A trip down to Tokyo means a ride on the Shinkansen or Japanese bullet train. Shinkansen translates to mean Main trunk line, and they are one of the best and most efficient transport systems in the world. I have never had a three hour journey be so comfortable and go so quickly. The trains travel at around 250kph (around 150 mph) and if they are scheduled to arrive at 3.33pm then they usually arrive right on 3.33pm.
Train travel in Japan is really amazing, they have so many train lines and so many different types of trains, yet they all seem to run really well. I wish I had started recording material here earlier because I missed out on capturing so much material from trains alone (not to mention all the other things I missed). One of the issues is I have only just recently purchased my first hand held unit the Edirol R09 which is really amazing and makes recording more frequently much more convenient as I can carry something with me more regularly. My old portable DAT recorder is getting very old and is too bulky to carry regularly.
Happily three hours is long enough on a train that I did think to record some material inside the train. I have captured a couple of samples of interior ambiance as well as a couple of exterior passing sounds. They were trickier to get as a train moving at over 150kph(they slow down near stations) generates a fair bit of wind, so it was a balance between capturing a clean sound and protecting the recorder against the wind. I will need to get a wind jammer for the R09.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences