A Man with a Flashlight

Super typhoon Man-yi
July 13, 2007, 9:38 am
Filed under: The East


When Ayako told me typoons were bigger in Okinawa than the ones I’d seen in Taipei, I thought maybe it was a case of hometown pride. Wrong!

Friday, 9:23am: winds gusting pretty hard all around our apartment – 155 miles an hour, gusting up to 190, according to the weather underground. What that looks like, from my desk looking at our balcony, is like the balcony railing is the side of a boat and we’re in rough seas. Buckets of water are being dumped on the balcony every minute. Luckly our place seems tightly sealed, and pretty well designed – a bit of water gets blown in around the edges of the windows, but it drains through the bottom of the window frame, leaving the sill dry.
At 2 am last night I drove Ayako home from an Izakaya. Walking from the car to the apartment, some scary sounding wind was going over us, but otherwise things were okay. Right now if I left the apartment, I wouldn’t expect to make it to my car – it’s at least a hundred yards away. Odds are the wind would either take me down before then, or I’d get taken down by flying branches, rocks, or signs blown off buildings. But my money would be on getting picked up and flown – this wind looks every inch capable of picking up a man. If Okinawa had cows we’d probably be seeing some right now.

This clears up the mystery of why concrete is such a popular building material here. We’re on the third floor of a concrete apartment building that’s new and solidly constructed, but when the large gusts come the building does vibrate.

I’m going to try to make the most of this one, as much as I can without leaving the apartment. Probably my last typhoon before heading back to California.

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