Monday, August 10, 2009

Prayers and thoughts for Sayo-cho

Typhoon season usually arrives in Japan about midway through the summer and peaks in September. Some years are worse than others. Early this week, the town of Sayo, located in Hyogo prefecture (where I am living), was hit hard. There was a significant amount of damage and at least 8 people are dead, with others still missing.

A 55-year-old office worker said he saw three women washed away by waters Sunday night.

"I heard them scream and saw three women washed away. The current was so fast the three disappeared in seconds," he said.

Before the women were swept away, they were walking together while only a little rain was falling, the man said.

In the town's Hongo district, Satomi Kobayashi, 40, was evacuating from her home to a nearby elementary school with her three children when she was swept away in a flood of muddy water. The bodies of Kobayashi and her 16-year-old daughter, Ayano, were found nearby.

A nearby bridge was washed away and rice paddies in the area were submerged in mud.

Naomi Ikeda, 45, said her husband was missing.

She found his car stuck against a tree in the Sayo River.

Kazuma Ikeda, 54, left their home in the car at around 8 p.m. Sunday to take a flashlight to his mother's house, where the electricity had been knocked out.

"I shouldn't have let him go," Naomi Ikeda said.

She said that soon after her husband left home, the rain turned into a downpour and within five minutes the house was filled with water, coming up to her chest.

Forty minutes later, she called her husband to ask him to come home, but that was the last contact she had with him.

I think this is a good time to offer up our prayers and/or thoughts for the vitcims of the typhoon.


  1. and now the earthquake

  2. Indeed. From what I've read, there have been at least a couple earthquakes near Tokyo over the last few days.

    But then, there are always earthquakes going on over here.

  3. I just read about this in the paper this morning. Glad to know you're okay over there, and I suppose you'll be glad to head Stateside soon.

  4. Living in a first-world country like Japan, it's easy to forget how susceptible we are to things like natural disasters.