The biggest excitement (and scare) of this past week was Typhoon Roke (15) which passed right over Yokohama on Wednesday, September 21st Japan time. When we left for school in the morning at about 7:30 a.m., the wind was already picking up and a light drizzle was falling from the grey sky. We made it to school without incident and were surprised by the number of people on campus as all KGU students started on that day. (Originally, we had the campus to ourselves as everyone was still on summer break.) We completed our first morning period, and as soon as the bell signaled our 10-minute break between periods, an announcement startled us. It was all in Japanese and the only words we definitely understood were: "everybody", "typhoon", and "leave by 12:50 p.m". Luckily, one of our buddies and our teachers translated the message into easier Japanese for us. Everyone was excited to be getting out of class early.
On our way back to Hayama, we realized we probably should have left even earlier. The Japan Meteorological Agency doesn't fool around when it posts warnings for "gale", "heavy rain (ground-loosening)", "storm", and "storm surge". A few people's umbrellas broke and we actually got pushed back by the wind. We almost screamed in surprise when we were waiting under the bus stop and the rain came in sideways, hitting us in our backs. The rain was so heavy at times, it felt like a lake was being dumped on us. Once we were safe inside of HSH, we watched the news and stared out the windows of the study room. The center of the typhoon passed over Hayama between 3:30-4:30 p.m, and it made us appreciate Mother Nature's power. The wind howled and rattled the windows, even pushing open the heavy glass doors of the entrance to HSH! Those doors are actually difficult to move (to open them, we normally almost throw ourselves against them), so it was incredibly impressive that the wind could push them completely open. The wind and rain also tore branches off of trees, and toppled some bamboo stalks. Some of us went to the tatami room on the top floor of HSH to watch the torrential rain sweep over the rooftops of houses. We were lucky that the typhoon wasn't as bad as it could have been.