Unlike down here in Tokyo, where the weather has been very mild recently…there was a snow blizzard in northern Japan a couple of days ago.
I watched a heartbreaking story related to the storm on the television news here in Japan yesterday.
I edited an article from The Telegraph about it:
Father freezes to death protecting daughter from blizzard in Japan
A nine-year-old girl has been found weeping in her father’s arms after he froze to death sheltering her from a blizzard in northern Japan, it has emerged.
(Policemen try to dig out a vehicle in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido (photo: AP))
Mr. Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 109 kilometers (68 miles) per hour, as temperatures plunged to -6°C (21°F).
Mr. Okada’s body was uncovered by rescuers looking for the pair after relatives raised the alarm. Natsune was wearing her father’s jacket and was wrapped in his arms, newspapers and broadcasters said.
The pair had last been heard from at 4PM on Saturday, after Mr. Okada, a fisherman, picked his daughter up from a school where she was being looked after while he was at work.
Mr. Okada called his relatives to say his truck had become stranded in the driving snow, which was several meters deep in places. He told them he and Natsune would walk the remaining kilometer.
The two were found just 300 meters from the truck at 7 am on Sunday.
Mr. Okada was hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter.
He had taken his jacket off to give to his child.
Rescuers said she was weeping weakly in his arms.
The young girl was taken to hospital where she was found to have no serious injuries. Her father was officially pronounced dead by doctors at the same institution near their home at Yubetsu in Hokkaido.
Natsune’s mother had died two years ago from an unspecified illness.
Neighbors said that Mr. Okada had been a doting father who would often delay the start of his working day to enjoy breakfast with his daughter.
His death came as families all over Japan celebrated Girls’ Day.
“He reserved a cake for his only daughter and was looking forward to celebrating Girls Day together,” a neighbor told the “Yomiuri-Shinbun” newspaper.
Summer in Tokyo is very hot and humid. There is a typhoon season and sometimes a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain will start seemingly out of nowhere…and then stop just as suddenly with blue skies returning.
Japanese people are sometimes surprised if I tell them that summer in Florida (where I grew up) is very similar.
Summer in Florida is also hot and humid. There is a hurricane season (hurricanes, for all intents and purposes, are basically the same as typhoons) and sometimes sudden short thunderstorms occur there too.
In fact, the area in Florida where I lived, Tampa Bay, is called “the lightning capital of the world”.
When the weather is sunny and then a rainstorm suddenly starts…with the sunny weather returning just as suddenly, Floridians call that a sun shower.
So I also referred to the same phenomenon in Japan as a sun shower, as well.
But a few years ago, the Japanese media gave these storms an original Japanese name. Here in Japan, these storms are called 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (“Guerrilla rainstorms“) because of the way they violently come out of nowhere.
Well, yesterday, there was a sudden, short, ゲリラ豪雨 (Guerrilla rainstorm)…and someone photographed it from the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.
The 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (guerrilla rainstorm) that hit the Tokyo area yesterday. It looks like a tornado!
Yesterday (Sunday, March 6th) was a nice day and it was pretty warm. My wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno, Tokyo) and walked around (my kids stayed home and studied for their final exams this week).
Ueno train station (Tokyo, Japan)
It was so warm that I began to think that spring has come. But this morning I saw the weather forecast on TV that said it would be a cold and rainy day today…and from about 9:00AM – lunchtime, it would snow!
Tokyo's weather forecast for 2011 March 7 - 14.
The weather forecast was exactly right. It was quite cold today and it snowed all morning starting at about 9:00AM.
I’m happy to see that it’s not forecast to rain or snow anymore for the rest of the week. It’s be sunny most days…and start getting warmer again. Next Monday is forecast to have a high temperature of 16°C (about 61°F).
How’s the weather in your city now?
There’s a 台風 (typhoon) near Tokyo now.
It’s been raining in Tokyo since yesterday…and it’s forecast to rain until Friday.
The TV weather information said that the typhoon will hit Tokyo the day after tomorrow (Thursday). So the rain and wind will be really strong on that day.
If you’re in the Tokyo area, be careful if you have to go out this week…especially Thursday!
The good news is that’s it’s forecast to be sunny from Saturday…so it’ll be nice weather for the upcoming three-day-weekend (Monday’s a holiday (体育の日 (Health Day))).
At the moment, all that is on the TV in Japan is either the 台風 (typhoon) that is hitting the Tokyo area today, and the national election results.
Tokyo is in the path of the approaching typhoon.
Be careful if you’re on the east coast of Japan and you have to go out today.
The weather will be bad all day today, but it’s forecast to be nice tomorrow (normally, after a typhoon passes the sky is very clear).
Regarding Japan’s election today, the results are still not all in yet, but it’s winding down and the 民主党 (Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)) is winning in a landslide.
This is an upset victory because the 自由民主党 (Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)) has won nearly every national election in Japan since the end of WWII. The current Japanese Prime Minister (Taro Asou) is the president of the LDP.
The next Prime Minister of Japan will more than likely be 鳩山由紀夫 (Yukio Hatoyama).
鳩山由紀夫 (Yuki Hatoyama)
Yesterday I took my two youngest daughters to a shopping mall that’s a short train ride from our home because they wanted to buy some things that they “really needed“.
I agreed to take them…but only for a short time because it looked like it would rain. And when we left the mall, that’s what it did. Really hard!
First there was thunder and lightning, then the rain came pouring down. But it was a summer shower…so it ended soon after it started.
Actually, we got lucky. It started raining soon after we boarded our train home, and stopped just before we got off the train. So we didn’t have to walk in the rain at all. Perfect timing!
Anyways, there are many summer festivals and fireworks shows in Japan this time of year. And many people wear 浴衣 (Japanese summer kimono) and 甚平 (Japanese traditional summer outfit) to these events.
At the mall, we saw a couple of girls who were probably going to a festival or fireworks show after the mall (it might have gotten rained out, though). I saw them browsing in a CD store.
It seemed like it’d make a good photo. So here’s the photo I took of them:
Here are some videos I took of the train ride while looking out the conductor’s window (a couple of them are from the ride home, so it’s raining hard):