Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ian McGaskill


There’s a typhoon on the way. Shit.

Usually, it’s the Southern Japanese islands of Shikoku and Kyushu that get a right kicking, but this time boffins have said it may reach Tokyo. And we all know never to argue with boffins.

If it hits, it will be on Monday. My day off. Can’t work out whether this is a “good thing” or a “bad thing”.

By way of an overture, we’ve been having some good storms complete with hard core lightning. If you were out in it, it was not so much singing in the rain, as singeing in the rain.

Realising that we were in for a bit of a rough ride, I was overjoyed to find an old rain cape that Paul had left behind. I think he’d used it on a rafting trip in Thailand or something.

This morning I ventured out wearing 1 anorak (bought at Next in Burton on Trent), 1 rain cape (from a raft in Thailand), and sporting a ¥200 umbrella I found behind the washing machine in my flat. And I still got soaked.

Above is a picture of a brolly I found in the street. As you can see the wind has wrecked it. There was two other brollies strewn close by, both in the same condition.


So, yes, it’s raining. At least I hope it is. It could be that the world is ending. This apocalyptic torrent has already caused me grief tonight and the typhoon isn’t even here yet. Here’s why:



Rickmansworth

Misato school is in the arse-end of nowhere serviced by only one line; the Mushashino line. About 7 o’ clock school manager Hitomi peered out the window, through the hardcore downpour, and over to the station, and said:

Hitomi: I am watching to see if they shut down the Mushashino line. They always shut it down in bad weather

Me: Er.....OK....how do I get home then?

Hitomi: Hahahaha. Yes

Me: Yes what?

Hitomi: Yes. Good question.

Me (expectantly): Right.......so.........

(24 seconds of silence)

Me: Er....OK....can I take a bus?

Hitomi: No. No bus.

Me: Taxi?

Hitomi (wincing): Oooh no!

Me: Er......

(24 more seconds of silence)

This was a big problem. For those of you who live in London, this was a bit like being stuck in somewhere like Rickmansworth or Chorleywood and needing to get home to Clapham when the only overland line is down.

Luckily, I was rescued by one of my students.....



The Dynamic Duo

Enter Yoshinori. He’s 30 years - old and one cool mofo. He wears a baseball cap at a slightly jaunty “rap” angle and also sports a wicked, wispy Fu-Man-Chu beard.

I’ve recently started saying to him: “What’s the story, Yoshinori?”. He loves this and echoes it back with a double pointing of the fingers, like some kind of Oriental Fonzie.

He shares the class with one other lad – Takashi – who is poles apart from Yoshinori. Takashi is 20 years old, rather bookish and probably likes space or something. They are both sound as a pound and recently the lessons have become far more relaxed - a bit like mates sat round having a chat. I like that.

Seeing I was getting a bit agitated about how the chuffing hell I was going to get home, Yoshinori intervened.

“Fideep” he said “If train been cancelled come back to school. I will take you in my car”

I shook his hand firmly. Top man!

“How will I know if the train has been cancelled, though” I said

Takashi stepped in “I will check for you. Come with me to station”.

Minutes later we were out in the street getting battered by sheet rain. When we arrived in the station people were shaking their umbrellas and matting down their damp hair whilst craning to see the scrolling messages. Clearly the trains were on the blink.

“One minute, please” said Takashi and went over to talk to a rather burly man behind a little window. They jabbered for a bit, before Takashi came back and said “There is train at platform right now. But will travel slowly. Come quick”

He buzzed himself through the gates with his Penguin Card (their version of the Oyster Card) and we raced up the escalator. The train was at the platform and I dived on. Takashi waited at the platform to see me on the train, and even fired a quick “Minami-Urawa desu ka?” across to the train guard to confirm I was on the right train.

“See you next week” he shouted as the doors closed

“Ja matane li shu” I echoed back “and say thanks to Yoshinori”

What a pair of top blokes.


Bard Attitude

I tell you what though - the Japanese really know how to name their natural disasters.

Words like typhoon and tsunami are so much more menacing and effective than, say, twister - which sounds like an icelolly - or monsoon - which sounds like a posh dress shop. And in Australia, they have The Willy –Willies, so insert your own joke here.

I’ll try to keep you updated as the eye of the storm moves closer. And I thought I met end on a literary note:

Hey ho, the wind and the rain
For the rain it raineth every day

It’s the final rhyming couplet from Twelfth Night, you philistines.

It was written by some fella called William Shakespears.

He was like this man who like wrote plays ages ago and looked a bit like that actor Thingy Fiennes. You know - that bloke who keeps walking to the South Pole or something.

21 comments:

Paul said...

Yeah, that poncho was from the trip where it didn't actually rain at all but I managed to fall off the raft, get completely soaked in water full of elephant poo, and damage my passport sufficiently to offend the Vietnamese border officials a couple of weeks later.

Giacomo said...

EWWWWWWW!!!!

Please add to your tale, that you have sufficiantly offended Giacomo too - do you realise Phil might not have washed the poncho?!?

Paul in Latvia said...

Nah, I wasn't actualy wearing the poncho, I just took it with me in case it rained. It didn't even leave the packet.

Since you asked, you can read the bamboo raft story and the Vietnam border story over on my blog :-)

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