All things considered, Japan is a pretty safe country to live in, generally free from a lot of things that can kill you. The number of murders in Japan each year is slightly more than that of New York State, deaths from traffic accidents are low, and generally Japan is very heiwa (peaceful). There are some dangers of course — as we all learned a year ago, earthquakes and tsunamis can take a terrible toll if you’re caught in the wrong place without a clear evacuation plan. Then there’s lightning, so frequent on hot, sticky summer afternoons, which proved tragically fatal over the weekend. Two 22-year-old females were attending an outdoor concert in Osaka when the light drizzle turned into a sudden “guerrilla thunderstorm” (gerira raiu, a very colorful Japanese term). The two women moved closer to a tree to try to get out of the rain when lightning suddenly struck the tree, killing both of them. In a separate incident, a 15 year old boy in Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto was struck by lightning while jogging, and is in critical condition.
A sad lightning strike at a concert in Osaka.