A typhoon is a tropical cyclone, and is similar to a hurricane except that a typhoon only occurs in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless, typhoons are extremely destructive storms, and I was flying right over one on my way to Nagasaki, Japan.
In September, I was on my way to collect data at Nagasaki University with Etienne, who had agreed to help me with organizing and randomizing the skulls so that I could assess them blindly. To get there from Leicester, it took three days of travelling, with one flight per day and layovers in Dubai and Tokyo. By the time we were on my last flight between Tokyo and Nagasaki, I was tired but excited to finally land and unpack my things. It was on this flight, however, that we were flying over a typhoon. Needless to say, it was the worst flight I’ve ever had in my life – the aircraft was tossed about quite violently, and we endured two hours of being thrown around nauseatingly in our seats. Finally, we landed safely and my contact at the University of Nagasaki, Dr. Tsurumoto, kindly met us at the airport and confirmed that my equipment had safely arrived the week prior. We were driven to the guest house on campus where we would stay for the next while. This guest house impressively survived the atomic bombing in World War II almost intact, so after that typhoon experience, I was glad to be in a very sturdy building: