The weather called for sunny clear skies. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have paid attention to the morning report and brought an umbrella. In the end, I didn’t. I got caught in a torrential squall. The rain was coming down so hard that I had to seek some shelter to keep from getting utterly soaked.
I had made it only about 5 minutes from where I started where I sought refuge under a temple’s gate. I wasn’t alone. Three Japanese carpenters who had been doing some repairs on the gate were also trying to keep dry under the protection of the jointed and slotted wooden structure. I couldn’t help feeling a bit like the opening scene in Kuruosawa’s Rashomon. As strangers seeking protection from a thunderstorm huddled around a small fire. It does seem a bit cliche, but it was on my mind.
We were joined briefly by a pair of university students who paused for a few minutes before continuing down the stone steps. I heard them gasp as the peered over the edge of the steps. I could hear the rushing of the water as it flowed around the gate then down the steps.
After spending about 30 minutes the rain appeared to let up a bit, so I opened up my 100 yen umbrella and walked over the steps. The edges of the steps had turned into a small raging waterfall. The roughly hewn stones blurred under the flowing water. I still was soaked by the time I reached the station.
For the 20 minute train ride home all I could think about was taking a hot shower and changing my squeaking Sauconys. I was amazed when I stepped out at my home station less than 10 kilometers away from the torrential rain to find it bone dry. All in all just another day during this year’s unpredictable rainy season.