Sonic Japan: Sounds of school

Kendo Training in Kobe
Kendo practice combines silence and intense noise. After a few quiet minutes of zazen (seated meditation), training involves paired practice with bamboo training swords (shinai). In this clip, bodies advance and retreat up and down the wooden floor of the hall, the space punctuated by loud yells and shouting noise (kiai) that correspond with the running up to and the implementation of each strike. This particular training hall (dojo) is located at Kobe University. It is a warm April afternoon, at the beginning of the academic year, the sky outside is bright with cherry blossoms (sakura). The recording is taken from the side of the dojo and a new ‘fresher’ (member of the club) sits there and watches the senior students (senpai) with great interest. Later, during a break in the class, he joins in conversation with the seniors. Loud bursts of laughter replace the sounds of training in that space. Recording by M. Maekawa, description by T. Kohn and T. Maekawa (2016/04/15)
Kindergarten kids on school trip in Kyoto
Ensoku means school trip in Japanese, and these activities are a core part of the school experience as children learn to negotiate public space in a socially acceptable and orderly manner. In this recording you can hear the kindergarten teachers manage a group of about 20 children on the train. They engage the children in conversation while also making sure that they don't make too much noise, they stay together, and they don't leave any belongings behind. (2015/04/04)
Yanaka Matsuri School Bazaar
At the Yanaka Matsuri (festival), a local school raises funds by selling arts and crafts and snacks. (2013/10/12)

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