Gaijin Smash

Blasted Typhoon

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on August 10, 2005

Japan occasionally gets hit by typhoons. Some areas can get hit pretty badly, which sucks. The thing about typhoons though is that if one is coming, or even looks like it’s coming, to the area a typhoon warning is issued. If the warning comes out then school is CANCELLED for that day. Even if you’re already in the middle of the day, school is done, everybody go home. So, while typhoons are usually a bad thing, the prospect of school getting cancelled is a VERY GOOD THING.
Remember that Japan employs a near-suicidal workforce, one that prompted Ms. Americanized to wish for her country to be bombed back to the stone age, as it just might get her a day off. In that context, Japanese people won’t sweat a little wind and rain if it gets them an early day off work.
Unfortunately, the typhoons almost never reach Kyoto. They end up dying before they get here, passing through in the middle of the night, or hitting a different part of Japan entirely. Amazingly enough, this is actually pretty disappointing. Since I’ve been here, school has only been cancelled once because of the typhoon. I was at the Ghetto School when it happened. As the warning was expected to come, the TV was on in the teacher’s room and tuned in to the news channel. By the start of classes at 8:55 however, the warning had not been issued and everybody was forced to proceed as normally until it did.
After EVERY CLASS, the teachers would come back to the teacher’s room and ask “Did the warning come out yet?” They’d hear no, and you could just spot the look of dejection on their faces. Finally, sometime during third period, the warning was issued. “It came!” the teachers who were in the teachers room exclaimed. No one said it, but instantly everybody’s countenance did a 180-degree turn as they smiled to themselves – yes! We get a day off for once!
After third period ended, I swear the chime had *barely* just finished and one of the teachers was already on the PA system – “The typhoon warning has been issued. Get the fuck outta here! Go home!” In that very instant, the whole school roared as I’m sure each and every student let out a scream of jubilation. The other teachers returned from class, exclaiming, “The warning came out!” The students poured out of the school, with the teachers not too far behind (I went home, closed my storm shutters, and went to sleep). With the exception of drinking parties and the heavy influence of alcohol, I have never seen the teachers at the Ghetto School so happy, especially within the school’s confines. It looked like someone had told them they were entitled to an all-expenses paid fancy sushi dinner, not that a dangerous storm of violent winds and heavy rain was heading their way.


Welcome to Japan.
But that was only once. As I said, the typhoons have a nasty habit of blowing through Kyoto late at night, or missing it entirely. The latest typhoon to hit Japan … it was a particularly big/strong one, and on it’s predicted course, it was going to roll through all of Japan. Again, I was scheduled at the Ghetto School. All day, the teachers kept an ear open for the potential typhoon warning but it never came. After hitting the southern tip of Japan, the typhoon’s trajectory changed – it hooked to the left a bit. Which meant that Kyoto was only going to get hit by the very edge of it – not enough to bring about a typhoon warning.
After a full day of classes, as the students left school, the teachers turned on the TV to the news again, which was dominated by coverage of the typhoon. The Ghetto School teachers watched this with a certain bitter envy.
Reporter: I’m here in Kyushu … the winds are particularly strong … I can barely stand up. You can see a tree that’s been knocked over here on the side of the road.
Teachers: Ah … lucky bastards. You KNOW school is cancelled there.
Reporter: And here we see a convenience store, closed because of the typhoon … the windows have already been blown out, and it looks like there’s substantial damage.
Teachers: Some people get all the luck … blasted typhoon.
Note to Japan. When your workforce wishes destruction upon their own country JUST to get a day off … you may want to rethink your work-ethic standards. Just a suggestion.

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27 Responses

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  1. Jay said, on November 1, 2006 at 4:03 am

    haha, i wish we had typhoons in Cali!
    =]
    poor teachers there…really…

  2. Richard said, on November 1, 2006 at 7:43 am

    Believe me, it’s just the same here in Hong Kong. Our typhoon warnings go from 1 (there’s a storm somewhere in the region) to 3 (it’s going to get a bit windy, folks) to 8 (IT’S COMING) and higher. 8 and above means everything is cancelled, no work, no schools, no boats, etc. and once it hits 5 there’s no other topic of conversation: “Are we at 8 yet?” “How close is it?” and so on. Again, there’s very little fear – and a lot of anticipation of time off work. There’s a bar in town called Stormies (“Stormy Weather”) which is known for running long happy hours whenever there’s a high warning out, which is how seriously it’s taken.
    We’re at 1 right now – probably not going to hit 8 on this storm 😦

  3. Roy said, on November 1, 2006 at 9:28 am

    I been reading your blog since almost the beginning. With all those crazy stories about kanchoes to pretty much the true uncensored story about Japan, this takes the cake for making have a “WTF”?! Now I really know I do not want to move to Japan. Thanks for changing my mind! >.<
    I love your stuff. Keep it up!!

