Bolaven approaches

On Wednesday, Rijen sent me an email with this alarming graphic:

    The little island above the second dot to the last (R to L) where you see the word “Kadena” is where we are. An updated graphic shows that we are now even more in the direct path of the Typhoon, estimated to hit us at full force on Sunday.

We are the 5th pink dot from the RH side

I read this on the NASA website:

Bolaven formed as a tropical depression over the western Pacific Ocean on August 20, 2012, and strengthened to a typhoon the following day. By August 24, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Bolaven was located roughly 410 nautical miles (760 kilometers) southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Bolaven had maximum sustained winds of 115 knots (215 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 140 knots (260 kilometers per hour). Over the next 24 hours, the JTWC forecast, Bolaven would strengthen to carry maximum sustained winds of 120 knots (220 kilometers per hour) and gusts of 145 knots (270 kilometers per hour).

Other posted information as follows:


I had to look it up:

50 knots= 57.5 mph

120 knots= 138 mph

145 knots= 167 mph

And directives:

“Good morning, Okinawa! Looks like we have a new guest for Sunday Brunch! Bolaven will be arriving on our doorstep sometime Sunday morning with an appetite and an attitude. She is a strong-to-very strong typhoon and has now slid to a 16-mile closest-point-of-approach; and that CPA is to Kadena Air Base, so the storm center is now projected to pass directly over Naha.”


“This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 13 years, Take the time today and tomorrow to secure your outdoor items and get the supplies you need to weather this storm.”   

Brig. Gen. Matt Molloy, 18th Wing commander

Here we are, still without all of our household goods. So I went shopping this morning for emergency preparedness supplies. For us that included more canned goods, milk, orange juice, bread, bottled water (luckily I was one of the last people who cleared the bottled water section), cereal, flashlight, candles, a few more toys, coloring books, children’s medicine, diapers, wipes, fruit & ice cream. Yes, ice cream may not be that practical if there is long-term electricity loss, but that just means that I will be responsible for eating it all.


The cart in front of me was stocking up on her food-storage chips. Actually, now I am looking at it, I wish I had snagged a bag of Ruffles. I took this picture not of that cart, but just to show the long line at the commissary. It has been slammed for the last few days, and this photo doesn’t even do it justice.  I was in the “front” of the line which stretched all the way to the back of the store.

I hope I got everything we need!

Links for Typhoon preparedness:

Here is Fiona playing with some new playdough that I got in the possibility that we may be stuck inside for who knows how long.  And we were SO close to getting all of our things- which have arrived on the island.   They could have been delivered Thursday or Friday, but because of the storm, they declined to deliver them. If only they had been delivered, I could be spending all the indoors time unpacking & organizing our house!

Oh well, more time to work on the blog, I guess– if the internet holds out! And read- I already made a long list to bring to the library tomorrow.

I’m not worried about our safety–our house is very solid: it is essentially a concrete brick. Actually, just imagine a white rectangular lego block superglued to one of those green lego bases, and that is our house.   I feel very protected here on base, with a great support system in the neighborhood in case we do need assistance in any way.

Even though I am sure the local population is much more used to typhoons and dealing with the anticipation and aftermath- I do hope and pray that the typhoon passes through without serious damage to life and property on Sunday.  I will keep you all updated on here or FB!

Helpful links for updated information:

Kadena Air Base on facebook:

AFN on facebook:

Stars and Stripes Typhoon info :



In other news, I have proof that I have ventured off base and even done a little bit of shopping!

Here you can see the cutest little animal crackers ever, and of course Fiona picked Hello Kitty.

I also let Fiona pick this out. Thank goodness for the picture on the front- I would have had no idea that it was even any sort of food item.  Fiona obviously just went for the all-pink (superhero?) figure on the front.  It looks very exciting, right? Anyone read Japanese? I’m not sure if it will give her all the essential nutrients and vitamins she needs or pink hair and sparkly forehead wings.

I also picked out some other random items for myself & the home:

  • A mini dustpan for Fiona to help with cleaning/play-cleaning.  I have actually used it myself and it actually is a useful size!
  • Little containers to make hard-boiled eggs into fun shapes (haven’t tried yet).
  • Training chopsticks for Fiona.
  • An adorable baby toothbrush for Leif
  • A fun-looking oven mitt.  I stubbornly didn’t buy an oven mitt for a whole year and just used a cloth because I couldn’t find one I liked.

