On-camera reactions range from “yabai” to “seriously yabai.”

The floor plan of Japanese high schools usually consists of long, narrow classrooms on either side of interior hallways. Because of that, there’s almost always a window to look out of and daydream, as famously depicted in countless anime an TV dramas.

Of course, in real life the view isn’t usually quite so compelling as it is in the world of fiction, as odds are you won’t spot a magical-powers-granting animal mentor or your one true love just outside the window. However, high school student and Japanese Twitter user @tinatu_1999 recently had the rare experience of seeing something sufficiently dramatic, as shown in the video below.

“It’s a tornado!” @tinatu_1999 and her schoolgirl friends excitedly exclaim as the swirling spot of dirt and debris rises up from what appears to be their school’s baseball field in the city of Ichikawa, Tokyo’s neighbor to the east and just over the border in Chiba Prefecture. If you’re looking to practice your Japanese listening skills, you’ll hear the words tatsumaki (“tornado”), and yabai (“crazy/scary/amazing”) over and over again during the short video.

None of the girls have seen this sort of thing before, since while tornadoes aren’t completely unheard of in Japan, they’re exceedingly rare. As a matter of fact, some commenters weren’t even entirely convinced that the phenomenon in the video qualifies, saying that they think it should actually be classified as a jinsenpuu (“dust devil”) or tsumujikaze (“whirlwind”), on account of the twisting spire of wind not sufficiently connecting with air currents high overhead.

Still others jokingly suggested that what @tinatu_1999 had filmed wasn’t a tornado or whirlwind, and that it was instead a dragon (the word tatsumaki literally means “dragon roll,” after all), a Street Fighter dragon punch, or the dust kicked up by battling (and ostensibly invisible) kaiju.

And as when anything unusual appears in the sky, a few conspiracy theorists came out to ask about the mysterious lights that can be seen near the twister.


More level-headed commenters offered the common-sense explanation that these are simply the classroom’s interior lights reflecting off the inside face of the window glass.

Thankfully, no damage or injuries were reported in connection with the now-dissipated tornado/whirlwind. Still, should @tinatu_1999’s teacher spot an unusually large number of students staring out of the window instead of keeping their eyes on the whiteboard during lessons for the next few days, he should probably cut them a little slack.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@tinatu_1999 via Hachima Kiko

Following Casey on Twitter is moderately yabai.