28 August, 2006

The End of Summer and Chirps of Cicada

I’d been writing about glasses for the past few entries, but let me write about something else today.

We’ve been having pretty cool breeze in the evenings for the past few days, but still the cicadas keep on chirping (now, I don’t know if they “chirp” but I don’t know a better way to describe their “cries”) and that kind of feels weird.

If you grow up in this country, you’ll be able to tell which part of summer we are in (like, early – middle – late... only abstractly) by how the cicadas are chirping. It doesn’t mean that the cicadas are changing the ways they ring their bodies, but in fact different kinds of cicadas come out of the ground accordingly to the season.

The earlier ones go like “jeeeee-jeeeee” and they are what we call the ni-ni-zemi. Towards the middle of the summer when the temperature goes higher and higher, the most famous ones come out which are the min-min-zemi that goes like “min-min-min-min...”. When these are out, it really feels like it’s summer but it does get annoying. Anyway, in the midst of the summer comes the “jeewa-jeewa” aburazemi, and when the chirps turn to “Tsuk-tsuk-howsh” we can tell that the tsukutsukuhohshi are there, meaning that it’s getting towards the end of summer.

I once heard that long time ago, some Japanese invited and English ambassador over for dinner. During the evening they heard a beautiful tone of the chirps of suzumushi (suzumushi are autumn insects that go like “rin-rin-rin...”). This was part of the Japanese’s kind and refined hospitality – in terms of Japanese culture and custom – but the English person asked, “What is this noise?”

I’m not sure if you can hear all these kinds of cicadas in Tokyo, but listening to the (loud) sounds of the littlest creatures in this world is not a bad way of spending the evening.

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