starlady: (a sad tale's best)
Today I am meant to be talking about the weather for [personal profile] melannen

I think the most obvious thing to say is, it's getting warmer.

It's funny to be asked this question in Japan, where the weather is one of the few socially acceptable topics of conversation in almost any circumstance, and so is a place where you talk about the weather quite a lot. I have to look up how to say "sunny" again because I've forgotten it. The problem with not having a large weather-related vocabulary is the awkward silence that often falls after one has exhausted the topic of the weather. 

The last time I spent a year in Japan I lived in Kyoto, which is rather famously located in a basin with mountains on three sides and so is automatically at least five degrees F hotter or colder than the rest of Kansai--enough to be immediately perceptible upon disembarking from the train when one has either entered or left the city. Japanese people were often amused that I knew how to say basin ("bonchi", for the record), but that is basically talking about the weather, and so, I can do it. But even in the seven years I've been hanging around Japan in irregular intervals, I've noticed changes--the tsuyu (rainy season) is never very impressive, and more and more one is likely to get impressive summer rainstorms outside of tsuyu. There was a truly ginormous one in Tokyo in July which I was of course caught outside in sans umbrella. That's what I get for forgetting the Girl Scout motto, I suppose. 

This summer was also remarkable for a truly terrible heat wave--temperatures soared to nearly 40ºC in some parts of the country, and in Tokyo the heat index was about 120ºF for nearly a week. That's something that never used to happen, either, and there's not really anything to be done about it except chug cold drinks and keep going. Luckily the Japanese are masters of cold food in the summer, which is good because heat cuts the appetite as it is. Also, unlike the Metro in D.C., the trains here don't seem to be as prone to hot weather delays due to the tracks expanding.

It's interesting to me that though it's farther north Tokyo actually seems a little warmer than Kyoto thus far--I suppose partly it's because Tokyo is directly on the ocean. I don't except that it will ever snow and stick here, or even that it will get much below freezing; it snowed but rarely stuck in Kyoto proper, but it was frequently below freezing, a problem compounded by the lack of insulation and heating in my apartment (it was much like stupid Berkeley in that respect, actually. I can't understand how anyone would willfully choose to be so energy inefficient, but then, I'm well-known for my curious attachment to logic). There's a reason the wild parakeets of Tokyo have been able to survive here since the 60s (for the record, the ones on the Todai campus seem to be feasting on gingko nuts, which is only appropriate seasonal behavior).

We'll see how it goes. I'm currently planning on going to Tochigi next month and debating whether I should try to find a pair of snow boots in a thrift shop for it--Tochigi isn't the yukiguni proper, but it's close enough that I hope to see snow. Snow! It's so wet here, all the time, everywhere, except in the mountains I suppose--they must have powder in Nagano, or it wouldn't be a skiing hotspot, but everywhere I've seen it it's always thick and wet like it is in New Jersey and never is in Minnesota. Of all the places I've lived, Japan is the most humid, but New Jersey gives it a run for its money. 
starlady: (rain)
My dad never lost power, making him one of only 600K people in Jersey who still have it. I heard from my friends in Toms River this morning; no power of course, but they're all right. I think their neighbor's house may be in the bay. Or the bay is in it. Not clear from their text messages. If it's in the bay it's probably part of the debris blocking the bridge.

That helicopter video going around is the barrier island directly east, Seaside Heights. I go there every summer and have since I was born. Whole swaths of it are just gone. I haven't heard about the carousel, which my mother loved, but I doubt it's still there. Apparently the roads to LBI are still impassable. I wouldn't be surprised if the lighthouse is now an island. In fact I suspect most of the barrier islands look profoundly different than they did on Sunday.

The upshot is that the Shore, which is the heart of the state, has been smashed and permanently reshaped - until the next time. Like our esteemed governor, I know we'll be all right, but it hurts.

Ditto New York City. Hang in there, everyone.

I wore my New Jersey shirt today, in solidarity.
starlady: (rain)
I think I dreamed about the hurricane this morning - not a nightmare, but definitely a dream. (I also dreamed about fighting as a Jedi in the Clone Wars on Sunday morning, so I also just haven't been sleeping well.)

My dad and our bird still had power and were fine as of about 9pm - high tide - tonight. Ditto my friends in South Jersey that I've checked in with, though I've not heard from all of them yet, and ditto my friends in New York on the Upper West Side, though again, I have friends in Brooklyn and elswehere I haven't heard from yet. I'm worried about my friends in Toms River, where the hurricane made landfall around 8pm - I talked to them at 3:45 their time today, and they were packing to go into the basement for the night to avoid the tropical storm-force winds and preparing to lose power. Their street abuts the bay, and it's never flooded, but this has been an event out of all proportion to past experiences. I could tell this morning when all of Atlantic City was flooded after the morning high tide that it was going to be categorically worse than anything anybody could remember, and that looks about right. I'm going to text them first thing tomorrow. (This is the problem with making decisions based on past experiences: they're of no use in the face of a path-breaking event, whether it be a hurricane or a genocide, but that's another post.) Currently viewing with concern the situation at Oyster Creek, though with any luck the tide will recede and avert this particular potential catastrophe.

I feel like I should be there, though I couldn't do anything else if I were. Stay safe, everyone, and let us know that you're okay.
starlady: (rain)
The outlying rain bands yesterday and earlier today were bad enough, but Typhoon Ma-on means business.

Current screenshot of Typhoon Ma-on covering nearly all of Japan.

starlady: Ariadne, the architect (god is a woman in my fandom)
Damn, what a great movie. Seriously, that was just a great movie. Smart, stylish, nice action, good music (Hans Zimmer!), a thought-provoking concept, and great acting from a terrific cast of gorgeous talented people. Christopher Nolan is approaching auteur status, I think--when was the last time I was so caught up in a movie? (Well, Toy Story 3 of course, but Pixar also know what they're doing, technically.)

I know what I believe about the ending, and I think my interpretation is supported by the story itself, but of course, ultimately, it's up to the dreamer viewer to decide for herself what she believes. I can live with that.

Unrelated postscript: It's 88º outside right now.


Trailers!
1. Tron: Legacy. OMFG, I cannot freaking wait for this movie.
2. the social network. I cannot believe they are making this movie. I cannot believe Harvard will take that movie lying down, because you know what? It's all true. And, omg, the chorus + piano cover of "Creep" in the trailer? Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
3. The American. George Clooney and guns. Yup, I'm there.
4. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Hmm. It could be great, or it could be awful.
starlady: Aang with fire (aang can be asian & still save the world)
I would just like to note that when I got home this evening it was 107º outside. For those of you in countries with rational measurement, that is 41.67º Celsius.

And right now it is 101º (38.3º C). Yup.

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