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    Pour your misery down on me

    When you live in Japan, you get used to thinking of catastrophic natural events as normal. It’s not that villages are wiped out weekly, or anything; but what with the regularity of earthquakes, typhoons, tidal waves, simmering volcanoes, and drenching rains with the attendant mudslides, it’s no surprise that the Japanese latched onto evanescence as a major aesthetic and philosophical principle. The raw, craggy landscape has its effect, too.

    This week, the reminders of our frailty have come from the water department. The rainy season has been pretty dry here in the Kanto region, but places in Western Japan are getting a good pummeling:

    Heavy rain pounded the western Japan regions of Chugoku and Shikoku for the second straight day Saturday, leaving one person missing, 2 slightly injured and more than 300 homes submerged, local officials said.

    Another Kyodo report put the total number of flooded houses at 1000.

    Then today, we had this item from Iwo Jima:

    Ships have been warned to avoid traveling near Iwo Jima after the Japan Coast Guard said Sunday that an underwater volcanic eruption was the cause of the mysterious plume of vapor that shot 1 kilometer into the sky.

    Coast Guard officials found gray mud was rising from beneath the water, which had turned to a reddish color.

    The red water apparently indicates volcanic activity, but no signs of volcanic gases have yet been detected. Smoke billowed into the sky in the area.

    BTW, the name Iwo Jima, known to most Americans as the site of the famous WWII battle, means “sulfur island.”

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