11. A wonderful trip and the horrible disaster (14/10/2019)

Monday

Today me and my Japanese friend went to a karaoke place, as it’s a pretty big thing here. I asked her how many times she goes to one and it’s minimum 3 times a month! Karaoke in Japan is very different, there’s private rooms with own TV’s and a tablet where you can choose many different songs. We sung some English and some Japanese songs, it was a lot of fun! Thank god the lyrics were in hiragana for Japanese ones haha! The karaoke place was also an “all-you-can-drink”, so we got a few drinks there too 😉

Tuesday

A normal Tuesday, school, and going to the gym. My continuous headaches are still a thing, but getting a little easier. Today we found out that a huge typhoon called Hagibis is on it’s way towards Japan, and Osaka is on it’s route, where we are supposed to go this weekend… I really hope it will change course away from Japan, or we might have to cancel the trip altogether.

Wednesday

After my first class I had to skip the rest of the day due to feeling a bit nauseous, I think it could be the muscle medicine the doctor prescribed me earlier… Might stop taking them now as it pretty much ruins my days.

As for the typhoon it seems to change its course a little more away from Japan, but the size of it is so big it will most likely hit Osaka and Nara too. As for now it’s supposed to hit on Saturday and we’re leaving on Friday, so the airlines won’t cancel the flights… And we’re coming back on Monday, and at that time it’s already gone. Typhoon Hagibis is category 5 typhoon right now, which is the strongest of them all… So scary, don’t know yet what to do.

Thursday

We still haven’t decided what we’re going to do about our trip to central Japan, the typhoon situation is really stressing me out. The course of the typhoon is moving further away from Osaka, which gives us some hope, but the news articles about Hagibis look extremely terrifying. To get my mind off of it, me and a friend from the States went to Sushiro (kaitensushi) to have some dinner and drinks. A lot of people here have told me that we’ll be fine in Nara and shouldn’t have anything to worry about, as long as we stay inside. We left pretty late from the restaurant and walked home from Tenjin at night, which is like 4-5km walk. Found some cool ruins and places on the walk, there’s so many things in this city to find! We’ll probably decide last minute if we’re doing this trip or not, I really hope we can, but the typhoon is so terrifying.

Friday

So… We decided to leave for the trip. The situation doesn’t look bad for Nara at least, and the hostel we’re staying at confirmed that the building is very safe to be in. Our flight left around 5 pm and we arrived in Osaka at 6:30 pm. Took us quite a while to get to Nara as we had to take two trains there, both of which took 45 min. The typhoon hasn’t reached us yet, but when we arrived to Nara it suddenly started to rain a lot. Luckily the hostel wasn’t far away from the train station. The hostel we stayed at was very interesting, the building was very narrow, but tall. But our room was very cozy and the living room space for people was amazing (the best part was ofc SNES Mini that they had). Before going to sleep we went to a nearby konbini to get some food and snacks just in case we cannot leave the hostel on Saturday.

Saturday

We woke up around 12 very confused as to why we were not hearing any wind or rain. It was raining outside, but it wasn’t pouring rain or anything, just normal rain we’re used to. There was quite a lot of water on the ground and the typhoon wasn’t actually yet close to us so we decided to stay in and check the situation from time to time. We ate some breakfast and played games on the SNES Mini, for a long time actually haha. After a while we decided to just go out with our umbrellas and check the city center, which was a small walk away from the hostel. There wasn’t any wind so why not. There were some tourists wandering around the mall and locals were just casually going to places like it was nothing. We saw some deer in parks and on the streets too! (I’ll add pictures of them to the “Sunday” part as the weather was better). For some time the rain stopped too, and the wind started to blow a bit stronger, but less than 5m/s. In the evening we watched the news as the typhoon was on top of Tokyo area.

Screenshot of the tracking of typhoon Hagibis

Sunday

The weather was clear in the morning, so we went off to explore Nara a bit more before leaving to Osaka. The city had so many tourists coming to see the semi-wild deer and the beautiful places in Nara, and I can understand why, it was a wonderful thing to experience. Around noon we took a train to Osaka and wondered around the huge city. Ate some crazy hot curry at an Indian restaurant, visited the Osaka Castle, and went to an onsen for the first time! I had to look up a “tattoo-friendly” one, as many onsen don’t allow people with tattoos to enter (some people connect it with Yakuza). We were so happy to see a steam sauna there and tried all the hot spring baths they had. They also had a very interesting bath called “denki buro“, which quite literally shocked us haha. I’ve never been electrocuted by anything, but I guess it feels like that but with less pain! We ate some good food at a restaurant near the onsen and wondered in some shopping malls before leaving to our guest house. Sadly we didn’t have enough time to see Osaka due to the typhoon, but I’m happy to see as much as we did!

Monday (arriving back to Fukuoka)

I’m writing for Monday now as we arrived back home today and I want to add things to this post. We left very early in the morning for the airport and arrived in Fukuoka around 9am. Took a long nap and went to a store to get some things to fill my fridge with.

As for the typhoon, it really destroyed things around Tokyo, the city was pretty unscathed, but there was extreme damage in the outer parts and many people lost their lives. I can’t really explain how scary it was to see and experience this, but also to be scared of your own safety in a country where these typhoons happen at least 20 times a year. There are still rescuing happening and houses are under water, but I’ll leave a news article about the current situation below.

– Emma

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50037907