Until Jebi pounded into Osaka, I realized I’d never really experienced a typhoon before.

As you may have heard, Typhoon Jebi, also known as Typhoon 21, made landfall on 4 September, barreling directly into the Kansai region. It’s the latest unusual course in what’s been a string of unusual courses for major storms of this kind this year.

It’s also said to have been especially strong — the strongest Japan has seen in 25 years by some accounts. I knew about this days in advance but was foolishly skeptical of its danger. Of course I knew typhoons were dangerous, but I’ve always thought Osaka seemed to be in a little pocket of Japan that manages to avoid the brunt of natural disasters – almost always at least.

So when I woke up on Tuesday morning to a perfectly sunny day, I decided to go ahead and make the short trek into the office. However, about a minute after I stepped out the door, an alarm blasted over my phone alerting me to the typhoon. Then, just to drive the point home to stubborn workaholics like myself, air raid sirens went off all over town with an announcement the the typhoon was approaching.

With that I turned around and decided to stay home and hunker down while this thing blew over.

Hours passed and there still wasn’t much going on. Just a little windy with some drizzle. Then, around 2 p.m. it really started to pick up. I glanced outside my window and saw a naked guy standing on the balcony across the street. I guess he sensed this was going to be a special typhoon and wanted to be one with it.

Shortly after that, the wind and rain really started to pick up and tore an entire row of ceramic shingles from the roof of a neighboring house. It was about that time that I realized this was the real deal and went for the camera.

I suspect someone had a pile of newspapers they wanted to get rid off and used this storm as an excuse by just letting them fly out the window, because there was a ridiculous amount of pages flying all over the place. It kind of gave the whole storm a surreal feeling, like a cheesy movie.

On the street corner there was an elderly security guard wrestling with half a sign against the already fierce winds. It looked as if he was trying to take it into the bank but they weren’t letting him in for some reason. Regardless, he valiantly kept hold of it and took it around to the side of the building so that the wind would simply blow it against the wall rather than hit anyone.

Then, out of the blue, a huge chunk of something, maybe a wall or a roof measuring about 10 square meters flew straight into the overhead wires of the train tracks. It smashed into little pieces of metal, paper, and sponge that scattered all over the streets below. The security guard must have taken that as his cue to leave, because I didn’t see him at all after that.

Pieces of the chunk continued to hang from the wires and one blew into and touched the tower, causing a short along with a rather spectacular explosion.

That seemed to be the climax for this area, but for the next hour or so, I could hear lots of loud crashing and the continuous blare of sirens. My wife suggested I go downstairs and take a look around. I suspected this was how she finally intended to kill me, but I agreed anyway because I really did want to see what was happening down there.

▼ Outside my door a placard explaining how to use a fire extinguisher blew up to me. Probably a good time to brush up

▼ Excuse the vertical video, I was too busy trying not to die.

That was about as far outside as I was willing to venture until another half hour or so when the wind and rain settled down enough. Just as I was walking out the front door, a man on a bicycle pulled up and began delivering newspapers – business as usual.

I decided to take a walk to my in-laws’ condo up the street to get a sense of what had happened. First I walked along the shopping street. Everything was closed for the typhoon, but it still managed to get ahold of whatever it could and cause a huge mess.

There was especially a lot of broken roof tiles and fiberglass that must’ve made driving and cycling especially difficult. In fact, during my walk a bike going past me popped its tire on something. Nevertheless, the piped-in ’80s adult contemporary music continued to play over the speakers, as if in defiance to the disaster.

Firetrucks were racing in every direction, as every team must have been out in the field all over the area. It made things especially dangerous because there was no one to tend to the “smaller” problems like this downed live wire.

Passing by the station there were huge sheets of metal laying everywhere. During the storm I saw a surprisingly large amount of people out walking and running around. Looking at some of this debris, it’s amazing more people weren’t seriously hurt.

Walking a little further I noticed a crowd of people pointing and talking to each other. A nearby street lined with restaurants and stores had been hit really hard. It looked as if a bomb had hit the area, with giant sheets of metal dangling precariously from the power lines overhead. There were a lot of people but everyone was unusually quiet while cleaning up their businesses.

The wall enclosing a large construction site had also been taken down, perhaps unsurprisingly given the size of it and the material it was made from.

And all this is just what happened in my small, sleepy part of Osaka. As you’ve probably seen in other news clips, we got off relatively lucky. Everyone has been really quick to clean up and rebuild as well. By 5 p.m. I could see a crew out clearing the remaining scraps from the overhead wire. I imagine by tomorrow, very little evidence of Typhoon Jebi will even remain.

It certainly made its mark on the area though. I used to think Osaka was impervious to the worst of these disasters, but having experienced the largest Earthquake in decades, heaviest rain in decades, hottest heatwave in decades, and strongest typhoon in decades, all in one year, it’s now something I might have to reassess.

Images: SoraNews24