An Afternoon at Yanaka Cemetery

  • An Afternoon at Yanaka Cemetery 00:00

Unlike Shibuya, there were no lights being tossed around or billboards. Everywhere you look, you see spacious land. Silence became my friend as I walked through a graveyard in the Yanaka district of Tokyo. Although it was daytime, a time where other parts of Tokyo are bustling, the atmosphere here was very different. In the midst of the tombstones was where I spent my afternoon to hear and record the surrounding sounds. The funeral complex here in Yanaka was very vast. According to the data, this funeral complex covers more than 10 acres of ground, and has around 7000 graves.

I honestly went here without a single plan. In the last days of my research, which ends on the 30th May, I felt the fatigue building up in my body. I was mentally drained in particular, having to travel to different countries, provinces, and cities in this five months of research, so I decided to take a pause to ponder about what I have been doing.

However, it seemed that isolating myself in my lodge made me fairly bored. That was why on the 22nd of May, I decided to go out in search of fresh air. I have visited almost every famous spots in Tokyo, such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Kibahara, Kanda, Imperial Palace, Yoyogi, Ueno, and Ikkebukuro to name a few. After searching in the internet, I had a very peculiar destination, the Yanaka Memorial. I was very tired of the crowded cities I had been in, and I was very curious since I had never been there. How was the largest Memorial in Tokyo like? 

After riding the train to a station near Nippori, I walked about a hundred meters to the Memorial complex. At the moment I arrived, the afternoon became silent. The sound of trains can still be heard from afar or the sound of airplanes up above. However the rest were dead as night. The sound of sweeping from the Tennoji Temple could be heard. Because it was very quiet, everyone was talking in a low voice. In addition, the chirping of birds up on the trees made the silence even more noticeable. I experienced something powerful, being able to find a calming place in a boisterous city like Tokyo. The silence was very immersive and trancendental, especially because I was alone between the silent tombs, between life and death.

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Sounds: Japan