Location Sannohe Aomori Japan Equipment Zoom F4 Sennheiser MKH 60 Boom pole array
Sannohe Town area
In Japan council workers will work even on Saturdays, and recently the town council has been resurfacing the roads through the centre of town. This was a good opportunity to record a variety of material. The process involves several pieces of heavy machinery from a standard small scale earth mover to rollers and a machine that lays out bitumen.
I tried to get isolated samples of each of the larger machines, but the various stages of work occur simultaneously, so most of the samples contain the general ambiance of a busy work site.
It is also the time of year for farmers to be planting their rice fields. Many farmers still do all of this by hand, but many use a small strange looking tractor that has metal wheels fro moving through muddy rice fields. The tractor takes fresh rice stalks and sows them into the ground in a rotary mechanical motion. I am hoping that the sounds from this carry above the general running sound of the tractor as they are an interesting combination of mechanical whirring and a watery slosh sound.
Finally today I was able to capture two frogs who have taken up residency in an unused swimming pool. The local elementary school has a pool that looks like it has not been used for several decades (probably since the economic crash in the 80’s I suspect) As a large body of water I am surprise there were not more frogs present. It did allow me to get a good clean sample of just two frogs isolated instead of the usual horde of frogs present in the rice fields in this area.
Location Nanbu Aomori Japan Equipment Zoom F4 Sennheiser MKH 60 Boom pole array
The nearby peony garden at the foot of Mount Nakui will be holding its festival this weekend. This was a good opportunity to visit the garden before all the visitors arrived and have a look as well as see if there were any birds that could be recordable.
There were in fact quite a few birds in the surrounding forest however the wind was a little strong to get an nice isolated bird sound, however it was possible to get some fairly good general ambience with wind and a selection of birds together. By far the most annoying aspect was the almost continual series of aeroplanes flying overhead. Jumbos have the annoying ability to be heard almost from horizon to horizon, so a single plane can disrupt recording for 5 to 10 minutes.
The real event of this trip was an unexpected opportunity to record something in a drain. I believe it was a frog, as that would be the most logical thing to be sitting in a drain, however its sounds were a combination of slightly croaky frog sounds and all together non froggy squeaks. I did try to see into the drain but whatever it was I could not see it.
I have classified this one as a frog sound, but I cannot be totally certain of its identity. Once again it seems to be the things you don’t expect that are the most interesting.
Japan has a lot of people, for how big the country is it really has a lot of people. But I am starting to think it has even more vending machines. They are everywhere! Even in really remote country areas you will see them glowing in the night, hiding in amongst the trees. If I were in to conspiracy theories I would be reaching for my tin hat and trying to hide from them. They are however really convenient and to be honest we use them all the time. You can get coffee, soft drinks, cigarettes, booze, magazines, batteries, food, you name it and it is often available from a machine.
The ever present vending machine
So considering how frequent they were I thought it would be inexcusable to leave japan without having recorded one, so I popped down the one closest to our house, which was about 50 meters down the road at the sports park and bought myself a drink and recorded it going click, clunk and hummm. Certainly no the most amazingly interesting sound int he world, but I have one now so it's all good.
Relocated to Aomori Japan To a town called Sannohe which is between Ninohe and Hachinohe
I'm back in Sannohe after a year living in Tokyo. It's great to be back with Anna and I'm really happy to be back in the nice quiet countryside. Tokyo was great, but it just felt too hectic and noisy a lot of the time.
I will now be undertaking far more regular recording as I make the most of my time left in Japan.
One of my favourtie sounds from Japan and the one I probably will miss the most is the ever present sound of the frogs in the ricefields. For several months of the year all the ricefileds are flooded as the rice is planted and grows to maturity, during this time almost every rice field becomes a home to dozens of frogs. Across any rural area this results in contant background hum of the frogs. Far from being annoying I always found this to be the sound that really made me realize I was living in the country and was a surpizingly relaxing sound.