J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Empire of the Sounds (continued from last post)

Empire of the Sounds (continued from last post) by timtak
Empire of the Sounds (continued from last post), a photo by timtak on Flickr.

I will probably update my previous blog entry retitled as "Empire of the Sounds" since there is a lot to suggest that sounds mean more in Japan. In addition to the last post one might also mention the gangs of motorcyclists (Bousouzoku) that define themselves by their ability to make sounds, the prevalence of beefy exhaust pipes even on low power cars suggesting that the ability to make a noise means almost as much as being able to have the ability that comes with it. Then there is Tsunoda's research which argues that Japanese hear music and insects with the same part of their brain with which they process language, which he claims suggests that the Japanese hear more meaning in these sounds. Then there are the sirens that mark meal times, the song (a Japanese version of Auld Lang Syne) that marks the end of the business day, the prevalence of shop theme-tunes such as "Oh Happy Friend, Let's go Shopping...Mr. Max, Mr. Max, Mr. Max" which drive me insane, the tune playing pelican crossings, the Throat Pride (nodo jima) programme, and Fried Potatoe vending trucks.

However, if sounds were really meaningful, if sounds were felt to be imbued with self, then Japanese people would not be able to walk past these endless loop tape recorders that I still find rather arresting. "Someone is speaking to me"" I think, and stop.

This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.