Super Typhoon on the way and witness to first crime in Japan


Super Soaking Typhoon Sanba is barrelling its way up the Pacific with 170mph winds dumping rain at the rate of 3inches an hour.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice to Brits is to monitor it.
I now have NASA’s satellite reports, the Japanese Met Office and the weather station at Hiroshoma Airport on my phone.
Paranoid? Well we do go to Manchester a lot.
The US airbase on Okinawa is on alert for a pounding but the current track of storm is forecast is to take it to the Korean peninsula.
This is not very good for the people living there when it makes landfall late on Sunday/early Monday but forecasters think it should weaken after that.
Will keep level of paranoia high with constant monitoring – including getting our fortune monitored.
On Friday our last check alongside what is supposed to be the world’s biggest Buddha statue at Nara was very positive.
In exchange for 200 yen the monks give you a large hexagonal box to shake about until a stick with a number on it shoots out.
Mine was 13 – but the number 4 is supposed to be the unlucky one in Japan so so far so good.
The monk ferreted among some numbered shelves and produced a slip of paper which told me I should travel, will win a competition, have good health if I see the doctor and pray to the east and will meet a person I am looking for.
If the fortune had been bad you take the paper and tie it outside the temple – leaving your bad fortunes behind for the powerful force at the temple to deal with.
Earlier we saw our first crime in what seemed such a well-ordered country.
A young lady had just bought some biscuits from a stall on the way up to the temple.
Unbeknown to her two deer (there are loads of them in the huge park where the temple is) sneaked up behind her and – in a pincer movement – butted the biscuits from her hand.
As she shrieked and legged it the muggers swiftly ripped open the bag and guzzled the contents before any of the rest of their deer gang could get in on the act.
The huge temple hall where the Buddha sits is supposed to be the, or one of the biggest, wooden structures in the world and is very impressive.
Outside we were captured by a group of Japanese school kids tasked with finding English-speaking tourists to test their language skills.
They quizzed us on all sorts of stuff in English and dutifully write it down on their survey forms before their teacher took a picture of them with us.
After they took our names and addresses and said they would write to us – no doubt suggesting ways on which we could correct ou poor English.
Inside the temple fell into ‘conversation’ with some older Japanese people.
The exchange ended with the gentleman in the group presenting me with a sheet of very fine silky paper with beautifully set out kangi characters (Japanese characters very similar – and based on Chinese characters).
Tanaka San said it was a present for a visitor to his country.
We can make out a few characters but have yet to fully translate what it says.
Hope it is not a call to arms from Japanese Methodist Jihad or some such group.
Finished off the Nara trip with a quick visit to the five storey pagoda but most of the other buildings were under wraps for renovation work.
A visit to the back of a bar down a side street next to the station – why are these always the best places – revived us with beers, endamame beans and grilled skewered meats.
The slow train (they do have them in Japan) took us back to Kyoto.
Today it’s off to Hiroshima until Tuesday – taking in Monday’s national holiday for Respect for the Aged Day.
That should do nicely – as long as Typhoon Sanba stays away.

Sent from my iPhone

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