L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

03 August 2007 Blog Home : August 2007 : Permalink

Typhoon Which?

I love the BBC sometimes. They try and do their best to be good multi-cultis and they do a great job of covering the world news not just British or even, as sometimes seems in other places, making it seem like nothing happens except in Iraq, Israle or the USA: But every now and then they get themselves tangked up. Here is their article about a recent typhoon in Japan.

Typhoon Usagi hits southern Japan

Eighteen people were injured and thousands sought shelter as Typhoon Usagi struck Japan's southern island of Kyushu.

The typhoon made landfall late on Thursday, bringing winds of up to 180 km/h (110mph).

It cut power to thousands of homes and felled trees. Bullet trains from the main island, Honshu, were suspended.

Usagi is moving northwards, but it has weakened and meteorologists have now downgraded it to a tropical storm. ...

Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese, is the second major storm to hit Japan this season.

Note the continual reference to the name - Usagi - oddly enough, despite the name being Japanese, it isn't what the Japanese call it. If you take a look at this page (screenshot extract below) you see what the Japanese call the typhoon:
Wot no Usagi?
For those who can't read Japanese the first two blue characters are read "Tai Hoo" (i.e. Typhoon) and the next two are read "5 go" which means number 5, and putting it together we have the name of this typhoon: "Typhoon number 5". So in other words the way the Japanese refer to typhoons is by counting them up from 1 for each year/season. No mention of usagi (or any other name such as man-yi which the BBC claims was the title of an earlier one).

Oh and by the way, the Japanese look at the flooding in England and wonder why England is apparently so unprepared. Kyushu regularly gets 200+ mm rainfalls each time a typhoon shows up - maybe half a dozen times a year - and it is far from uncommon to have utterly ridiclous amounts of rain (500 mm or more). I suspect the same applies to the Mineapolis bridge collapse. Japan spends a heck of a lot on infratructure because it gets lots of rain, snow, wind every year as well as earthquakes and occasionally volcanos. A lot of what it spends is pork but it does seem to me that people tolerate it because, as I wrote sometime before, what you get is good quality.