5 Japanese Disaster Names You Should Know

  • Japan is a land prone to natural disasters. After all, we are living within the infamous ring of fire. Although many people would consider this subject taboo, these are a few essential words you should really know! The fun stuff is easy to remember, but the boring or emergency related stuff is also important. Brush up your need-to-know vocabulary!

    Jishin (Earthquake) 地震

    Although it is a valued and potentially lifesaving feature, I am just not a morning person. I woke up from my beauty sleep the other week to my cell phone screaming ‘Jishin ga kimasu!’ – An earthquake is coming! It is always better to be prepared and warned, but hot dayum, what a wake-up call from hell! Prepare yourself for the worst, – http://jpninfo.com/25642 – no one wants to be caught off guard! If you hear this word, do not ignore it.

    Tatsumaki (Tornado) 竜巻

    Although rare, tornadoes have been increasing across the archipelago, especially in Chiba prefecture. If you hear someone screaming this word, hide in a basement, oh wait, we don’t have those in usual Japanese houses! Grab something solid and hold on for dear life. If it is any consolation, they are usually smaller than the horrors of Twister and Wizard of Oz.

    Tsunami (Tidal Wave) 津波

    Due to the horrific Sumatra event and the 2011 East Japan earthquake and ensuing tidal wave and many other similar catastrophes, this word has made it into oxford dictionary and is now widely used by non-native speakers. But seriously, if you see people scrambling about saying this word, get to a higher ground. Thankfully there are warning systems in place, sirens, cell phone alarms, etc. Pay heed to these, and be safe! Higher is better, and if you are seeking refuge in a building, 4th floor or above is recommended.

    Doshakuzure (Landslide) 土砂崩れ

    A common problem in Japan, especially during the rainy season. Sadly, there is not much you can do to prepare for this, other than avoid living in a prone region, but again, if you hear this word, know what you are hearing, and prepare accordingly!

    Nadare (Avalanche) 雪崩

    Everyone loves skiing and snowy mountains, but sometimes the snow may catch you by surprise! Be careful and watch out for this important word! Ski safe, and avoid danger!

    Although it is more fun to learn cute or colloquial Japanese, try to include the above words into your vocabulary. In the worst case scenario, they may save you some anguish and stress. Enjoy studying, and be sure to brush up on the boring, but necessary stuff!

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