Today feels like summer never even happened here. It’s about 24 C, dark and gloomy as Typhoon No. 11 heads toward us.
September is the month of typhoons in Japan, and the season can go into October. One day (like yesterday) it’ll be in the 30s, the next day dark and cool. This is the season of sinus migraines and aching joints as the air pressure wildly fluctuates.
I think in terms of off-seasons, September is the perfect chance to visit Japan (whenever it finally is more open to people from abroad), but typhoons are always going to be a risk if you do visit around now.
Typhoons can wreak havoc on the infrastructure here, meaning train lines shutting down (Shinkansen bullet trains are usually the first to stop if the wind picks up too much) and mad dashes for busses, taxis and rental cars.
For me, the best option is to keep a sharp eye on typhoon forecasts (Japan Yahoo! Weather has a typhoon tracker, which I usually use) and try to plan things around it. Of course, typhoons will suddenly change direction or move slower than predicted (or faster) so September can be a month of sudden changes in plans.
So far, the most I’ve done for typhoon preparedness while living here has been to stock up on water (sometimes I’ve just left the bathtub water in the tub when I know a typhoon is coming, just in case) and move my outdoor plants under a roof our condo’s terrace has. I know people who own houses here have storm shutters they use for their windows when typhoons come.
Getting to work during a typhoon is never pleasant – I used to bike ride to one of my jobs, which meant I have been stupid enough to bike ride during a typhoon to work. If you can, try not to go out during one. That being said, I do know a lot of companies expect you to find alternate routes to work should your usual line gets shut down.
Typhoons are fairly common in Japan so unless it’s an unusually nasty one, not many people I know tend to think much of them beyond an annoyance.
The best thing to do when a typhoon hits is to have a nice supply of food and water in your apartment/house/hotel/hostel and such and just try to wait the storm out indoors.