Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lovely holiday weekend

Nothing says 3-day weekend like a typhoon followed by an earthquake.

Yesterday was Umi no hi, or Sea Day. It's officially the first day for the beaches to be open, although people go once it gets warm, like in May. I'd thought to have another beach BBQ and maybe do some hiking or wandering about somewhere. Instead, Saturday I was treated to lots of rain, followed on Sunday by promises of much more rain and high winds in the form of Typhoon Man-yi, or Typhoon #4 as it's called in Japan. Sunday the rain for the most part after 3pm, though the sky was always threatening.

Sunday happened to be the day I went to meet the girlfriend's parents in Yokohama and I was rather wary, there's a bridge somewhere on the Tokaido line that floods if somebody upstream spits in it, as I found out my first year when I was stuck in a typhoon in Yokohama and it took 3 hours to make the normally 30-minute trip.

Monday was scheduled to be sunny and warm. I was looking forward to this one day, particularly because typhoons come through and sweep out all the pollution and clouds, making everything clear and beautiful. I thought I'd save that day for laundry, maybe take a bike ride to the top of Shonandaira, in general laze about and enjoy summer.

Well, it was sunny until about 10:30am, when I'd put all my laundry into the washer. Then it got cloudy, which I thought was odd, but didn't mind. I'd felt the earthquake and was watching the news on TV. I guess it was pretty big, a 6.8 on the Japanese scale, which is different from the Richter scale. Five people lost their lives, all of them in their 70s and 80s, crushed by debris when their houses collapsed, and more than 800 lost their homes. But that was up in Niigata, well away from Hiratsuka. But it was surprising still, to feel it on the 2nd floor this far away. It happened in what seems to be the same area as the 2004 earthquake, the one that derailed the Shinkansen.

So after watching all this and doing some reading and cleaning, I decided to take a little bike ride up to the discount store. It's a bit far, so it's a treat to go up there and find some things for the house. I ended up getting a new frying pan and a kitchen knife, things sorely needed. As I walked out, I felt the rain hit me. It wasn't raining hard, but for a 30-minute cycle back, it doesn't matter how much it rains, you still end up wet. So I got wet riding back and got home just in time to bring in my damp sheets and dry them by fan. Bleh. My pillowcases haven't dried out still. At least I'd brought my futon in -- I'd debated leaving it to air out.

So now it's Tuesday, and the rain hasn't let up. It stopped briefly in the morning, enough to make me regret that I chose this day to take the train. But as the train pulled up to my destination, I looked out and it had started pouring. Guess I made a good decision after all.

So after a 3-day miserable weekend, I'm ready for my vacation to begin Saturday. It'll be nearly 40 days of vacation, minus one little bit on the 26th I've gotta do. After that last piece of work's finished, it's off to Borneo for a month. I suppose I can't complain too much, then.

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