My First Typhoon: Typhoon Trami

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Image from Solotravelerworld

‘Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps…’

I’d say even before coming to Japan I had an affinity for new experiences. Even if the experience was driving around my hometown at 4am (which ended up creating some of my best memories) I was down. My attraction to new experiences led me to open up my mindset; to get rid of the expectation that every experience I have should be a good one and, instead, to try and look at the things I gained from even the negative experiences.

Now, when it came to Typhoon Trami I have to say that was an experience I’d never really considered and, looking back to Herbert’s quote- it definitely woke me up, on more than one level.

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Image from Giphy

When moving to Japan we’d been warned and briefed about natural disasters, even given workshops on how to prepare an emergency bag and what to do in the event of each disaster. In my tired haze at Tokyo Orientation I made notes while these presentations went on, never really considering this would be a big part of my life.

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Image from Giphy

So, when Trami flooded the news broadcasts and sang at me through mobile alerts, I have to say I was stunned. Conversations in work focused on the typhoon and after being warned that it might not be safe to travel back on the Sunday, I decided to cancel my weekend’s Kagoshima trip to see a mate.

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Image from Giphy

Instead I vowed to have a chilled weekend. On Saturday, I did some shopping and went out for lunch to my new favourite café. Then, I had a MEGA chill on the Sunday (when the typhoon hit); doing some yoga, cleaning and watching an anime suggested by my workmates in the cave that I created behind my rain shutters.

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Image from Giphy

The electricity went out a few times during the typhoon, plunging me into darkness every now and then and making me feel stupid for not buying candles.

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The power cuts absolutely added to the mood; as it was my first typhoon I was getting definite apocalypse vibes- sat at my window looking at the grey sky, heavy rain and the wacky-wavey-inflatable-arm-flailing bamboo forest outside my house.

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Image from Giphy

Now, I knew at the time that in relation to other parts of Japan and other typhoons, that this wasn’t too bad and I wasn’t really scared. I mean there were a few times I heard a “CRUNCH” outside and expected to, while sat stuffing my face with a grotesque amount of pasta, be ironically flattened by a tree.

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Excessive carb intake aside it was after the typhoon, as the grey clouds drifted away, that I started to see the silver linings. I sat typing away at my last blog post, with my now shutter-free windows letting light back into the house, when I saw my neighbours start to creep outside. Within minutes they were hosing down their cars and sweeping away the fallen leaves and branches from the road.

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I watched for a while and saw my neighbour’s teenage son and little daughter sweeping away. I watched her clumsily follow her brother, wafting around the tiniest brush ever, trying to copy him. It was at that exact moment, with my inbox full of check-in messages from friends all over Japan, that I felt a real sense of community, one of the main things that I looked forward to finding in Japan.

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Image from Giphy

When that thought hit, I saved my post and borrowed a brush from Kira, my awesome friend who lives next door, and started sweeping. She joined too and, using a very impressive make-shift broom, we started to clear away the leaves. Our neighbours stopped and looked at us for a minute and then came to help. We swept together without speaking, language barriers and all, and it was amazing how much was communicated without saying a word.

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Now, I might just have been feeling sentimental, or sweeping the green and orange leaves left me with a warm autumnal fuzz, but at that point I just felt… awake. I was awake to the present, where I was, how I was feeling and awake to the amazing knowledge that what I was doing at that point was going to become an amazing memory.

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