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Typhoons ‘way of life’ for Miyako residents

Date Posted: 2004-08-27

Another typhoon approaches Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island. Strong winds buffet the area.

“Oh! Again?” Typhoons attack the Yaeyama Islands often during the season, and typically blast the 8,000 homes. Often, power is lost. It is a way of life for Miyako residents, whose homes are built to withstand the pounding.

The residents say they are strong too. Miyako residents even have their own spirits, which everyone know and call “Araragama”, which means “come on, any enemies, we will fight against whatever you give, and not give up. We’ll have the strength of will. We will never lose against you, the enemy|.

Residents invoke the spirits call whenever typhoons, water rationing, heavy heat and other potential calamities come their way. They say outsiders can learn from them and their “araragama” spirits.

Any time a big typhoon comes along, there are no human deaths, and they say damages are typically limited except to natural things like farmers fields, vegetables, forests and other things of nature. And those, the residents point out, grown strong again once the typhoon’s gone.

The bottom line is, the typhoons season is here, and another one will be coming soon. And the residents aren’t concerned, saying “Typhoon? It’s just breezes for us.” Of course, they’ll take precautions, closing harbors, bringing boats to harbor, and shuttering the windows. Planes will stop flying, stores will close, and residents will endure.

They call it typical living, on Miyako Island.

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