You know what, it wasn’t until I took the above picture of these items that I was struck by something they ALL have in common.  Do you see it? I will give you a closer look.

Every single item I bought is smiling at me!

Every single item I bought is smiling at me!

 So…the question is…are all Japanese products happy? Or is it just that I was subconsciously drawn to smiley objects because I needed to improve my mood? Whatever it is, I will attest to the fact that anthropomorphism does make housework much more fun.  It is like I have a little cast of friends to help me with my daily chores.  Kind of like Cinderella.

Ok, looking back at my pictures just now, I did take two pictures of some items I did NOT buy, which, although they do not have smiles on them, (and in fact they look more like torture devices) they are supposed to be smile-inducing.

This object looked a little scary, but thankfully has the helpful English name “Scalp Point Tool,” and a picture. It actually probably would really be nice to have around the house when you just want a nice head massage. Looking at it now, I kind of wish I had bought it.  Then right next to it was an even more alarming “tool.”

What do you think about this interesting object, in either hot pink or black?  No….stop…., please don’t let your imagination run wild- I will spell it out for you in black and white. It also luckily had a tag with an illustration on what it is used for. Upon viewing the illustration, I tried it out right there in the store, and let me tell you, it was amazing. And then I immediately went and found Rijen and made him try it too.

So, you hold the handle, and the wire rod curves exactly over your shoulder so that the plastic knob can press right into that “hard-to-reach” point on your back. It’s not exactly a “scratcher,” although I’m sure you could use it in that way, but somehow, applying the pressure point on that part of the back is very soothing.  “Or”, as Rijen said, “you could just use your hand.”

Well, enough of that- Let me know if you like these type of posts because I’m sure I could do a whole series of “interesting things found in Japanese stores.”

We also went to Sunset beach this week- it was incredible. I already posted this on FB (it is nice having an iPhone), but I will put it here again.

“Sandy oranges only taste good when the view is like this,” he said.


I will leave you with some photos of Typhoon Bolaven- not to make light of a dangerous weather situation, but I do find these weather photographs incredibly beautiful.

Bolaven from space


10 responses to “Bolaven approaches

  1. Good luck weathering the storm. That’s some crazy stuff.

    A friend of mine that I’ve known since the dawn of time served her mission in Japan. I’m sure she could help you translate if you ever are in desperate need.

    And the pictures of the items you bought make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I wonder if there is a study that’s been done about how happy people are in Japan because they have such happy products. Maybe that’s Americas problem? Maybe if we had smiley faces on everything we bought it would be a better, more peaceful place?


  2. Okay, I tried to figure out some of the Japanese on that interesting food package Fiona picked out. Above the picture of the soup and rice (?) dish it says “tatamenakute mo oishii!” I guess that helps, huh? 😉 I guess there is a letter missing before the first “ta”, probably an A which looks like a T with a little swirl/curl (Kringel) below the horizontal line of the T (unfortunately I cannot type Japanese letters here, but here is a site with the Japanese writing system: Of the first letter is an A, then it would be “atatamenakute”. Still no clue? “Atatameru” means “to warm” and “oishii” means “yummy”. So, it means “warming and yummy!” So, if you ever get invited to a Japanese lunch/dinner and they ask you how you like their food, just say “totemo oishii des”, which means “very yummy”. I’d love to see more posts about crazy Japanese items. Is Steffan’s girlfriend Polly of Chinese or Japanese descent (or Korean or something entirely different)?
    Hope all goes well with the Typhoon and that you won’t have a major power outage!


    • Wow, Denise, I am so impressed. We tried the soup last night and it was “warming and yummy!” So good job on the translation, and thank you for the links. Steffan’s girlfriend is Chinese, so she cannot help with the language- however I have heard that Okinawa has a lot of Chinese influence due to it’s history, so I am interested to find out more about that.


  3. Hey Rijen, remember that one time we were talking and I was about to lose phone service, so I said is call you back later and I didn’t? Woopsie. I think you were about to tell me a really good story, too. Next time you’re able, give me a call so we can catch up.

    Stay safe in this typhoon! Meg, I love the purchases! I’m sure my daughter would have also selected the superhero pink princess food.


  4. Since when did you start living in Japan? That is crazy but cool. We almost got stationed there! I feel like I don’t know anything about your life *sigh


  5. Crazy storm front. The way I see it is you get through the worst one in 13 years and everything after this will be like “Well this is a storm… but it’s no TYPHOON BOLAVEN”.


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