Biggest Fan Mail Friday YET! [June 29 2012]

Fan Mail Friday has never been so exciting and full of information. This week I received some spectacular questions from our viewers and readers. Many of these questions will be helpful to those of you heading out this way so let’s waste no time.

I hear shops (clothing) in japan are more tailored to small size people. Is it hard to find clothes that fit or is it better to shop online?

WOW! Great question and one that I am sure has been burning in the brains of many who are preparing to come here to Okinawa. For the most part what you hear is right. Shops here in Japan have clothes which are meant for smaller people but that’s because the average person here is on the smaller side. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t have the ability to find clothing that fits you here. There are shops which carry “Queen Sizes” as they are known here for us woman who are more of the American size and shape. At almost every department store you can find up to a 3L which is what I would consider (depending on the company of course) an American L or XL. There are also stores which will sell up to an 8L. Ultimately this means that there are clothes out there for you if you are not as small as the typical Japanese person.

** Side Note: Before I continue on let’s talk about sizes here in Japan. There is XS, S, M, L, LL and then 3L, 4L and so on. Different companies can run slightly small or slightly large so it depends on what you are looking at. Either way it’s always best to try it on if you have the chance before making the purchase.

It is important to note that a;though these clothes are out there you might not find everything in every size and if you are looking for these sizes you are going to have to put in some effort. Although you may be a common size in the US you are not a common size here and that is something you are going to find yourself dealing with. That being said I have never had trouble finding clothes here (I wear a 3L to a 5L depending on what I am purchasing and how I want that particular item to fit.) as far as basics, fashion items and pants go. Again that’s not to say that every time I go shopping I walk out of a department store with my bags full but I can occasionally find items that I like and pick them up here and there.

Now, if you are here with the US Military you will have the option of shopping on base. This is good because you have the opportunity to work with sizing you are familiar with and with clothes brands you may already be familiar with but be forewarned there are two clear divides in the shopping centers on base: Juniors and Old Lady. If you are anything bigger than a juniors size and you are still wanting to look youthful you may have some trouble shopping on the base.

As far as shopping online it is really up to you. I have been here for 6 years now and what used to be a 10 is no longer a 10 if you know what I mean. It is for this reason that I really don’t shop online because by the time it gets here, I try it on to see if it fits, I doesn’t fit, I pay to ship it back and get another size. . . . Summer is already over and I am out more now because of the cost of shipping the item back and forth. For someone like yourself if you are coming here and know where you like to shop and what you want to purchase then you might find yourself purchasing online without a problem so it’s entirely up to you.

I just found out you can get Netflix in Japan. Do you have Netflix? Why or Why not?

Unfortunately Netflix is not available in Japan and therefore I do not have it. I have done some research, however, and have found that if you are living on the military bases you can get Netflix DVD’s mailed to your on base address but you cannot stream and there have been some pretty bad reviews because of the amount of time that it takes the DVD’s to get here as they are sent 4th class mail. You can get Hulu here now although I truthfully am not very informed about that service so I could not tell you much about it.

Since you basically live on an island do you spend a lot of time at the beach?

This question made me chuckle. I am sorry I don’t mean it but once you get here it will make more sense. I don’t basically live on an island I definitely live on an island. Okinawa is only about 60 miles long and at times only 2 miles wide so yes it’s very much an island. 🙂 But back to your question. Do I spend a lot of time at the beach? I am going to assume that by “spending time” you mean like you would in the US where you go to the beach in a swim suit set yourself in the sun and enjoy the sand and the surf. Let’s first talk about beaches. Although Okinawa is an island it is comprised of coral and therefore it does not have sandy beach surrounding the entire island. In some places there are concrete steps leading to the ocean and in other places there are these large concrete “jacks” (called tetropods). Both of these prevent erosion. It is also important to note that although there are various beaches around the island they are not all safe to swim at recreationally. During certain seasons Okinawa has what is known as the box jellyfish which is extremely dangerous and people are strongly discouraged from swimming in areas that have not been sectioned off. (You will notice when you get here that there seems to be a big beach but people are only swimming in a small area. This is to protect them from the box jellyfish.

Ok so do I spend a lot of time at the beach. I do but not in the way that I think you are asking. In the summertime I do not spend much time at the beach at all. It is too hot. With temps in the 80’s and 90’s and humidity on the up side of 95% you really can’t spend more than an hour out in the sun without overheating. It is nice to jump in the water but the fact of the matter is that before you get back to your beach towel you are already going to be overheating again. It is also very difficult to turn back from overheating here in the Okinawa summer. Especially if you are lying out on the beach. During the winter I am at the beach all the time going for walks, eating lunch and just enjoying the view. I do like to tan from time to time though but I am lucky enough to have a deck looking out on the ocean that I can use and when I want to cool off on a hot summer day and look out on the ocean my tub has a window which has the most perfect view of the sunset. I realize that is probably cheating but it works for me 😛

I’m big into movies what is the last big name movie plain in Okinawa like in America. We have have at least 10 movies to chose from. How many in Okinawa?

Okinawa is also big into movies. Here are some of the movies in English that were playing at a local theater called the Mihama 7Plex: The Amazing Spiderman, Bad Teacher, Navy Seals, Hungry Rabbit, Snow White and the Huntsman, Soul Surfer, We bought a Zoo, The Vow, Dark Shadow, Men in Black and Larry Crowe. Of course not all movies come out as quickly as they do in the US but they are still relatively on top of their game. The one thing that you will notice about movies here is that they are more expensive than in the US. Adults are 1600yen, High School 1300, Elementary School 1000, Senior 1000, Infant 600 and physically challenged 800. There are some deals that happen throughout the week also which offer discounts. Every Wednesday is ladies day where women get in for 1000yen and on Monday is men’s day where they can get in for 1100yen. There is also a deal on the 22nd of every month where a married couple can see a movie for a total of 2200yen. Although the prices seem high they are off set by the cost of snacks which is relatively low. A popcorn and soda for example will only cost you 350yen so compared to what you are used to in the US it’s quite a deal.

Is the water safe to drink in Japan.

When I first got this question I was wondering what exactly this person was talking about. I had responded to them in person and asked if they had been referring to radiation but they had explained that they were just referring to water in general. This person had been told that when in Japan not to drink the water or use ice because you would get very ill. This was interesting to me but at the same time when I think back to when I first came here I had heard some people warning me about the same thing.

Long story short it is perfectly safe to drink the water, eat the egg products, use ice and consume foods here in Japan. I honestly think that this is a tactic that some people use to make people feel as of they should not travel to another country in order to keep themselves safe but that is just my honest opinion. I have been here for over 6 years now and never once had a problem drinking water or consuming anything. I do use a filter for my drinking water but this is not because of anything other than I feel as though it’s a good way to ensure that any water you are drinking is clean and free of debris of any kind. Have I drank straight from the tap, yes. No problems.

Will the humidity make me break out?

Truthfully I have no idea what the humidity will do to you. For me the humidity makes my hair frizzy but I suppose you could break out from the humidity if that is what generally happens to your skin.

How long is the flight from Denver to Okinawa?

The flight to Okinawa from Denver is anywhere from 16 to 25 hours depending on where you are flying into, the weather conditions and so on. Then there is the matter of how long it will take you when you add in the amount of time that you are laying over at the airports so yeah. For me flying from MA the trip took me about 48 hours which was brutal but that’s what happens when you are traveling and having layovers here and there. When it all comes down to brass tax yes it is an incredibly long flight and it is important to ensure that you are prepared which will make the flight easier for everyone. Ensure that you keep yourself entertained, comfortable and busy for most of the trip and it won’t seem as bad.

Are the airports scary and confusing?

This is one of those questions that depends on where you are flying through. I have flown through Haneda and Osaka without any problems. Each airport has it’s share of English speaking staff, prompts and signs which will ensure that you know where you are going. The airport does not HAVE to be scary if you take the time to stop, breath and just listen. I realize that this can sound silly but seriously it is very helpful. Most of the time signs will go through a few different languages so make sure that you take time to stop and read what is on the sign. It won’t take too long so again don’t worry just relax.

