Cellphoneography: Typhoon hits, and misses

I have yet to see one day of sunshine this trip. I left late on Friday. As I walked to my hotel in Okayama drizzle fell which built up in intensity (as typhoons approached but never made landfall) culminating in a new kind of weather event in Japan. There is no translation. They are bands of heavy rain which dump inches in minutes causing mudslides and flash floods. That was Thursday and it was surreal.


I was touring a castle in Nagasaki-ken when a city wide siren announced it was coming. Within a minute a faucet opened over the city. If I could see it, I would have seen a river running down the road into the moats or down into the sea. The news said FIFTY centimeters fell that day.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m enjoying my vacation. Wet surfaces photograph beautifully; the sky has texture; and the people wear a different countenance.


Yesterday a new typhoon approached Japan and this morning it hit. Trains were shut down in this coastal onsen town, Ibusuki, with almost all business shuttered. My hotel had emptied the pool and sandbagged the perimeter. I decided to go out, making my way to the coast snapping pics of the clouds, of buildings, of boats bobbing in the harbor. When I sensed the rain was coming I made my way quickly to a covered arcade which leads to the train station. The full length as boarded up with branches flung about. The sky nearing black. And then the sirens sounded throughout the city. There was no message within the sound. Loud: It drowned the sound of the wind. But it wouldn’t stop — and then I knew.


11:02 a.m.

This was the moment 69 years ago the bomb fell on Nagasaki.

The typhoon missed my area. The rains did fall. I did make it back to be under the station roof, but they stopped shortly after and I continued my walk up and down the streets. I arrived back at my hotel in time to photograph hawks circling over the ocean, of families walking the beach, and a fantastical sunset you’ll have to wait to see.

Tomorrow going to be sunny and I’m island hopping down to Okinawa.


10 Comments on “Cellphoneography: Typhoon hits, and misses

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  4. We have done terrible things, all of us: while the bombing of Nagasaki may be unspeakable, so was what the Japanese army was doing leading up to that. You cannot treat human beings like pigs without reaping some kind of hell, even though I don’t sanction the bombing.
    As to the weather – we continue to destroy Nature and now we are reaping hell all over again.


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