February 26, 2008

A Taifu is seriously not a fun time to be in love

I would like to share an experience of my own now. I don't know that vanity had anything to do with my derision but I really relate to Araby because I can see how our minds become overruled by infatuation. I lived in Fukuoka, Japan in 1990-1994 roughly and I met a girl who I really couldn't get off my mind. She was super, fantastic, the best looking girl I had ever seen. I didn't waste time using every method I could to further develop a relationship with this super, super fantastically gorgeous girl. Everything about her was awesome. I couldn't find a flaw. She was sophisticated, learned, cultured and she was an artist with extraordinary skill. Her name was Yayoi, a real rare name that translates to March in English. I thought it was cool to be called March because although in English we have names like April, August, Sunday, June, Mae etc. we didn't have a March. This added to my unfounded adoration.
I had managed to secure a date to go out to eat together one afternoon. We made a promise (yakusoku or appointment) the day before to meet at her house in Takamiya to the north of Fukuoka at 4:00 p.m. I was so head over heals in a dream about her, I couldn't wait for tomorrow to get here. I kept telling time Hurry up! Hurry up! I couldn't sleep fast enough. I kept waking up and it was still 3:18 or 4:20. When I really woke up later that morning, I decided to visit my other friend, Akiko.
In Japan they have a whole season of rain in August or July, where it rains every day, it is called Tsuyu, or simply translated the rainy season. A constant downpour of water. It rains big time, umbrellas and rain suits are pretty much useless. No kidding , non-stop rain 24 hours a day for about one month of every year. Many other Asian nations get to experience this rainy season too, but Japan is surrounded by water. That is the definition of an island. Every year during the rainy season, torrential storm currents oftentimes develop into massive taifu or typhoons, with great destructive potential. The houses windows are usually reinforced by wooden, aluminum, or steel panels to further aid against the potentially life threatening taifu that is coming to town. In California we have drop, duck and roll, fire drills, or earthquake drills all very potentially hazardous. The best way to describe a taifu is a tornado but coupled with a million gallons of water flying though Kansas at a million miles an hour. I had experienced two taifu before this incident. No big deal. We duct taped our windows because we didn't have the luxury of panel reinforcements, and we stay inside. Everything we want to keep we put indoors. Bikes, cows, cars whatever could just be strewn around. So I had no excuse for not knowing the power and affects of a taifu.
You would think that I would understand the necessity of giving respect to such an awesome force like mother nature's very own water powered tornado the taifu, but there was another force working inside of me that was even stronger than the taifu at work outside of me. I had become infatuated, what the Japanese term in a verb muchu ni naru or to become directly in the middle or center of a dream about her, maybe starry eyed would be a better translation.
I was at the other part of town in the south, about close to a 50 minutes bike ride to Takamiya my most important destination for that time in my life. Getting to meet her, spend time with her and getting to know her meant more to me than anything. happen at around 10:00 in the morning. Visiting another friend and she was in her own right a very beautiful princess herself. She would have been quite a catch. But to me she was my kindergarten friend. We played piano together. I had travelled by bicycle to her house and it just seemed like another one of those tsuyu days.
Even if I did wear a rain coat, Japan is so humid that my sweat creates rain inside my suit, in other words it was hard to stay dry. It was overcast, but I didn't look so bad. It didn't look like a taifu was headed our way and was going to hit our city, nobody had many anything to me before .As my other friend and I were playing around on her piano and looking at pictures a news warning on TV told us that we are now in a state of emergency blah , blah, blah. Prepare for the arrival of a taifu immediately they said. No one was to have activities outside, only that we should batten down the hatches quickly and get to somewhere safe fast. and get ready for some mighty swirling water wind.
