Tornadoes in Japan

I saw the news this morning and it looked just like something from my hometown – an evil looking sky with a swirling tornado in it, bearing down on the countryside. Smashed sheds, upside-down farm equipment, twisted trees and electrical poles lying horizontally on the ground. It looked like springtime in Missouri.

It turns out that on Sunday afternoon, twisters ripped through Ibaraki Prefecture and Tochigi Prefecture. One hit the town of Tsukuba where a friend of mine used to live. One 14-year-old was killed and about 40 people were injured, with lots of houses destroyed and other damage.

I was in Tokyo and at about 2 in the afternoon there was a sudden rain storm. It dumped ferociously for a while and then just as suddenly stopped. It reminded me of those crazy pre-tornado storms in Missouri. Sure enough, in the morning, the Japan Meteorological Association had reported that the atmosphere was unstable and there could be wicked weather.

The tornadoes were accompanied by thunderstorms, a rare site here in Japan. They don’t quite reach the biblical proportions that they do back home, but a farmer in Toyama was struck by lightning and killed.

But here’s the really tragic part of the story – the news said that something like 70 percent of the people who suffered damage were refugees from the tsunami and nuclear meltdown last year. Those folks are having a bad couple of years.

In today’s news, they reported that a bunch of whales and other sea animals had washed up on the shores of eastern Chiba. Are we due for another earthquake? I think I’ll just spend the day curled up under my desk.

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