Is it expensive to mail things from Okinawa to the US?

Since I am aware that you are going to be coming here as military no it is not expensive to mail things back to the US. You will have use of an APO or FPO which is basically the USPS here in another country where you can send your items as if they are being sent from California. It still may take a little more time for these items to arrive than they would if you were to mail them from the US but the cost will be the same.

If you are mailing from Okinawa’s post office (the one out in town) then yes it can be expensive to mail from Okinawa to the US depending on what you are sending and how you would like it sent.

Can I use my American appliances in Japan?

Yes. American appliances can be used in Japan regardless where you live although it is important to remember that you may need to buy a special plug converter to make your appliances capable of being plugged in. It is also important to remember that if you are living off base you may find yourself shorting out circuits if you are trying to run too many American appliances at once so be careful. Overall you should not have a problem though.

Thanks so much everyone for the fantastic questions this week I hope that you have more in the weeks to come. Have a great weekend!

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Fan Mail Friday! YEN [June 8 2012]

It’s FAN MAIL FRIDAY over here at OkiNinjaKitty. What’s Fan Mail Friday? Well, throughout the week I read all of the comments that I receive as well as any emails that I receive at okininjakitty@yahoo.com as well as anything that I get over at the Facebook. I then try to answer as many of them as possible. Of course some of these answers can easily be answered with a simple comment but for those who require a bit more of an in depth response you can expect to hear back from us in blog form as well as VLOG.

A super fan of ours known as MSOld7 asks:

Can you get yen anywhere or do most places take plastic or USD?

This is a great question!

So before I get into any of these details I think it’s important to know that when traveling to any country it is important to ensure that you are bringing at least some money that you retrieve from a bank in your home country or some cash that you can exchange at the airport. Of course getting foreign currency will be different depending on the banks in your home country although in the US I understand that you can call your bank and set up a time to pick up a set amount of currency. If that’s not your style bringing cash with you will ensure that you can change out that currency once you get to the airport. There are sure to be currency exchanges. I understand that Narita, Haneda, Osaka and Naha all have places where you can exchange currency so you shouldn’t have a problem there.

Now let’s talk about when you are on the ground and are actually starting your vacation. Since you are in Okinawa you have a TON of advantages that you might not have in other parts of Japan. The first advantage is that there are various places where you can get yen. If you have access to the military installations you can get yen from the ATM’s on the bases. If not that’s ok! You can exchange dollars for yen at various banks through Okinawa or even at yen exchange machines which are located in areas heavy with Americans such as Mihama’s Make Man store and the AEON in Mihama as well. There are also ATM’s available at almost every convenience store here in Okinawa (Lawson, FamilyMart or Cocoa). Not all of these ATM machines may not work with all ATM or bank cards so you may have to look around but this should not be too much of a problem because these konbini’s are all over the place.

If you don’t have any yen on you or if you want to shop without the restriction of yen you can use plastic at a variety of places here in Okinawa although this is not something I would advise as a reliable way of paying for things. Most restaurants do not take plastic (credit card). There are some that do and when they do they usually will take most of the major credit card companies so you will not have to worry there although these places are not as common as in the US which means your options will be limited and you might not be able to eat anything you want. Shops also may or may not take card. It depends on their preference. It is always a good idea to ask before you start to shop/eat which you can do the difficult way “cer-re-di-ka-do de-har-ratte-mo-ii-desu-ka” which is how I asked until I was informed that I could talk like a regular human and say something like “ca-do de ii desk ka”. Or if you are like the many who get on the spot and can’t seem to remember what the heck you are supposed to say you can always take out the card in one hand and make an “a-o-k” sign with the other and you will also be able to get your point across. Of course it is always good to learn the language if you are going to be here for a long period of time but let’s face it. . . . our memories don’t always serve us the way we would like.

There are places which will almost never take credit card which include road side stands, convenience stores and vendors. Grocery stores are also not known for taking card unless they are big companies. AEON for example will take credit but San A will not. Again, just ask. It’s always important to ask.

For USD you are also in luck when here in Okinawa. There are places out in town that will take USD. These places are USUALLY (and I stress usually because there could be other places out there which do not fit this mold but I don’t know off hand) food places. It is important to remember, however, that the places which take dollars have the ability to determine the rate at which the dollar to yen is for their business. One place you go may have an 80yen to 1 dollar conversion where as another place along side them may give an even 100yen to 1 dollar conversion. This is completely up to the business and you as the patron should always be cautious of what you are using to pay for what you are purchasing. It is arguable that in most cases paying with yen will benefit you more, however, there are some very rare cases where the business with take a bit of a hit for more business. (An example of this is some of the tanning salons here in Okinawa which still do a one to one yen rate). Of course it is completely up to you. There are some cases when I just use the yen and others when if I have some dollars in my pocket I might use that even if the rate is not that great.

Overall I would say that it is very much the luck of the draw while here in Okinawa. Your best bet is to have everything with you at all times and that way you can ensure you never have to turn away from a store because they don’t happen to take the method of payment you have available to you at the time!

Thanks so much for reading this post I hope that I have offered some insight to using various types of currency here in Okinawa. If you have any more comments and questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me at okininjakitty@yahoo.com

What I have done to prep for Tokyo [June 13 2012]

As most of you know from watching my videos, reading my blog and following me on Facebook I am taking a trip to Tokyo here in the next few weeks. This trip is going to be a lot of fun because not only am I going on a trip but I am going to be meeting my mom there who I have not spent time with one on one for over 20 years. Of course this is incredibly exciting to me and so I want to ensure that everything goes as well as possible which means that there has been a lot of preparation to ensure that everything goes well.

This is not my first trip to Tokyo and therefore it is important to me personally to try and improve on the last trip that I took. I would not say that my first trip to Tokyo was a failure but there were a number of things that I could have done better to make a better overall trip. This involved myself as well as my hubby Rusty sitting down and talking about what we think didn’t do right and therefore making the odds of this trip being good would be better. In this post I am going to go over the things that we talked about and therefore hopefully you can find yourself having a better experience if you want to go to Tokyo.

The first thing that we did was determine what it was that we were going to Tokyo for. What is it that is going to be the main focus of our trip when we arrive in Tokyo? For us this was really simple. My mother and I both very much love Disney and therefore it was a no brainier that we would be spending most of our time in Disneyland and Disney Sea. Once this decision was made, which was a quick one, we had to determine where we wanted to stay. For us this was again a no brainer. My mother is a member of the Disney Vacation Club  and as we were spending time in Tokyo Disney it was perfect to stay in one of the resident hotels. Once that was done it was time to book a flight. Of course this is something that you could can do by taking a number of routes. Here in Okinawa there are various places where you can get flights booked. If you have access to the military bases there are travel agents there who can assist you or if you can find travel agents out in town as well. If you are like me you like to stay away from the travel agencies and go ahead and find a flight on your own. This is the best way to get the best rate on a flight. For me I found myself finding an airline which was just string flights from Okinawa. This allowed me to get a stellar flight for a great price. Of course with some of the discount airlines you might find yourself having to make adjustments. For me the adjustment I needed to make was flying out a day early. If course this required me to find a hotel room for the day but luckily the flight was so inexpensive that I was capable of saving $100+ even after booking the flights and hotel.

When it comes to booking a hotel there are some more tips that I can offer. The important thing here is again do your research. One of the things that I have found myself doing is using Yahoo rather than using Google. There are tons of resources online where you can find information  regarding hotels. Booking is also really simple and can in most cases be done in English so don’t fear. Of course if you are to go this route make sure that everything is printed out and that you have all of your information readily accessible to ensure you are ready to go during check in.

