Sunday, September 04, 2011

in search of a song

A few days ago, I was thinking about my first time coming to Japan. I had been talking to a friend about the few things that have changed over these past 11 years. One thing I was thinking about was that the first time I came to Japan, the crosswalk signal in front of where I was staying played a song when the light was green. I wondered two things. 1. Why can't I hear that song anymore? 2. What's the name of that song? Well, I did what anyone does in that kind of situation. I googled it. It turns out the name of the song is "Toryanse" and apparently some people complained that it was a noisy song to hear every time the light turned green. So because of the complaints, most signals in Tokyo now just make a simple chirping noise when the light is green. That is if they make a sound, of course many crosswalks are silent. So all the new ones don't play that song, but luckily Japanese geeks had website lists of old signals that still played that song. So I googled a map of the ones near my house, and decided to find the one closest to me. It was only about 15 minutes from my house, near a station I had never really spent time at.

I got off the train and wandered around. I found a beautiful park, sunshine streaming through soft leaves. But I couldn't find the crosswalk! I walked around the park, and finally I could hear it echoing in the distance. It's weird how sounds pull at us from our memories, curl up into our mind and explode like a thought grenade. It painted vivid memories in bursts that quickly faded. I sat near the crosswalk and listened to it a few times, holding it in my mind just in case this crosswalk singer would also go the way of the samurai-cowboys.

Before I end this diary post, I thought I should apologize to myself for taking so long to update anything. I have been absent minded, and holding a lot of negative thoughts. Such problems will be my excuse for such a long gap since I have written anything. Also, I would like to share a poem (the poem will be written in English letters, so that anyone can hear the original, plus my horrible not 5-7-5 translation of this beautiful thought-signal) by Basho that really hit me tonight. (Today's silly task was to try to memorize three Basho poems.) It is interesting to know he wrote this while looking down at the gray hair of his mother. te ni toraba kien, namida zo atsuki, aki no shimo (It will disappear if you take it in your hands, like hot tears, autumn's frost.)
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