  4. Marty said, on November 1, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Out of curosity, do they ever have snow cancellations? Or is the Midwest the only place in the entire friggin free world that does this?

  5. Nate said, on November 1, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Hey, New England has snow cancellations too. But it has to snow like 20 feet before they even consider it.

  6. Warui Tanuki said, on November 1, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    We get snow cancellations in the south US, too. Except the amount of snow we get down here is pretty pitiful. Anyone from up north just laughs when it happens. Ice actually is a problem, though. Anyway considering the amount of snow they get in northern Japan, I assume they must cancel sometimes.

  7. Anonymous said, on November 1, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Meh, we got hurricanes here on the east coast. They are much like typhoons but they are American… You know, bigger and flip cars American.

  8. Anonymous said, on November 1, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Meh, we got hurricanes here on the east coast. They are much like typhoons but they are American… You know, bigger and flip cars American.

  9. Melissa said, on November 1, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    That sounds just like Florida and Hurricane cancellations! Down here, the students hope that the hurricane bends towards our part of the state so that we can get days off of school. I used to live on the ocean, where we were less hopeful because a hurricane hit meant real damage, but now that I am tucked cozily into the center of the state, we hope every Fall that one shoots our way.

  10. le Comish said, on November 1, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    It’s actually the same here is southern Louisiana. Or at least it used to be before Katrina. As soon as we heard of a hurricane in the Gulf, the school kids would stay glued to the TV to check for the schools closing

  11. Chase said, on November 1, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    You are so lucky. At the high school I work at they said students get to go home in case of bad weather, but teachers have to stay.

  12. Nigel said, on November 2, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Yeah, in Texas we have snow cancellations…when it snows an inch and everything shuts down.

  13. Kosetsu said, on November 3, 2006 at 5:47 am

    I don’t get it. I mean, I’ve seen all sorts of cancellations and stuff before, but…
    If Japanese kids and teachers want typhoons and such so badly, why don’t they just hang TeruTeruBouzus upside-down? o_o;; TeruTeruBouzu – hang them right-side up for sunshine, hang them upside-down down for precipitation, and chop off their heads if they don’t give you the weather they want.
    I use them all the time – right-side up for now, ’cause it’s pretty nice in the fall, but during the winter, I’ll be sure to hang them upside-down every other night or so as a prayer for snow.
    You should remind your kids about that – I mean, everyone knows about the story of the 1000 paper cranes, right? What would happen if all the kids in your middle schools hung up a teruterubouzu upside-down?

  14. Anonymous said, on November 4, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    “What would happen if all the kids in your middle schools hung up a teruterubouzu upside-down?”
    Round about nothing because that’s just ridiculous supersitious rot?

  15. Anonymous said, on November 4, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    “What would happen if all the kids in your middle schools hung up a teruterubouzu upside-down?”
    Round about nothing because that’s just ridiculous supersitious rot?

  16. Matt Metford said, on November 5, 2006 at 7:03 am

    Yeah, we’ve already had two typhoons down here on Kyushu in the past three months. After the first one, my girlfriend discovered a completely intact garbage can on her fourth-floor balcony. It wasn’t hers.

  17. Jamie said, on November 6, 2006 at 8:58 am

    Az,
    I’m teaching in Korea right now. Their work ethic is crazy too. The students go to school from 8 am till 10 pm Mon-Sat!!! Anyway, we had a typhoon hit us straight on a little while back and they just acted like nothing was happening. Hell, it was my normal day off so I ordered pizza for delivery! the poor guy delivered it from a scooter. hahah, anyway, over here it doesn’t seem to matter. I think crazy Kim Jong-il could launch a nuke at us and they wouldn’t even notice it until Sunday morning and they weren’t allowed to play golf.

