Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Being Spared Does Not Make You An Asshole;

asking for shit from those who weren't really spared, however, does.

Today, I drove one of my fellow JETs to the doctor's office. While I was standing around thinking about how nice today was (for some reason, the air was clear but cool), how normal (I even had class today, at small elementary!), I happened to glance at the TV.

I don't really watch much TV. My TV is not plugged in to the wall, and spends most of its time with a pretty cloth over it that I got in Okinawa. But on screen, they were showing some rivers flooding, these being up in Hokkaido. And as excited as I got about the typhoon, and as amazing as it is to me that the eye passed right over our area, pretty much, this typhoon had an abnormally large eye, and there are areas that got hammered.

I tried to call the number for staying at Seiganto-ji, the first temple on the pilgrimage, on Monday, because I figured it wasn't nice to call Friday as I looked at the weather map and watched patches of red flashing over that area of Wakayama prefecture all day. But on Monday, the phone lines were down.

If you think about the counterclockwise motion of a storm, this kinda makes sense.

I later heard from someone that Nara and Wakayama got a normal year's worth of rainfall in the course of that two days or so. A year's worth. The typhoon stalled below Shikoku and dumped buckets of water on Nara and Wakayama for days.

So on the TV in the doctor's office, I saw bright orange shrine buildings swamped with mud. I sat down with a muttered "holy shit," and stared. I could see that it was in Wakayama, and I had a sudden sinking feeling I knew where the footage might be from...

Just below Seiganto-ji, my temple destination for the upcoming long weekend, there is a famous shrine called Kumano Nachi Taisha. The shrine was going to be one of the things we did while in the area. But I was right, that shrine, like that whole area in Wakayama, got the shit beat out of it by the rain. If you click there you can see video, although it's in Japanese.

MP-sensei said she'd try again today to call for a reservation at the temple, even though I would be at the elementary school. I kinda hope it didn't connect. They'd be like, what, do you not watch the news, inconsiderate foreigner?! So now I kinda feel like an asshole.

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