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Photo #18 – Kyoto, Japan after Typhoon

Kyoto, Japan - Typhoon Season

This photo corresponds with Episode 3 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 3 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


The typhoon passing by for my arrival in Japan had minimal effect on Kyoto, except for providing the comforting sounds of rain. This storm that arrived shortly after the typhoon passed by actually brought more rain to Kyoto than the recent typhoon that only nicked the city.

I stayed in and got some work done and also pondered the alien environment visible from my window on this very rainy day. You can hear this morning’s rain during a short ambient sound interlude at the end of episode 3 of the Savage Japan podcast.

I botched the pronunciation of an expression taught to me in this episode, and at the time I did not realize what my house mate meant when he indicated the expression was very unusual. He told me about ゲリラごうう (ge ri ra go u u) which means very heavy rain.

It turn out that ゲリラ (ge ri ra) is a katakana word, meaning it is based on a foreign word, and in this case the word is guerrilla. ごうう (go u u) means heavy rain. So, guerilla heavy rain apparently suggests that the rain is very fierce and attacking. This is probably a relatively new expression. It is not in my dictionary, but it does come up in searches online.

A Japanese friend of mine from the Yokohama area  (closer to Tokyo and not in the Kansai region as Kyoto is) who has been living in New York in recent years, did not know this expression. She said she doubted it was regional and suggested it was probably just an expression she had not picked up being out of Japan so long.

I’m looking forward to testing ゲリラごうう on some unsuspecting Japanese friends the next time I am out in a very heavy downpour. My New York Japanese friend says she doubts people will understand me even if I say it clearly, because it’s an expression Japanese persons probably would not expect a foreigner to say. :-)

Photo Details: I do not have extravagant views of Kyoto’s famous Kamogawa River or of the mountains surrounding Kyoto, but even a view of rooftops and my immediate neighborhood is fascinating to me. This photo shows details of part of the view from my first residence in Japan. I will post a more encompassing photo of my bedroom view when I shoot it on a fair weather day. There are a few trees and plants right outside the window, so the scene is not as stark as this photo suggests.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Normally, you’ll find maps just below all the photo entries here showing the precise spot where each photo was taken. I’m not attaching maps with specific location data for photos taken at people’s homes. I geotagged Nijo Castle in this map which is the general vicinity this photo was taken in and the neighborhood in Kyoto where I’m living for the 1st month of this 3 month visit to Japan.
To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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