Pokemon Go

Public places in the crowded streets of Shinjuku in Tokyo are usually filled with movement, talking and the sounds emanating from shops. Whilst walking through West Shinjuku, I was minding my business walking to my destination. I stopped when I saw a sea of people standing outside Yodabashi camera. There was a lot of people just standing there all fixated on their phones. Some people were talking together, most stood in silence swiping their phones. I walked up to a group of people to see what they were doing and they were all playing Pokemon Go. Generally, when so many people are in such close proximity the sounds are of movement, rushed speech, crowds. Here people were quiet but also quite relaxed. Some chatted and laughed but the environment was strangely silent for so many present. The electronic sounds emerging from Yodabashi continued in the background but I could feel a sense of 'focus' in the air. This focus created a sense of space in the environment. It was a busy street; However, the presence of so many people created a sense of quiet but one that was difficult to engage with as an observer. In bringing so many people together, Pokemon Go also separated them.

The buildings in between Yodabashi camera have become well known as "Pokemon Plaze", the site for Pokemon gaming in Japan.

Explore Sonic Japan

More in Shinjuku

More on public space

Recent posts

Premodern Sonic Security Systems: the Nightingale Floor

Wed Nov 13 2019 by Carolyn Stevens

This a recording of a temple located in Ohara, just outside Kyoto, named Sanzenin. An important site for the Tendai school of Buddhism, this large complex houses many artistic and religious treasures. One of the compound buildings featured a uguisubari (translated as ‘nightingale floor’). This kind of flooring was...>>

Kyoto Jazz Club

Wed Jul 10 2019 by Carolyn Stevens

Last May I travelled to Japan to participate in Professor Hosokawa's 'Otomimikai' (sound and listening research group) at Nichibunken, and as luck would have it, I was there at same time as Professor Merry I White from Boston University. Many know her work Coffee Life in Japan and Perfectly...>>

Nishijin, Kyoto

Fri Dec 07 2018 by Carolyn Stevens

One of the pleasures of academia is working with doctoral students whose projects extend their supervisors' knowledge about their area of expertise. Dr. Jenny Hall introduced me to the sensory experiences of traditional textile making and design as per her dissertation thesis, Tradition and Innovation in Textile Production and Design...>>