Now that all of this is taken care of it’s time to start thinking about the other more in depth elements of your trip. Planning what you want to do is extremely important when traveling to Tokyo. Although I am a huge fan of just going with the flow you can find yourself missing out quite a bit if you do this during your time in the city. I often compare Tokyo not to traveling to a city in fact but rather like traveling to a state. You wouldn’t just go to Massachusetts and say “let’s walk around and see what happens”. For this reason it is important in my opinion to ensure that you know where you want to go and what you want to do. This will ensure that you also have a plan on how to get yourself to those places and therefore you will loose less time than if you were to try and figure out how to get from here to there with the train system. To make sure that you can do this I always advise to have a map of the trains and subways. Of course these are available in the stations but it is also good to ensure that you can look closely before you get to the point where you need to buy a ticket. It is also helpful to look at these maps and such before you get to the station so maybe over lunch or before you leave the hotel for the day. I found this extremely helpful when I had gone to Tokyo the first time. Of course there is a good chance that I looked like a looser but I was never lost so that’s a plus. Let me talk for a moment about the planning. Having been to Tokyo before I had an idea of what it would be like but my mother having never been to Tokyo it was different hearing what she had wanted to do and what I had experienced would be possible during the trip. My mom being an avid Travel Channel viewer she had plans of seeing Tokyo the way that you see it in the travel shows. She had seen Samantha Brown travel as well as Andrew Zimmerman and had wanted to do a number of the things that they do when they do their shows in Tokyo. Of course this was something we could have definitely accomplished but at the same time there was no focus. She had wanted to try street food and go to a theme restaurant and so from what I had experienced in the past it was important to make a plan on what exactly she wanted out of the trip. Street food was not something that I had seen in Tokyo during the time that I was there so I honestly am not sure where we would go to get something like that but nonetheless there were other areas that I could cover. The theme restaurant that my mother had experienced was the one which was on an episode of Bizarre foods. This one in particular was one that had some . . . . . questionable items on the menu. In fact I am not sure that I would want to go there myself and certainly not with my mom. I talked to her about it too and she agreed that she would like to go to a place a little more. . . cute rather than something scary and gross for a lack of a better word. The simplest answer for this in my opinion is going to a Maid Cafe. I searched around for a few and finally found one that was popular and touristy which means it has information online and english menu so that was very helpful. The other thing that my mom wanted to do was try something strange and interesting so I am planning on heading to Sunshine City and Ice Cream City. Here they have a variety of different ice creams that are unimaginable like chicken wing and squid ink. This is a must do during our trip and therefore another place that we wanted to make sure we put on the itinerary. The final part of the trip is going to be spent at Disney so that is extremely simple to plan especially because we will be just a 10 minute walk from the park itself. I could make an entire post just talking about Disney travel tips and tricks which I might end up doing for you in the near future but nonetheless this part of the trip is very planned out also. Everything from finding exactly what they serve at various locations to making sure that we can get on all the rides we want to it’s going to be a lot of fun but took a lot of planning.

There are also so many other things that I have done to try and accommodate for my mom and ensure that this trip is one of the best ever. I was going to write more about that in this post but I think that to be honest it will be better if I go ahead and just post different posts to make it a bit more comprehensive and readable. So keep an eye on the blog and VLOG for more information about traveling to Tokyo.

High expectations the reason for bad travel reviews? [June 14 2012]

I have been doing a lot of research recently for my Tokyo trip. I am not looking for a great deal of information but just a few things that would make the trip easy like if the hotel has a laundry service so nothing big. During my research I ended up spending time some time reading reviews which I found were interesting and at times surprising.

