“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes
“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” ~ Vincent van Gogh quotes
“雨降って地固まる; After the rain, earth hardens.” ~ Asian Proverb
The headlines back home are laughable from the perspective of being squarely in the “strike zone” of what is known as “Typhoon Alley” in the Pacific Ocean. The way we Americans like to anthropomorphize weather is a product of the media creating overly melodramatic headlines for which they then can provide the information and/or solutions, and the generalized population’s passive acceptance of the peril that they are told is lurking just around every corner….
Featured headlines such as “Super Typhoon Neoguri Takes Aim at the Ryukyus,” or “Typhoon Neoguri Lashes Out at Okinawa,” and even “Typhoon Targets Japan!” and characterized as “Breaking News!” do nothing to help diminish what I call America’s “culture of fear.” Storms are storms, a force of nature (call them acts of god if you will), and they neither direct at us (mankind) nor intend us any premeditated harm. Rather, it is in our own fairly fool-hardy ways that we open ourselves to – and fail to protect ourselves sufficiently from these particular insults of Mother Nature. Perhaps the most inane banner yet so far: “Super Typhoon Neoguri Strongest of 2014!”
Yes, it’s the strongest. Duh. It also happens to be the first for Japan in 2014. It could have been a really ridiculously bad thunderstorm and that headline would’ve still run….
Last year I wrote a blog about how typhoons are regarded in Okinawa after something like our 8th or 9th typhoon of the season. In that treatise, I tried to capture the very basic differences in the Far East versus American West cultural perspectives and their resulting diverse approach(es) to weathering such tempests. You can read that blog here: Typhoons, a Divinely Okinawan Experience.
The satellite photos are dramatic, the surf is kicking, and the winds are literally rocking our seismically-isolated building-on-rollers. The surfers have all exited the water, and there are no remaining visitors to our seawall. Our balconies have been cleared, and remaining items are secured. We have water, foodstuffs, and plenty of candles. Although we do prepare, it is with a refreshing lack of panic that is largely absent in Japan…but happens to be the hallmark of enduring hurricanes in the States.
We’re okay, and we’ll be fine. This is the safest place we will ever live…especially when it involves withstanding a Super Typhoon!
Kevin & Jody, Okinawa, Japan