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the eye

September 6, 2004

New feature for your convenient enjoy: whenever I use a Japanese word – either in Japanese script, like those characters on the left there, or in italicised roman script, you can get a translation by hovering your mouse over it. Ooh, the joys of hypertext…

Recently, the typhoons have been coming unusually frequently. One a week, virtually. And the one that I’m currently sitting out the tail end of – typhoon 18 – has been the most violent one I’ve yet seen, by quite a long way. It didn’t quite manage the tipping-cars-over and pulling-down-trees-and-pylons that the very worst ones like to engage in, but it did show that it meant business right off by taking out the whole island’s electricity pretty much straight off, first thing yesterday morning.

As a result, yesterday was one of those boring stay-in-the-house-in-order-to-avoid-being-killed-or-injured-by-flying-debris sorts of day. And after about seven in the evening, without electricity it was too dark to even read, or do anything but heat up some red thai curry and sit in the darkness listening to the screaming wind outside and talking to Kim on the phone in between mouthfuls.

About five minutes after putting down the phone, a strange thing happened: the typhoon stopped dead. It just cut out, literally as if someone had flicked a switch. A couple of minutes later, the electricity all came back on. I went outside, and it was a completely still, quiet, warm night. “That’s funny,” I thought, “all the previous typhoons just sort-of petered out…”

I walked around for a little bit to stretch my legs, get some air, and have a look around at what the typhoon had done. There were no shops open, but I thought I’d stock up on some drinks from the vending machine round the corner. I took a carrier bag to the machine, got some change out of my wallet, dropped a couple of coins into the machine, and then – WHUMPH! – the eye finished passing over and the typhoon came back. The carrier bag I was carrying inflated like a balloon and I was pelted with horizontal rain and battered by howling winds. I managed, by a special combined process of hunching and swearing, to buy a few more bottles and cans from the machine before running, doubled-over against the wind, back to my house to sit out the rest of the storm – about another sixteen hours or so.

By the way, sorry if I owe you an email. Things have been unusually hectic lately, and what with these typhoons, I’ve had less access to email than usual anyway… (this was written on my laptop, during the typhoon) Hopefully next week things will be back to normal. Only, having said that, my satellites are suggesting that typhoon 19 is already on its way, so we’ll see…

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