Feb 16, 2004


Today I stayed inside working all day, leaving the apartment only to walk Kona and meet Rie at the station.

Among the sounds I could hear outside were:

Crows - "big" and "loud" do not begin to describe these creatures (very short story, slightly longer story). They're twice the size of their country cousins, have more sturdy beaks, and seem to be studying our behavior. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for some three year old Tokyo crow pics. The fifth poster down here is the city's attempt to scare people into waiting until trash day to throw out organic waste.

Schoolchildren - much less problematic than the crows. In fact, Japan wishes she had more of these little yellow-capped critters. Okay, so they don't all wear yellow caps. Some wear red, or blue, or a limited number of other uniform colors.

Heating Oil Delivery Truck - comes around sporadically during the cold months. A spooky electronic bell rendition of "It's a Small World" or a random Beatles tune warns of its approach, so you can run outside with your 20L tank and have it filled at doorstep rather than dragging it up to the filling station. The truck in our neighborhood looks kinda like this. This winter we started using an oil-burning stove for heat, so we consider ourselves lucky when we're home to catch the spooky bells begin a-pealing.

Fire Prevention Stick-Beating Neighborhood Patrol Guys - what would this be in English? They're like a volunteer fire department, only they don't fight fires. And the job isn't so much volunteer as it a rotation among members of the community association. Anyway, they walk around and clank two thick wooden dowels together to make a sharp noise that - somehow - reminds people to turn off their kerosene stoves and kotatsu. (What's a kotatsu? pic, story by a gaijin)

Coming up tomorrow: what I didn't hear.


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