“Tornado” in Japanese is 竜巻 tatsumaki, written with a pair of characters that can be read to mean “spinning dragon.”
The other day, I may have photographed a dragon’s egg.
At 1:14 on Monday, September 3, I stepped out the front door of my apartment in Kawaguchi, a northern suburb of Tokyo, and saw an unusual cloud formation on the eastern horizon.
My friend Bill Hark is a veteran storm chaser in the United States. (You can visit his website here and see a short documentary in which he appears here.) This looked like the sort of cloud that might interest him. So, I took two quick photos to send him and then went about my day, running several errands in an area to the west of where I live.
Late that evening, I learned that a tornado had hit the town of Koshigaya about 45 minutes after I took the photos. Here’s one view of what the tornado looked like:
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until a day later that it occurred to me that since Koshigaya is northeast of Kawaguchi, the cloud formation I had photographed might be related to the tornado. It was just south of Koshigaya when I took the pictures, but the storm’s path moved to the northeast.
When I consulted Bill by e-mail, he said, “The formation is a towering cumulus that appears to be on its way to becoming a storm. I don’t know if it became ‘the storm,’ but I think there is a strong possibility.”
He also suggested that I send the photos to the Japan Meteorological Agency. I have done so. Whether the photos show “the storm” or not, I hope their researchers find them to be of some use.