Typhoon 19, the aftermath

Please do as I say and not as I did!!!!

Yesterday, as I’m sure everyone is aware, Japan experienced its’ biggest typhoon in 60 years and as the counts come in- it is not as bad it could be. It is true to say that prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance.

However, there were some casualties. At time of writing, 5 people have been reported as deceased. To those families, you have my thoughts and prayers.

Looking a bit closer to home, what happened in Nabari?

The level 4 caution (which is 警戒レベル4 or keikai level 4), was cancelled by 1830 yesterday evening and since the sun had come out, I decided to go for a bit ride by the river. As a bit of advice: please NEVER do this. Nabari was still feeling the effects of the typhoon and the river was exceptionally full. In fact, the route I took led me over 2 bridges.

That’s a lot of water…

I stopped before going over the first bridge calling myself stupid (to be put politely)- but I continued. Along side the river, all emergency barriers had been raised and there was about 30cm of clearance between the water and the bottom of the bridge. Additionally, Nabari river is the outlet river for a dam, if there was an emergency release of water…well lets not go there.

A bit more than 30 at this bridge but NOT at another

In this area, there has been little in the way of structural damage- there was mostly localised flooding. On the Iga-Tetsudo line (the ninja train) several parts of the track were completely flooded and trains cancelled.

It was a bit too close…

However, train service has restarted at this time and convenience stores were open- but my gym was closed for the day- I wonder why?

Final thoughts: being prepared encase of evacuation did help- the likelihood of it was still low but possible. Please do not got out until a typhoon or other natural disaster has completely passed (unlike myself and half of Nabari it seems) and finally, be vigilant. A situation can change in a second and I have never ridden as fast or as hard trying to get back on the correct side of the river as I did yesterday.

Thank you for reading and happy (SAFE) exploring,

The calm before the storm

A strange day

The Japanese are known for having many cultural rules and procedures that they often ignore when convenient- and living in Japan I know this quite well.

One of the more known rules is the request for silence on trains “to provide a comfortable atmosphere for other passengers” according to Kintetsu that is. But today from Tsu train station to Nabari train station (which is about 60 km or around an hour by train), and including a transfer at Ise-Nakagawa it was silent. Eerily silent.

What made this slightly worse, is that all trains were packed more than usual for a Friday night- as people were travelling straight home without the customary drinking sessions. This is to say ALL trains including limited express trains.

Today, Japan is holding its’ breath. There is cancellation of train services, flights, busses etc across Japan and even lines like the Kintetsu are considering the possibility of suspending services for “safety reasons”, but what actually got me worried was the announcement of this update in English. Most information, detailed information that is, is usually kept in Japanese.

This combined with the silent eery journey on the way back- where everyone was looking worried- has caused me to double check my bug-iut bag. I’ve never felt this paranoid about a Typhoon before.

But why are so many people worried?

This typhoon- number 19 (keeping with the Japanese theme or 台風第19号) is the largest of the year so far, its is extremely strong, set to potentially land in major urban areas, and has the potential to cause country-wide problems.

Additionally, warning about it are ALL over social media, the news, TV, in stations etc. There are many companies that are suspending workdays tomorrow and are advising to only go out if needed- advice I will be following.

The cherry on top for me, was watching people taking supplies home with them. Prior preparation and planning may prevent poor performance but if all Japanese people are doing it, that just worries me- they seem to like to wing it.

Stay safe all, gather supplies and know where your evacuation areas are.

Thank you for reading and stay safe.

Health food in Japan

The world of extreams

How long does it take to spot CC lemon?

I have talked about buying protein in Japan very recently, but what I have not yet mentioned is suppliemts, more specifically added vitamins and minerals.

If you were to go to a convience store and go to the drinks section, ignoring the sugar content, there would be quite a few healthy looking options. Admittedly one of my favourites is CC lemon which it’s selling point (on the front and highlighted) is that it contains the same amount of vitamin C as 60 lemons or 200 mg. The body cannot process this amount and a lot of it is lost via urination.

You may think that is a crazy amount, but it’s nowhere near the highest amount. Available at most stores are health tonics in small glass bottles that contain upto 2000 mg of vitamin C.

To put this into prospective, the daily recommended intake for most adults is upto 90 mg a day. If that is the case, does excess vitamin C cause any ill effects?

Yes! Regular amounts exceeding 2000 mg cause gastronomic distress i.e. Diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps etc.

However Japan doesn’t just have products with excess vitamin C, there are products with excess anything.

You may buy wafers with added calcium, wafers with added iron, wilk with added calcium, health drinks with collegen etc. It’s sometimes amazing what extras Japanese producers add to products.

It sounds a bit morbid but: health warming! Be aware of what you are consuming, an excess of a vitamin or mineral for you may have a completely unintentional side affect or may cause you harm. If in doubt either do further research (scientific papers etc), ask a doctor or dietitian or simply avoid it.

After all there’s only one you (and you read my blog, so stay safe)

Thank you for reading and happy exploring

The death of hyousatsu, name plates for homes


Hyoutatsu or name plates for homes are a common sight to see when travelling through Japan. Every house has one and it dies perform a vital role, for delivery services. But even these name plates are diminishing.

Most people only buy 表札 (hyou-satsu) when purchasing a home which leaves the millions living in apartments usually without one, defeating the purpose of them.

Additionally, with the prevelence of social media they have become a security risk (crime is rare but it still occurs in Japan).

Let’s suppose there is only one Suzuki family living in Ise (impossible since the surname Suzuki is like Smith in the west) and they inform the world they’re going to Guam. Well done for them, but their house is now at risk and if a criminal happens upon this, you have a problem.

Another issue is that they make people easier to find. Have a western surname in katakana? You can’t exactly stay hidden (it does stop the door to door Mormons though).

What to take from this post? A word of caution, if you have a hyousatsu (even in the west) be careful with security.

Thank you for reading and as always happy exploring.