Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One of the strange effects of an aging Japan

Hey kids, keep it down — graying Japan annoyed by children's noise | The Japan Times

Noise, noise, noise!  You can grumble that and sound like the Grinch atop Mount Crumpit all you want, but the simple fact is, Japan needs more kids.  And kids mean noise.  I'm extremely noise-sensitive myself, but even so I enjoy hearing the kids playing in the park across the street and coming and going.  They shriek and giggle or shout in earnestness whatever the heck it is they're shouting.

Japan is a noisy place anyway.  As the Japan Times article mentions, there are political trucks and cars every election season-- which, in Japan, is about every two weeks-- loudly thanking you for support even if you don't plan to support them, the crooning guy selling baked sweet potatoes, video screens broadcasting commercials and movie trailers and all kinds of musical street crossing signals and warnings and beeps and boops.  Vending machines talk to you, our gas heating control panel in the shower talks to my wife and me whenever we change the temperature, we have a small Oto-san figure that spouts gruff fatherly phrases in Japanese whenever we activate it.

And while a squalling infant in a restaurant can drive me nuts, I find it amusing people might single out the noises children make out of this endless cacophony.  As long as the kids in the park are happy and not killing each other, then I'm fine with hearing them.  I guess that's the American in me.

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