To be completely honest I read only the English comments because I wasn’t into translating. During the time that I was reading I started to see a pattern and that pattern is that basically I think people have high expectations when traveling to another country and in some cases feel that that country should accommodate to what is part of your particular culture or it simply is not up to good standards. This is best illustrated in the example of bedding. Now here in Japan it is most common for people to sleep using futon. Futon can be closely compared to a long thin mat that is rolled out on the floor and from there a sleepy person would sleep upon it like a bed because. . . . it is a bed. If you were to go to home shops you might also see the same type of thing where the futon is rolled out on a raised level which looks similar to a bed or in some cases a mattress is used although it is usually firm. Knowing this you might only assume that it is natural for the beds in Japan to have a similar build where they are firm. Unfortunately there are a great deal of people traveling to Japan who don’t seem to know this and therefore feel extremely disappointed or even distraught about the fact that the beds are firm or “feel as if you are sleeping on the floor”. The comments that I had read were absolutely relentless stating things like “Japanese obviously hate Americans” just for the feel of the bed. It actually makes me wonder if these people had ever traveled to another country ever before. My thought is no and the reason that I say this is supported by something else that I found myself reading during my research and that was that no one spoke English and “staff was extremely unhelpful because of it”. Wow. This is always one of the things that surprise me the most when I hear it from people who travel to countries which do not have English as a primary language. Of course English may be available from time to time, however, just because a hotel has “english speaking staff” for example does not mean that everyone on staff at all times speaks English. Truthfully I do not feel as if there is a lot of explaining for me to do in order to try and help others understand that when traveling to Japan it might not be possible to communicate in English but I suppose that there are some out there who just feel this way and that saddens me. In fact the reason that I am most sad about this is because the way that these comments are made almost make it seem as if these families were traveling to Tokyo and going to certain destinations and then having no assistance whatsoever. It seems like they are made to figure out everything on their own and fend for themselves which I do not think is the case. What I can do is explain what I have experienced in the time that I have been here. I have been in Japan for approximately  6 years now but my language skills are not the best especially because Okinawa is not the best place to learn Japanese but I will get into that during a different post. Regardless my lack of language skills I have never encountered a problem doing anything here in Japan be it Tokyo, Osaka or Okinawa. I Have also take a number of steps to ensure that I do not run into problems. I have a great survival vocabulary and when I do not know I have taken time to make accommodations for ahead of time. Anyone can do this and I encourage anyone going to any country to do something similar.

There were other things that I had read about and just thought was amazing that people were not considering these things when they left on a trip to Japan. I suppose some people are just never satisfied. Thanks for reading.

Typhoon season pushes on [June 15 2012]

Currently a category 2 the storm is expected to hit us in 96 hours at a category 3.

It’s Friday and a quick check to the weather forecast this morning shows that the typhoon season is showing no mercy this year. We are already into our 2nd storm of the year. This is Guchol and although the storm is still very much south of us the projections say that it is expected to hit us here in approximately 96 hours which. The storm is currently a category 2 (as of 2:16pm Friday June 15 2012) and is projected to come at us as a category 3 if it does not pick up any speed in the coming days.

This is an interesting storm because not only is it scheduled to hit us head on which is something we tend to have the ability to avoid but it is going to be coming at us from a different angel than we are used to. Of course this does not seem as though it would cause any more problems however at times when a storm comes from this way it could mean that there is slightly more damage because of the direction of the winds. Either way Okinawa will be ok. As I have said before Okinawa is built for typhoons although when a storm does come from this direction you start to see some things moved around like you wouldn’t necessarily expect because of the change in direction.

I will be posting more as I hear more information and as I see more. Thanks for reading.

Fan Mail Friday: “Did you lose weight when you came to Japan” [June 15 2012]

Today was Fan Mail Friday and that means that I take time to answer your questions and comment on some of the comments that you had made. There were a number of great comments that I received and I would encourage you to go over to the video link in the beginning of the post but in this post I would like to talk a little bit about one question that I received.

A person asked:

Did you lose weight when you came to Japan because of the change in diet?

The short answer to this is no.

Before I came to Okinawa I was a full time dancer and dance teacher. This meant that I was dancing at least 6 to 8 hours a day. During that time I was also eating a very healthy diet with limited processed foods. When I came here the type of diet that I had didn’t change much therefore no I didn’t lose weight when I first came to Japan.

My personal opinion of this is that I don’t think that this is necessarily something that is going to happen unless you are actively trying to lose weight and change your diet. The facts are that Japan’s diet is full of fresh foods and natural foods but this doesn’t mean that there are not boxed and preserved foods. If you were to indulge in these foods you would find yourself gaining weight where as if you were to stick to the more fresh foods you might see yourself losing weight. There is also the matter of rice. . . . . No matter how hard you try if you are eating rice three times a day you are going to find yourself not only not losing weight but you are going to find yourself gaining weight. This is especially the case if you are eating rice into the night. I understand that this is something that Japanese people do from time to time or dare I say often but for some reason it does not affect them like it affects us. This is in my opinion one of the reasons that people gain weight (and there are numbers who do) when they come here.

