As I understood it, the sky is either blue, grey and white. Under no circumstances should it turn brown. I felt betrayed today.
I remember Devon as being fond of a patchwork of grey and white; Tokyo tends to keep it simpler. Typically, one colour is chosen early in the day and persevered with. Blue is popular in winter, and blue is how the sky started today.
At 1pm, it was a perfect spring day. Families were picnicing under plum blossoms, the infamous swanboats were out in force patrolling the lakes edges and under a cypress tree, a clown was entertaining a small crowd.
Then the dustcloud hit. First the clown legged it. Then the crowd legged it. Then I legged it, sheltering by vending machines under the swanboat ticket office. Standing with me were groups of young Japanese and a mixed race family.
I was amongst a big group of people but had no-one to talk to. So I just listened.
“Yondo sagatta yo” (The temperature has dropped 4 degrees)
“Me ga ite” (My eyes hurt!)
“Yabai ne” (This is terrible isn`t it?)
“Iya da” (I hate it)
“I want vanilla!” ( I want vanilla!)
Apparently, the dust is called an 煙霧, enmu (haze), and it arrived courtesy of a cold north westerly wind. Along its route, the wind picked up hokori (dust) from the ground to create a cha-iro (tea-coloured) cloud for the good people of Tokyo.