Yet another long weekend in Japan this weekend started a bit tense compared to the other long weekends I have experienced in Japan this year (and we have had so many!) as Japan embraces for the strongest typhoon yet this year, Typhoon Hagibis.
First, the public holiday
This long weekend is “Health-Sports Day” celebrated on Monday, October 14.
The origin of this public holiday isn’t as old as the others. Japan wanted the sunniest day for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony and selected the date to be October 10, 1964 🥇.
The day became a public holiday in 1966 🏋️♀️ but recently changed the public holiday to the second Monday of October to increase long weekends.
According to Japan Times, Hagibis means “speed” in Filipino and is heading straight to Honshu or mainland Japan on Saturday, October 12.
The typhoon’s size, speed, timing (close to the full moon hence high tide) and the location (hitting Chiba area that is still recovering from Typhoon Faxai a few weeks ago) makes Japanese worry about the 19th typhoon for the year, Typhoon Hagibis.
Due to its size, a long period of strong wind and rain are expected. Typhoons usually hit the southern area of Japan which is more used to facing Mother Nature but it’s quite uncommon that a typhoon is heading directly to Tokyo. To prepare, many have purchased bottles of water, flashlight, tapes to seal their windows, portable gas cookers, petrol and stocked up on food (the cup noodle section was nearly empty!)
Typhoon Hagibis is a tad scary as its wind is expected to double Typhoon Faxai and the amount of rainfall is considered on par with the typhoon that hit Kanto region in 1958 killing 888 people and many missing.
As a precaution, a couple of World Rugby Cup games were canceled, all of ANA and JAL flights on Saturday are canceled, Shinkansen between Tokyo to Nagoya are canceled and many stores are closed on Saturday.
How to prepare of typhoon
I haven’t lived through a typhoon at all or for such a long time, I researched what to do. Here are the tips on how to prepare yourself in a typhoon:
- Buy plenty of water (enough for three days), fill up bathtubs, kettles and other means to store water. You can drink them, flush toilets and other necessary activities
- Stay indoors
- Tape windows in all directions. In case the wind shatters windows, the glasses won’t go everywhere and draw your curtains as a safety precaution to capture the glasses if the wind shatters them. Many placed cardboard paper outside to protect the glasses as well
- Seal the gap between the wall and window to avoid rain coming into your home
- Bring in anything loose indoors like plants, clothesline, and outdoor furniture
- Buy food, flashlight, batteries, fill up your car with petrol, charge your phone
- Carry your medication and key items with you in case of evacuation
- According to my colleague, primary school earthquake drill applies: “押すな、走るな、声出すな” meaning “Don’t push, don’t run, don’t make a sound”. The last one is so that you can hear announcements and panic causes panic.)