out her cockroach spray. So far it seems to have been doing quite nicely in agitating the little creatures, but then Gaia is still half asleep. Hasn’t had her morning coffee yet. Wait until she rolls up her sleeves and takes to ridding the kitchen of the critters. “I’ve been meaning to do that for quite a while now, ” she sighs to Father Time sitting and reading the morning headlines at the dining table. “What a bothersome chore…”