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Tweet of the Week #50: Typhoon Hagibis Causes Panic Buying of Tape

Advice to tape your windows has resulted in a shortage. But does it even work? Learn how to give advice with this week's viral tweet!

By 4 min read

Chiba Prefecture is still recovering from the massive power outages and damages caused by Typhoon Faxai last month, but now Japan is bracing itself for yet another potentially destructive typhoon. Called Hagibis—a Tagalog word for “velocity”—the typhoon is set to be one of the most powerful on record. 

Typhoon Hagibis is no joke

The forecast for wind and torrential rain is getting grimmer by the hour. Categorized as a violent typhoon, the highest category on the Japanese scale, Hagibis is making landfall today. Matches for the Rugby World Cup, the F1 race and the long-awaited return of the Backstreet Boys in a special concert have either been canceled or postponed. Airlines and train companies have also announced the suspension of some services until Sunday.

As the second most powerful storm to hit planet earth in 2019, the Japan Meteorological Agency is urging the public to take precautions. The size, speed, and timing of the storm makes it a serious danger for coastal areas, as well as the Tokyo region. 

What to do

Well, for starters, avoid going out when the typhoon lands in your area. If there’s a lesson we learned with Typhoon Faxai last month, it’s that the danger comes from sudden flooding and/or flying or falling objects. Trees, branches, roofs and even garden walls can give in to the strong winds. 

If you haven’t gotten yourself a nicely packed emergency kit, it’s probably a good time to put together a simple pack that can keep you going in the event of a natural disaster. Store some snacks, emergency food, and water, as well as batteries for flashlights and fully charged portable batteries for your phone. Nothing worse than a dying phone during a power outage!

Now, let’s talk windows

Fear of broken windows and flying pieces of glass has prompted quite a lot of Japanese Twitter users to promote using tape on their windows.

Taping Xs on them is said to make the glass stronger and, were it to break, prevent pieces from scattering all over the place.

住宅密集地じゅうたくみっしゅうちなので、かぜ影響えいきょうすくないかもしれないけどかわらんできてガラスに直撃ちょくげきするかもしれないので気休きやすめに養生ようじょうテープで補強ほきょうしておく。100円均一ひゃくえんきんいつ1巻いちまき10メートルだとひざからあたまくらいのたかさのガラスまど1枚分いちまいぶんのテープしかないので、ホームセンターでちゃんとしたやつをってきた方がいですね。

= In a densely populated area the risk associated with the wind might be small, but flying tiles can hit the glass, so I’ll reinforce (the windows) with curing tape. A 100 yen store roll is about 10 meters long and just enough for one window with a height from about the knee to the head, so it’s better to go and buy a proper one at a home center. 

Since Thursday, Japanese people have been panic buying reinforced tape, and home centers are now out of stock. The news made the headlines as manufacturers struggled to keep up with the sudden increase in demand.

台風19号たいふうじゅうきゅうごうで”養生テープ”相次あいじぐ メーカー「注文ちゅうもん急増きゅうぞうしています」

= Because of the Typhoon Hagibis (typhoon no.19) curing tape stockists are running out out one after another. “Orders are rapidly increasing.”

Dreading the hassle of finding curing tape (what even is curing tape?!) and X-ing all your windows one by one? 

Well, the measure seems to actually be a myth.

もっとエビデンスをします。 アメリカ合衆国国土安全保障省がっしゅうこくこくどあんぜんほしょうしょうが出した災害対策さいがいたいさくガイドラインにこのような記載きさいがあります。 fema.gov/media-library- テープによる窓ガラス補強はまったく持って意味いみがないとのこと

= Here’s more evidence. The disaster prevention guidelines issued by the US Department of Homeland Security has this statement: https://fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1622-20490-3346/hurricanefactsheet_final.pdf
So there’s absolutely no point in reinforcing the window glass with tape.

Whether you decide to tape or not your windows, one thing’s for sure, you should definitely take precautions today and keep an eye on the local news for updates. 

How to give advice in Japanese

To make a suggestion or give advice such as “it’s better to…” or “you should…”, you can use the phrase: verb ta form +ほうがいい

  • 今日きょう準備じゅんびした方がいいです。= Better make the preparation today. 
  • 台風が通過つうかしているときは、そとない方がいいです= When a typhoon is passing, you shouldn’t go outside. 

The phrase verb ta form + 方が can actually be used in a wide range of situations with other adjectives: 

  • あるいた方がはやいです。= It’ll be faster to walk. 
  • 友達ともだちった方がたのしいです。= It’s more fun to go with friends. 

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
台風たいふう19号じゅうきゅうごう taifuu juukyuu gou Typhoon n°19
住宅密集地じゅうたくみっしゅうち jyuutakumisshyuuchi dense residential areas
かぜ kaze wind
影響えいきょう eikyou effect, impact
すくない sukunai little
かもしれない kamoshirenai may, it may be that…
けど kedo but
かわら kawara tile
tobu fly
ガラス garasu glass
直撃ちょくげきする chokugeki suru hit
気休きやす kiyasume restless, without rest
養生ようじょうテープ youjyou teepu curing/wrapping tape
補強ほきょう hokyou reinforcement
100円均一ひゃくえんきんいつ hyaku en kinitsu 100 yen store
1巻いちまき ichi maki one roll
10メートル jyuu meetoru 10 meter
ひざからあたま hiza kara atama from the knee to the head
くらい kurai about
 たか takasa height
1枚分いちまいぶん ichi mai bun one (window)
しかない shika nai only
ホームセンター hoomu sentaa Home Center
ちゃんと chyanto proper
kau buy
今日きょう kyou today
準備じゅんびする junbi suru prepare
通過つうかする tsuuka suru pass
とき toki when
そと soto outside
deru go (out)
ある aruku walk
はや hayai fast
友達ともだち tomodachi friend
iku go (somewhere)
たのしい tanoshii fun

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