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The Big Top

Two of my children live in Japan, and one--known in this journal as Little Springtime--was directly in the path of what the Japanese call Typhoon 19 and what in the United States is called Typhoon Hagibis. Little Springtime lives in the flood plain of the Sumida river, which they were saying could flood to 5 meters. She and her girlfriend were assiduously thorough in their emergency preparation and took shelter on the second floor of their house, as advised, and kept the TV on to hear if their ward was going to order an evacuation. I waited all through Saturday day--their Saturday night--to find out how they weathered it. And they were fine! And their house was fine!

I'm very, very relieved.

"This experience has made me feel like I want way less stuff," Little Springtime said, and that dovetailed with something I'd been thinking: that in this age we live in, where our homes are assaulted by hurricanes and tornadoes and fires and floods, maybe we ought to have our concept of house be a much, much less permanent (and less expensive) thing. Maybe freestanding houses should be something quickly assembleable and deconstructable , and apartment buildings should be earthquake resistant armatures, with the individual units, like freestanding houses, something you can easily put up in the armature. And these things would cost very little--much less than cars cost. If they're destroyed in a storm, it's no biggie; you replace them. And they wouldn't last long--maybe five years, and then you'd have to replace them (assuming a natural disaster didn't destroy them first).

They'd be kind of like the Laurie Anderson song "Big Top."

When Buckminster Fuller came to Canada
He kept asking the same question
Have you ever really considered how much your buildings actually weigh?

He showed them pictures of domed cities
Cities with no basements
No foundations
Cities that could be moved in a minute
Portable cities
Portable towns

He said think of it as camping out
He said think of it as one big tent
He said think of it as the big top

And what of personal belongs? Well like Little Springtime says, we'd want way, way less of them--or way less that we're emotionally attached to. I was imagining into existence big spheres, like exercise balls, into which you could put your very special items when a disaster is coming. It would have your contact information on it, be watertight and fireproof, and openable only by you or trusted others. If it got blown away or carried away by water, no worries--after the disaster you could recover it, open it, and there would be your treasures.

... What do you think?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919959.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2019 04:06 pm (UTC)
Good thing it weakened before making landfall.
Oct. 13th, 2019 06:26 pm (UTC)
Did it weaken? I'm glad too!
Oct. 16th, 2019 01:14 am (UTC)
It reached category 5 at one point.
Oct. 13th, 2019 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad your daughter is safe. I love your ideas about a portable house and a way to keep precious things protected. We will have to learn to be more adaptable going forward.
Oct. 13th, 2019 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you <3
Oct. 13th, 2019 09:27 pm (UTC)
So good they are fine!!!
Oct. 13th, 2019 11:07 pm (UTC)
I am very relieved!
Oct. 14th, 2019 03:49 pm (UTC)
I'm relieved on your behalf! I have a friend near Hakone I'm still waiting to hear from, but she's often a bit lax about communication so hopefully all is well...
Oct. 14th, 2019 07:02 pm (UTC)
I really hope your friend gets in touch with you soon, and that they're fine <3
Oct. 16th, 2019 01:17 pm (UTC)
I find that the best way to live is far from any flood plains or earthquake zones. Saves me a lot of hassle.

'Property rescue spheres' aren't a thing, but...
waterproof packing bags exist. (One is Ortlieb drybags)
The Ortlieb bags will float unless you stuff them too full of heavy objects.
They're also perfect for keeping clothing and kit dry when out kayaking.
Oct. 16th, 2019 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to know about the waterproof packing bags! (I should send some to my daughters in Japan...)

Yeah, maybe they wouldn't need to be spheres. I was thinking spheres are easier to move when heavy (you just push them like when you're making a snowman), but come to think of it, there's a limit to that--I couldn't push a giant lump of concrete, even if it were shaped as a sphere.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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