Monday, September 12, 2005

Hurricanes and Typhoons•ハリケーンと台風

Of course, one of the big subjects in the world these days is Hurricane Katrina. It was a terrible storm and it hit the very vulnerable city of New Orleans. We have all seen photos of the damage there.

About a week after Katrina hit the Gulf coast, typhoon 14 hit Japan. It started in the far south and came up through Kyushu, out over the Japan Sea and then again into Hokkaido. It too was a terrible storm. Luckily, however the storm had weakened by the time it came to Aomori. Also we missed a direct hit and damage in Inakadate seems to be limited.

Since then several people have asked me what is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane. Looking it up on the internet, I find that they are basically the same thing, just that the place is different. Anything east of the international date line is a hurricane, anything west of that line is a typhoon. These storms are made from heat and because the Pacific is generally warmer than the Atlantic, typhoons can be more numerous and stronger than hurricanes.

For me anyway, a more interesting question is, why does Japan give its typhoons numbers instead of names? In the US, every year the hurricane names are different and it is easy to distinguish between them. Also because the first hurricane of the year always starts with an A; the second always starts with a B and so on, it is always easy to count how many hurricanes there have been in a year. An interesting fact, until about 15 years ago, all US hurricanes were given female names―probably because women are so much more frightening.
僕にとって、それより面白い質問は、「どうして日本は台風に名前ではなく、番号しか与えないですか?」ということです。アメリカではハリケーンの名前はアルファベット順につけられます(第一号はA でスタートし、次のはBでスタートする名前をつけます)。ですから何番目のハリケーンかすぐに分かります。アメリカでは毎年ハリケーンの名前が変わりますので、年々ごとのものは簡単に区別できます。ちょっと面白い事実ですが、 15年ぐらい前まで、アメリカのハリケーンは全部、女性の名前が付けられまました。それはやっぱり、女性の方が怖いからでしょうか。

In Japan, typhoon names (only numbers) are always same. I would think it becomes difficult to say, 'remember Typhoon number 5' when every year there is a typhoon number 5. If you look on the English internet, this year's Typhoon 14 is called Typhoon Nabi elsewhere in the world. This is the name that South Korea gave the same storm.
日本では、台風の名前(つまり番号)が毎年同じです。僕は「台風5号のことを覚えていますか?」ときくのはむずかしいと思います。それはつまり、毎年台風5号があるからですね。今から10 年後アメリカでは、「カトリナが大変だったね」と誰かが言うと、それが通用するでしょうが、日本では「14号が大変だったね」というだけでは、通じないでしょう。2005 年の14号と言わないとだめでしょう。英語のインターネットを見れば、今年の台風14号は全世界では、「台風ナビ 」という名前で知られています。それは韓国がこの同じ台風に付けた名前です。韓国語で「蝶」という意気だそうです。

It seems that Japan is part of the group that helps name typhoons in the Pacific. You can find the list on this page I think it would be better if Japan used these names for its typhoons too.

Hi Dave,

Just as an update, hazel, your niece, spent all day Sunday on the street corner with her friends, collecting money for Hurricane Katrina victims. She collected about $6.50. Then her school sent a list out of school supplies that are needed for children evacuated from New Oleans. Tonight we went down to Wal-MArt and she spent all her money on supplies for the kids. Quite an accomplishment for a 6 year old girl in the first grade. I am very proud of her.
Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.


pictures on Hurricane Katrina
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