It took me some time to work out why Japan sounds different to the UK. The different sights, smells and tastes are all so obvious.
There are the notable sounds like the language, road crossings, pachinko parlors and electric cars (the latter can creep up on you at any time, even when you swear you are not even on a road!) But I knew there was something else different, something more subtle.
There are no song birds. I had never realised that I would miss the tune of Mrs. Blackbird and Mr. Robin so much. On the cold, crisp mornings here as I look at the sunshine bouncing off the mountain scenery, the lack of a songbirds beautiful tune can make me surprisingly homesick.
Don’t get me wrong – Japan has birds. I have posted before about nature as there is a lot of it to enjoy here (Eagle Hawks always being my favourite and most dominating birds). The birds here chirp, cheep and kawwww. One even makes an ominous screaming sound, not too distant from the cries of a female fox in the UK. Can you imagine waking up to that rather than a tuneful singsong? (Most of us have experienced waking up to a screaming fox at some point in the UK, and I am sure some of us (hem, me and Dan) have taken to the outside with a torch and a weapon to save to the screaming woman…only to be chased by a female fox…)
The lack of song birds is a strange thing to notice and one that has come with time as we settle into life here. It is a more subtle observation about our new home. It seems that I am more in-tune with nature than I had ever realised in the UK…moving to Japan really has been a journey of discovery!