Sonic Japan: Sounds of music

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Shakuhachi in the distance
I was trying to find my shakuhachi teacher's house but I took a wrong turn and found myself lost in the back streets of Chichibu. I stopped and opened my ears. Drifting over the roof tops, I could hear the sound of the shakuhachi. My teacher was having a lesson with a student. I navigated through the streets following the sounds of the lesson. (2018/09/19)
More:Chichibu
Kyoto Jazz Club
This recording is of an 'amateur night' at an old jazz club in down town Kyoto. Anyone with an instrument and the will to play can come down and play, though it seems that regulars formed the bulk of the performers that night. (2019/05/17)
More:Kyoto
Toy Store - Yamashiroya - in Ueno
Night time toy shopping in Ueno - Yamashiroya - a multistory shop (2018/03/29)
More:Tokyo

Latest posts

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...>>

The Beatles in Japan, Fifty Years On

Fri Aug 05 2016 by Carolyn Stevens

As part of another research project on popular music in Japan, I have been looking at the Beatles fandom in Japan. I happened to be attending a conference in Kyoto in late June, so I decided to extend my visit for a few days and take the Shinkansen to...>>

Shakuhachi - Distant Cry of the Deer

Fri May 06 2016 by Richard Chenhall

The shakuhachi is an end blown flute that has a long history in Japan. Most famously, it was connected to a group of mendicant Buddhist monks in the Edo era, called Komuso, or the “Priests of Nothingness”, who played the shakuhachi for alms in search for enlightenment. While much of...>>

ロ吹き Ro-buki Practice

Wed May 07 2014 by Richard Chenhall
At the beginning of the shakuhachi lesson, the student and teacher play RO together. RO  is the first note on the shakuhachi, played with all finger holes closed.>>

手向 "Tamuke" as student and teacher practice

Wed May 07 2014 by Richard Chenhall
In this recording I am playing a piece called Tamuke (hands folded together in prayer) with my teacher. In a shakuhachi lesson, a student plays the piece they are currently learning to their teacher and then they play this piece together.>>

音は商売:新宿のタワーレコードズ Selling Sound: Shinjuku's Tower Records

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
The music industry in Japan, as elsewhere, is seen to be a troubled industry. Since the late 1990s, sales figures of CDs in Japan have been in steady decline, in part due to the rise of online music as the primary source for consumers.>>

音は商売:東京の楽器街 Selling Sound: Music Stores in Tokyo

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
Ochanomizu is an area in central Tokyo that is located near several major universities:  Meiji University, Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Juntendo University (Ochanomizu University moved to another part of the city after the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. Tokyo University's Hongo Campus is a short distance away).>>

谷中祭り Yanaka matsuri (festival) Part One

Wed Mar 12 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
HATSUON NO MORI Towards the end of our fieldwork in Tokyo, Carolyn Stevens and myself (Thomas Baudinette) visited a local neighbourhood festival in Yanaka. Although we visited in the morning, it was already extremely hot and dusty, and we spent just as much time enjoying the sights and sounds as we did trying to find cool, shady areas to rest.>>