So, the other day during the start of a lesson l was asking the students the usual 'How are you?' 'What's going on?'-type questions and one of them said: "Today is very yellow san." I thought they were trying to say it was sunny out, so I was like "Oh, yes, it's very sunnY today, the weather is very nice." But she was insistent. "No, not sunny, SAN. Today is yellow SAN,"
Finally we managed to work out that she was talking about the 'yellow sand'. For anyone who doesn't know (and this included me up to 2 days ago) the 'yellow sand' is a strange phenomenon wherein sand from China (some people say from the desert, and others from the Huang Ho or 'Yellow River' ) is whipped up and borne over the ocean on strong winds to land in Japan (and in Korea too apparently). You can find out the whole story about it by clicking the link. An article about the dangers of 'yellow sand'
Anyway, it didn't seem all that bad to me, and I hadn't noticed anything that day other than it was a trifle hazy, but apparently it was the work of the dreaded 'yellow sand'. It has reportedly grounded flights by causing poor visibility and people closer to the source, in China have suffered from 'yellow sand' triggered lung problems.
Beware the 'yellow sand'. You've been warned!