I remember being stuck at her house wanting so badly to brave the taifu to get to my dream date. I tried everything to get to go. But they didn't have to persuade me for very long. A taifu is dangerous. Don't get stuck out ion one that is for sure, they might never find you or you might get hurt. My other friend's father cautioned me 'there will be no way to go anywhere now at all 'as he pointed to the grey sky and ominous looking things developing outside. I was torn between feelings. I felt meeting her was my sole purpose now in life. Nothing else mattered. Not the best piano music or anything. Missing that chance, I felt somehow deprived of all that is dear to me. My mind wanted to go ,but for safety's sake I was talked out of leaving Akiko's house eventually being persuaded by myself. It wouldn't even be possible. The winds were howling outside. Your hair blew up in your face like grass being blown in a field as the strong winds gave no mercy to civilization. as more important to die in a taifu in an attempt to make it 50 minutes away. In reality, not even the dumbest of fools would have attempted to ride their bike in a taifu. NOBODY! and to get to see her than it was to be safe get I told the dad if I really hurried on my bike a wouldn't be in danger. He knew far better than I did the destructive force of a taifu, you would be crazy to brave the taifu on a bike to get to He denied my pleading to take leave while even though I tried being super nice to him by emphasizing how good of a host he had been to me.
So there were my circumstances. I was so devastated. I had to face the fact that I couldn't meet her today. Nature prevented me from getting what I wanted and from getting where I wanted to go. Fate would have it that way. It sucked. I was miserable and I couldn't not show it even though I tried. Akiko's family tried cheering me up by saying that we could all have a picnic in their home and wait until the storm cleared then it would be safe to leave. I countered that remark to myself by saying, but I can't wait around until the storm clears, I have to see her now, at 4:00.
I really wanted that date. It was the only one I had. I had no insurance that I might get another. I asked, " How could the weather change so fast,; if I leave now, I could make it to my other date before the edge of the taifu even got to us." The fact was, that while I was playing with my other friend the taifu had already edged its way in. The winds were getting louder, and stronger. The news said the winds would get upward of 200 Kph. I took one last look outside Akiko's front door to see if all this stuff was true, thinking to myself maybe I could escape. (That would be disrespectful to Akiko's family who graciously hosted me and harbored me during that taifu. But my infatuation with Yayoi left me inconsiderate of others hospitality, and I became their sandtrap)I opened one of the doors, and as I did the my hand was still attached to the knob as it threw me around. I struggled to close it back up. I realized, I wouldn't even be able to hold my bike up let alone ride in it. The taifu was raging. From the edge of the taifu to the Eye of the taifu it took probably 3 hours. After that three hours we entered into the calmness of the Eye. I tried in vain again trying to get someone to believe that the storm is over. Its all calm now", I said "I can't hear the winds any more. No more winds." The mother taught me that in the center of the whirling taifu was the core and that their house was entering it now. For about 30 minutes it was really calm, but after it passed over, or by us then I could hear the winds. I thought... another three hours. So we ate our picnic, and I tried to make the best of my worst situation.
What a crazy fool I was. I wanted to see her so bad, I was gripping fists and biting my tongue, gnawing and gnashing my teeth in rebellion to this mother nature who had taken my happiness from me. I was in a bit of silent rage cursing mother nature and the taifu she rode in on, all the while asking in vain why couldn't the taifu have been any other day of the last 30yrs. Just perfect timing I guess. I had to learn from it. I didn't like the chiding. I wanted my freedom, to move about, but mother nature shoved it in my face and said nanny, nanny. My great natural powers indeed will stop a man. It did.
I gave up and decided it was useless to sit around thinking I could possibly leave in time to meet her. I resignedly called Yayoi to talk to her about it. She just said come and talk to her later and we can do it some other time. I WANTED TO GO NOW! I had become angry. Angry at wind angry at my captors (Akiko's family) Angry at everything. If I didn't learn anything else, this little episode in my life taught me patience, and it taught me that some things in life simply can't be overturned, or bypassed. The power of nature showed its full face to me that day, but I hated every second of it because of what it deprived me of.

But we must have control of ourselves at all times. We mustn't lose our place in space or time to any emotional setback or backlash where we lost our very conscious and forget who we really are. Don't give in to your emotions. If an emotion strikes that can overpower us, we must counter instantly with our minds and take back control of ourselves once again. But it is these types of emotions that empower us to learn at an accelerated pace or to do great things. To master a foreign language takes a serious amount of personal sacrifice and commitment. The tower of babel didn't make things any easier to those desirous speak a language other than one's native tongue.