  18. Navi said, on November 7, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    I remember my not-so-exciting typhoon experiences… I was on homestay in Ishigaki, in the far south of Okinawa prefecture, and the news said a typhoon was coming our way. I’m from New Mexico, where an inch of rain makes the news on every channel and an inch of snow means school’s cancelled for *two* days, so I was excited to actually see a real live big tropical storm-thing. I sat at the back window and watched the trees outside bend in the wind and the leaves and bugs get tossed around a bit… and that was about it. It didn’t even rain. I was expecting to have to board up the house and hide in the bath tub or something! How disappointing. It was on a weekend too, so I didn’t even get off school…
    Later, when I was returning to the States, a typhoon struck Tokyo just as we were flying into Narita airport. The turbulence was fun – all of us exchange students made a roller coaster ride of it – and now I can say I flew through a typhoon and didn’t even get sick, but… piffle. I want a real storm.
    Forecast for today in NM: partly cloudy, high around 70, winds light and variable. >e.e'<

  19. evil_tennyo said, on November 9, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    lol gotta say, I LOVE your writing style! just makes me crack up XD
    “Reporter: I’m here in Kyushu … the winds are particularly strong … I can barely stand up. You can see a tree that’s been knocked over here on the side of the road.
    Teachers: Ah … lucky bastards. You KNOW school is cancelled there.”
    lmao best part!

  20. h8GWB said, on November 14, 2006 at 5:02 am

    Holy crap, I hope they don’t have this kind of work ethic in China, but first some back story. I friggin’ hate my (unfortunately chosen) degree in Computer Information Systems after learning about the neuron-numbing process of Systems Analysis and Design. Realizing that computers were never the carrer for me, I’ve constructed a glorious vision of a better future of me studying Classical Chinese Culture and Architecture (after I finally claim dominace over the DeVry Institution) in holy-frigging-beautiful Hangzhou. I hope to eventually become a professor in the fields of Architecture and Archeology, enlightening goddam jiggers…er, chiggers their incredible millenias of history and why imported Hip-Hop and McDonalds will fuck-up developing countries good.
    This was before I willingly clicked on your post, read it, and made the connection that the Chinese most definately have, or will obtain, a similar work ethic, as it becomes a powerhouse of modernity. The baby-brains of my hopes that I could study and uncover China’s past, in the field, Indy-style, were reclessly dashed upon the jagged rocks of realization, like so much infanticide. Funny, it was, but I hope I can someday forget the solemn message you posted, overcome this, and become some kinda respected Chinese-American-Chinese professor weirdo who’s great with the kids. And doens’t have to work his ass off.
    Oh well, at least I can still swing my taiji sword around all cool.

  21. Katie said, on November 21, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    “Hey, New England has snow cancellations too. But it has to snow like 20 feet before they even consider it.”
    Huh? Where in New England do YOU live? They cancel school here if one snowflake touches the ground!

  22. yi-ling said, on December 1, 2006 at 1:55 am

    haha, I so totally sympathize with them. Taiwan was pretty much the same too, with those 8 hour schooldays and the overworked teachers.
    Sadly or thankfully, there’s no natural disasters here that could cause school to be canceled…. unless the fog counts.

  23. Jonathan said, on December 3, 2006 at 11:54 am

    Katie:
    Don’t you think you’re confusing “New England” with “England”? Because that snowflake description you just have sounds a LOT like what happens here in England =P
    Half an inch and there’s nationwide panic, riots and people looting stores for supplies.
    (slight exaggeration)
    Coming from Denmark originally though, I have to laugh – every year ^_^

  24. MilkChan said, on November 6, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    I used to live in South Florida, and obviously the opposite is a Hurricane.
    That’s pretty much exactly how it was for us at school, except you would have to wait till the end of the day, but you still got out for even the slightest chance (if a tip is going to hit, you still get a day or two off).
    When Hurricane Wilma came through Ft. Lauderdale, we were out for 2 weeks, unfortunately down power lines and no cable made it kinda lame…so I just went to Orlando for a few days.

  25. Nothing said, on January 2, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Where I live in New England the snow days are a little arbitrary. In my high school the only person with the power to call off school was the principal and he lived in another county. This meant school went on as normal when snow was falling and students were sliding off the road and school was canceled when there wasn’t a flake on the road.

  26. Anonymous said, on February 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    In NYC, we didn’t mind. We just watched out the window at the snow and argued with each other about whether or not the snow is sticking. Hey, at least we got to have snowball fights at the end of the day.

  27. Anonymous said, on February 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    In NYC, we didn’t mind. We just watched out the window at the snow and argued with each other about whether or not the snow is sticking. Hey, at least we got to have snowball fights at the end of the day.


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