The end of Tsuyu – Rainy Season –

JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, announced the rainy season was over on 13 July in the southern Kyushu and 20 July in the northern Kyushu. We are happy to welcome the beginning of summer! But be careful, these days summers are getting much hotter than what they used to be. In my childhood, summers were like 30 – 32 degrees Celsius (86 – 90 F) at the highest air temperature, but in the recent years it can reach 36 – 38 C (97 – 100 F) . So those of you who are planning to visit Japan should be well prepared for the heat, you can get heatstroke. To prevent it, you should wear a hat / cap, sip water / sport drink, take a break in the shade once in a while, for example. Moreover, it’s so muggy, steaming hot until the mid September. You should also prepare spare clothes.

Earthquake is over now?

– Three major quakes rocked Kumamoto in 7,000 years –
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201607100005.html

According to this article, it seems Kumamoto will be safe again soon, at least for the next 120 years or so. This is only about the northern part of Kumamoto Prefecture. But actually in the south, we still have some after shocks repeatedly, twice a week or so. Though they are no longer that strong, only level 2 – 3 quakes out of 7 of the Japanese earthquake intensity scale.

Regarding the intensity scale of earthquakes, refer to the following link.

http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/Activities/inttable.html

Earthquakes

I came back to Gokanosho yesterday after doing guiding jobs for foreign guests. I feel so sorry to hear of the loss of 47 people so far we had during/after the earthquakes happened in Kumamoto. Everyone in Gokanosho is OK, though we have had some rockfalls on the roads and some landslides. We still have to be careful of the continuous aftershocks.

I was in Kumamoto city when the first quake hit Kumamoto on 14 April night after visiting Kumamoto castle and Suizenji Garden in the afternoon with German guests. I gave them a lift to Hitoyoshi with my German guests next day, it was supposed to be a beautiful scenic tour on the traditional Steam Locomotive train on their own. And the next day was a tour to Kagoshima. The guests changed their plan to catch a flight back to Tokyo a day ahead of schedule.

Below is a little collection of the damaged structures of Kumamoto. Kumamoto Castle lost some of its towers and stonewalls. Aso lost its important highway which is one of two linking ways to/from Kumamoto and Aso shrine, the important treasure, collapsed. Shinkansen railways are badly damaged and they are estimated that it should take a long time to fix everything as they used to be. Gokanosho has had only rockfalls and some cracks on the road as far as I know.

However, we must go on to tomorrow in our living. Last night we had rehearsals of “Kagura”, which is a performance of dances by Hagi village, one of five villages of Gokanosho, dedicated to mountain gods. This is one of our traditions handed down for generations. We are going to hold a ceremony at Hagi shrine near Heike-so tomorrow, hoping for no more earthquakes…