Saturday, May 28, 2011

If The Rain Comes

Typhoon Songda (Songda is Vietnamese for tributary) which yesterday was a category 5 storm, is heading our way. Presently a category 2 storm it is blasting the southwesternmost islands of Okinawa Prefecture with 95 mph winds and creating 26 foot high waves at sea.

Lucky for us it is still a long ways off and is expected to have diminished to no more than a tropical storm by the time it reaches Ibaraki Prefecture in the wee hours of Monday. Also, it is projected to pass just south of us, saving us from the brunt of whatever winds and rains it is carrying at that point. Typhoons usually track even further south than predicted, so there is yet more hope.

Our friend Martin with Bluesette in the rain - 2009

Kimie pointed out to me this morning at breakfast, however, that should we get hit by a major typhoon this summer it will be a disaster for the entire area. As I have mentioned and documented with pictures in earlier posts, the earthquakes have left a lot of roofs everywhere in northeastern Japan, including our own, seriously damaged. Repairing all those roofs anytime soon is out of the question, especially with aftershocks still occurring frequently, and rainy season already upon us.

If the rain comes - not the rain we'll likely get this week, but a serious blowing downpour - many of those roofs will leak and cause even more damage to the homes under them. One may hope the patches are sufficient, but it is worrisome, none the less.


There is a saying in Japan: seiko udoku. Literally, "clear sky, cultivate, rainy, reading". So, "Farm when it's sunny, read when it rains".

It is already raining, if gently. Kimie and Pandabonium are reading this weekend instead of cultivating our garden or sailing. And what do sailors read on rainy days? Hopefully not obscure subsections of Rule 18, but rather great stories of sailors and sailing.

Kimie is reading Michael Green's "The Art of Coarse Sailing", that hilarious, laugh-out-loud-while-reading tale of a sailing holiday with friends on the Broads, which was recommended by Tillerman back in February. It's a great antidote for the rainy day blues. You can read more about it at the link.

Pandabonium has been reading another true tale; this one of an amazing rescue filled with high seas adventure and global political maneuverings. "The Emerald Whaler" takes place in the 1870s and tells the story of the jail break and rescue of six Irish Fenians who had been sentenced by England to a life of labor "beyond the seas" in Freemantle Prison, West Australia, for their parts in the uprising of 1865.

In a most daring plot, the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States raised vast sums of money to buy and fit a whaling ship - the Catalpa - and hired a Captain who would initially and for much of the voyage be the only person on the ship to know its true mission. Pretending to be on a whaling expedition, the Captain hired officers and crew and sailed her from New Bedford, Massachusetts all the way to Australia where, with help of conspirators sent undercover by rail across the United States and then by postal ship across the Pacific to Perth to aid in the prisoners' escape (yes Virginia, there really are conspiracies), managed to free all six of the men and take them to America aboard the Catalpa. The Emerald Whaler was very well researched and written in a most engaging and exciting style. One of those books you can't put down.

If that's sounds interesting, I have good news. You can read it or download it as a PDF file, free online. "The Emerald Whaler" by William J Laubenstein, 1960. I have a first edition given to me by my dad, who besides being a sailor, loved to shop used book sales.

The online version is at this link: Internet Archive - Emerald Whaler or copy and paste the url:

Erin go Bragh

Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines
It's just a state of mind

And until next, sweet sailing.


Tillerman said...

Excellent. Thanks for participating. God luck in the rain!

O Docker said...

Yes, like Tillerman typed, God luck in the rain!

And, believe it or don't, the WV is sicsub.

Martin J Frid said...

We had so much fun in the rain that day, is it already 2 years ago?

Great videos too, with Rain from 1966 filmed at Cheswick, a wonderful botanical garden in London. And did you know that BBC banned the Paul McCartney song?

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Tillerman.

Thank you O Docker. Yes, God was the correct word. sicsub? dive, dive

Martin - yes, it was October 2009. We'll have to try earlier in the year next time. Last year, when ***** was with you, it was July - and hot. Maybe somewhere in between?

I just read about the BBC ban on the song when I posted it. The perils of national media.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I can personally attest to reading obscure subsections of Rule 18 should be last on anyone's reading list, rain or shine.

I will hold out positive thoughts for your roofs and those of your neighbors.

Martin J Frid said...

5pm now on Sunday afternoon and it has been raining non-stop for 24 hours, with increasingly heavy gusts too. I live on a slope up to the hilly mountainside and in front of my entrance has turned to a shallow river. I may need a boat...

WV: wortal (words that don't do enough to express how very mortal one feels)

Pandabonium said...

Doc - of course it was your tribulaiton with Rule 18 which I had in mind when I wrote that. Thanks for your thoughts.

Martin - looking at the radar images at 9PM on the Japan Meteorological Agency website, you have a huge cell over your area, while we've been getting intermittent showers. Stay dry mon ami.

Martin J Frid said...

5 hours later at 10pm, still pouring down non-stop. I guess we needed a bit of (late) spring cleaning.

With the conditions that you descibe for some of your roofs, you are in luck. Hope tomorrow will be ok.

Arkonbey said...

seiko udoku

I love it! I live my life like that. Some days I want to catch up on my drawing, reading or model building and hope for rain on my day off.

I'm going to have to check out "The Emerald Whaler". I don't like being underway offshore but, I do like sea tales. Have you read "In The Heart Of The Sea"?

Pandabonium said...

Arkonbey - gee, you mean being tossed about in a buoy tender in 25 ft seas wasn't just fun?

I just read some reviews on "In the Heart of the Sea" and will definitely read it. Thanks for mentioning it.

kehlwok said...

In Oregon, we pretty much have to cultivate in the rain as we generally run out of books by February.

That conclusion may be biased by the fact that we are experiencing our 4th coldest and 2nd wettest spring in recorded history. No days above 80F (27C) so far this year. Maybe this weekend.

Pandabonium said...

kehlwok - from what I just read, it is delaying the strawberry crop and ruining lots of peaches up there.

I should be out plowing right now, but it is raining here too. Throw another log on the fire and I'll try to write more to keep you entertained. ;^)

WV cesstion: a British tax on questions and suggestions designed to keep the peasants at bay.