This is a recording of group of Corvus macrorhynchos Japonesis or Japanese crow in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. This species is very easy to find in Japan. During my research I often encounter them, from the Hokkaido island in the North to Nagasaki in the South.
These black large beaked crows had a very unique sound. The volume of their voice were really loud, so much that you could hear from a distance, but their chirp was very monotonous. The Japanese people usually imitate the sound of this bird with a kaa– kaa— onomatopoeia. Probably those of you who like to watch Japanese anime know about this, because the unique sound (maybe it contains a little humor) of this bird sometimes appear in a ridiculous scene in anime.
I recorded the sounds of these group of crows at Yoyogi Park right after the afternoon and before night time. When it was getting dark, this big park which was right in the middle of metropolis Tokyo city had started to quiet down from the sounds of visitors. Meanwhile the sounds of black crows that stopped by and flew from trees to trees were getting more noisy and louder.
The presence of Yoyogi Park itself was unique, it was like a forest among all the advancement and glamour of Tokyo city. To me, this was one of the unique landscape of cities in Japan. There was always very large parks in the middle of urban life. Meanwhile, other than the sound of crows, we could hear the sounds of urban life landscape on the streets of Tokyo, like Yoyogi, Harajuku, and Shibuya to be more exact. There were siren sounds (police, ambulance, or firefighter sirens could often be heard in Tokyo), and then in a very small intensity there were sounds of trains passing by going from and to Harajuku station.
When I was busy recording, about past the half hour mark, one of the Park staff came up to me. This man was talking in Japanese trying to tell me that the Park was already closed since a few moments ago. He then kindly waited for me to pack all my equipment and showed the way out through the side doors. I then just started to panic when I realized that there were no more visitors in the Park. Hahaha. As it turned out the unique sounds of the crows had made me lost track of time and forgot about my surroundings.
It was around seven in the evening and the sky was already dark. I then tried to find the exit, heading to the side doors (I had never been through it) with a slight of uneasiness because it was such a large park. If you look at the map, it was almost 1 km long in length. It was really like inside a dark forest, even though in reality I was in Tokyo. Finally after walking hundreds of meter, I saw the side exit from afar. There was another staff who was still on guard waiting for visitors who hadn’t left the park. Along with that, the illumination from city streets was accompanied by the loud city soundscape that was getting clearer. It was such a relief, it was like being back into the real world. Maybe darkness added the feeling of isolation. Even though, if you really think about it people of the previous generation or traditional people who lived in the forest didn’t feel any isolation when in nature as what I had experienced. The sound of nature was much more familiar in their ears than the hustle and bustle on the city’s street.