Long story short I think that it all comes down to your will power. If you can’t avoid McDonalds in the US you are not going to be ale to avoid it here. . . . . and yes we have it with a number of there places.

Preparing for a Cat 4: Guchol kicked it up a notch [June 16 2012]

Waking up this morning I found myself making a regularly scheduled check on the tropical storm website that I check during this season. When I did I was surprised to find that the typhoon that is headed our way is now predicted to come at us at a category 4 (as of 0600 June 16). This was surprising to me because it is early in the season but nonetheless this doesn’t change the fact that we have a storm headed our way. Before I continue on I feel that it is important for me to mention that there are a number of important facts to remember if you are reading this and are in Okinawa. First of all there is never a guarantee that the storm will follow the predicted path. We have these predictions to ensure that we have some warning and be prepared but there is still a chance that it could take a number of different paths or disappear all together.

Now that this is out of the way let’s talk about what a typhoon is and what you should expect if you are here in Okinawa. To make it as simple as possible a typhoon is a wind storm which usually comes a long with rain although there are times when it doesn’t and let me say that is an incredible interesting storm to experience (which I did the summer before last). They are incredibly easy to prepare for and are very survivable unlike some of the storms that you may encounter in the US or other countries. They are categorized according to the power of the wind that is traveling with the storm. There are tropical depressions and tropical storms which are the very basic warnings that there may be a typhoon on the way and then there are typhoons category 1 through 5. Category 1 is predicted to have approximately 90 mile per hour winds where a category 5 have winds over 156 miles per hour. All are possible and about 3 or 4 years ago we did have a cat 5 over here (which is also known as a super typhoon) but again you can prepare for these storms. In the case of this particular storm we are looking at winds to be approximately 130 miles per hour.

Being that you now understand what a typhoon is (roughly) let’s talk about what is necessary to do in order to prepare for this type of storm. The first thing that you are going to want to do is ensure that you have enough supplies to get you through at least 7 days. These foods should be capable of being eaten with little prep time and should also be nonperishable. I understand that this may be difficult and therefore might not be as healthy as what you are used to but trust me when I say it is important to ensure that you have these foods. I am sure that there are some people out there who feel that 7 days is too long but the fact of the matter is that there are cases when you may be without food for this amount of time and so you want to be prepared. There was one storm a few years ago which had sat over us for 4 days and once it finally went away there was still over 24 hours before the roads were safe to drive on again and about 48 hours before the stores were open again. For some families, including my own, typhoon food is nutritious and as healthy as possible but I also take the advantage of getting some fun things to keep morale up because the fact is when you are in the house for more than 3 days non stop without being able to leave it can be difficult to handle and sometimes oreos are welcome. Of course it is also important to ensure that you have water available also. In some cases it is a good idea to ensure that you have the bath tub filled as well as bottled water.

There is also prep that needs to be taken care of outside of the house. When we have a storm, especially one cat 4, it is important to ensure that everything is taken into the house and/or storage rooms. There are also other helpful and interesting ways to put your outdoor items away like putting them in a car of van or in cases where you can not bring them in the house or put them in a secure area you can tie things down. Personally I feel that tying things down is not the best option because with steady winds of 130 to 140 miles per hour a cord is not necessarily going to keep things in place. I cannot stress how important it is to pick up your outdoor items. Any little doll or screw driver can be deadly during a storm like this and it is so important to ensure that you have taken care of your items in order to ensure that your assets are protected as well as the assets of those around you.

Overall preparing for a typhoon is relatively simple and can be done within a few hours (and your yard will look wonderful in the process so talk about a win win!). The most important thing to do, however, is to stay focused calm and do not worry about the storm. If you are going to focus energy focus it on the preparation and the rest of the storm will be a piece of cake!