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So it's October. Fall. Autumn. Aki. The calm and poetic season. But, for me, it's the bland season that comes after bright summer, going toward terrible winter. Maybe I feel so because I live in Hokkaido, the coldest part of Japan. I don't hate the feel of autumn itself, or rather I love it. It's the chill that gets me down. Why I hate the cold in spite of living in Hokkaido is a mystery.

So October is the month that reminds me of winter. Other than that ... the 3rd of this month is my wife's birthday. Oh, it's tomorrow. Along with the wedding anniversary, I'm busy this time of year, kind of. Aha.

Typhoon Higos (what does it mean?) has landed in Hokkaido this morning and is heading north now. There's been a heavy rain and wind since last night. Before hitting Japan, the typhoon was reported to be the most powerful ever. Typhoon in October! What the hell. I used to think Hokkaido was free from typhoons. Anything can happen in this day and age, eh?


Happy Birthday to Mrs. Hatano! How do Japanese celebrate birthdays? Cake? Singing that embarrassing song?

I've heard from someone who works in Tokyo that this typhoon is named Number 21, that typhoons are numbered in Japan, rather than named. Higos sounds Greek.

Yesterday, the temperature around here was 87 degrees F; today, 84. Not very autumnal. But thunderstorming. Someone on the radio today said we ought to send this month back to the kitchen, now that it's arrived at our table. It just won't do. Gee... most of my autumn haiku are sad.... How about...

half asleep
in rainy twilight:
spring or fall?


Thanks, MNW. My wife, Satomi, is very glad to hear your message.

How to celebrate birthdays may vary from home to home, but generally cake and, yeah, the embarrassing song.

The haiku is much fun, giving me an "aha" moment. ;)

According to CNN, "Higos" means fig in the language they speak on Guam (Guamese?). I too find it curious that here in Japan, it's only referred to by it's number (abstract yet perhaps more in keeping with meterological-ness, or perhaps just more logical), but in the West, they attach a name. It's almost as it folks wouldn't comprehend that it's a storm unless it has some name attached to it, a la Hurricane Andrew, Hugo, etc.

Watching the wind, I sometimes have a silly feeling of its being alive, because of the playful things it does. That even goes for the aftereffects of tornados. Maybe that kind of thinking is what's behind naming storms.

I remember an old cartoon in which the bad guy was named Hugo A-Go-Go.

Satomi-san, you are very welcome. May you both have many more birthdays and anniversaries.

Whenever we go to a local Japanese restaurant, Tsukasa, inevitably someone is celebrating a birthday, and we can hear the waitstaff singing "Happy Birthday" in Japanese.

Well, I'm off to read a ghost story.


Hi, Kiyo-san

I found a topic in the "English Forum"(I don't know the exact name, though) which talked about the name of the typhoon.

>Typhoon Higos was named in the northwest >Pacific. It is moving northwest with 65 knot >winds. Higos (HEE-gos) is the Chamorro word for >a fig.

According to the atrticle, Asian names are supposed to be used for the typhoons coming toward Japan since 2000.

Oh, is that so. Thanks for the nice info!

I jumped into your mails while I was trying to figure out the relationship between the Greek "Typhon" and the Japanese "tai fun" (if it is written like that).
You see, I read an article saying that typhoons (as a phenomenon now) exist only in the seas around Japan and that the word comes from the Japanese "tai fun". And that, for this reason, all so-called "typhoons" that do not happen in Japan should be called "cyclons".
Being a translator, I am very interested in using the correct term. However, the explanation given by the article was that a "tai fun" had destroyed the "Chinese army when they tried to conquer Japan". I knew that a strong wind (a Kamikaze though, not a typhoon) had destroyed the Mongolian fleet when Kumblai Khan was trying to invade Japan. And - obviously - I got confused. I believe I may have already confused you too. But I guess you know more.
Now, to give you some more information (or more confusion), in Greek mythology, there existed a monster called "Typhon". It was half dragon - half man, his father was Tartaros and his mother was Gaia (the Earth). Typhon was not a good creature. It had 100 dragon-heads, fire run out of his eyes and snakes from his feet. The story goes that Typhon had a fight with Dias (Zeus, the first among the 12 ancient Greek gods), and Typhon took Dias' nerves and threw them away. And that it was Hermes that fetched the nerves back for Dias and "put him back in order".
But I won't tire you any more.
I would appreciate it if you knew and you could tell me more on the "tai fun" / "kamikaze" / "typhoon" / "Typhon" relationship (if any).
Best regards,

Hi, Eleanna. The Japanese word is "tai fu." And the Kamikaze (literally, god wind) that beat off the Chinese army twice is said to have been actually typhoons. I'm not quite sure about the origin of the word "typhoon" and the Japanese "tai fu," but I discussed it in my earlier entry:

I suppose the Greek "Typhon" may have much to do with the Chinese word, and thus the Japanese one. Very interesting!